Cashew Buttercream Frosting (2 Ways!)

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Whipping Creamy Cashew Buttercream Frosting in a mixing bowl

Friends! It’s frosting time because I have a cake coming your way soon that needs it BIG TIME. Shall we?

Cashews, lemon juice, and other plant-based ingredients for making Creamy Cashew Buttercream Frosting

This frosting is not only simple – 8 ingredients required – but it also comes with 2 flavor variations: “Classic” and “Tangy Cream Cheese.”

The first is great for instances when you want a vegan buttercream for things like Funfetti Cupcakes, and the second is preferred for cakes that call for cream cheese frosting like Zucchini Cake!

I know. It’s so exciting I can hardly stand it.

Blender with ingredients for making vegan Cashew Buttercream Frosting

The base for these frostings is soaked cashews.

For the classic, I go with coconut milk and lemon juice. And for the tangy, I go with coconut yogurt (!!) and apple cider vinegar, which provides that cream-cheese-like flavor.

Both versions are naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and they get even more flavor from vanilla extract. The result is a creamy, dreamy cashew cream that chills perfectly into frosting texture!

Pouring blended frosting ingredients into a mixing bowl

Your cashew cream just needs some time in the freezer with occasional whisking and then blending to get that quintessential buttercream texture. The transformation is magical.

Whisking vegan Cashew Buttercream Frosting in a mixing bowl
Freshly whipped Cashew Buttercream Frosting made from simple ingredients

I hope you all LOVE this frosting! It’s:

Naturally sweetened
& So delicious

This would make the perfect frosting option for things like cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more! I think it would be especially delicious on my Vegan Sugar Cookies, 1-Bowl Pumpkin Bread, and my Gluten-Free Zucchini Cake.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of spreadable vegan Cashew Buttercream Frosting on a cutting board

Cashew Buttercream Frosting (2 Ways!)

Rich, thick, and creamy vegan “buttercream” frosting made with cashews! Naturally sweetened, easy to make, and perfect for cakes, cookies, and more!
Author Minimalist Baker
Spoon and bowl of Cashew Buttercream Frosting on a wood cutting board
4.62 from 49 votes
Prep Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 8 (1/4-cup servings)
Course Dessert, Frosting
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5-7 Days



  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked in hot water 1 hour or cool water 6-8 hours)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk or cream
  • 3-4 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil* (adds richness and helps firm up)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked in hot water 1 hour or cool water 6-8 hours)
  • 2/3 cup Coconut Yogurt or Coyo Coconut Yogurt (OR sub 1/2 cup (120 ml) full-fat coconut milk or cream)
  • 3-4 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil* (adds richness and helps firm up)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (more for tangier frosting)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • Soak cashews in very hot water for 1 hour or in cool water for 6-8 hours. Drain thoroughly and add to a blender. To the blender, also add remaining ingredients, depending on which style of frosting you’re going for.
  • Blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It's important to get the frosting as creamy and smooth as possible, so blend on high with a high-speed blender until the texture is silky and smooth.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, vanilla for vanilla flavor, or (if making the tangy frosting) more apple cider vinegar or lemon zest for tang.
  • Transfer frosting to a medium mixing bowl (with room to blend / whisk) and cover. Place in the freezer and chill for 45 minutes. Then remove from freezer and whisk. Freeze for another 45 minutes – 1 hour and whisk again. Then leave in the freezer until semi-firm to the touch (cheesecake texture // ~ 2-4 hours) and use a hand mixer (or whisk) to blend until creamy and smooth. Depending on how firm your frosting is, this may take a little work at the beginning as it softens. If too thick, microwave in 15-second increments until blendable (or leave out at room temperature to soften).
  • Your frosting is ready to use! Or it can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5-7 days (or the freezer 1 month). The nature of this frosting is like most other frostings in that it will soften out of the refrigerator. So, if serving a cake with this frosting, it’s best to keep the cake refrigerated. Once ready to serve, it is fine staying out of the refrigerator for several hours.


*If avoiding oil, omit. The frosting should still firm up, but it won’t be as creamy.
*Because the recipes are very similar, I included one nutritional information estimate for both. It is a rough estimate for 1 quarter-cup serving calculated with full-fat coconut milk and lesser amount of maple syrup.
*Recipe makes ~2 cups frosting.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup servings Calories: 243 Carbohydrates: 12 g Protein: 3.8 g Fat: 21.5 g Saturated Fat: 11.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 5 g

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My Rating:

  1. Alina Belousova says

    For a few years now I was looking for a vegan frosting recipe that didn’t use powdered sugar (nor erythritol, or xylitol as sugar replacements), that used natural sweeteners and that would be still stiff enough to pipe and taste great.

    Well, I think I’ve found it!!! I’ve made a ripple raspberry effect with raspberry goo and it was awesome. Tastes like raspberry yoghurt of some sort, but I don’t mind that at all! I think I might start using it as my go to frosting recipe and experiment with other flavours (unless I find a more stiff and stable version that ticks all other boxes). I want to try something like a peanut-date caramel ripple (already drooling). Thank you, Dana, for taking all the experimenting and testing work upon yourself.

    Next time I would get coconut whipping (!) cream to see if it will help it even more.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you so much for sharing, Alina! Stay tuned for another one coming soon that you may also enjoy :)

  2. Raven says

    Best Vegan icing ever! Then I took the leftovers, added some egg substitute and coconut flour, and baked it for a vegan cheesecake. So good!

  3. Veronica says

    Such an interesting recipe! I am doing my daughter’s cake smash cake and just wondering which recipe (this vs the other buttercream you have posted) you would recommend. We need something that would hold up well enough for car transport and photoshoot. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Veronica, we think the other recipe will be more suitable for transport. However, if it all possible, frosting when you get there is best!

  4. Lungowe Sinjwala says

    I just absolutely love your recipes. So so easy and just simply delicious all the time. I love the classic cashew cream frosting always a hands down winner whenever I use it. Will give the tangy cheese cream frosting a try next time. Looking for something to pair with my carrot cake.

    Thank you for sharing your recipes. God bless you. I’m your number fan. Made my vegan journey a lot easier.

    A huge shout out from Zambia, Africa. ♥️💞

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We hope you enjoy! Thank you so much for your kind words and support, Lungowe! xo

  5. Atara Dahan says

    Looking for an icing for your vanilla triple layer cake that doesn’t involve butter or cream cheese (I don’t eat them, and the vegan versions are often less healthy and have a ton of oil).
    1. What’s the difference between the 2 in flavor and texture?
    2. Can I use a different non-dairy milk, or it needs to be coconut?
    3. Can I use regular yogurt?
    4. If I leave out the oil, will it still be firm enough to ice the cake?
    5. Once put on the cake, how long will it last in the fridge?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      1) The 2nd one is more tangy
      2) You want a thick, dairy-free milk and coconut is best. Cashew would be the next best option.
      3) That should be fine, but we haven’t tested it.
      4) See the notes section.
      5) It’s best to frost just before serving, but should be fine up to 24 hours in advance.

  6. Bel says

    Oh no! I’m running out of time.

    I’ve made the frosting and it’s sitting in the freezer for the first 45min. That is really all the time I have before I have to leave the house with my cake!

    Will it be ok if I just keep the icing seperate (chilled in an icebox) and put it straight onto the cake when serving? I’m ok with it not having the real buttercream texture, as long as it tastes good!


    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Bel, the texture might not be as thick if it hasn’t had the full chilling time, but should still taste yummy! Hope it goes well!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jennie, We haven’t tried it and the flavor will be much different, but it should work if you’re okay with the “roasty” taste. Hope this helps!

  7. Elizabeth says

    This was excellent. The coconut cream and the coconut oil made a huge difference (I’ve seen other recipes where it was omitted.

    In all honesty, I’ve made several recipes that I found here and they’ve all been great.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Elizabeth. Thank you so much for your kind words and support! xo

      • Elizabeth says

        As a new vegan, I’ve found my way with your help.
        Also lowered my cholesterol a whopping 40 points within two months.

  8. Enah says

    hi, if i want it flavored like lemon, strawberry, bb, etc for things like donuts or muffins should i just add the fruit on top of this recipe?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Enah, that would probably be best! We think adding a fruit purée to the frosting itself might make it too liquidy.

      • Enah says

        do you have any other vegan recipe for flavored cashew coconut buttercream, like if you wanted to make it strawberry flavored with natural strawberries for example?

        • Alina Belousova says

          I’ve made this recipe with a raspberry reduction. Just cooked up raspberries with some natural sugar (like rapadura, same as sucanat, or you can use coconut sugar) and reduced it to an almost jammy consistency, then strained it through the sieve. I’ve made like a ripple effect with the buttercream by folding the cooled mixture into the buttercream. The colour changes over time and becomes more pale, but you can still taste it in the final product.

        • May says

          You might be able to use dehydrated/dried and powdered fruit to keep the fruit flavor without making the frosting too runny.

  9. Erna Sambajon says

    I make the classic cashew buttermilk frosting and its soo good. Everyone loves it. Thank you so much for sharing ur recipe

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad to hear it, Erna. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  10. As says

    What can I use in place of the coconut oil in the cashew tangy cream cheese frosting? Would light olive oil work? Only other oil I have…

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! The coconut oil is pretty essential to the frosting as it helps it firm up, which olive oil will not do. If you have vegan butter, that would work, but we haven’t tried it with any other oils and cannot guarantee results.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, our metric calculations show 1 cup cashews is 120 grams, but it’s an estimate as we primarily use cup measurements and make conversions.

  11. cc says


    if i replace cashews with seeds, would that be gram per gram or cup per cup?

    Also, can i use melted butter instead of coconut oil? And i’m wondering why the above do not use icing sugar to help firm up the frosting?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! Cup for cup on the seeds, but it may require some adjusting as cashews will likely absorb the liquid better than seeds. See our reply to your other comment for the other questions =)

      • cc says

        Many thanks for your prompt reply.

        what do you mean by adjusting? how should i be adjusting it if i’m substituting cashews for sunflower seeds?

  12. cc says

    hello! im wondering why the above recipes do not contain icing sugar to help firm up the frosting? would adding it change the flavour by alot?

    and also, can i use melted butter instead of coconut oil? im guessing butter will firm up in the fridge over time?

    thanks :))

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, this recipe is an alternative to more traditional recipes that use icing sugar. If you’re looking for a more classic buttercream frosting, we’d suggest this recipe instead. In this recipe, using melted butter should work in place of the coconut oil. And we’re not sure about adding icing sugar, but it might work!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Corinda! We haven’t tried it and the flavor will be much different, but it should work if you’re okay with the “roasty” taste. Hope this helps!

  13. Connie says

    Hi, is it possible to add some gelatin into the buttercream? If so how much? If gelatin doesn’t work, what else can I do to stabilize the cashew buttercream? Cos I live in a tropical country, the temp is about 88F or higher daily plus very high humidity

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Connie, we haven’t experimented with gelatin. Omitting the coconut oil and using coconut cream instead of coconut milk should help it be more stable. Hope that helps!

  14. Toria says

    Hi Dana,
    We have a French toast casserole for breakfast every Christmas, but I am dairy free and attempting to make it so! It calls for 1 block of cream cheese – do you think this tangy recipe minus the maple syrup and vanilla would be a good replacement for cream cheese? Do you think it would behave well in the oven?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Toria! We haven’t tried using this as a cream cheese substitute so we really cannot guarantee results. We’d suggest using a store bought vegan cream cheese if you can find one, we like Miyoko’s (tangier!) or Tofutti for the most dairy-like taste!

  15. Rose says

    Wanting to make a chocolate ripple cake and wondering if I could substitute the heavy whipping cream with this healthier option.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rose! We don’t have much experience with chocolate ripple cake, but we think that would work. Let us know how it goes!

  16. Amy says

    Love love loved this the first time I made it (the tangy cashew cream cheese frosting) but this time I think my melted coconut oil seized up and I ended up with little clumps in the frosting for my carrot cake. Soooo sad. Will it still taste okay?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, sorry that happened, Amy! That does sound like it might have been the issue. If it got that way after blending for a while, it’s possible it was over-blended. Otherwise, for next time, we’d say leave the coconut yogurt at room temp for 15-30 minutes so the mixture isn’t as cold when you add the melted coconut oil. Hope that helps!

  17. David Lum says

    Is it possible to use the cashew buttercream for piping detailed flowers? I normally make Italian meringue buttercream to decorate, but would love to try your cashew frosting recipe. Any suggestions on the amount of liquid I should decrease to make the frosting more stable? Thank you in advance!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi David, We haven’t tried that, but it can be temperature sensitive. You may need the full amount of liquid to get it to blend, but you could try starting with half the amount of coconut cream and work your way up from there! Let us know how it goes!

  18. Jackie says

    I made the original buttercream and it did not taste like icing at all. It was not sweet, even with added maple syrup. I tried adding a couple cups of powdered sugar to make it taste more like icing, and all it did was ruin the consistency.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! So sorry this was your experience, Jackie. Can you tell us more? Did you happen to make any modifications?

  19. Hi says

    NO MORE TRADITIONAL ICING!!! I am overjoyed to have found this recipe!! I quick soaked the cashews, used 1/3 cup of maple syrup for sweetness, the recommended coconut oil, no lemon, no vanilla extract, and twice as much milk which was vanilla almond milk instead and WOW!! IVE NEVER TASTED ANYTHING SO DELICIOUS! DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE THIS FOR ANY ICING NEEDS! After two freeze and whip steps it was a thick, creamy, fluffy dream, perfect for my own adaptation; COCOA POWDER!! Adding 1/4 + 1/8 cups of cocoa powder turned it into theeeeeee BEST chocolate frosting I have EVER had!! I could tell that with less liquid it could easily become a decadent chocolate mousse which will absolutely be my new not guilty pleasure! Thank you minimalist baker!

  20. Laura says

    I made the classic buttercream and it turned out incredible!! I added a 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to make it slightly sweeter, but I don’t think it’s totally necessary. The recipe calls for coconut cream or coconut milk – I used the former which worked great, but I’m surprised this recipe considers them interchangeable, given how liquid-y coconut milk is. And if you’re looking for a thick buttercream consistency, do not skip the freeze & whip steps.

    Also, I tried this recipe after having made the minimalist baker’s vegan cream cheese frosting that uses vegan butter and vegan cream cheese and this one is WAY better. The other one had a bitter aftertaste (surely due to the brand of vegan cream cheese & butter I used). If you’re choosing between the two recipes, choose this one!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so sorry you didn’t enjoy the frosting either, Alexandra! Was there anything in particular that wasn’t good about the frosting? Again, we’re here to trouble-shoot if you’d like. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us!

  21. Christa Miller says

    I’m looking for a good wfpb frosting for a semi naked cake. Do you think this one would work ok for that?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Christa! We haven’t tried using this frosting for that style of cake, but we think it would work! You may need to do a few thin layers and fully chill the cake in between. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Lail, we haven’t tried it with almond milk yogurt, but if it’s thick, it might be okay! Let us know how it goes!

  22. Sarah says

    LOVED this recipe! I soaked my cashews for 2-3 hours, drained it and popped it in the blender with all other ingredients. They were AMAZING on my vegan cinnamon rolls!!

  23. Nylia Erickson says

    The flavor was great, light and not overly sweet. The constancy was thin and runny. I tried adding confectioner sugar and then corn starch, neither made the cream thick enough to spread.
    My rating is 2 as it had flavor but was unusable.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nylia, we’re so sorry to hear it didn’t turn out well! Which version did you make? Is it possible that the coconut yogurt or coconut milk/cream you were using was runny? Or did you make any modifications?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amber, we haven’t tried it, but think it would work. Let us know if you give it a try!

  24. Angella says

    Hi! I would love to try this, but I recently learned I cannot have coconut (or dairy, or soy, or almond ugh.) Is there any other option here? Thank you!

  25. Michalina says

    Can I add melted dark chocolate to change the flavor? Or would it affect the texture? What about cocoa powder?
    Thanks in advance!

  26. Jessica says

    Hi! So I’m making the tangy version of this icing but after the second 45 min stint in the freezer is was basically frozen. Did I do something wrong? Should I skip the 2 hour freeze if its already at this point?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, if it’s already stiff enough for you to whip and frost a cake, then no need to freeze longer! May depend on how shallow your bowl is (the shallower / wider the bowl, the quicker the freeze).

  27. Dora Dewsbery says

    The flavour of this was delicious but the texture was odd, almost furry, did I do something wrong? I even tried passing it through a sieve but it made no difference.

  28. Elaina says

    Hi! I did step one of the freezer/whisk, I can stay up for the second round after 45 mins freezer/whisk. Could I then leave in the freezer overnight and thaw out in the AM and do the final whisking in the morning? Or would I totally screw this up?

  29. Zarina says

    Hi Dana,
    I am allergic to all the nuts and seeds . Can only have peanuts. What would be any other substitute for the frosting?
    Really appreciate your help.

    • Elaina says

      Also- I just realized I forgot to put the coconut oil in there. Could I still add this I do want to make sure it stays put vs melting at all if left out for just a few hours before eating.

    • Kp says

      Try a white sweet potato as the base instead of cashew. Maybe peel, cube, boil and use that in equal parts 1.5 cups. Then find an oat milk based yogurt to replace coconut milk.

  30. Molly McBride says

    Is there an alternative sweetener for maple syrup? I live in Spain and can get the good natural stuff.