The Best Substitutes for Butter in Frosting

Are you seeking for butter replacements for icing while creating a cake? Prepare yourselves, because our alternatives are really tasty!

You have several alternatives. All you have to do is choose between coconut oil, cream cheese, creamy margarine, light heavy cream, and thick vegetable shortening. We’ll also reveal how to make a smooth icing.

Say goodbye to butter, and lets get started.

Frosting Without Butter: Top 5 Substitutes

  • Cream cheese
  • Margarine
  • Heavy cream
  • Coconut oil
  • Shortening

1. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a creamy and spreadable butter alternative for frosting. Use 3 to 4 oz of cream cheese for every cup of butter. It has enough fat to prevent the icing from crumbling. It is, however, a touch sour, which will change the scent of your frosting.

When you use cream cheese instead of butter to produce frosting, it turns out white, but a butter and cheese combination turns out beige.

Because cream cheese frosting melts readily in hot temperatures, you should not keep your cake at room temperature.

2. Margarine

Use margarine with a fat content close to butter to get the same consistency and feel as butter frosting.

Some margarine has just 60% fat, which is inadequate for a recipe that asks for a creamy frosting that adheres adequately to the cake. Stick margarine is an excellent option since it functions similarly to stick butter.

Look for stick margarine with at least 80% fat content. In a 1:1 ratio with butter, use it in your recipe.

3. Heavy Cream

Swap the butter for heavy cream if you want your frosting to be light, airy, and fluffy. For 1 cup of butter, use 3 cups heavy whipping cream.

Because of the air pockets in the whipped cream, your frosting will be bubbly. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to spread than buttercream.

It’s also important to keep in mind that this frosting is delicate and light, and heated temperatures will damage it. As a result, it must be refrigerated for at least an hour before being used as frosting.

4. Coconut Oil

If you’re vegan or sensitive to dairy, coconut oil is the greatest butter alternative for frosting. The butter-to-coconut oil ratios may vary according to the various varieties of coconut oils. Try a one-to-one ratio and see how it goes.

The texture of the coconut oil frosting is comparable to that of buttercream; it is creamy and thick. For the greatest results, use solid coconut oil rather than liquefied coconut oil.

Keep in mind that the coconut oil will give the cream a distinct flavor.

Because coconut oil might melt at room temperature, the frosting must be promptly cooled.

5. Shortening

Shortening is a kind of solid vegetable fat made mostly from hydrogenated vegetable oils. Replace butter with shortening in an equal amount in your recipe.

Despite the fact that it does not taste or look like butter, shortening provides a white, solid icing. In fact, since it has a greater melting point than butter, vegetable shortening can handle heat better.

Frosting vs. Icing: Are They the Same?

Frosting and icing are similar in that they are both dessert toppings, but there are several key distinctions.

Frosting is a decadent topping that goes well with cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. It has a light, fluffy texture and a rich, creamy taste. Frosting is useful for decorating because fat (butter, cream, or other substitutes) helps it maintain its form. It is used to garnish cakes and to sandwich cake layers together.

Icing is a glaze-like substance that is widely used on doughnuts, cinnamon buns, and pastries. It has a glossy sheen and a thinner consistency than frosting. When applied on pastries, it often hardens, while frosting keeps its airy nature. It is frequently more sweet than frosting.

Icing is often poured over desserts, while frosting is distributed using a spatula or piping bag. Because it is difficult to manage the appearance of icing, it is seldom used to decorate cakes or pastries.

Can You Use Any of the Butter Substitutes in Icing?

Because icing does not need butter, it should not be made using butter replacements.

Powdered sugar is mixed with a liquid such as water, cream, normal milk, or coconut milk to make icing. Frosting, on the other hand, is composed of solid fats like butter or cream.

As previously said, solid fat keeps the frosting together and gives it a consistent, fluffy look. Icing is a liquid, thin, and glossy spread.

Frosting Mistakes to Avoid

Applying a smooth frosting to a cake is a breeze if you avoid the frequent problems.

#1: Avoid Placing Your Cake Board Directly on a Turntable

When you place a cake board directly on a turntable, it will shift anytime you apply pressure to it, making icing difficult.

Use a non-slip pad to protect the cake board from moving about on the turntable during icing.

#2: Avoid Placing Your Cake Directly on the Cake Board

The cake will wobble when you spread the icing and filling since nothing is keeping it in place. If you apply too much pressure, tall cakes may collapse.

To fix this, liberally spread icing around the middle of the cake board before pressing the first layer of cake into the dot. This will act as glue, securing the cake to the cake board and preventing it from moving.

#3: Don’t Frost the Cake Layers at Room Temperature

Even though the cake is connected to the cake board with a dot of icing and a non-slip mat, if you frost the cake while the layers are at room temperature, it will begin to wobble.

Before icing, the cake should be chilled for 15 minutes. The layers will be more stable and less prone to crumbling, which will make icing simpler and more uniform.

#4: Don’t Make the Frosting Too Stiff

It is critical to pay attention to the consistency of your frosting; if it is too stiff, it will be difficult to spread over your cake. Even if you were successful in spreading it, smoothing it out with a cake comb would be challenging.

To remedy this issue, thin the frosting with a few teaspoons of milk or cream.

#5: Don’t Add a Thin Layer of Frosting

If you apply the frosting too thinly, the cake comb will scrape it all off, exposing the cake layers underneath.

The ideal way is to apply a thicker coating of icing. It will seem excessive at first, but don’t worry; as you smooth it, the surplus will be removed and the thickness will be reduced.

Spread the icing higher than the cake to create exact corners with no gaps on top. Over any dents, apply an additional layer. Scrape it all over again to smooth out the touch-up icing and eliminate any remnants, resulting in a nice, smooth surface.

#6: Avoid Scraping the Cake With a Cake Comb That Already Has Frosting on It

The cake comb will be coated with icing after scraping. If you use the cake comb again right after, the frosting will be dragged back onto the cake, creating a textural line.

Instead, use a cloth or paper towel to clean it. The same goes for scraping the top with a spatula; wipe it totally clean after each use, and press the frosting laterally with your spatula rather than down to create smoother edges.

#7: Don’t Leave Your Frosted Cake at Room Temperature

If you leave your cake at room temperature, it will sink and bulge with broken icing.

Place the cake in the refrigerator for approximately two hours before serving. The frosting will remain solid and consistent because to the low temperature.


The addition of butter to the frosting prevents it from disintegrating.

If you don’t want to use butter, you may create a delicious frosting using cream cheese, margarine, heavy cream, coconut oil, or shortening.

In terms of flavor and texture, margarine is the most close to butter. Because shortening has the highest melting point, the frosting may stay at room temperature for longer without melting. Coconut oil and cream cheese are also fine options, but they will significantly alter the taste. Lighter frostings benefit from the use of heavy cream.

Remember to stick to the specific ratios for your preferred butter replacement to prevent some of the typical problems we listed. Use a non-slip mat to protect the cake board from sliding about and place a dot of icing on it. Before serving, chill the completed cake for 2 hours.

Have fun whisking!


How do you thicken frosting without butter?

Cornstarch may help thicken the icing without changing the taste too much. Begin by mixing in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch per cup of frosting. If necessary, gradually add additional cornstarch until the required consistency is attained.

What is a substitute for margarine in frosting?

Substitute 1 cup of the following for 1 cup margarine: 1 cup softened cream cheese (or one 8-oz. block) or reduced-fat cream cheese (less calories and fat). 1 cup trans-fat-free vegetable oil spread or olive oil spread (60 to 70%).

Can you replace butter with shortening in frosting?

Can I use butter instead of shortening? Yes, you may use butter instead of shortening. BUT you will be sacrificing taste and texture.

What can I substitute for butter in a recipe?

The following items, in general, perform well as butter substitutes in cakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, and quick breads:
Applesauce. Applesauce decreases the calorie and fat content of baked foods substantially.
Bananas mashed.
Yogurt from Greece.
Butters made from nuts.
Purée of pumpkin.

What does cornstarch do in icing?

Cornstarch, a common addition in many frosting recipes, prevents clumping in the sweetener, but the ingredient is valued for more than just its anti-caking properties. Cornstarch is also popular for thickening sauces, fruit pies, and stews.

How do you make frosting fluffier?

Whip up your canned frosting in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of an electric mixer. This will aerate the frosting and make it fluffier without adding any extra ingredients.

What can I use instead of butter and icing for cake?

What can I substitute for butter in icing? A. Margarine, butter-flavored shortening, coconut oil, vegan butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, and whipped cream may all be used in frosting recipes in place of butter.

Can I use vegetable oil instead of butter?

In a recipe, replace 4 of the butter with olive, canola, or vegetable oil (if the recipe asks for 1 cup butter, use 34 cup oil). When it comes to coconut oil, you may utilize a 1:1 ratio.Oil in Place of Butter

A reasonable rule of thumb is to replace about three

What can I use instead of vegan butter in icing?

2 Earth Balance to equal the fat content and consistency of stick margarine.2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable shortening and 1You may use vegan margarine like Earth Balance or a similar, but you must use 1 cup.

Which shortening is best for frosting?

High ratio shortening may also improve the taste and texture of your products. create a buttercream icing with it or use it to create the cake itself. Because high ratio shortening is less greasy than other shortenings, it produces a lovely and smooth consistency when used to make icing.

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