Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Creamy vegan cream cheese frosting made with only a few basic whole food ingredients.

Vegan "Cream Cheese" Frosting made with cashews | #recipe #dessert #sugarfree


Frosting lovers, you may want to throw on your eye-muffs, because this one’s gonna be a doozy…Growing up, I was one of those kids who scraped the frosting off of my friends birthday cakes and straight up discarded it. Just…wasn’t having it. Rubbish.

If you’re a frosting lover, you may find this type of behavior to be absolutely uncalled for, but if you’re like me, and you’ve never really enjoyed sweet sweets, you can appreciate my habitual cake-in-the-buff  tendencies.

So you can probably surmise that the ENTIRE cupcake craze? Totally lost on me. There is one, count em, ONE type of frosting I’ve always strongly embraced, and that is – you guessed it – cream cheese frosting.

There’s something about the tang. The richness. The cream. The not-as-sweet-as-regular-frosting-ness. The essence. I can dig.

Given the fact that I’m not so into processed foods, you can probably guess I don’t typically eat traditional cream cheese frosting, even if its homemade with fancy organic cream cheese, unicorn sighs, and puppy dog stretches.

It just doesn’t do a body good, as much as I want it to. BUT, over the last few years, I’ve been making my own healthified version of cream cheese frosting – the likes of which you’ve already seen on this blog.

But, you guys, this shit is special. It deserves its own recipe, so I’m calling it out… spreading it around, hoping it goes viral, but in the very least if you’re a sweet-toothed cautious eater like me, perhaps it will make its way into your own heart and home slash birthday cake.

Ingredients for Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

This recipe requires only a few basic ingredients – all of which you may already have in your pantry! Raw cashews, pure maple syrup (or liquid natural sweetener of choice), lemon juice, almond milk, and pure vanilla extract. 

As a side note, if you don’t mind working with store-bought vegan cream cheese, there are definitely recipes for vegan cream cheese frosting out there that use this product, along with powdered sugar. While this will yield a cream cheese frosting that’s closer in consistency to the real deal, for whatever reason, the idea behind using raw cashews is more appealing to me.. Probably because it feels fresher and more controlled.

How to Make Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

The only thing about this recipe that requires a little forethought is soaking the cashews. You can get away with soaking them for a few hours if you use boiling hot water, but the frosting will turn out creamier if you can soak them overnight (up to 12 hours).

Vegan "Cream Cheese" Frosting made with cashews | #recipe #dessert #sugarfree

After soaking the cashews, drain them and give them a quick rinse. Add them to a high-powered blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until a completely smooth frosting forms. If your blender is having trouble blending, add more almond milk (or coconut milk).

Taste the frosting for flavor and add more pure maple syrup and/or lemon juice to taste.

Recipe Notes:

Couple note about tang: I like my cream cheese frosting with a little extra pizzaz, so I typically use 3 tablespoons of lemon juice rather than the 2 I put in the recipe.

Depending on your tang preference, you can start small with the lemon juice then go bigger from there. In addition, because I’m not vegan, I’ve made this recipe more often than not using raw honey..I think the flavor turns out closer to actual cream cheese frosting when you use honey, because it adds to the tang factor.

You can use any natural liquid sweetener you’d like here.

Use this Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting on my Paleo Carrot Cake! Or use it to frost any of my muffin or bread recipes. It goes great on my Morning Glory Quick Bread.

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @TheRoastedRoot on Instagram!

Vegan "Cream Cheese" Frosting made with cashews | #recipe #dessert #sugarfree

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: paleo, vegan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

Vegan cream cheese frosting made with raw cashews




  1. Soak the cashews in water overnight, or at least 3 hours. Drain cashews and pat dry.

  2. Add the cashews to a food processor and process until a thick paste has formed. You'll need to stop the food processor and scrape the sides several times - this will take a couple of minutes!

  3. Leaving the food processor on, slowly stream the pure maple syrup, lemon juice, and almond milk through the opening.  Add the pure vanilla extract and sea salt, and continue processing until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Taste the frosting for flavor and add more pure maple syrup and/or lemon juice if desired. For thinner frosting, add more almond milk

  4. Transfer frosting to a sealable container or jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Frosting will keep for up to 1 week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.



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  1. Ashley@CookNourishBliss

    Ahhhh I love this!! I was just thinking about how I wanted to make something for easter with cream cheese frosting but since I now seem to have major issues with dairy I was trying to figure out another way. You totally solved my dilemma! 🙂

  2. Jane Davidson

    While I’m not vegan, I definitely eat healthy and a lot of what I eat ends up being vegan. This is definitely a recipe I can’t wait to try out! It would be perfect for Easter!

    1. Julia Post author

      I’m in the exact same boat. I do try to avoid dairy whenever possible, and thankfully it’s pretty easy to do so with various substitutions. So happy you’re looking forward to trying it! xo

  3. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen

    Those too-sweet sweets have never been my thing either–give me the cake sans frosting any day. I’ve made a frosting with cashews similar to this and it was UNREAL. I had to make two batches because I ate most of the first one with a spoon. I’ll definitely give your recipe a try the next time I need a dairy-free frosting 🙂

    1. Julia Post author

      YESSSSAH! I’m definitely in the same boat. It took every ounce of my self-control to not eat the frosting by the spoonful and save it for frosting a cake, lol! Let me know if you do end up trying it! xo

  4. Joanne Bruno

    I’m so intrigued! One of my best friends is allergic to dairy so I’m always looking for vegan treats to bring her on her birthday (and just all year-round lol). I’m a cream cheese frosting addict, so definitely going to have to try this for her!

  5. Micke

    Just made a modified version of this. I used cashews, sugar syrup and almond flavor. Delicious. Love the original, and the almond flavored version too! Great frosting for our carrot cake.

  6. Portia

    Hey Julia! In the description, you mention almond milk as one of the ingredients, but there isn’t any mentioned in the actual recipe. Not sure if I should add any or not? Thank you!

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Portia! Thanks so much for catching that! There is supposed to be almond milk (1/4 cup)! I added the ingredient to the list – I appreciate you letting me know! Hope you enjoy the frosting! xo

  7. Beth

    My daughter has issues with dairy products and she dislikes sweet icing. This looks amazing. In the post you mentioned that you like to use honey instead of maple syrup. I have honey on hand, and plan to make this, do I substitute the same amount of honey for maple syrup?

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Beth!

      I’m so glad you’re going to try the frosting, and I hope your daughter likes it! Yes, absolutely feel free to use honey – I think the frosting turns out tasting more cream cheese-esque when you use honey rather than pure maple syrup. A 1:1 replacement will work marvelously! You can also sweeten to taste 😉 Enjoy! xo

  8. Heather

    My household has peanut, cashew, and walnut allergies. I have noticed a lot of vegan recipes call for cashew. Do you have recommendations for other creamy nuts/seeds? (Especially since we are trying to avoid dairy here, too.) Maybe macadamias, pistachios? Thanks!!

    I am enjoying checking out your recipes 🙂 I’ve got your almond flour banana bread in the oven now!

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Heather! While I’ve never tried raw macadamia nuts, they could possibly work! I would be sure to soak them for 8 to 12 hours and when you blend them, you may need to stop the blender or food processor multiple times to scrape the sides. Continue blending until the mixture is perfectly smooth and it should taste great! Let me know how it turns out!

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Sophie,

      I’ve never tried freezing the frosting, so I can’t say for sure if it would work, but my guess is it would be just fine! I would maybe just avoid heating it immediately after freezing it (as in, I wouldn’t thaw it in the microwave). Simply thaw at room temperature and you should be good to go. Let me know how it turns out! 😉

  9. Maya

    I’m going to try this out but I’m wondering about skipping the soaking and pulverizing step with the cashew soup and just using cashew butter. How much cashew butter should I use? (How much cashewpaste is made from 2 cups cashews?)

    1. Julia Post author

      Try adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons of lemon juice (to taste) and 1 to 3 additional tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Let me know how that goes.


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