Sweet and dreamy maraschino cherry vegan frosting is perfect for all your cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more! This 10 minute recipe is so easy to make and such a delightfully different way to celebrate your special occasions.
I love this frosting not only for the subtle cherry flavor but also how easy it is to make. It uses simple ingredients bought at the store - nothing weird here! This frosting goes on top of cupcakes and cakes beautifully. It’s creamy, smooth, and delicious!
Free from: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, sesame, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, corn, celery, and more
This frosting would be dreamy on top of any cake but some of my favorites would be my vegan and gluten free chocolate cake, gluten free vanilla cake, or vegan chocolate cake. You could also use this to top your gluten free sugar cookies. The options are never ending!
For a recipe as simple as this, it’s important that you source really good ingredients. They shine through here!
- Vegan Butter
- Maraschino Cherries - The star of the show! I love to use this brand, Tillen Farms because they are a vegan company that uses only natural dyes to get their cherries that beautiful color! Plus, they are gluten free and top 9 allergy friendly.
- Powdered Sugar - My favorite brand is Pioneer Sugar that uses beets and not sugarcane, making it a solid vegan choice. But any vegan powdered sugar works perfectly here.
- Vanilla extract - Optional ingredient to get a sweet cherry vanilla flavor.
- Pinch of salt
Best Vegan Butter
You can’t have buttercream frosting without a good vegan butter. Thankfully, there are several on the market right now that are in stores all over.
I prefer to use stick vegan butter. It has a better fat:water ratio that makes for a better frosting. Some of my favorites are:
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter - This is the one I reach for in my store. It is free from nuts, tree nuts, and coconut making it a really allergy friendly option.
- Country Crock - The plant based sticks are a great option as well. They use a blend of different oils so you can choose one that works well for you.
- Earth Balance Sticks - These work really well. You can also use the earth balance in a tub, especially if you have a soy allergy that you are working with. Just replace 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of vegan shortening when making this frosting with Earth Balance to get the right percentage of fat.
The full instructions with all the measurements are written down in the recipe box below! Be sure to check that out. Here is where we can get into some details about this frosting recipe.
For this easy recipe, it is so important that you have a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. It really isn’t possible to make frosting like this by hand. Make sure you start out with the whisk attachment. That is what blends some air into the ingredients to make it fluffy frosting!
Begin with room temperature vegan butter. You want it to be soft enough that you can press your finger into the butter with ease.
If you forgot to get the butter out in time, don’t worry! You can pop it in the microwave for 7 seconds, flip it over, and let it microwave for about 5 seconds more. This makes for the perfect room temperature butter in under 15 seconds!
In your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk the vegan butter on high for 5 minutes. You want it to whisk that long to really get the butter nice and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you need to to make sure all the butter is mixed.
Add the sugar and cherry juice (and vanilla if using) with the salt. Start whisking on low, gradually increasing speed until you are again whisking on high for another 3-5 minutes.
Depending on the viscosity, you may need to add a few more spoonfuls of sugar or cherry juice.
If you want to take the extra step and make your frosting super smooth, switch out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment. Beat the frosting on medium speed for 3 minutes to get a smooth and creamy texture.
Transfer to a piping bag and decorate your cake or cupcakes or cookies!
This frosting makes enough to frost a dozen cupcakes, or a small layer cake. If you have larger favorite cakes, feel free to double (or triple!) this recipe!
My frosting fell apart!
Just keep mixing and adding in a little more plant based milk or powdered sugar as needed. It should come together again!
What’s the best vegan sugar to use?
Not all sugars are vegan, but thankfully there are some really good ones that are! Wholesome Sweeteners, Trader Joe’s Sugar, 365 Sugar, and Pioneer Sugar (if you’re in the Midwest of the USA) are all vegan.
My frosting is lumpy.
For a really creamy and smooth frosting, after whipping with the whisk attachment on your stand mixer or hand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment. The paddle attachment is made for making things nice and smooth. A few minutes of blending with the paddle attachment and you will have the smoothest frosting ever!
Can I use vegetable shortening? Can I use coconut milk?
Yes, you can use vegetable shortening in this recipe. Use up to 50% of vegetable shortening in place of vegan butter to make a vegan frosting that is more stable at room temperature, not to mention easier to work with.
No, you can not use coconut milk to replace the butter. Coconut oil and coconut milk are too different from vegan butter and vegan shortening.
Can I add food coloring?
Sure, if you wish! I love the soft pink that the cherry juice naturally gives, but if you need a more intense color, you can certainly add more. I like this brand for natural dyes in frosting and this brand for a more traditional coloring.
How to Store
Any leftover frosting will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Let it warm up a bit on the countertop for about 15 minutes before frosting. Additionally, you could add it to the stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer and add an additional tablespoon of cherry juice. This will remix the frosting and make it easier to work with.
Chocolate Cherry Frosting - Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to the frosting when adding the sugar. This whips up into a luscious chocolate frosting flavored with cherry!
If you are allergic to corn, it is super important that you get a corn free powdered sugar. Almost all powdered sugars out there use cornstarch as a way of keeping the sugar from clumping. My favorite corn free powdered sugar is by Wholesome Sweeteners.
More Vegan Buttercream Frosting Recipes
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- stand mixer or hand mixer
- Large bowl
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Piping bag with tips (optional)
- ½ cup vegan butter
- 4 tablespoons cherry juice
- 3 cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- Sprinkle salt
- In the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk the butter on high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the cherry juice, sugar, salt, and optional vanilla extract. Start on low speed, whisking until the ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you need to. Once everything is mixed together, whisk on medium-high speed for another 3 minutes to make sure the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Optionally, replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment and beat on medium for 3 minutes to get a smooth frosting.
- Transfer to a piping bag for frosting or place frosting directly on the cakes and cookies you have previously baked. Enjoy!