Best vegan vanilla cupcakes! Super moist and flavorful made with simple ingredients. Easy recipe to make anytime.
This is my go-to vegan vanilla cupcake recipe! It has never failed me to be soft, sweet, and easy to make cupcakes full of vanilla flavor! Top them with a delicious vegan vanilla frosting or vegan chocolate frosting and you have one heck of a dessert for birthday parties, holidays, or anytime you feel like celebrating.
Free from: dairy, casein, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn (optional), sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Why You’ll Love these Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
Easy to make. These cupcakes mix up in one bowl and only have 10 ingredients that you can find at any grocery store.
This recipe is easily customizable. Want to add chocolate chips? You can! Want to add sprinkles for a funfetti twist? No problem! Caramel sauce. Strawberries. The options are endless once you’ve got this as your base recipe.
Can double into cakes beautifully. Need to make a cake instead of cupcakes? No worries! This recipe doubles into a crowd pleasing 9x13 cake with no fuss.
You only need 10 ingredients to make these vegan vanilla cupcakes!
Vegan Butter - I personally prefer to make cupcakes with a good vegan butter over plain oil. The cupcakes are more fluffy and softer when made this way. My favorite is “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” sticks for ease of measuring. Other options I have found work really well are Earth Balance and Earth Balance Soy Free and Country Crock Plant Based butters.
Plant-based Milk - I have made these cupcakes with so many different types of plant based milks and have personally found soy milk to be the most consistent. If you can’t use soy, I would recommend either almond milk or rice milk.
Vanilla - You can’t have a vanilla cupcake without vanilla! This is a case where the best vanilla flavor you can purchase makes all the difference. For an allergy friendly vanilla, check out Singing Dog vanilla extract!
You also need all purpose flour, leavening agents, and cornstarch.
For the full list of ingredients, see the recipe box below.
Need to make these corn free? No problem! Swap the cornstarch for tapioca flour or arrowroot powder in an equal amount. Make sure that your vanilla extract and your powdered sugar for the frosting are also corn free.
Avoiding dairy and soy? In place of soy milk, I recommend that you use rice milk or almond milk for the best results.
If you have a stand mixer, I recommend that you use that. Because we are mixing non-dairy butter with sugar, we need a mixer of some sort to fluff it with air. Mixing by hand won’t work. Not to mention how much easier it is to make vanilla frosting with a stand mixer.
But if you only have a hand mixer, no worries! I used a hand mixer for years and the cakes and cookies always turned out just as delicious.
For frosting cupcakes, I always use a plastic piping bag with a 1M tip from Wilton. It makes these big swirls that are just fun.
Like I said, making these vegan vanilla cupcakes is so easy!
For the full instructions complete with measurements, please see the recipe card below.
Line your cupcake tray with some cupcake liners. Or, you can spray each cupcake tin with a neutral vegetable oil.
In a measuring cup, mix your apple cider vinegar and dairy free milk of choice together. This is going to create a vegan buttermilk substitute to help the cupcake rise. Let this sit for 5 minutes or so.
In a medium bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.
Tip! Use the spoon and fill method for your ingredients. This means using a spoon and overfilling each measuring cup. Then, with the back of a knife or spoon, level off each measuring cup. This will give you an accurate measurement that just scooping into a bag won’t give you.
Now, in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with your hand mixer and a large bowl, cream together the dairy free butter and sugar. You want this to get really light and fluffy. Mix it on medium-high speed for a good 5 minutes.
After the butter is fluffy, you can add the vanilla and the non-dairy milk. Don’t be afraid if you see it kinda lumpy! That means the apple cider vinegar did its job and turned it into buttermilk.
Give this a quick mix until it’s smooth.
Now, add the flour mixture and mix until it’s just combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
Carefully transfer the cupcake batter to lined cupcake pan and fill each about ⅔ of the way full.
Bake the cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let them cool in the hot cupcake trays for about 3 minutes and then remove them to finish cooling on a wire cooling rack. This will help them keep their shape the best.
Make sure they are totally cool before frosting with vegan vanilla buttercream frosting!
Chocolate Chip Cupcakes - Add 1 cup of mini chocolate chips and top with vegan chocolate frosting. Yum!
Vegan Yellow Cake - In a small saucepan, whisk together a pinch of turmeric powder with the soy milk. Stir occasionally and bring to a low simmer, about 2 to 3 minutes on a low-medium heat. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then, add the vinegar and proceed with the recipe as written.
Lemon Cupcakes - In place of the apple cider vinegar, add ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice and reduce milk by ¼ cup. Add the zest of one lemon and you have delicious summertime cupcakes!
My cupcakes are sticking to the liners!
Don’t panic! You are probably trying to peel them too soon. Let them cool completely, or even pop them in the fridge for a few minutes so that they don’t stick.
Can I make these gluten free?
While I haven’t tried these gluten free, I think they would work with a solid gluten free flour, like King Arthur or Better Batter. You can also check out my dedicated gluten free vanilla cake recipe here!
How do I know what is vegan sugar?
Great question! If you can find it, beet sugar like Pioneer Sugar or Now Foods are always vegan. Some of my other favorite options are Florida Crystals or Wholesome.
How to store these cupcakes?
Unfrosted - Keep them wrapped in an airtight container on the countertop for 3 days. You can also store them in the fridge for 3 days before frosting. Store them in a freezer safe container and they will keep for up to 2 months. Allow them to come to room temperature before frosting and serving from frozen.
Frosted - Store these on the countertop for only a few hours. The vegan butter needs to be kept in the fridge for safety. Store them in a container with a lid to keep them the most fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. These can be frozen after frosting if kept in a freezer safe container for up to 1 month.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
Make sure all ingredients are room temperature. Even in vegan baking, keeping all the ingredients the same texture helps the fats and sugars to more easily emulsify. This helps the final result to be lighter, not over mixed, and with a better texture.
Don’t open the oven door! It can be so hard to keep from peaking in on them but is it SO IMPORTANT that you don’t open the oven door for the first 20 minutes of baking. You’ll let the hot air and the moisture out. That can mean flat, dry cupcakes.
Want to make these more vanilla in flavor? Add a teaspoon of dry vanilla powder for that extra flavor oomph!
More Vegan Desserts to love
If you try these out, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, dietary friendly recipes you can subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
- stand mixer or hand mixer
- mixing bowls
- mixing spoons
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- cupcake liners
- Cupcake trays
- Piping bag and tips (optional)
- 1 ¼ cup soy milk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup vegan butter room temperature
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cupcake tray with paper liners, or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soymilk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk butter and both white and brown sugar together for 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Let this get light and fluffy in texture.
- Turn the speed to low and add the vanilla extract and the soymilk. Don’t panic if the milk has turned a little lumpy! That means that vinegar did its job and made vegan buttermilk. Whisk this together until smooth.
- Now add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is fully incorporated. If you want, you can stop using the mixer and mix this final part by hand. This will ensure that nothing is over mixed.
- Fill each cupcake liner with batter to about the ⅔ high mark.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center pulls away clean.
- Let the cupcakes rest in the hot cupcake pan for 5 minutes before removing them to cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Frost with vegan vanilla buttercream or vegan chocolate buttercream. Enjoy!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
More of a chocolate person?
Check out these chocolate recipes!
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