Dairy Free Frosting : Coconut Buttercream

Dairy-Free Coconut Buttercream Frosting
A few days ago I told you that I had made a dairy free frosting using coconut butter, and I was so excited. An hour later it separated—Oh no! I’ve been working on it ever since. Six tries later, and it’s exactly how I wanted it. Having gone through so many failed attempts I highly recommend that you don’t change this recipe, or at least not on the day you want to use it for a party. If you really want to try a substitution, definitely do that in advance, in case it doesn’t turn out.

♥, Kelly

Coconut Buttercream Dairy Free Frosting

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut cream concentrate, melted (also sold as coconut butter or coconut mannaNote: I don’t think this recipe would work without this ingredient. It is NOT the same thing as coconut oil.
3/4 cup coconut cream** (see my coconut cream tutorial)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp honey
1.5 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut flour, sifted
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
optional: India Tree natural food coloring
optional: You can substitute Earth Balance soy-free Buttery Spread for some or all of the coconut cream. Add extra sifted coconut flour to thicken if necessary. Likewise, add extra coconut cream or Earth Balance to soften if necessary.


  1. Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix with handheld mixer.
  3. Done!
  4. Makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes.

**To get the coconut cream, use a can of full-fat coconut milk that has separated. Open the can and carefully scoop the solid white cream off the top. If your canned coconut milk hasn’t separated put it in the fridge overnight to get it to separate again. See my coconut cream tutorial for more methods.


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  1. says

    This looks absolutely divine Kelly! I’ve made coconut butter at home to save on the cost, and I will have to do it again to make this frosting. Thank you! :)

  2. says

    Yum. I made a coconut cake yesterday and was going to try to do a refined sugar free coconut frosting but I totally cheated and just used powdered sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and coconut cream. Yours sounds healthier. :)

  3. says

    Yummers. The pictures make my mouth water. Quick question for you: we don’t use canned goods due to concerns w/heavy metals and BPA. What coconut product could I sub-in for the canned coconut milk fat? I use a lot of Tropical Traditions’ products. Do you think that their coconut creme concentrate work, if I dilute it with water? Not sure what to use…?
    Love your site!

  4. says

    Yummers! Your pictures made my mouth water. Quick question, we do not use canned goods here due to heavy metal toxicity and BPA concerns. What could I use in place of the canned coconut milk? Do you think Tropical Traditions coconut creme concentrate would work?

  5. says

    Thanks so much, Kelly! My GFCF son is allergic to soy and several nuts so I love that you made this. I look forward to seeing you try it with soy-free Earth Balance as my son does not like coconut :(, but does love his Earth Balance spread :). BTW I recently made your original banana bread recipe and it was a huge hit. Made 2 more loaves the next day to satisfy everyone!

  6. says

    For those of you who don’t know the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter (like me—I had to look it up), here’s a link and an explanation:


    “Coconut oil is JUST the oil that is extracted from the meat.

    Coconut butter is the whole meat of the coconut pureed into a creamy butter.

    Coconut meat (by nature) is approximately 65% oil.”

    I had never heard of coconut butter until Spunky mentioned it. Now I’m off to see which one had more nutrition in it–I may be making a switch from oil to butter. Thanks, Spunky! :)

  7. says

    Thanks guys!

    Robin, I didn’t know Tropical Traditions had a coconut creme concentrate. I don’t know if that would work, but I can’t wait to check it out. Does it come in a carton? I thought the cartons of milk-substitute were lined in aluminum and coated in plastic anyway.

  8. Lena says

    Brandon – the top comment – mentions making coconut butter. Does anyone know how I could do this? Is it a matter of pureeing fresh coconut flesh in a Vitamix? I haven’t seen any coconut butter in Australia and I would love to make some myself. Thanks!

  9. says

    Lena –
    You definitely can make coconut butter at home with dried unsweetened coconut. I do have to warn, however, that one ounce of dried coconut makes 1 TBSP. of coconut butter. This makes one tablespoon equal to around 180 calories. These calories are much different than calories in other fats, however. Store bought coconut butter is usually made from fresh and slightly dried coconut, making it a much more difficult process to accomplish at home (but it probably is worth it!).

    Just place dried, unsweetened coconut in a food processor and process into a smooth butter. No need to add any oil. It will take some time, but it is just like making any kind of nut butter. I haven’t tried it in a VitaMix, but I’m sure it can be done! :)

    Good luck!

  10. says

    Thanks for this recipe Kelly! i plan to make it to use on your vanilla white bean cake which is fab!!
    I would love it if there was a’print’ option to print the recipes and also a easier way to look up recipes on your blog:)

  11. says

    That frosting looks fabulous, Kelly! The consistency looks just right, wow. Your little ones must love their mommy making such beautiful treats for them. :)

  12. says

    Ooh, this sounds so yummy and looks beautiful. Your girls are both July babies? Baby Yum and I are also July babies with only 4 days between our birthdays, and we have a joint birthday party every year…. or we will until she protests! lol. Wish you all could come to our party! 😉

    Love your cake and frosting, and the photos are gorgeous.


  13. says

    Oh MY – was that GREAT frosting. :) I just made it and put it on some cupcakes … check my profile pix to see them. I am too full YUMMY! :) I did substitute Tapioca Flour for the Arrowroot – seemed to come out GREAT! I also added 2 tblspns of finely shredded coconut … Thanks!

  14. Anonymous says

    I had a go at making coconut butter using the regular dry shredded packaged coconut. I added less than 1/4c. coconut oil and processed for 10min. Added 3 Tbsps coconut flour to thicken up a bit…excellent! Total processing time was about 15min.

  15. Tara says

    In response to a couple of previous comments… Native Forest makes canned coconut milk in BPA-free cans. The best deal I’ve come across is through the Subscribe-and-Save program on Amazon.com (you receive shipments on a regular basis and can change the timing of shipments as needed, and the price is the best around). Also, I’m not sure that it makes sense to “make the switch” from coconut oil to coconut butter – they are different products for different purposes. For instance, I don’t think I’d saute anything in coconut butter or substitute it for coconut oil in baked goods. I use coconut oil for those purposes, and coconut butter is good for things like frosting, added in with coconut oil for “freezer fudge” type recipes, mixed with almond butter to dip apples in, or by itself to spread on baked goods or dip things in. Either can be added to smoothies, etc.

  16. says

    Great frosting. I used this in a cooking class last weekend. Great consistency. It was perfect over the blanched almond flour Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Elana Amsterdam’s blog. I prefer the frosting with a dash more (about 1 more Tbsp) honey and another 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or plain liquid stevia. I will definitely make it again.

  17. says

    Sorry, I know this is a late-coming comment, but just how long does the frosting keep? I am trying to figure out how far ahead of time I can make it for this weekend. Thanks!

  18. Frances says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I just tried your recipe (with minor modifications for what I had in my pantry) and it is fantastic! You have rescued my daughter’s 2nd birthday cake!! (She was recently diagnosed with all kinds of food sensitivities and I was at a loss for how to make icing for her cake.) I can’t wait to try adding some natural food colorants (beets (red/pink), tumeric (yellow), carrot (orange), spinach (green), chocolate (brown)) so that I can make her birthday train cake. I’ll let you know how it turns out! (The version I made today I swapped 1/2 cup pumpkin puree plus 1/4 cup rice milk for the coconut cream and it is fantastic!!)

  19. Tamara says

    I’m sure that you have figured this out, Kelly, but I’ll post it here, for anyone who may still wonder- the Tropical Traditions coconut cream concentrate (one of my personal favorite products of theirs) comes in a glass jar. Totally safe, and VERY yummy stuff. I love to make a tropical smoothie with coconut milk, coconut cream concentrate, a little pineapple juice and frozen mango. Super-duper yummy!

  20. says

    Looking for a relatively healthy birthday cake for my two-year old — who is still avoiding refined sugar at this point– I tried your vanilla bean cake with buttercream frosting. Yum and thank you; the test run went over beautifully. My only reservation is the arrowroot powder called for. It’s pricy per ounce for one, and also, I feel like it has a discernible taste that gets in the way. Can you testify to some subs for arrowroot?

  21. Anonymous says

    I was wandering if anyone knows if I can substitute the honey for maple syrup instead….my 3 yr old can not do honey and I would like him to be able to try this when I make it for my turning 7yr old?=)

    • Emily says

      I made this with maple syrup but it turned out much sweeter than I would have preferred. I’d recommend cutting down on the maple syrup if that’s what you use. In addition to the sweetness, it was also pretty thin. Something to consider.

  22. says

    I just made this frosting to cover up GFCFSF chocolate cupcakes. I never leave comments on blogs but this is the best frosting I’ve ever tasted. I had never tried a white GFCFSF frosting before and this seemed like the most appetizing option. I am so glad I found it. Thanks for posting!

  23. says

    This frosting is amazing! I made it for my daughter’s birthday cake with the vanilla bean cake, and will be making it for mine! I did use the Earth Balance soy free butter, and had to add a bit more coconut flour, as mentioned in the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing this…

  24. says

    This is super delicious! Used this for my daughter’s birthday cake with the vanilla bean cake recipe. Will be my new go-to frosting from now on. Used it with the Earth Balance soy free spread, so had to use a bit more coconut flour as the recipe stated. Thanks for sharing!

  25. says

    Omg you may have just saved my butt!!!! I have a client with a little girl with very specific allergies and this is the first buttercream i’ve found that just might work, since this is way out of my cake knowledge base. Quick question, how does it set up? Does it dry firm or more soft? Thanks so much! :)

  26. Minti says

    What a delicious looking recipe! Do you think I could use cocoa butter instead of coconut butter? I generally find that coconut butter is way too rich for me and feels very heavy. It might still work because of the small concentration, however. In any case I will let you know how it works out.

  27. ilia says

    Just made this for my girls birthday party and it was so good, everyone loved it. My new favorite recipe for frosting. Instead of honey I used maple syrup.

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