Icing, also known as frosting, can be made in various ways, and it can be either dairy-free or contain dairy, depending on the ingredients used.
Many traditional icing recipes contain dairy products such as butter or milk. However, there are plenty of recipes for dairy-free icing as well.
Best Dairy-Free Icing/Frosting Brands
Duncan Hines is a well-known brand with a reputation for taste and convenience. Their Creamy Vanilla Frosting is a dairy-free option that’s rich in flavor and has a smooth texture, perfect for decorating cakes or cupcakes.
This frosting by Pillsbury is another crowd-pleaser. It’s dairy-free and has a light, creamy texture. The taste is sweet and vanilla-forward, which pairs well with various baked goods.
Funfetti Unicorn frosting is a fun, colorful option that’s also dairy-free. The taste is sweet with a hint of vanilla, and the added sprinkles make it a hit with kids.
This brand offers a dairy-free, organic, and vegan frosting option. Miss Jones Baking’s frosting has a rich buttercream flavor and a texture that spreads easily, making it great for a more health-conscious choice without compromising taste.
Simple Mills offers a line of dairy-free frostings made with organic and non-GMO ingredients. Their frostings have a balanced sweetness and a creamy texture, and they’re a great option for those looking for a cleaner ingredient list.
Wholesome’s frosting is organic, non-GMO, and free from dairy. It has a classic vanilla taste and a rich, creamy texture. This frosting is a great choice for those seeking an eco-friendly, allergen-friendly option.
Tips for Buying Dairy-Free & Vegan Icing/Frosting
Check the Label: Always read the ingredients on the label. Some products may seem dairy-free but could contain milk derivatives like whey or casein.
Look for Certified Labels: Products labeled as vegan or dairy-free have been certified to not contain any dairy ingredients. However, still double-check the ingredients list.
Consider Allergen Cross-Contamination: If severe dairy allergies are a concern, look for products made in a dairy-free facility to avoid possible cross-contamination.
Organic and Natural Brands: These often have dairy-free options and use fewer processed ingredients, which may be a healthier choice.
Think About Texture and Taste: Some dairy-free frostings may have a different texture or taste than traditional frostings. Read reviews or try a few different brands to find one you like.
Online Shopping: If local stores don’t have a wide selection of dairy-free frostings, try looking online. Many specialty food stores and brands sell their products directly to consumers.
Dairy-Free Vanilla Icing Recipe
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons of non-dairy milk (like almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Mix the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl.
- If the icing is too thick, add more non-dairy milk, a little at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.
Please note that not all icing is dairy-free, so if you’re purchasing pre-made icing, you should check the ingredients list. Also, be aware that some people with severe milk allergies may react to other ingredients in some icings, like certain food colorings. If you’re making food for someone with a dairy allergy, check all ingredient lists thoroughly.
Icing vs. Frosting
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, icing and frosting have some differences.
Icing is generally thinner and glossier. It’s often used for glazing pastries or cakes and tends to harden when it sets, creating a smooth and shiny surface. Royal icing, for example, used on cookies and gingerbread houses, dries hard and smooth. Powdered sugar icing, a simple mix of powdered sugar and a small amount of liquid, is also a type of icing that hardens when set.
Frosting is thicker and fluffier, and it maintains a creamy texture. It is used for coating the outside of cakes, filling layers, and creating decorative shapes like rosettes and borders. Buttercream frosting, a common type of frosting, is made from butter (or a similar fat) and powdered sugar, often with milk or cream and flavorings like vanilla added. It’s soft and spreadable, but it holds its shape well for decorative elements.
These distinctions can vary by region or country. In the UK, for example, what Americans call “frosting” is often referred to as “icing”. So context and regional differences can sometimes blur these lines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is frosting vegan?
Not all frosting is vegan. Traditional frosting recipes often include butter and sometimes milk, both of which are animal-derived ingredients. However, many vegan frosting options are available on the market, and plenty of recipes for homemade vegan frosting too.
Is icing gluten-free?
Yes, most icing or frosting is typically gluten-free, as it is usually made from sugar, milk, or water, and sometimes butter, none of which contain gluten. However, some brands may add gluten-containing ingredients, or there could be cross-contamination in the manufacturing process. Always check the label if you’re following a strict gluten-free diet.
Is icing healthy?
Icing is generally high in sugar and can be high in fat if it contains butter, so it’s not typically considered a healthy food. However, healthier versions of icing are available that use less sugar, natural sweeteners, or other substitutions. As with any food, moderation is key.
Is Betty Crocker frosting vegan?
Some Betty Crocker frostings are considered vegan, as they do not contain dairy or other animal-derived ingredients. However, others contain these ingredients, so checking the label is important. Also, note that while a product may not contain animal-derived ingredients, it could be produced in a facility that also processes such products, which might concern some vegans.