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Cream Cheese Frosting – Dairy, Soy, & Refined Sugar Free


-Please see my updated easy cream cheese frosting recipe. It has the same taste and ingredients but uses an easier method and the texture is spot on every time!!!!

Yeeeaahhh! I’ve been looking and experimenting forever trying to find a thick cream cheese frosting recipe that isn’t packed with powdered sugar, and I finally have it. But there’s no way I could have come up with this recipe if it wasn’t for Alea over at My Real Food Life and this post for dairy, soy, sugar, and dye free icing.

Her post is awesome! She gives the ratio’s and key ingredients to make almost any dairy, soy, and sugar free frosting. Good thing for me, I already had a dairy and soy free cream cheese recipe! So I combined her basic measurements along with my cream cheese recipe and voila – a recipe was born 🙂

And let me tell you: It. Is. Delicious.

Not just delicious for being free of dairy and refined sugar, but tastes like real cream cheese frosting!!! I know the ingredients seem weird for frosting… but trust me on this 🙂

*Don’t mind powdered sugar? Try this recipe.

Helpful Hints:
-Frosting thickens in fridge and hardens overnight. Be patient. Allow to rest in fridge for about 30 minutes then stir and check on it every 10-20 minutes until it reaches the right consistency to pipe. I cannot give you the exact time because some people have to use more liquid than others depending on the type of mixer you own. I don’t have a high powdered blender so I have to add quite a bit of liquid to get the frosting moving so it can be processed.

-Do not omit the almond butter, it keeps the frosting from separating.

-I like mine super sweet so I always use at least 1/2 C honey.

  • 1 C non-hydrogenated shortening
  • ½ C raw cashews (at least no salt added), soaked in hot water 1+ hours (the longer the better)
  • ¾ tsp. olive oil
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp GF vanilla
  • ⅓ C agave nectar or honey, more to taste
  • 2 tsp. almond butter (frosting will separate if you omit this)
  • 1 pinch garlic powder, optional
  • water or milk alternative, as needed to help facilitate blending
  1. Place all ingredients in high-powered blender except water and mix on high, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add water as needed. If you don't have a Vita-Mix, you may not be able to get the mixture completely smooth, but very close. Taste as adjust ingredients as needed.
  2. Refrigerate in a sealed container for at least 30 minutes to thicken and mesh flavors. That's it!!




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  1. Wow, that’s amazing! Sounds delicious!

  2. I can’t believe it would not taste wonderful with cashews (my favorite) in it!!!

  3. lots of great recipes on here thanks

  4. Anonymous says:

    Garlic powder? Really?

  5. Anonymous-
    Cream cheese has a strong garlic and onion flavor. It sounds weird but the pinch of garlic powder gives it an authentic cream cheese flavor… but you can omit it if it weirds you out.

    • really?? I hate garlic. I mean I really hate it and I totally LOVE cream cheese in any shape or form. I cant wrap my head around the idea that cream cheese has any similarity to onions and garlic!.. If this is true…. maybe I can get my hubby off the garlic and I don’t have to smell it. Ill cream cheese him to death 🙂

  6. We don’t have earth balance or non hydrogenated shortening 🙁 can I substitute with coconut oil? Or coconut butter? I’m wondering if coconut oil would melt the frosting once it’s piped

  7. Hi Ayesha,

    I just don’t know if coconut oil or coconut butter would work or not, sorry 🙁 But I’d imagine it might lend a coconut flavor. If you try it let me know how it turns out.


  8. Just discovered your blog and I’m excited to try this frosting! Thank you 😀

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Thanks for posting this. 🙂 I’m definitely going to try it ’cause I’ve got a little man here at home whose tummy just does NOT handle dairy. I don’t want him to miss out on holiday treats, so this recipe sounds like it definitely fits the bill. 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wish I could use this but I have a child who is allergic to sesame and tree/peanuts as well as dairy. Hope I can find a good sub for cream cheese…

  12. Hi Anonymous-
    If you find a dairy free yogurt you can eat I have a link to a cream cheese recipe at the top of this page made from yogurt. Hope this helps!


  13. Could I use another type of nut (other than cashews)? What is it that cashews do for the icing? Thanks!! I’m amazed by these ingredients…

  14. Hi Melody-

    you could probably use macadamia nuts, but I haven’t tried it myself. When soaked and blended nuts make a thick, dairy like substance that can then be flavored however you like. It gives the frosting substance instead of powdered sugar. It’s tricky though because it can harden in the fridge if left too long then you have to set it out to wait for it to soften. Let me know how the macadamia nuts work!

  15. I’m unable to have cashews. Can I use another almonds, walnuts or other type of nut for this recipe?

  16. Can I use butter or something comparable instead of the shortening?

    • Hi Lynn-

      I’ve made it with 1/2 butter and and 1/2 shortening and it turned out fine… I’m not sure how it would turn out if you replace all of it with butter???

      As far as the cashews are concerned, if you can’t eat cashews I would say for this recipe to probably just leave them out because other nuts will really effect the taste.

      I just can’t tell you how it would turn out not using the shortening or cashews but I would recommend you look at my buttercream frosting recipe and add in some of the cream cheese tastes- the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. But since you are leaving out the cashews, start with 1/2 of the amounts and taste as you go until it tastes right.

      Again, I have not tried this and I have no idea how it will turn out, but that’s probably what I would do. Hope this helps!


      If you try it please me know how it turned out 🙂


      FYI- The texture is hard to get exactly perfect, you really have to follow the directions exactly. But I have an idea in mind to make it easier and will (hopefully!) be posting a more fool proof method soon 🙂



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