Paleo cream cheese frosting that tastes just as luscious and tangy as classic cream cheese frosting but made with paleo-friendly ingredients. Vegan and refined sugar-free.
You likely already know my love of cream cheese frosting. Tangy, salty, and not too sweet, I would gladly forsake every other frosting.
Since I've been eating paleo-ish this past year, I wanted to come up with a version that fit my criteria: no dairy, no sugar, but still loads of tangy cream cheese frosting flavor.
I'm absolutely thrilled with this version! It tastes like no-bake cheesecake, and it's good enough to eat straight from the fridge with a spoon. But slather it on paleo lemon cake, carrot cake, sponge cake, or any of the other recipes I've linked to below, and you'll be in paleo cream cheese frosting heaven.
Cashew Frosting Ingredients and Substitution Suggestions
- While many paleo cream cheese frosting recipes start with soaked cashews, I simplify things by starting with cashew butter. I use raw cashew butter from Artisana, which is silky smooth with a mild, buttery flavor. That said, I think any smooth nut or seed butter would work here. (You know I'm going to try a version with tahini next!) I'm also curious to try this with coconut butter for an AIP-friendly version.
- If you don't have cashew butter on hand, use the same weight of raw cashews, soaked in cool water for 4-8 hours, or in boiling water for 1-2 hours. You'll just need to reduce the water in the recipe to make up for what the nuts absorb during their soak. Blend these to a cream with the water and maple syrup before proceeding with the recipe.
- Coconut yogurt adds tangy flavor and richness. Look for a rich coconut yogurt with high fat content and minimal other ingredients. I've made this with plain yogurt from Culina and Cocojune; Coyo would also work well. If you don't have access to coconut yogurt, try using coconut cream from a can.
- Coconut oil sets the frosting and makes it thick enough to pipe and spread as it chills. I use virgin coconut oil here, and I don't taste a strong coconut flavor in the frosting. But you can use refined coconut oil if you want even less coconut flavor, or try palm oil or cacao butter (which will probably be more firm).
- Water softens the frosting and helps it emulsify. You could use other flavorful liquids, such as coffee, tea, or fruit juice for different flavor notes.
- Maple syrup gently sweetens the frosting. Use a light maple and you won't taste the flavor much, or go dark for more maple flavor if you like. You could use any liquid sweetener you like in its place, adjusting as needed to your taste, such as honey, date syrup, coconut nectar.
- Lemon juice adds extra tang. You could use other citrus juice to vary the flavor.
- Vanilla extract adds its lovely floral flavor. Feel free to use other extracts for different flavors.
- Salt sharpens the flavors.
How to Make Paleo Cream Cheese Frosting
This could not be easier to make. Simply combine all of the ingredients except for the coconut oil in a blender. Blend until combined, then blend in the coconut oil.
The frosting will be very runny at this point. Pour it into a jar, cover, and chill until firm, about 3 hours or up to 1 week.
Once set, the frosting is ready to pipe or spread – or eat with a spoon!
How to Use Paleo Cream Cheese Frosting
In addition to the paleo lemon cake recipe, shown here, I have so many ideas for how to use this frosting!
- Slather it on gluten-free or paleo carrot cake
- Spread it on gluten-free pumpkin bread or spiced persimmon cake
- Layer it into GF / paleo sponge cake with fresh berries
- Use it to make gluten-free dairy-free tiramisù
- Pipe it on gluten-free red velvet cake
- Add matcha and smear it on gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake
- Swirl it over gluten-free dairy-free banana cake or gluten-free chocolate cake
- Layer with gluten-free graham crackers and berry chia jam for no-bake cheesecakes in jars or cups
Paleo Frosting for Everyone
This paleo frosting recipe is friendly to lots of different dietary preferences: vegan, refined sugar-free, and paleo, with nut-free options as well. However you dress it up – on a fancy layer cake, vegan chocolate pie, cupcakes, or on a spoon for an instant dessert – I hope you love it as much as I do!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this paleo cream cheese frosting recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Paleo Cream Cheese FrostingPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- ½ cup (115 g) water
- ½ cup (130 g) cashew butter (such as Artisana) or other smooth nut or seed butter
- ½ cup (120 g) thick coconut yogurt (such as Culina, Cocojune, or Coyo) or try coconut cream from a can
- ¼ cup (75 g) maple syrup
- 3-4 tablespoons (45-55 g) fresh, strained lemon juice (to your taste)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (or more to your taste)
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (60 g) coconut oil, melted and cooled
- In a blender, combine the water, cashew butter, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Blend on medium-low until combined.
- Blend in the coconut oil, increasing the speed to medium for 20-30 seconds to aerate. The frosting will be very runny at this point.
- Pour the frosting into a jar, cover, and chill until firm, about 3 hours or up to 1 week. Or pop it in the freezer to speed things up.
- If the frosting is very firm, let stand at room temperature for a few minutes until soft enough to spread or pipe. Use it to decorate your favorite cake, or simply eat with a spoon.
- On a cake, the frosting will hold at cool room temperature for an hour or two, but it will melt if placed in direct sunlight or a warm room. It’s safest to keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve so the frosting stays firm. But the frosting is nicest to eat at room temperature, so let cake slices warm before serving for yummiest results.