Every can of frosting you see on grocery store shelves contains palm oil plus many more ingredients. Instead, use this easy frosting recipe without palm oil. It takes just five minutes.
You may already know that most all of the pre-made desserts in grocery store bakeries contain palm oil. This is especially true of desserts with frosting.
If you are someone who for years has been buying frosting in a can, or someone who never thought about baking or making frosting, you might be amazed at how easy it is to make your own frosting.
Easy Frosting Recipe
This palm oil free buttercream frosting recipe uses just a few ingredients and takes five minutes to make. Another great thing is you can make vanilla frosting, chocolate frosting, or both in just one batch.
Yield: 2.5 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Ingredients for Vanilla Frosting
- Confectioners sugar or powered sugar: 1 pound box or 4 cups
- Butter: 1 cup, softened on countertop
- Pure vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons
- (Organic if possible) whole milk without Vitamin A Palmitate: at least 3 tablespoons
I’ve also used organic coconut milk in cans to make buttercream frosting.
Ingredients for Chocolate Frosting
Same as above, plus:
- Cocoa powder: ¾ cup
Note, cacao powder and cocoa powder are the same.
How to Make Vanilla Frosting
- Empty confectioners sugar into bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix softened butter and pure vanilla extract.
- Mix in the confectioners sugar into the bowl with butter and vanilla one cup at a time.
- Add milk to combine ingredients and give it a creamy texture. Add more milk if needed.
- If it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar.
It’s easy to mix in mashed strawberries for strawberry frosting as well. To make vegan frosting, see our vegan mug cake recipe.
If you are making chocolate frosting
- After step 4, add in the cocoa powder and mix.
That’s it! This frosting recipe is easy, rich, and delicious. It’s so simple to make, and it contains staple ingredients many of us already have in our cupboard or pantry.
It tastes like it was from a bakery that makes real buttercream onsite. It’s real… chemical free… with nothing artificial.
This frosting is easy to spread on cakes, cupcakes, cookies… any you know, eat with a spoon!
Palm Oil Free Frosting Recipe Tips
Use this tips to make your frosting recipe fast and palm oil free.
Set butter out before you are ready to use it. It’s a lot easier to mix when it’s softened. Don’t microwave it or melt it on the stove. The butter just needs to be soft.
Use grass-fed butter if possible. Costco sells it.
Easier clean up
If you can set out the butter for an hour before making frosting, it will make a big difference. The ingredients will combine easily.
Another tip is to use a hand mixer to blend faster. To make cleanup easier, just use one beater instead of two.
Use medium-sized bowls instead of large bowls unless you are making a double batch.
When you add in the powered sugar and cocoa powder, do so slowly. You can also mix it in with a spoon or the beater to blend it so it doesn’t fly everywhere.
Buy pure vanilla extract
You must buy 100% pure vanilla extract. Imitation vanilla extract and vanilla flavorings contains Propylene Glycol and/or Glycerin. Both of these ingredients are made from palm oil.
This is true with other extracts. Be sure to buy “pure.”
Confectioners sugar or powdered sugar
Is confectioners sugar the same as powdered sugar? Yes! You can use either confectioners sugar or powdered sugar in this frosting recipe.
Cacao powder or cocoa power
You can use either cacao power or cocoa powder to make chocolate frosting. Cacao powder is made from fermented beans that haven’t been roasted. Cocoa powder is made with fermented beans that have been roasted and processed at a higher temperature.
Watch for Vitamin A Palmitate in milk
Most milk contains added Vitamin A Palmitate. Read labels before buying milk. Generally, you will have an easier time finding it without added Vitamin A Palmitate if you choose whole milk. I buy organic whole milk from Costco. I also started buying O Organics Coconut Milk in cans from my local grocery store.
Make vanilla frosting and chocolate frosting at the same time
You can easily make vanilla and chocolate frosting at the same time. Follow the recipe above using the ingredients for vanilla frosting. Take half of it and put it aside to use to frost your cake or cupcakes with the vanilla.
With the remaining half, add half the cocoa to make chocolate frosting.
Viola! Vanilla frosting and chocolate frosting to please both preferences in your home.
This works well if you want cupcakes frosted with both chocolate and vanilla frosting. It’s also great for adding two different flavors of frosting to a two- or three-layer cake.
It’s so easy to make both frosting flavors at the same time. You can mix in mashed strawberries into the vanilla frosting for strawberry frosting as well.
Here’s more information about how canned frosting contains palm oil. When you use our easy frosting recipe, you won’t ever need to buy it again.
Learn about what to add to frosting and how to make canned frosting better without adding palm oil.
Use a Frosting Spreader
A frosting spreader is actually called an icing spatula or an icing knife. If you don’t own an icing spatula, buy one. You can find them at Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Walmart, etc.
These are flat spreaders that look like knives without a sharp edge. They make it so easy to spread frosting on cakes, including the sides, and cupcakes.
We have an OXO 2-piece icing knife set from Target. You will never spread frosting with a regular knife or spoon again. It’s incredible how having the right tools make it so much easier to bake. (I love all the kitchen tools I have that are from OXO!)
Why Does Canned Frosting Contain Palm Oil?
Frosting in cans didn’t always contain palm oil. But they used to contain artificial trans-fats.
When the FDA banned manufacturers from adding trans-fats to processed foods, companies needed to find replacements. Companies who make frosting turned to palm oil.
Why? Palm oil is inexpensive. Palm oil has many uses in canned frosting. It adds texture, creaminess and mouthfeel that people want when it comes to frosting. It also helps extend the shelf-life of the frosting by acting as a preservative.
This is the same reason companies and grocery stores who sell pre-made desserts use palm oil in their frosting. It’s inexpensive, adds creaminess and mouthfeel. It keeps it from drying out thereby making it last longer on store shelves.
It’s cheaper for companies to use chemicals made with palm oil than it is for them to use real butter in their frosting.
Even when you see pre-made desserts with frosting called buttercream or filled with buttercream frosting, know that still contain palm oil. You won’t typically see “butter” on the label. Instead, you will see “palm oil.”
Palm Oil in Frosting
Rich, creamy, whipped, buttercream…. These are some of the words you will see on cans of frosting.
Pick up any can of frosting. You will see Palm Oil on the label. This is true if you are choosing frosting from a major company or from a store version. In addition to containing palm oil, the frosting will also include more than one palm oil derivatives. Learn lots more in my post: Ingredients in canned frosting
Common palm oil ingredient names for frosting in cans include:
- Palm oil
- Mono- & Diglycerides
- Polysorbate 60
- Polysorbate 80
- Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
- Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Mixed Tocopherols
- Vegetable Oil (Palm and Palm Kernel Oil)
- Ethoxylated Mono- & Diglycerides
- Hydrogenated Palm Oil
If the frosting contains sprinkles or anything else, there will be even more palm oil.
I picked up a random chocolate canned frosting off the shelf. It listed 20 ingredients. Of them, the following were made with palm oil:
- Palm Oil
- Mono- & Diglycerides
- Polysorbate 60
- Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Mixed Tocopherols
Is There Any Canned Frosting without Palm Oil?
No. At this time, you will not find canned frosting without palm oil. If you search the term, “canned frosting without palm oil,” you won’t find one. Also look at canned frosting you see in stores. Read over the ingredients on all of the cans.
Even the Simple Mills brand of organic frosting that highlights “with coconut oil” on the front of the labeling still contains palm oil. Organic palm shortening is the first ingredient! There is more palm oil than coconut oil in the frosting yet they do not mention “palm oil” on the front of the can! Update: Simple Mills stopped making their chocolate and vanilla frosting in summer 2023.
You have to make your own frosting. The great news, is it’s easy to make frosting palm oil free.
Organic Frosting in Cans
In addition, organic canned frosting also contains palm oil, though they won’t use all of the derivatives above, so it’s a better choice.
If you see organic frosting in cans, know that they will highlight “Coconut” or something else on the front label — but they will never say “Palm Oil” on the front. However, when you read the ingredients, you will see at least one palm oil ingredient:
- Organic Palm Shortening
- Organic Palm Fruit Oil
Recipe for Frosting Without Butter
If you are looking for a recipe for frosting without butter, most call for shortening. Please check labels before buying shortening as most all of them are made from palm oil.
You may find one with coconut oil. Just be sure it’s pure coconut oil that doesn’t include palm oil.
Chocolate frosting recipe
This recipe for chocolate frosting is smooth, creamy, and delicious. It’s so much better homemade!
Easy frosting recipe without palm oil
Thank you for making your own frosting instead of buying it in cans. Pre-made frosting contains many chemicals, many of which are derived from palm oil.
Making your own buttercream vanilla frosting and chocolate frosting tastes better too.
It’s easy to make frosting using the recipe and tips above. You can enjoy it with homemade palm oil free cakes, cupcakes and more. This frosting recipe is palm oil free and gluten free.
If you’ve read our other posts, you may know we avoid palm oil because our son has allergic reactions and an intolerance to palm oil. This is how he eats palm oil free.