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The 10 Best Carrot Cake Frosting Alternatives

Cream Cheese is usually the main ingredient for a carrot cake frosting. However, suppose you don’t have it at hand or are looking for something more original. In that case, there are many delicious options for you to try!

Here are ten unique ideas for carrot cake frosting substitutes:

  1. Greek yogurt frosting.
  2. Marshmallow fluff.
  3. Peanut butter frosting.
  4. Homemade vegan cream cheese frosting.
  5. Vegan lemon buttercream frosting.
  6. Vegan chocolate frosting.
  7. Gluten-free vanilla buttercream frosting.
  8. Gluten-free strawberry frosting.
  9. Sugar-free chocolate frosting.
  10. Sugar-free cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Now, I’ll go into detail on each substitute and how to use them.

Carrot Cake Frosting Substitutes

A woman's hand spreads frosting on a baked carrot cake with raw carrots in the background

1. Greek Yogurt Frosting

Greek yogurt is a great healthy substitute for cream cheese. You can use it to make this delicious Cabot Cheese creamy frosting for a carrot cake. You’ll only need 3 tbsp of plain greek yogurt, 2 ¼ cups of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. 

Beat the mixture at high speed until the consistency is thick like that of frosting. If the mixture is too liquidy, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more yogurt. It’s best to strain the yogurt beforehand to avoid a liquidy frosting.

The frosting is perfect for the carrot cake as it is light and moderately sweet. However, I encourage you to try it with other recipes, too, since it is a great way to make your baking healthier but still extremely tasty!

2. Marshmallow Fluff

Another fantastic alternative for carrot cake frosting is marshmallow fluff. You can get it at the store and use it to decorate your cake, which is a great option to save you some time and energy. However, you can also make it yourself, following this recipe from Spruce Eats – and impress everyone with your skill and delicious dessert!

For homemade marshmallow fluff, whisk ½ cup of egg whites, ¾ cup of sugar, and ¼ cup corn syrup in a bowl over a pot with boiling water, then add 1 tsp vanilla extract and ½ tsp cream of tartar and mix using an electric mixer.

This recipe requires no special ingredients, and there’s not much complexity, either. Preparing and cooking will take up to 20 minutes, but the result will be completely worth it!

3. Peanut Butter Frosting

If you’re a peanut butter fan, you should definitely try this idea from All Recipes, as peanut butter frosting goes great with carrot cake. It is sweet but not overly so and has a light and creamy consistency that will enhance the flavor of your baking.

Create peanut butter frosting with ½ cup of regular butter, 2 tbsp milk, and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Gradually blend everything together and beat until smooth using an electric mixer.

Nothing fancy, just some basic ingredients you most certainly have at home. The frosting will be ready in ten minutes, just in time for you to enjoy and impress your guests!

Vegan Alternatives (Lactose-Free)

Vegan stamp with hand drawn lettering isolated on white

If you’d like to treat yourself to some delicious carrot cake and are looking for vegan alternatives for the frosting, we’ve got you covered! Here are some ideas for different flavors with varying degrees of complexity. Each of them is also a safe option if you or a family member is lactose intolerant.

4. Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

If you want your frosting to be as cheesy and creamy as the original, try this homemade vegan alternative from Loving It Vegan to classic cream cheese.

This one requires a little more effort since you’re preparing the main ingredient yourself, and still, it will not take you more than 15 minutes to make. The frosting’s primary ingredients are coconut cream and cashew nuts, so make sure no one in your family or who you’re making it for is allergic to those.

For homemade cream cheese, you’ll need 1 ½ cups of raw cashews soaked in water, ½ cup coconut cream, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and ¼ tsp vinegar. Blend everything. Next, add ¼ cup vegan butter, 4 cups powdered sugar, and ½ tsp vanilla extract to 8 ounces of the cream cheese to make the icing.

5. Vegan Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Including lemon flavoring in your baking is always a good idea. Many people dislike overly sweet desserts, and it goes without saying that lemon frostings add a lot to the flavor!

This Loving It Vegan recipe is very easy. You’ll only need some vegan butter, sugar powder, and lemon extract with some lemon juice. All the ingredients are easy to get, and the process will take you little to no time.

For vegan lemon buttercream frosting, you’ll need 4 ½ cups powdered sugar, ½ cup vegan butter, 2 tsp lemon extract, and 3 ½ tbsp lemon juice. Use an electric mixer to beat everything together until thick and smooth.

6. Vegan Chocolate Frosting

If you’re a big fan of chocolate flavor, this vegan chocolate frosting from The Spruce Eats is a must-try! It would be incredibly delicious with your carrot cake, as there is no dessert that chocolate cannot improve!

To make vegan chocolate frosting, you’ll need ¼ cup of alternative milk, 2 ounces of dairy-free margarine, 2 cups of sugar, and ¾ cup of cocoa powder. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for about a minute.

As a result, you’ll have delicious vegan chocolate frosting that I guarantee will not disappoint!

Gluten-Free Alternatives

A gluten free round stamp with green ribbon

Unfortunately, many frostings contain gluten, so making your own frosting is the safest way to ensure your baking is gluten-free. Here are a couple of gluten-free icing ideas for you to try.

7. Gluten-Free Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Follow this Gluten-Free Baking recipe to make delicious buttercream frosting. It is entirely gluten-free and also incredibly easy to make. 

The gluten-free vanilla buttercream frosting ingredients are 8 ounces of butter, 4 tbsp milk, 4 cups powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. The process is straightforward: mix the ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

The result will be perfect for any gluten-free baking you choose, but it is especially good with some good old carrot cake!

8. Gluten-Free Strawberry Frosting

Try this delicious Sweet Elizabeth Organics gluten-free strawberry frosting recipe to flavor the icing and spice up the classic carrot cake.

For gluten-free strawberry frosting, you’ll need ½ cup coconut butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and ¼ cup strawberries. Heat the berries in a pan with sugar and blend into a smooth mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until the texture is creamy. 

Allow the mixture to cool before frosting the carrot cake.

Then enjoy the yummy result!

Sugar-Free Alternatives

Red Sugar Free Stamp

It is not easy to make a dessert when you are eating low-sugar, as cakes are… well, all about the sugar. But do not worry – there are some great sugar-free recipes for you as well! They are not only healthy but also delicious and definitely worth a try.

9. Sugar-Free Chocolate Frosting

What could be sweeter than chocolate? And yet, there is a way to make a chocolate frosting completely sugar-free. Treat yourself to some delicious carrot cake with chocolate icing from Ditch the Carbs, which you can prepare in no time!

To make sugar-free chocolate frosting, you’ll need 4 oz butter, ½ cup cream cheese, 2 tbsp powdered sweetener, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbsp heavy cream, and 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder. Beat the mixture until smooth and creamy.

Alternatively, you can melt some sugar-free chocolate and add it to the mixture. Make sure it is not too thick. You can balance the thickness out by adding more heavy cream.

10. Sugar-Free Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon is a fantastic spice for sugar-free desserts and an excellent addition to your carrot cake. 

Make sugar-free cream cheese frosting by mixing up ½ cup cream cheese, 4 oz butter, and 2 tbsp sweetener into a smooth and creamy mixture. If you want to spice up the classic, add one teaspoon of cinnamon to the icing, and mix well.

The cinnamon frosting is terrific for carrot cakes and many other desserts. Definitely try it out, but do not make it too often since cinnamon is the kind of spice you can quickly get tired of.

For more, don’t miss How to Store Shredded Carrots | The Best Way.