Substitutes for cream cheese icing

Updated April 17, 2017

Some baking recipes call for cream cheese icing to top off your pastries. There are easy alternatives and substitutes to using this kind of icing if you prefer low fat recipes, dairy free recipes or if you simply do not want to buy cream cheese icing or its ingredients. Many cream cheese icing substitutes require only a few ingredients.

Vegan cream cheese topping

Some food companies specialise in making non-dairy versions of traditionally dairy-based products like butter and ice cream. You can create a vegan alternative to cream cheese frosting by whipping together one 227 g (8 oz) package of non-dairy cream cheese and 2 tbsp non-dairy butter alternative. Beat this mixture until it becomes light and fluffy. Add in 2 tsp vanilla extract and 188 g (1 1/2 cups) confectioner's sugar. Keep beating the mixture until it thickens to a consistency suitable for icing. Spread it on your pastries as you would with regular cream cheese icing.

Icing sugar

Icing sugar is a simple alternative to cream cheese icing, especially if your pastries do not overly rely on a cream cheese flavour. Simply sift icing sugar over the top of your pastries. Do this until they are covered or until the pastries look the most aesthetically pleasing. This substitution works best on pastries that have a moist and receptive surface. Icing sugar may not adequately stick to harder biscuits or other treats.

Whipped cream icing

Whipped cream icing is a good substitution for cream cheese icing if you still want your pastries to have a dairy-based topping. Mix together 237 ml (1 cup) milk, one 99 g (3 1/2 oz) package of instant pudding mix in a flavour of your choosing and 94 g (3/4 cup) icing sugar. Beat this mixture together with a whisk for two minutes, then add 227 g (8 oz) whipped cream. Mix until the ingredients have thickened together. Spread this icing on your pastries the same as you would with a cream cheese icing.

Blended cashew icing

This rich-tasting icing uses natural sweeteners and is dairy-free. Add 214 g (1 1/2 cups) cashews, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp agave, 118 ml (1/2 cup) filtered water, 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tbsp coconut oil to your blend. Blend the ingredients together on high until the mixture has become smooth and all chunks are gone. Refrigerate the mixture until it has set and is ready to be spread like regular icing.

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About the Author

Sarah Clark has been writing since 1997, with work appearing in Northern Arizona University's "Student Life Organization Newsletter." She holds a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in art history from Northern Arizona University.