Paleo Vegan Chocolate Fudge Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free)

This vegan chocolate fudge frosting only uses four ingredients and is also paleo! It takes 5 minutes to make, holds up perfectly at room temperature, and can be piped.

First up, for the non-paleo eating readers – this frosting recipe doesn’t use any unusual ingredients and tastes exactly like regular chocolate fudge frosting. Don’t run away just because it’s paleo and vegan! ;)

For this vegan frosting recipe, all you need is chocolate chips, coconut oil or butter, milk and vanilla extract. Melt it together and that’s it! There’s no creaming or beating or any fuss.

This dairy-free chocolate frosting recipe yields enough for a thin layer (using 1 tablespoon) for 16 cupcakes or if you want to be a little more generous with the frosting, it’s enough for 12 cupcakes. The cupcakes pictured are these amazing paleo chocolate cupcakes! I highly recommend them. :)

This vegan chocolate fudge frosting only uses four ingredients and is also paleo! It takes 5 minutes to make, holds up perfectly at room temperature, and can be piped. Please click through to the recipe to see all the dietary-friendly options.

Now for my paleo readers, I know this isn’t exactly the healthiest paleo chocolate frosting recipe out there but to be honest, I was tired of frosting that doesn’t taste exactly like traditional frosting and that melts or at least gets melty at room temperature.

So many of my paleo recipes have to be refrigerated which isn’t all that big of a deal, but it’s super annoying when you want to serve them at a party.

This paleo chocolate fudge pie is another great chocolaty paleo dessert that tastes just like a regular pie and doesn’t melt at room temp!

The frosting gets firmer in the refrigerator (as fudge does) so I actually prefer serving this at room temperature. It’s not bad straight from the fridge, but I like the slightly softer texture.

4-ingredient Paleo Vegan Chocolate Fudge Frosting. Only takes 5 minutes to make! Hold ups perfectly at room temp and can be piped. Please click through to the recipe to see all the dietary-friendly options.

Another plus is that this vegan chocolate fudge frosting doesn’t taste a bit like coconut (as long as you use refined coconut oil)! Mr. T’s response to one of my paleo chocolate recipes the other day was – “Does everything have to taste like coconut now?” So this one is for you coconut dislikers or just anyone who needs a little break from coconut milk-based treats.

In the below picture, this seriously decadent dairy-free frosting looks a bit oily or melted but I assure you it was just the lighting. It holds its shape beautifully and can even be piped! By the way, it’d be great on these Orange Cupcakes. :)

5-minute and 4-ingredient Paleo Chocolate Fudge Frosting. Can be piped and holds up perfectly at room temp! Please click through to the recipe to see all the dietary-friendly options.

One more thing! For the paleo readers, I’m thinking there’s a .02% chance that you won’t find this frosting sweet enough. But for the people who are used to super sweet, powdered sugar-filled buttercream recipes, you can whisk in 1/3 cup powdered sugar after everything is all melted. I really, really think it’s sweet enough without so be sure to sample it before doing that!

If you’re paleo and have a crazy sweet tooth, melt the coconut oil on low, mix in 2-3 tablespoons of coconut sugar, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the rest of the ingredients.

Want more paleo vegan chocolate desserts? Try my vegan paleo fudge recipe, these vegan paleo double chocolate cookies or my paleo vegan chocolate ice cream!

And if you’re not paleo, why not try my frosting recipe on this best ever vegan chocolate cake from The View From Great Island? These vegan chocolate banana cupcakes from It’s Yummi also sound wonderful!

5-minute + 4-ingredient Paleo Chocolate Fudge Frosting. Can be piped and holds up perfectly at room temp!

Paleo Vegan Chocolate Fudge Frosting (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Rated 5.0 by 21 readers
Paleo Vegan Chocolate Fudge Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 1 cup of frosting (enough for a thin layer on 16 cupcakes)


  • 1 cup (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (use paleo / dairy-free / vegan chocolate chips, if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) milk of choice (but not canned coconut milk - I used almond milk for the paleo / vegan / dairy-free version)
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) coconut oil1 or unsalted butter for a dairy-containing version
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • for a non-paleo version for the people who are used to traditional sweets: 1/3 cup powdered sugar (see the section after the third picture for notes on this)


  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, mix together the chocolate chips, milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt. Stir until melted and completely smooth. If you want to add powdered sugar, gradually stir it in now.
  2. Let the pan cool for about 15 minutes (or until cool enough to place in the refrigerator) and then place the pan in the refrigerator for about 10-20 minutes, stirring after every 5 minutes, or until firm enough to spread on the cupcakes. I only need about 15 minutes but other people have needed more time (like an hour). If you forget about it and leave it in the refrigerator too long, it'll be too firm to spread, so be sure to keep checking on it. Very lightly reheat it on low heat, stirring constantly, until it's soft enough.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake for a thin layer and 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons for a more generous portion. Can also be piped. If doing that, you'll likely need quite a bit more frosting than 1 tablespoon per cupcake. I wouldn't recommend piping a huge mound of frosting, though, as this frosting is very rich! If you have any leftover frosting, cover and store in the refrigerator. Gently reheat on low heat.
  4. I keep the frosted cupcakes at room temperature for a day and then refrigerate, just to be safe.


  1. I prefer refined coconut oil, which doesn't have any coconut taste. If you use unrefined coconut oil, there will likely be some coconut flavor in the frosting.

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199 comments on “Paleo Vegan Chocolate Fudge Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free)” — Add one!

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  • Cess
    June 9, 2023 @ 10:02 pm

    Can you whip it up once cooled?

  • Liz N.
    November 6, 2021 @ 2:05 pm

    Hi Erin, this frosting is delicious and so easy to make! In case it may help anyone else with coconut allergies, I used Earth’s Own SoFresh Oat milk and Becel made with Oat beverage, and it worked beautifully!
    Thank you so much! :)

  • Carolyn Dismuke says
    July 26, 2021 @ 11:12 pm

    If you are dairy free, you’ve not doubt discovered Ripple. Cashew and almond milk proved too thin for most of my cooking so I’ve switched. You say that canned coconut milk is too thick for this recipe and to add water. Would you say the same for Ripple?

    • Erin replies to Carolyn Dismuke
      August 7, 2021 @ 7:34 am

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! I live in Germany and we don’t have Ripple but I found a video of it being poured and it doesn’t look as thick as coconut milk. I would use it as a direct sub, without watering it down. I saw that some varieties have added sugar and I’d avoid those so that the frosting isn’t too sweet. Every variety seems to have a bunch of added stuff, so I can’t say for sure that it’d work in this recipe. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  • Jane says
    April 21, 2021 @ 7:17 pm

    Hi Erin, great recipe. I’m using it on the paleo cupcakes recipe and I am just a little bit confused about the purpose of refrigerating and stirring in this frosting recipe. If I have enough time to let it cool out at room temperature, do I still need to stir it? Is it the right hardness at room temperature, or do I need to keep it cooler before spreading on the cupcakes? Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Jane
      April 22, 2021 @ 6:16 am

      Hello! If you want to let it thicken at room temperature, that would work. It could be several hours, though (I, unfortunately, have no idea how many). It’s the right hardness at room temperature and you don’t need to stir. :)

  • Pallavi Bhargava says
    February 17, 2021 @ 7:59 pm

    Can I use cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips?

    • Erin replies to Pallavi Bhargava
      February 18, 2021 @ 6:11 am

      No, because then you’d have to add a bunch of sugar and the whole recipe would have to be reworked. I have this paleo vegan fudge that uses cocoa powder and maple syrup. :)

  • Tamara Raposo
    February 15, 2021 @ 7:10 pm

    Incredible!! Its totally a keeper, thank you!! Also great to use as a drip 🍀

    • Erin replies to Tamara Raposo
      February 19, 2021 @ 6:32 am

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for your feedback. :)

  • Kara says
    January 11, 2021 @ 3:44 am

    Why not canned coconut milk?

    • Erin replies to Kara
      January 12, 2021 @ 6:47 am

      It’s way thicker than other milks. I think half canned coconut milk and half water would work fine!

  • Liesl
    November 26, 2020 @ 6:06 pm

    I have used this recipe over and over! It’s perfect and more delicious than any other I’ve ever used even when I wasn’t vegan or paleo. Thank you! As I’m baking on this thanksgiving day and the request for desert was chocolate cake with “the frosting” … I thought I’d take a minute to share my thanks.

  • Liesl
    April 18, 2020 @ 5:58 pm

    Just wanted to say thank you for this recipe! I’ve used it so many times now, and always come back to it. Easy, delicious, perfect!! Better taste than anything I made before I was cooking paleo vegan.

    • Erin replies to Liesl
      May 14, 2020 @ 7:01 am

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! It landed up in spam for some reason and with my son home the last 2 months, I haven’t been diligent with checking that. I’m so glad that you’ve been enjoying the recipe! And that you think it’s better than pre-paleo cooking makes me super happy. :D Thanks again for your feedback and sorry again for my ridiculously slow reply!

  • Áine says
    October 23, 2019 @ 9:34 pm

    How long does this stay fresh in the fridge covered with cling film and then tinfoil… And can you freeze it… If so how long does it stay fresh please.

    • Erin replies to Áine
      October 24, 2019 @ 9:11 pm

      I’d say about 4 days. I haven’t tried freezing it but I’m pretty sure it’d work. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

  • Katie says
    July 24, 2019 @ 12:45 am

    Wow! For an even faster setup, I used mini chocolate chips, which kept it at a slightly lower fully melted heat, then stuck my pot in a bowl of ice water and whisked for about five minutes. Turned out like a gorgeous smooth chocolate ganache! Also, a bit of coffee powder takes it out of this world!

    • Erin replies to Katie
      August 8, 2019 @ 6:25 pm

      What great tips! Thanks a ton for sharing them. I’m glad it worked out well for you! Thanks for your comment and sorry for my super slow reply.

  • Siobhan says
    June 15, 2019 @ 9:36 pm

    Hi – wondering would this frosting recipe do to ice a 10” chocolate biscuit cake. It looks thick enough to hold some edible decorations – is this the case? Could I ice the morning of the party and then decorate – should I store in fridge and just take out an hour or so before serving? Many thanks

    • Erin replies to Siobhan
      June 18, 2019 @ 7:33 pm

      Yes to all your questions. :) I hope you’ll enjoy it (and sorry for my slow reply!).

  • elizabeth philpott says
    May 17, 2019 @ 5:06 pm

    can i make this frosting today and not use it til tomorrow? keeping it in the fridge, of course… will it still spread?

    • Erin replies to elizabeth philpott
      May 19, 2019 @ 8:34 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! Hopefully you found the answer in the recipe. :) If you have any leftover frosting, cover and store in the refrigerator. Gently reheat on low heat so that it’s spreadable again.

  • Andrea Avery says
    January 19, 2019 @ 6:30 pm

    Could I put this in a glass pan, freeze it and turn it into fudge?

    • Erin replies to Andrea Avery
      January 20, 2019 @ 8:58 pm

      I haven’t tried it so I’m really not sure. I’m thinking it wouldn’t be fudgy enough but if you try it, I’d love to hear the results. :)

  • Steph Jansen says
    December 29, 2018 @ 8:12 pm

    This was yummy, but I had a stage during the making of it when it was either too runny or solid. I eventually won by sticking it in the freezer, then the microwave, then beating it hard in the mixer! It then spread beautifully. Thank you! (PS I did add some, but not all, of the sugar as the cake I was icing wasnt especially sweet)

    • Erin replies to Steph Jansen
      January 2, 2019 @ 8:55 pm

      I’m happy you enjoyed it! So you froze it and then melted it a little? It can indeed be a little tricky to get it at the right moment! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Jayne says
    December 7, 2018 @ 7:34 am

    Hi, I’m wondering if this would still work if you left the chic chips out to make a vanilla/white version? I need to make magma for a volcano cake and hoping to make this and add natural colours to make it orange 😊

    • Erin replies to Jayne
      December 7, 2018 @ 10:24 am

      Hi there! Unfortunately not. :( All you’re really left with then is milk and coconut oil. Perhaps white chocolate chips would work? Though they’re quite a bit sweeter than semi-sweet.

      • Jayne replies to Erin
        December 7, 2018 @ 11:46 am

        Bugger! I might try cacao butter if I can’t find another recipe. Thanks!

  • Liz says
    October 5, 2018 @ 1:50 pm

    I’ve used coconut milk with this recipe before and it is so good! I wonder why you steer people away from it?

    • Erin replies to Liz
      October 7, 2018 @ 8:45 pm

      The texture comes out a bit different than it’s intended to! I sometimes use coconut milk mixed with water and like it but it’s not the same. I’m happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Lara says
    October 2, 2018 @ 10:31 am

    Erin this looks perfect- have you tried it with white chocolate? Do you reckon it would work? Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Lara
      October 2, 2018 @ 8:40 pm

      Hi! I haven’t but that sounds amazing. I’d definitely not add the optional powdered sugar if I were you. I’d love to hear the results!

  • Allison Zimmerman says
    September 1, 2018 @ 4:31 am

    We’re also allergic to coconut. Do you think this would work with Palm shortening?

    • Erin replies to Allison Zimmerman
      September 5, 2018 @ 10:01 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing this! I’ve never used palm shortening but if you usually use it in place of coconut oil or butter, I’m guessing it’d work here. I’d love to hear how it comes out if you try it!

  • Diane says
    August 21, 2018 @ 6:26 pm

    Has anyone frozen frosted cupcakes with this frosting recipe?

    • Kathryn replies to Diane
      September 8, 2018 @ 2:22 pm

      I’ve frozen the frosting and cupcakes separately multiple times and they stay good! I just thaw and assemble to take to birthday parties for my son to have an allergy-friendly option.

      • Erin replies to Kathryn
        September 9, 2018 @ 9:06 pm

        Thanks so much for the tip! That’s good to know. :)

  • Flossie says
    July 6, 2018 @ 11:41 pm

    Absolutely the most delicious semi-sweet chocolate icing! I put on top of a vegan orange and pecan corn bread. What a combination and so simple!

    • Erin replies to Flossie
      July 8, 2018 @ 9:28 pm

      Orange and pecan cornbread with chocolate frosting?! That sounds so amazing! Is the recipe online? Thanks for your feedback!

  • Ann says
    June 22, 2018 @ 3:20 pm

    Making gluten free chocolate cake and want to use this for icing. What is the difference in measurement of ingredients?

    • Erin replies to Ann
      June 22, 2018 @ 8:54 pm

      Hi! I’m not sure what you mean by the difference in measurements of ingredients?

    • Margaret
      replies to Ann
      December 31, 2018 @ 7:01 pm

      Since this only makes one cup of frosting, you’d probably want to at least double the recipe, for a layer cake. I like to use about three cups of frosting for my cakes, so I tripled it.

      • Erin replies to Margaret
        January 2, 2019 @ 9:22 pm

        Thanks for the tip! It really depends on the cake size. An 8″x8″ pan of course needs a lot less than a 3-layer cake. I’m happy you liked the frosting. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • Rachel says
    June 4, 2018 @ 7:13 am

    Can you use olive oil instead of coconut because I don’t have any coconut oil on hand right now.

    • Erin replies to Rachel
      June 5, 2018 @ 8:30 pm

      Unfortunately not. The frosting would be really liquidy. Butter or ghee would work, though.

      • Mary replies to Erin
        October 2, 2018 @ 10:21 am

        remember that (pure) olive oil solidifies on chilling, so if you were committed to giving the mixture a good long time in the fridge, or maybe even freezer, and then keeping the dessert well chilled, you probably could use olive oil!

        • Erin replies to Mary
          October 2, 2018 @ 8:31 pm

          I didn’t know that! What a fantastic tip. Thank you so much for sharing! This is the most useful thing I’ve learned in a while. :D

  • Wendy says
    May 28, 2018 @ 1:29 am

    This recipe worked great for me! I used Rice Dream & coconut oil due to diet restrictions. I did add the powdered sugar as I was piping this onto cupcakes. I let the frosting cool in the fridge for 20 min total – whipping it w/a hand blender every 5 min trying to get the right consistency. At one point it turned from beautiful & glossy to oily-ish looking (like I ruined it). So I walked away (just leaving it on the counter) for 15 min, came back & gave it a gentle stir a TADA! Right back to glossy, creamy AND the right consistency to pipe! Just like Magic! It was enough to frost 12 cupcakes w/a star tip w/a tiny bit left over. It’s very fudgy & delicious!!

    • Erin replies to Wendy
      June 2, 2018 @ 4:29 pm

      Thank goodness that it came back together! And good to know that Rice Dream works. Thanks a bunch for your comment and tips! :)

  • Andi says
    May 23, 2018 @ 3:31 pm

    Has anyone premade this to save time on the day of the event? I was thinking of making it on Thursday and store in the fridge to be used Saturday morning. Thoughts?

    • Erin replies to Andi
      May 23, 2018 @ 9:19 pm

      That’d work just fine! Gently reheat and stir vigorously until it’s the consistency you want. :)

  • Erin says
    May 6, 2018 @ 9:10 pm

    I hope you enjoyed it on your cake! I’ve never had an issue with it combining, though a few of the other commenters have. It must be a difference in the chocolate used. What brand did you use? Thanks for your comment!

  • Patricia says
    April 2, 2018 @ 10:08 pm

    Delicious. Finally. A vegan frosting that tastes good and has a good texture. We found the frosting thin when we first made it, so we dipped and swirled the cupcakes in the frosting, then froze them a bit to harden the frosting. Then we added another layer of frosting. The leftover frosting hardened a bit on its own, so if you can wait to frost for a few hours, you wont have to freeze the frosting.

    • Erin replies to Patricia
      April 5, 2018 @ 11:08 am

      I’m happy you enjoyed them! It seems like how long the frosting takes to harden depends a lot on the temperature of the kitchen, the exact chocolate used and how warm the mixture was warmed up. That’s great you found a way to get them frosted quickly! Thanks for the tip. :)

  • Bailey says
    February 4, 2018 @ 6:43 pm

    I used coffee instead of milk and it was delicious!

    • Erin replies to Bailey
      February 4, 2018 @ 8:48 pm

      Yum! What a great idea! Thanks for the tip. :)

  • sarah says
    January 24, 2018 @ 12:26 am

    Hey these are in the oven right now :) . I used regular cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of coffee . Batter tastes great . I’ll let you know how they turn out . Thank you so much for the recipe !

    • Erin replies to sarah
      January 25, 2018 @ 2:17 pm

      This is a frosting recipe. Did you make the paleo or whole wheat cupcakes? Either way, I hope you enjoyed them! :)

  • Jan says
    November 22, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

    Me too, same separation issue. Beating away now and praying

    • Erin replies to Jan
      November 24, 2017 @ 5:19 pm

      Did it come out well? I hope so! I’m not sure what the issue could be.

      • Jan replies to Erin
        November 24, 2017 @ 5:29 pm

        yes finally. The chocolate nd coconut oil/milk combo solidified after beating and chilling but remained seprate with blotches of thewhite oil in the chocolate. I microwaved for 15 secs stirred and everything blended in and stayed blended! Ate for Thanksgiving. Big Hit. Thanks Erin.

        • Erin replies to Jan
          November 24, 2017 @ 5:36 pm

          Thank goodness! I’m happy to hear that it worked out well in the end. :) Thanks for letting me know!

  • Kim
    November 22, 2017 @ 6:21 pm

    I tried this for the first time, following the directions closely and it turned out perfect and spread very well on the cake I made. I do not like overly sweet things so I didn’t add any icing sugar and I thought it was delicious. I used organic virgin coconut oil and it did taste coconut-y, but I like that. This frosting recipe is a keeper! Thank you.

    • Erin replies to Kim
      November 24, 2017 @ 5:28 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy that you enjoyed it and that it spread well on your cake. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • Erin says
    November 13, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

    Sorry for the slow reply! Have been in the hospital giving birth. :) I’ve never had that happen and don’t think any of the reviewers have mentioned that. I had had that issue with homemade chocolate, though! My solution was to just keep stirring vigorously and it eventually comes together. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you!

  • Beth says
    October 31, 2017 @ 2:36 pm

    Substitute for coconut oil? And lower in saturated fat than 😬 lard?

    • Erin replies to Beth
      October 31, 2017 @ 2:39 pm

      I have butter listed in the recipe. Does that not work? If not, I have no idea what else you could use! Sorry about that.

  • Carrie says
    October 7, 2017 @ 3:35 am

    I was wondering if you thought lard would work for the fat. We have dairy, soy, pea (pea protein is often used in soy free butter substitutes) and coconut allergies in the family. We use lard to make chocolate chip cookies and it works well (it changes the texture, but not the taste), but I’m not sure it would work in frosting. I realize this would no longer be vegan, but I’m hoping it will work for my daughter’s birthday cake. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Erin replies to Carrie
      October 8, 2017 @ 12:13 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your comment! I’ve never actually used lard in anything so I unfortunately have no idea if that’d work. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes!

    • Sue Burrett replies to Carrie
      July 24, 2018 @ 5:35 pm

      You could try using Pure – a diary- and gluten-free sunflower spread. I use it in my baking and in butter cream, icing, etc.

      • Erin replies to Sue Burrett
        July 25, 2018 @ 1:35 pm

        Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to look into that. :)

  • Lynne
    October 2, 2017 @ 4:39 am

    We made this icing as an experiment for my daughter’s “genius hour” project. We needed dairy and gluten free cake/icing and were without any dairy free milk. I subbed water for the milk and a little extra dairy free butter. I did add the sugar, but mostly so my icing would go a little further since little hands would be spreading. I think it smells super sweet, but it doesn’t taste that sweet…I actually like it! I love the shiny texture it has too! Thanks for a great recipe to top our “chocolatey chocolate” cupcakes. LOL!

    • Erin replies to Lynne
      October 3, 2017 @ 7:31 pm

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it and that your water + butter sub worked out well! How much butter did you add? Just in case someone else sees your comment and wants to try it, too. :) I hope your daughter’s classmates enjoyed the cupcakes. Thanks a bunch for your feedback!


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