The Best Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

So here it is. This is my recipe for the most perfect, bestest in the westest, (and eastest) vegan cupcake… Strike that. This is my idea of the most perfect cupcake. Period. Vegan or not, this is a damn good cupcake. When I served these to a group of strangers, one girl declared that it was the best cupcake she had ever eaten… and then I told her it was vegan. Surprised? Grin.


I came up with this recipe after doing a Vegan Vanilla Cupcake Off where I compared the 3 top vegan cupcake recipes to each other to determine which one was the winner.  The results were that there were no clear winners, so I had to do the only logical thing I could think of.  Make batch after batch of cupcakes, until I made my own winner. This recipe is everything I look for in a cupcake, light fluffy, sweet-vanilla deliciousness, simple to make, and even simpler to eat.

I guarantee… ooo risky, but I’m gonna do it, I GUARANTEE that if you make these cupcakes, that they not only will be devoured, but not a single soul will know they are vegan without being told so.


Preheat your oven for 350 F (180C). Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners, or lightly grease the pan.

In a big bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.


In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.


Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk that up. Whisk until the batter just comes together, don’t over mix it or your cupcakes will be sad cakes.


Evenly divide batter among the  liners. Bake 18-20 minutes until the tops are slightly golden.


Like this. Omnomnom.


To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer. Wait until the cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting. Use a piping bag, a butter knife or just a plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner to frost your cakes.


4.3 from 3 reviews
The Best Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 Cupcakes
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup plus ⅓ Cup White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • ⅔ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or other Non-Dairy Milk)
  • ⅓ Cup Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider or White Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Cup Non-Hydrogenated Shortening (I used Earth Balance Shortening)
  • ¼ Cup Vegan Margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Almond Milk (or other Non-Dairy Milk)
  • Sprinkles for decoration (optional)
*Makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes… Unless you are one of those people who like more frosting than cake. (Hey, I don’t judge!). In which case you might want to double the recipe. If you have leftovers you can always freeze it in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours before you want to use it.
  1. Preheat your oven for 350 F (180C). Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners, or lightly grease the pan.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.
  4. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk that up. Whisk until the batter just comes together, don’t over mix it or your cupcakes will be sad cakes.
  5. Evenly divide batter among the liners.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes until the tops are slightly golden.
  7. To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer. Wait until the cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting.
  8. Use a piping bag, a butter knife or just a plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner to frost your cakes.

Bon Appetgan




  1. Michele says

    Hi!! I just made these and they are amazing!! The icing was perfect when I first made it but now it’s melting some… It might be that my kitchen is warmer because of the oven? Should I just wait it out and see if it hardens on the cupcakes?

    • says

      Yay! So happy you enjoyed them.
      Yes, your kitchen may be just a little warm. You could pop the icing in the fridge for a bit to let it firm up, and I would store the cupcakes in a cool area of your home. So happy you love the cupcakes Michele 😀

  2. Melina says

    Okay so I made a second batch and they were unfortunately just the same as the first ones . The taste is good, but they don’t rise, they sink in the middle, they look very oily, are not fluffy at all, and they stick to the liners. This time I used white vinegar and I added half a teaspoon of baking soda. I am kind of sad right now lol.. the only thing that i can think of that would be logical would be that my baking soda is old, but it expires on 2017!
    I would really appreciate any thoughts or tips on what could’ve gone wrong. Thanks!

    • Daxel says

      The same thing happened to me. 35 minutes in the oven and they *still* looked oily on top/bubbly under the surface and were flat in the centre :( I’m kind of disappointed as the recipe seemed to work for everyone else. I used rice milk and vegetable oil, as those were what I had. I feel like that shouldn’t have made a difference, but perhaps that was the problem?

      • says

        Oh no! That’s such a bummer. I agree that the rice milk and vegetable oil shouldn’t have made much of a difference. I am not sure what the problem is here. Do you have an oven thermometer? Sometimes ovens can be quite off… Just a thought

    • Nicole says

      This is my go to recipe for vegan vanilla cake / cupcakes! Tastes amazing, but every time I’ve made them I add 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder as well because I love how fluffy it makes them. Maybe that could help you!

    • Britni says

      I made the following mods and it came out really fluffy!

      I combined the ACV and almond milk first int heir own bowl and let them curdle a while.

      To the dry ingredients I added a heaping 1/4 tbsp baking powder.

      When combining i used a beater to fluff up the batter.

  3. Melina says

    I don’t know what went wrong. The cupcakes didn’t rise much and they sunk in the middle. Also, they were super oily and the texture was just awful. The taste was pretty good, though. I used apple cider vinegar and sunflower oil (we can’t get canola oil in my country), and I did open the oven door one time while they were baking, so maybe that’s what ruined them? They where nothing like in your picture. I’ll make them again and tell you if they come out right this time. I’ve got hope for this recipe!

  4. Sara Morrison says

    I seriously cannot believe these are vegan, and I made them myself! These cupcakes absolutely have the best texture and taste of any vegan cake I’ve ever made (and I’ve made quite a few). I used coconut sugar in mine (I don’t eat refined sugar) and added in some pomegranate seeds for an extra treat and they came out perfectly! I will definitely be making these again soon.

  5. Claire says

    Can you also use this recipe for a cake—like a 4 tier naked wedding cake? Just increase the recipe? Will the texture hold up?

    • says

      Hi Claire,
      Some people have told me they made this into a cake with success, so I don’t see why not. The cake is very light and fluffy, so I am not sure how well it would stack. (Denser cakes tend to be better for stacking high). I think they cake would take longer to cook all the way through than the cupcakes, so be sure to check that a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean before taking it out of the oven. I would definitely give this a test before hand if you plan on using it for a wedding cake.
      If you do, let us know how it turns out!

  6. Cinnamon says

    Highly recommended! I was looking for a vegan alternative because I have no eggs! I know vegan can be delicious so I made these. They’re great! I just put the whole cup of sugar as opposed to the 5/6c. I added a lot more vanilla (I taste my batter and go from there) . I filled my liners 2/3 full because it’s a more liquid batter and I wanted to have the mound on top.

  7. Sarah says

    I Googled “vegan vanilla cupcake recipe,” and this was the top result — congrats on that, by the way! I used cane sugar for white sugar, and I mixed in the white vinegar with the unsweetened almond milk and let that mixture sit for a couple minutes before adding the other liquids. I also added some blue gel food coloring to the cupcakes’ centers before baking them (these were for a baby shower) and used homemade vegan chocolate buttercream frosting. I was only able to make 8 or 9 cupcakes for each of my 2 batches; perhaps I put too much batter into my liners. My 1st batch had slightly crispy edges (nothing that good frosting couldn’t save), so I pulled my 2nd batch out sooner. The party guests, who were mostly omnivores, devoured the cupcakes without knowing they were vegan, and I received rave reviews! My vegan friend wanted a copy of the recipe, so I’m glad to have her stamp of approval. I’m definitely curious to try more of your recipes for myself!

    • says

      Hi Sarah,
      So happy you loved the recipe and that everyone at the baby shower devoured them! Haha.
      Your cupcakes sound so cute, I wish I could have seen a picture!

  8. Anonymous says

    I would love to the your favourite person of the day :)

    I’ve never made vegan vanilla cupcakes but I’ve been searching for a recipe to use for my wedding cupcakes. I have a dairy allergy so I need something yummy for me and my hubby to be :)

    I’m making cupcakes in a jar as we are travelling an hour out of town to get married and I thought what a great idea to dress up the jar with a pretty sticker on the top and ribbon in our matching colours.

    This recipe sounds delicious and the frosting sounds perfect !!! I already use Earth Balance margarine and will look for the shortening as well.

    I hope you’ll let me post a pic of the yumminess I create.

    All the best,

    • says

      Haha, you are my favourite person of the day Anj!
      That sounds too cute, cupcakes in a jar, love it! Be sure to keep the cupcakes as cool as possible in your travels, they do hold up in heat pretty well, but just in case.
      Absolutley, please share pics! You can post them on my Facebook page.
      Hope you have a fabulous wedding. 😀

  9. says

    Hi Sam, I’m Nicoletta, the one half of sugarlovespices. Your site is beautiful and your cupcakes are amazing. Although we are not vegan, we cook vegan meals sometimes and I attended a vegan baking course becuse I realy like baking vegan desserts. I am going to try these vanilla cupcakes for sure and I’ll keep coming in!

    • Erin says

      How do you scoop/measure your flour? I do the whisk/scoop/level method developed by Fran Costigan and it always results in a 4.5 ounce cup of flour which is on the lighter side? When you simply scoop it from the flour bag or container it compacts the flour and results in a heavier cup of flour. There is also the spoon/level method. Thanks! Gonna give these a try but am hoping that they don’t turn out gummy or too wet which is why I asking about how you measure your flour. Sorry for all the questions. Thanks in advance

      • says

        Hi Erin,
        No problem! You can always do a 1/2 batch so you are committing to the whole thing, just to test it out. I just dunk the measuring cup into the flour bag and use my finger to scrape off the top. I’m a fan of keeping it simple! :)

  10. Erin says

    Can you provide weight measurement for dry ingredients? I’d like to make these for my daughters birthday coming up but sometimes the way one person measures flour can be different from the way another person measures, with regards to volume. Or how do you measure your flour? I’m gonna try these and maybe cut back on some of the sugar.

    • says

      Hi Erin,
      I don’t actually have a kitchen scale! So unfortunately no, not until I get one anyways. I just use cups like in the recipe.
      I can’t guarantee success with cutting the sugar as I have never tried that, but I hope they turn out well for you.

  11. Gary says

    I made these cupcakes for Easter dessert and they were a big hit. I doubled the frosting and piped it on nice and thick. I added the sugar to the wet ingredients after reading a comment above and they turned out light and fluffy. Probably wasnt necessary but that commenter freaked me out. Thank you for this delicious recipe. I can see myself making these again many times.

    • says

      Hi Gary,
      So happy they turned out for you! I always worry when recipes don’t work out for people, it’s such a bummer. Happy Easter!

  12. Alex MacDonald says

    The extra 1/3 cup of sugar in the muffin recipe created many problems for me: the muffins collapsed while baking, because the extra sugar made the batter too thin and fragile to support their own weight as they rose. The muffins were granular in texture with crusty, sugary tops. They smelled heavenly, but were cloyingly sweet and had an unpleasant texture.
    Sugar is considered a “liquid” ingredient in recipes like these, and I think 1/2 cup is plenty for a 12-muffin recipe.
    I will definitely try them again, but minus the extra 1/3 cup of sugar and perhaps a pinch of gluten for added body.

    • says

      Hmmm I’ve never had any of those problems. Bummer that they didn’t work out for you. I make these all the time and they are always light and fluffy. Sorry they didn’t work out for you Alex! If you try adapting the recipe let us know how it turns out for you.

    • says

      Hi Summer, yes I do, except it will make the cupcakes a little bit heavier and less fluffy due to the fact that coconut oil hardens at room temperature. If you are ok with that, then go for it! Enjoy!

  13. Gigi says

    hi! I was wondering if i can use 1/2 a cup of Earth balance butter instead of 1/4 earth balance butter + 1/4 earth balance shortening :)

    • says

      Hi Gigi,
      You can, but the results will be a much softer frosting, that may melt a bit depending on the temperature. Adding the shortening helps stiffen and strengthen the frosting. If you want to go for it anyways, keep your ingredients cold. Make sure to frost the cupcakes only when they are 100% cool, and keep the cupcakes in a cool place once frosted (if you don’t eat them all immediately). Enjoy!

  14. Sydney says

    I tried a regular cake recipe last night, but with substitutions The end result was a cake so bland and dense that I had to throw it away. The logical part of my brain finally clicked into thinking, maybe I should just look up a vegan recipe. All of the other ones I found said they had a “deliciously dense cake” which I didn’t want, I wanted a normal, light fluffy cake. I made these after seeing the good reviews. I’ll be giving them to a large group of omnivores this afternoon, for Valentine’s Day.

    • says

      That’s wonderful Sydney! Yes, I love dense cakes too, but sometimes that’s just not what you are looking for, especially for a vanilla cupcake in my mind. So glad you found the recipe, I hope everyone loves them. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • says

      Hmm…. I haven’t perfected the recipe yet, but I would try adding 1/3 cup cocoa powder to the dry, and adding 1/3 cup of non-dairy milk, or water to the wet. I’m not 100% sure they will be awesome though as I will have to work on the recipe. So no guarantees! But if you try them let me know how they work out.

  15. JA says

    Hi Samantha
    Just discovered your site & baked your vanilla cupcakes. (I’m on a quest to make the ultimate vegan vanilla cake). I thought this was a good recipe but a tad too sweet for me, so I’ll dial back the sugar next time. BTW do you think this recipe could be made gluten free? Didn’t make the icing this go round as I wanted to perfect the cupcake before moving on. Thanks again for a solid cupcake recipe.

    • says

      Thank you so much JA. I think you should be able to cut back on the sugar without changing the recipe too much. I am not very experienced with gluten free cooking, but I know one of my favourite vegan chefs Chloe Coscarelli will use a gluten free all purpose flour and add 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum for a batch of cupcakes. I haven’t tried this myself yet, so I don’t know how good well it works out. If you try let me know how it goes.

  16. Anonymous says

    These are baking now! I’m making these for my cousin’s birthday, she’s not vegan but I am! :) I filled each case 2/3 full, but was only able to make 9 cupcakes! I scraped the bowl as well. Perhaps my 2/3 gauge is a little off. Can’t wait to see how they come out!

  17. Drewbie says

    Made these today for my wifes Thirtieth birthday. These were super easy and very tasty. I used half the oil and added applesauce to shave a few calories. Thanks for the great recipe and I am bookmarking your page! We fed them to five omnivores and they had no clue they were vegan.

    • says

      Haha! I love tricking omnivores. It’s ridiculous to me when people think vegan baked good would taste gross… Because I know so many people that like their cupcakes to taste like egg? Don’t think so! So happy you love the cupcakes and that your alterations worked too. Thanks for coming back and leaving your review Drewbie!

    • says

      Hi Jen! Hmmm this should be no problem. I have heard other people have tried this with success. One recipe for these cupcakes (12 cupcakes worth), should make 1 layer of 2″x8″ cake. Make sure you fill the cake pan about half to two thirds full, but not more full than that, so it doesn’t overflow in the oven. The temperature of the oven should be the same but you will probably have to cook it longer, maybe 25 minutes? Just keep an eye on it and you will know its done when a tooth pick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let me know how it turns out for you. Enjoy! :)

  18. Terese says

    Loved the cupcakes. My daughter is the vegan and we made these cupcakes together. She brought them to school and they were a big hit. Thanks!!

  19. Rosie says

    Every time I bake these cupcakes the rim around them turns out to be hard, while the rest of the cupcake is perfectly baked. Is there something that I’m doing wrong?

    • says

      Hmmmm… It may be that your oven runs a little hot, or is extra hot at the top. You could try moving the cupcakes to a lower rack or try reducing the temperature a bit. My cupcakes to get a bit chewy around the edges after a day or two but they should be soft and fluffy when they are fresh. Let me know if that helps!

  20. lydia says

    I was so excited when I came across this recipe! I need bday cupcakes for my little guy with egg allergies. They look great and the ingredients is easy and on hand. When I added my wet to dry there was not enough to make the batter smooth. It was more like dough. I followed exactly… any tips. The final products were flat, hole down the middle but were light and what I could salvage out of the liner was good. Can you confirm the sugar was 1/2 and 1/3 cup! Thank you! Yours look awesome!!

    • says

      Hi lydia. Oh no! That’s such a bummer. I’m pretty sure the recipe is correct. I have followed my own recipe multiple times (yep I do that) and have heard of others successfully making these cupcakes. It’s sounds like there wasn’t a problem with the sugar quantity but the dry to wet ratio. Could you have perhaps forgot or miss-measured a wet ingredient? Or added too much flour? When you mix the wet and dry the batter should be soft and light. Let me know how it goes. :)

  21. Jess says

    hey I find the apple cider vinegar flavour rather overpowering, it takes away from the vanilla flavour even when I cut back on it, is there something else that can be used instead? I imagine it’s to activate the baking soda and help the muffins rise and become fluffy, would it be possible to substitute baking powder which already has an activating agent, or add cream of tartar instead?

    • says

      Hi Jess!
      Huh. I find that the apple cider vinegar flavour cooks right out and you can’t taste it all. Apple cider is usually very mild, and also has health benefits which is why I opt for it, but you could use any vinegar. Try finding one that has the least amount of flavour or try lemon juice. You’re right it’s about the acidity, think volcano experiment from science project days. The reaction makes the cupcakes light and fluffy.

    • Anonymous says

      Maybe a citrus juice such as lemon, lime, or orange would give the needed acidity???? It would probably be tasty too!

    • says

      Nope not at all! It acts like normal frosting. If it was very hot it might melt, but my cupcakes hang out on the counter for a few days perfectly happy… If they last that long. Haha

    • itdoesnttastelikechicken says

      Yes, absolutely. Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar will work just fine. Just don’t use balsamic…gross! Haha.

      • Angela says

        Haha. I am currently baking with balsamic vinegar as that’s the only one I have in the house 😉
        It’s the vinegar I use for my legendary chocolate cupcakes 😉
        I shall let you know how it goes but the batter tasted great hahaha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: