Is icing vegan?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is icing vegan?” and will discuss the ingredients of vegan icing.

Is icing vegan?

Maybe icing is vegan. Most stored bought icings are vegan but some may contain non-vegan products like milk and eggs. So, it is important to read the ingredient list to ensure it is icing vegan or not. There are many types of icings. Water icing contains mainly sugar and water, while soft icings are blends of fondant with whipped marshmallow or boiled meringue (1).

Is Icing Milk-Free?

Depending on the type of icing, it is not milk free. Traditionally, the basic and functional ingredients of icings are sugar, water, egg whites, gelatine, gums or modified starches and fats. In the last case high-emulsifying shortenings are the most suitable. Each of these ingredients imparts a distinctive quality to the resultant icing. Milk powder is also a common ingredient in the fudge type, but may be regarded more as enhancing or imparting a distinctive flavor, rather than playing any part in the physical nature of the icing itself. Sugar and water will produce water icing or fondant; the addition of fat produces a fudge icing; sugar and egg whites produce Royal icing and meringues; and the addition of gelatine, gum or modified starch produces marshmallow (1).

Today the most common commercially available type is what the traditional craft baker would call a parfait icing. It may contain fondant, icing sugar, milk powder, shortening and emulsifiers (1).

Dairy is not often found in commercially available icing. Only 11 percent of the 88 icing products I tested included dairy components. Dairy products were often made using nonfat dry milk or cream as the primary dairy component.

Because most people think that icing is made with butter, this was a really surprising discovery. It is normal for the homemade icing to include butter, but not for store-bought icing to do the same at all. If you’re looking for icing products with flavor names like “Butter Cream” or “Milk Chocolate,” you’ll be happy to know they’re dairy-free and vegan.

Is Icing Egg-Free?

Eggs are seldom seen in store-bought icing. Of 88 icing items I tested, Betty Crocker’s Coconut Pecan Rich & Creamy Icing was the only one that included eggs. Eggs are less prevalent in icing than dairy or “confectioner’s glaze,” which is made from insects.

Eggs are present in the marshmallow-type icings, which are highly aerated icings composed of sugar syrup, egg whites and/or gelatine. Royal icing is the traditional icing used for the decoration of wedding cakes. It is made by beating air into egg whites and icing sugar. Meringue icings also contain egg whites, as they are made by beating air into egg whites and sugar, and in this sense are similar to Royal icing. The proportion of whites to sugar is, however, much greater, so that it is possible to whisk in very much more air, producing a lighter product (1).

What Is a Confectioner’s Glaze, and What Makes It So Special?

Researching confectioner’s glaze, I came across a surprising amount of animal ingredients. Shellac or lac resin may also be referred to as this component. Lac bugs produce the product. That means it’s made from insects.

Shellac is used as a glaze for confectionery products, particularly for panwork or drages. Shellac is the refined form of lac, which is the resinous secretion of the lac insect and has been used for centuries for the preparation of varnishes and polishes of all descriptions. Regular Confectionery Glaze It is prepared from food-grade bleached shellac containing 5 percent natural wax. The solution has an opaque appearance but yields a transparent film. The wax content provides for a more flexible film; it builds up well during processing of confectionery pieces and is suitable on porous surfaces. It is widely used in the confectionery industry (2).

The most common usage of confectioner’s glaze is as a covering for tablets or candy. And sadly, Pillsbury Funfetti’s “Candy Bits” may be found on several of the varieties. Not all Funfetti tastes have a candy coating, but the majority do. The whole list is below.

Icing with “Gray-Area” Ingredients

As a vegan, you’m primarily concerned about the icing’s dairy, egg, and confectioner’s glaze content. Some vegans, on the other hand, have a stricter definition of veganism. Hence, I also wanted to address some of the “iffy” substances in icing.


To make non-organic cane sugar whiter, it is typically filtered through the bone char of animals. No one can tell whether a brand of icing uses bone char to filter its sugar from the ingredients list. If you’re concerned about this, go with Miss Jones or Simple Mills icing. Neither Miss Jones nor Simple Mills utilize any non-organic sugar in their products.

Bone char has been used extensively as an adsorbent for the decolorization of cane sugar. The decolorization process removes more than color because colorants interact with color precursors, colloidal material, organic nonsugars, and ash-forming inorganic constituents so that they are taken out with the color. Thus, the value of bone char as a sugar refining aid lies in its simple action in removing both colorants and ash-forming inorganic constituents (3).

Palm oil

Orangutans and other animals’ habitats may be destroyed by the harvesting of palm oil, which does not include animal elements. There has been a lot of improvement in this area in recent years because of organizations like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Another example is found in Malaysia. Southern pig-tailed macaques have lost large parts of their natural forest habitat in Malaysia and Indonesia to oil palm plantations, which today constitute an anthropogenically modified part of their range. It remains unclear whether and how the macaques’ sociality in oil palm plantations deviates from their behavior in the natural, undisturbed forest habitat, and thus potentially impacts their ability to adapt to and survive in this agriculturally modified environment in the long-term (4).

Artificial colors

Unlike natural colors, they aren’t derived from animals; they’re manufactured from petroleum instead. Despite this, animal testing for the safety of artificial color dyes continues regularly. On Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Blue 2, I discussed this in greater detail. The safety of a chemical compound is determined primarily by testing the amount required to kill 50% of the experimental animal population (5).

When it comes to substances like mono- and diglycerides, which the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) considers “typically vegan,” you’ll also find them (but not always).

I believe that banning all of these substances will do nothing to benefit the animals, but will make veganism much more difficult. Consequently, my recommendation for new vegans is to concentrate on the most animal-derived foods. It’s time to get rid of things.

Donating or volunteering with a vegan organization like Vegan Outreach is a great way to help animals once you’ve eliminated all animal products from your diet. Rather than focusing on minute elements with just a tenuous connection to animals, this will have a more significant influence. 

The vegan icing is made of what?

When it comes to vegan icing, some individuals aren’t sure what it should include. What makes it so creamy and delicious if it isn’t butter? In most cases, sugar, palm oil, and corn syrup are the three main ingredients in vegan icing purchased from a store. Sugar plus vegan butter, margarine, or vegetable oil are often used to make vegan icing at home. Sugar and fat are the key ingredients of icing. Most calories come from sugar, not fat. Sugar or some other sweetener is the primary component in most icings. Egg whites can be substituted by soya protein. Soy protein whipping agents are generally prepared by enzymatic hydrolysis of native soybean protein as it exists in the oil-free flake or flour, isolated soy protein, or soy protein concentrate (2).

Vegan Icing is available in many supermarkets, but which one is the best option?

A thorough investigation of 88 commercially available icing products was conducted to ensure that this article was based on real-world facts. A complete breakdown of each brand’s results:

Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Miss Jones Pillsbury are some of the best-known names in vegan icing.

Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.

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Is it vegan to own pets?

Can vegans eat meat sometimes?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is icing vegan?” and discussed the ingredients of vegan icing.


  1. Bennion, E. B., G. S. T. Bamford, and A. J. Bent. Icings, fillings and glazes. The Technology of Cake Making. Springer, Boston, MA, 1997. 199-219. 
  2. Minifie, Bernard W. Gelatinizing Agents, Gums, Glazes, Waxes. Chocolate, Cocoa and Confectionery: Science and Technology. Springer, Dordrecht, 1989. 329-356.
  3. Choy, Keith KH, et al. Film and intraparticle mass transfer during the adsorption of metal ions onto bone char. J colloid interf sci, 2004, 271, 284-295.
  4. Holzner, Anna, et al. Oil palm cultivation critically affects sociality in a threatened Malaysian primate. Scient Rep, 2021, 11, 1-16.
  5. Ahmed, Mohammed Asif, et al. Dietary intake of artificial food color additives containing food products by school-going children. Saudi J Biol Sci, 2021, 28, 27-34.