These dairy-free vanilla cupcakes are perfectly moist, fluffy, and quick to bake— ready in just 20 minutes! The combination of vegetable oil and dairy-free milk makes the cupcakes delightfully tall and thick, yet also light and fluffy. As for topping, my dairy-free buttercream frosting is the perfect pairing. It’s vanilla based and pipes like a dream! Recipe yields 12 cupcakes.
One of my takeaways from graduating pastry school is the importance of a tried-and-true vanilla cupcake recipe. The reason is that when you have a really good vanilla cupcake recipe, you can use it as the canvas for all your favorite cupcake flavors!
These vanilla cupcakes are a dairy-free variation of my vanilla cupcakes with oil, which I tested FIVE times to promise you that they’re perfect! Cow’s milk is replaced with plant-based milk, and just like that -they become dairy-free! For this recipe Iv’e made oat milk based cupcakes but you can use any plant or nut milk you want.
As for topping, my thick dairy-free frosting is the perfect pairing. It’s vanilla based and pipes like a dream!
If you are lactose intolerant or just dairy free, then you might also be looking for fabulous dairy-free muffins! You can add chocolate chips or swap for any kind of fruit!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- These lactose free vanilla cupcakes comes together in one mixing bowl, and the whole recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes.
- This dairy-free dessert ais perfectly adorned with any dairy-free buttercream frosting flavor.
- These cupcakes are easy to adapt to the aesthetic of any special occasion with dairy-free food coloring and decorations.
- The combination of oil and dairy-free milk makes the cupcakes delightfully tall and thick yet also light and fluffy.
- Granulated sugar – Sweetens the batter and improves the moist-tender crumb.
- Flour – All-purpose flour acts as the framework of these cupcakes and gives them their structure.
- Baking powder & baking soda – This pair of leavening agents cause a reaction as the batter bakes, so it expands and rises into plump, stable cupcakes.
- Kosher salt – Helps activate the leavening agents while balancing the sweet flavors in the batter.
- Oat or Soy milk – Loosens the mixture of ingredients into a rich, creamy, pourable cupcake batter. You can also use full-fat coconut, almond, or rice milk here.
- Vanilla extract – Adds the classic sweet and creamy vanilla cupcake flavor. To switch up the base cupcake flavor, try almond, lemon, maple, or coconut extract instead.
- Vegetable oil – Oil is the high-fat element that produces decadent, moist cupcakes. Canola, grape seed, and sunflower oil also work.
- Egg – An egg binds the batter, so it bakes into tender, golden cupcakes.
Best dairy free milk to use
I like using oat milk because of its creamy consistency but you can use any dairy free milk you want. This recipe also works with soy milk, rice milk, or even coconut milk. Whatever you have on hand will work!
HOW TO MAKE DAIRY FREE CUPCAKES FROM SCRATCH
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350F, and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Combine dry ingredients: Add the sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt to a large mixing bowl, and whisk lightly to combine.
Mix with wet ingredients: Next, add the oat milk, vanilla, vegetable oil, and egg to the dry mixture, and mix until well incorporated, but do not overmix!
Pour batter and bake: Fill each muffin cup 2/3rds (a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop portions the perfect amount!). Then, bake for 18 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Spoon, never scoop baking flour. Instead of scooping the flour directly from the container with your measuring cup, spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off with a knife. If you scoop you will end up with too much flour making a dense cupcake.
- Everything must be room temperature. Chilled ingredients don’t absorb as well, resulting in overly thick batter and a rubbery texture.
- Do not overmix the cupcake batter. Overworked batter tends to yield dense, chewy cupcakes, so mix just until everything is incorporated and the batter is silky smooth.
- The muffin pan color matters. Lighter colored tins distribute heat more evenly. Darker pans tend to get too hot and burn whatever is baked in them.
- Do not open the oven door! Instead, wait until the cupcakes rise in the middle and are set before pulling them out of the oven.
- Wait until the cupcakes are cool to frost them. You dont want the frosting to slide off!
Decorating the cupcakes
If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a zip-top bag with a snipped corner. Otherwise, simply slather on the frosting with an offset spatula or spoon!
Don’t forget to top them with sprinkles!
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: Unfrosted dairy-free cupcakes are okay to leave at room temperature for up to two days. After that, they should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. If frosted with vegan buttercream, they must be refrigerated, or the frosting will melt quickly at room temperature.
Freezing: To freeze, let cool completely, then place the cupcakes on a baking sheet and set it in the freezer until the cupcakes are firm. Next, transfer the frozen cupcakes to a freezer-safe zip-top bag, and freeze for up to 3 months—Thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours before frosting.
Why are my dairy-free cupcakes dry?
If they are not overbaked, then you probably used too much flour. Weighing your dry ingredients with a kitchen scale is a great way to eliminate the margin for measuring errors.
Why did my cupcakes sink in the middle?
Oh, no! This happens for several reasons. Let’s troubleshoot. You may have overworked the batter, used too cold ingredients, or your oven was too hot.
Can I make mini lactose free vanilla cupcakes?
Yes! For minis, bake the batter in a mini cupcake ban for 12 minutes or until set.
Can I make these cupcakes egg-free/vegan?
While I’ve only tested this recipe with an egg, I’m fairly certain using replacing it with a flax egg will not sacrifice the success of your cupcakes. To make one flax egg, mix one tablespoon of flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water, and let it sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens into a gelatinous, eggy consistency.
WAYS TO ENJOY
These vanilla cupcakes are super flexible and pair well with many dairy-free frosting flavors! Use my vegan American buttercream as the base of your frosting, and switch up the flavor with the flavoring ingredients listed in these homemade buttercream recipes:
Easy Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Oat Milk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (157g)
- 1 ¼ cup flour (160g)
- 1 tsp baking powder (4g)
- ¼ tsp baking soda (1 ½ g)
- ½ tsp kosher salt (3g)
- ¾ cup Oat milk (6 oz) Sub soy milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (14g)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (2 oz)
- 1 egg (50g)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the ¾ cup sugar, 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp kosher salt and whisk lightly to combine.
- Next add in the ¾ cup oat milk, tablespoon of vanilla, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 1 egg.
- Mix until combined but do not overmix.
- Fill each cup ⅔ of the way full. Do not overfill.
- Bake for 18 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Frost with dairy free buttercream frosting.