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Browned Butter Glaze, Vegan

from 21 reader reviews

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Rich and buttery with a strong hint of vanilla, this browned butter glaze takes donuts, bundt cakes, and soft cookies to a whole new flavor level. With the classic glazed icing ingredients enhanced by browned plant-based butter, this tasty glaze brings out the best in your home-baked goods.

glass tray with baked donuts

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really been a fan of the type of glazed icing that just uses powdered sugar, vanilla and, milk. It always tastes a little…chalky and fake to me. So I’ve always added in a little butter. Because I don’t like chalky fake icing!

My browned butter near disaster…and serendipity

Photographing pumpkin donuts this last weekend, I was having one of those days. You know what I mean – a delivery guy at the door, dogs barking, a dropped bag of powdered sugar, with my little dog was running through it, trailing a white sticky powdery mess all over everything! I totally forgot that I had been melting some (plant) butter on the stove for a buttery glaze.

By the time I remembered, I noticed my lovely melted vegan butter had started to turn brown. Yikes! Had I ruined my glaze? I was out of ingredients and didn’t want to have to run to the store for more.

And then I remembered browned butter icing! Of course I used to make that all the time in my pre-vegan days. Browned butter lends a certain enhanced depth of flavor to frosting and icing. I just didn’t know if it would work for vegan butter as well. After all, vegan butter is basically oils and flavors and lacks the milk proteins found in dairy butter.

As it turns out, it was pretty perfect anyway!

hand dipping baked donut into glaze

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Iced baked donuts in bottom left corner, hand dipping donut in browned butter glaze in top right corner with pinterest text overlay

Ingredients needed to make browned butter glaze

  • butter, I use plant butter – use stick butter rather than tub
  • powdered sugar
  • milk, I use oat milk
  • cornstarch
  • vanilla extract
  • The tiniest pinch of salt
ingredients needed for browned butter glaze including vanilla, cornstarch, vegan butter, oat milk, salt, and powdered sugar.

How to make browned butter glaze

It’s actually pretty easy to make; it’s the icing part that’s a little tricky. Be sure to read further for some tips and tricks.

Step 1: Melt the butter

Over med/high heat, melt your plant butter while watching and stirring. When it begins to slightly brown, turn down the heat to med/low.

melting plant butter

You should not let the melted butter boil or burn.

Step 2: Whisk together the plant milk and cornstarch

You can do this quick step while melting (and watching) the melting butter. You just want to get the lumps out of the cornstarch. Set it aside.

Why do we use cornstarch in glaze?

Cornstarch will thicken your glaze. This glaze is thicker than the standard thin donut glaze but thinner than fluffy icing.

Step 3: Add the plant milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla

stirring powdered sugar into the melted butter

Do not remove the pan from the heat – but make sure it’s turned to med/low. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the browned butter and whisk together.

Add the powdered sugar to the pan and stir stir stir.

Add the vanilla and mix well till everything is nice and smooth.

stirring together the browned butter glaze

How to use your freshly-made browned butter glaze

Making the glaze was the easy part. Using it is a little bit trickier. There are a few things to keep in mind when using this glaze for the best success:

A few tips for the best results

  • Use your browned butter glaze while it is still warm. It will cool and harden quickly.
    • If you are just pouring it over a bundt cake or sweet quick bread then go ahead and do that while it’s warm.
    • If you are dipping cookies or donuts or other small baked goods, work quickly and keep the pan of glaze over a bowl or pan of hot water. If it starts to harden, you can do a quick reheat or microwave; but the more you do that, the grainier the glaze will get.
  • The baked goods you are glazing/icing should still be warm for the best results. It they are too cool/cold, when the glaze sets, it will easily crack as it dries.
    • This is the opposite of when you frost with a thick buttery frosting. You do want the baked good to be completely cooled for that type of icing. This cooked glaze icing is different.
  • Handle with care. Once you have iced your baked goods with the glaze, minimize moving anything around too much until everything is thoroughly cooled and dried.
  • This glaze colors very well with gel or liquid food colors. Again, work quickly and keep it warm and runny.
hand dipping baked donut into orange icing

A tip about safety

I hope you understand that this glaze will work better if very warm – the warmer the better. This brings up some safety issues.

  • If you are baking with a child, do not let the child dip the baked item into the glaze. They might get burned. If your child wants to participate then they can quickly sprinkle with decorations after you’ve iced each individual cookie or donut.
  • Keep a glass of ice water nearby in case you burn a finger. You can quickly plunge it in the ice water.
  • Have a large ladle, spoon, or fork handy to fetch the baked item out of the glaze in case you drop it so that you don’t need to touch the hot glaze with your fingers to fetch it out.

Let’s have some decorating fun!

three glazed and sprinkle decorated donuts with white plate and two donuts

Remember you need to:

  • use warm baked goods
  • use warm icing
  • handle with care
  • work with one item at a time

To ice, dip the donut or cookie into the warm glaze and gently swish around to cover. Remove and sprinkle immediately while it’s still wet and warm

Hand shaking sprinkles on baked donuts

If you are pouring on top of a bundt cake or sweet quick bread, the same rules apply. It’s best done on warm baked goods and done quickly. If you are going to sprinkle, then do so immediately while the icing is still warm and wet.

Some yummy vegan baked goods to ice with browned butter glaze

The printable recipe card for Browned Butter Glaze

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hand dipping baked donut into glaze

Browned Butter Glaze, Vegan

Rich and buttery, this browned butter glaze takes donuts, bundt cakes, and soft cookies to a whole new flavor level. With the classic glazed icing ingredients enhanced by browned plant-based butter, this tasty glaze brings your baked goods to a whole new level.
from 21 reader reviews
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Topping
Cuisine: American
Keyword: browned butter icing, vegan glaze
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 186kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey


  • stove top


  • 5 Tablespoons vegan butter use stick butter, not tub
  • cup plant milk
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt


  • Melt the vegan butter in a saucepan on medium heat, watching and stirring occasionally so that it melts evenly. It will start to brown slightly. Allow that to happen but watch carefully.so that it doesn't burn.
  • While the vegan butter is melting, whisk together the plant milk and cornstarch, removing any lumps.
  • Turn down the heat to low. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the melted vegan butter and stir together.
  • Stir in the powdered sugar until smooth.
  • Stir in the vanilla and the pinch of salt.
  • This buttery glaze will be warm and runny. Use right away. It will harden as it cools.


This glazed icing will begin to harden as it cools so work quickly while it’s still hot. Pour onto baked goods or dip individual pieces. 
If you are dipping individual pieces it will begin to harden before you are finished. It helps to place your pan over a hot bowl or pan of water – similar to a double boiler. You can also microwave for about 15 seconds to reheat. If you do that too many times though, it will be too thick and a little grainy. 
Since the glaze should be hot when working with it, do not allow children to “help” with this part. They can be standing by to quickly sprinkle decorations. 


Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 223IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

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By on October 19th, 2021

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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