vegan gluten free vanilla cupcakes lined up beside each other with a bite in the middle cupcake

These gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes are super light and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness. Easy to make in 1 bowl and just 9 ingredients! (Eggless, dairy free + oil free).

vegan gluten free vanilla cupcakes without cupcake liner on

Since baking up these Vegan Lemon Cupcakes, I’ve been dreaming about all the cupcake flavours. Black sesame matcha, maple tahini banana, key lime coconut, chocolate chip strawberry, mocha chocolate… and of course vanilla.

I knew vanilla would be the hardest to tackle because the flavour is so simple that anything strange in flavour or texture would be noticeable. Theres a reason chocolate cake is much easier to make and is more forgiving.

I tested these cupcakes about 8 times with different flours, ratios and ingredients to make sure they were perfect and fool-proof. These check off everything I look for in a simple vanilla cupcake:

  • pillowy soft and fluffy
  • moist but not gummy
  • tender-chewy crumb
  • subtly sweet
  • and so good you can eat it without frosting

It’s a bold statement but I think these are the best vanilla cupcakes vegan and gluten free or not.

almond flour vanilla cupcake ingredients in bowls on a marble back drop

Ingredients for Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

These easy vegan vanilla cupcakes are made with just 10 healthier and simple ingredients (plus frosting) keeping them gluten free, oil free, eggless and dairy free:

  • Super Fine Almond flour: I typically go for oat flour to be the base ingredient but because vanilla is such a simple flavour, we don’t want to distract it with any other nutty flavours. Almond flour has more of a rich and buttery flavour and texture which helps enhance that vanilla flavour. Also, superfine is ideal here for the best crumb.
  • Potato starch: Since almond flour is a dense gluten free flour, potato starch helps make it lighter and fluffier. Make sure not to mix it up with potato flour!
  • White Rice flour: Gives these cupcakes a nice bouncy ‘chew‘ that is missing in the other flours and helps bind the ingredients together. Sweet rice flour will make these cupcakes too chewy so be sure to use white rice flour.
  • Corn Starch: Similar to cake flour which is what makes cakes pillow-y soft.
  • Non dairy yogurt: Gives extra flavour and gives the perfect amount of moisture to these cupcakes. Use a runnier non dairy yogurt (I use Presidents Choice Coconut Yogurt). If your yogurt is thicker, replace 1 tbsp with more non dairy milk to thin it out. I’ve tested these cupcakes with 3 different brands of coconut yogurt and for some reason, some react with the baking soda more than others. If you’re unsure about the acidity level of your yogurt add in a bit of apple cider vinegar just incase.
  • Cane sugar: The best neutral sugar for vanilla cupcakes! Coconut sugar can be used but the flavour and appearance will be slightly different.
  • Lite canned coconut milk: Other non dairy milks can be used but coconut milk gives more richness to the cupcakes.
  • Vanilla: Use GOOD quality vanilla extract here!

In addition, you’ll also need baking basics such as salt, baking powder and baking soda.

How to Make Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Batter: Add all the wet ingredients and whisk until combined. Then add in the dry ingredients. Sift in the baking powder and baking soda for even distribution and stir until well combined and there are no more large lumps of flour.
  2. Bake: Fill cupcake liners 2/3-3/4 of the way full. Then bake them on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes. To know if they’re done, press on the tops of one of the cupcakes– it should feel springy and bounce back up. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 1 minute. Then carefully transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and flip them upside down to cool. This prevents the cupcakes from ‘sinking’ in while cooling.
  3. Frost: I used a simple coconut whip cream frosting here by whipping up 1 can of 400ml coconut cream with 2 tbsp maple syrup and piping it with a wilton 2D tip. You can also use a standard vegan butter cream, cashew buttercream frosting, chocolate frosting or this coconut yogurt cream frosting. Be sure that the cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting!
vanilla cupcakes with coconut whip cream frosting on a white plate

Tips & Tricks for Perfect Vegan Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Check oven temperature: be sure that the oven temp is 350 F for flat top cupcakes. A hotter oven may cause the cupcakes to burst on the top. If insure, set oven to 325 F and bake 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Use parchment cupcake liners: to prevent the cupcakes from sticking to the liners. Alternatively, you can spray regular cupcake liners.
  • Cool the cupcakes upside down: helps the cupcakes stay tall and fluffy without sinking in the middle.
  • Don’t let the cupcakes sit in the pan for long: they’ll end up soggy on the bottom due to the steam coming out of the cupcakes.
  • Make sure the cupcakes cool completely before frosting: to prevent melting.
  • Storing: Once fully cooled, place unfrosted cupcakes in a air tight container. They will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature and 2 months in the freezer. When ready, let them thaw before decorating.
  • Make Ahead: I highly recommend frosting your cupcakes as close to when you’re about to serve them. The day before the event, bake the cupcakes, let them cool and store them in an air tight container at room temperature. Prepare the frosting and keep in the fridge. Before the event/serving, whip the frosting once more, place in a piping bag and decorate. Then serve and enjoy!
overhead shot of frosted vanilla cupcakes

I hope you try and love these Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes! They are so delicately soft, fluffy and perfect for holidays, events and celebrations!

vanilla cupcake with a bite shot and coconut whip cream frosting on top

If you recreate this recipe for Vegan Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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vanilla cupcake with a bite shot and coconut whip cream frosting on top

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.3 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x


These vegan gluten free vanilla cupcakes are super light and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness. Easy to make in 1 bowl and just 10 ingredients! (Eggless, dairy free + oil free).


Units Scale


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line a cupcake tray with 12 parchment liners. 
  • Add coconut milk, coconut yogurt and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add in the almond flour, potato starch, corn starch, rice flour, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until well incorporated. The batter should be pourable but not too thin or liquidy. 
  • Divide batter evenly between the cupcake liners (about 3/4 of the way full). 
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes and until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. To double check, press the tops of one of the cupcakes– they should bounce back up and feel springy. 
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting. 
  • Frost cooled cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, coconut whip cream or coconut yogurt frosting. 


  • *You can use another non dairy milk but the cupcakes will lose some richness. 
  • ** I typically always use coconut yogurt where the texture is not too thick but also not runny (either Presidents Choice or So Delicious brand). If using a thicker yogurt, remove 1 tbsp and thin it out with 1 tbsp non dairy milk. The acidity levels of yogurt brands seems to differ slightly. If you have a yogurt that is neutral in flavour (less tang) add in 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar to ensure it reacts with the baking soda. 
  • *** For refined sugar free cupcakes, use coconut sugar but note that it does alter the flavour and look of the cupcakes. 
  • Helpful Equipment: cupcake tray, cupcake liners, mixing bowl, spatula, whisk, piping bags, Wilton 2D piping tip 
  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer) without frosting. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, north american


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 226
  • Sugar: 13.5g
  • Sodium: 413mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 28.3g
  • Fiber: 2.9g
  • Protein: 4.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0


vanilla cupcakes close up shot with coconut whip cream on top with pinterest text overlay

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. Hello Lisa,

    Is 120 gram potato starch the correct weight? When I mesure 1/2 + 2 tbls I come to another weight.
    Thank you.

  2. These cupcakes are absolutely easy to make and turn out super moist, fluffy and yummy. That will definitely be a recipe to be used over and over again.

  3. The flavor is amazing but mine came out too moist .. I only had the full fat coconut on hand, but thought that since I used more of the liquid part than the solid fat part it might work…. shucks. I only put 4 in the oven.. is there a way to resurrect the rest of the batter? Would more almond flour dry it out a bit more ?

  4. Hi Lisa!
    I can’t have corn and corn by-products. Do you have a suggestion for a substitution for the corn starch? I’m thinking maybe arrowroot or tapioca??
    Thank you 🙂

  5. Hey Lisa, another question here! Corn starch is listed as one of the ingredients, but not included in the instructions. So should I use both potato starch and corn starch for a total of 4 1/2 tbsp of starch? Thanks!!

  6. Hey Lisa! Can I use regular canned coconut milk instead of lite? Thanks in advance and love the bright formatting of your website <3

    1. Hi Cindy! I think full fat should work, they might be a bit too moist so you could do half full fat coconut milk and half almond milk if you have that on hand. Also for the starch question, as written it’s 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp potato starch and 2 tbsp corn starch– added in at the same time! I hope that helps 🙂

  7. Hello lisa, nice to meet you. I have a question about the recipe
    Can I use rice starch or cornstarch instead of potato starch?
    Thanks for sharing💚

    1. Hi! I tested this with corn starch and it got VERY almost too soft so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you like ultra soft cupcakes.