Even if you’re on a restricted diet, you don’t have to miss out on yummy treats like cupcakes. These Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cupcakes taste great, and they’re easy to make. They’re also oil-free and contain a lot less sugar. You’ll be in cupcake heaven in no time!

A vanilla cupcake topped with vanilla frosting on a marble counter.

Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? They are the perfect single-serving cake.

I’m sharing the ultimate cupcake recipe, making fluffy, moist, and soft cupcakes with just the right sweetness. And, they’re gluten-free and dairy-free! 

The frosting in this recipe is smooth and creamy and only has four ingredients. You can use it for piping or slather it onto the cupcakes and top it with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or other decorations.

The best part is that these yummy vanilla cupcakes are so tasty and fluffy that you’d never know they’re gluten-free and dairy-free.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • Do you have vegan friends or family who are also gluten-free? This vanilla cupcake recipe is suitable for many different dietary needs.
  • These cupcakes contain significantly less sugar than most cupcake recipes, making them healthier. 
  • It’s a quick and easy recipe to make – perfect for kids’ birthday parties or a work event.
Pink and purple cupcake papers in a stack.

What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe

You’ll need some basic equipment to make these cupcakes. Most kitchens will have everything necessary, and even if you don’t, there are substitutes you can use. 

1. Mixing Bowls

You’ll need one large and two medium-sized mixing bowls for this recipe. You can use any mixing bowl, whether it’s plastic or glass. 

2. Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

You can use any type of muffin liners, free-standing baking cups, or even ramekins. If you don’t have any and you’re craving cupcakes, you can always grease the pan the old-fashioned way. Use dairy-free butter, oil, or cooking spray, whatever you have in the kitchen. 

Tip: If you regularly bake muffins or cupcakes, you might want to get some reusable silicone muffin cups. They work really well, and you’ll never have to worry about running to the store for muffin liners if you feel like whipping up a batch of these delicious cupcakes.

3. Muffin Pan or Cupcake Tin

Even if you use muffin liners, a muffin pan gives you the peace of mind that your muffin liners won’t collapse with the batter in and leave a gooey mess in your oven!

If you don’t have a muffin pan, you could use a baking sheet as long as your muffin liners are sturdy, double up on liners, or use free-standing baking cups or silicone muffin cups. This batter is not extremely runny, so it should be okay.

4. Electric hand mixer

It’s best to use a handheld electric mixer for the frosting. A hand whisk could work, but it will take quite a lot of time and effort. 

5. Whisk

Using a hand whisk instead of an electric hand mixer for your batter is best to avoid overbeating it.  

Ingredients and Substitutes

These cupcakes are perfect the way they are, and it’s best not to change too many ingredients. Here are some tips about sourcing the best quality ingredients and what’s okay to substitute.

Gluten-Free Flour

If you have a favorite gluten-free flour blend, go ahead and use it. Regular gluten-free flour for baking would contain a blend of ingredients like brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, chickpea flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xantham gum for stability.

I like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour; it’s my go-to for baking.

Pure Cane Sugar

You can use any granulated sugar for this recipe.

However, darker sugar may alter the cupcakes’ color, and it will almost certainly change the flavor. I’ve used coconut sugar successfully and tried raw sugar, which worked okay.

I think pure cane sugar is your best bet for perfect cupcakes.

Baking Powder

When you buy baking powder, always check that it’s aluminum-free and gluten-free.

If you don’t have any, don’t try just any substitute, it may not work with this recipe. I can only recommend one: For every teaspoon of baking powder you need, combine ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Full-Fat Coconut Milk 

This is an ingredient that you cannot substitute. If you use any other type of milk, the texture will become drier, chewy, or both! Don’t use almond milk in this recipe; coconut milk is best.

Look for pure, full-fat coconut milk without additional stabilizers, sweeteners, and additives.

Maple Syrup

You can use any liquid sweetener like honey or agave nectar if you don’t have maple syrup. It will alter the flavor slightly, but the cupcakes will still be delicious. 

Vanilla Extract

It’s always best to get pure vanilla extract and avoid vanilla essence.

Vanilla essence is a more processed product than vanilla extract made with artificial flavors and colors.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Baking is not just about flavor; it’s chemistry! Vinegar leavens the cupcakes, so they rise better and have a nice crumb.

If you don’t have apple cider vinegar in your pantry, you can use white wine vinegar or unseasoned rice wine vinegar – both will work without drastically altering the flavor. Or, see my full list of the best substitutes for apple cider vinegar in baking.

Vegan Butter 

This is for your frosting, so it should be a tasty, creamy vegan butter without too much added salt. You can use any type you enjoy. 

Powdered Sugar

This is the only sugar suitable for this frosting. Granular sugar will give it a grainy texture, so it won’t work. 

A woman using a hand mixer in a glass bowl of frosting.

Recipe Steps

Step One

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Step Two

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk well.

Then, combine the wet ingredients into a separate smaller bowl.

Step Three

Slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the larger bowl as you whisk it all together.

Step Four

Pour the batter into the muffin tin (you can use a cookie scoop if you like) and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Step Five

Make the frosting. Once the cupcakes are done baking, let them cool completely before frosting.

Enjoy at room temperature or chilled. I hope you and your family and friends love these gluten free dairy free and vegan vanilla cupcakes as much as mine do!

Vanilla gluten-free and dairy-free cupcakes on a white marble surface.

Recipe FAQs

Will the coconut milk make the cupcakes taste like coconut?

Not at all! The full-fat coconut milk will give the cupcakes rich moisture and make them super fluffy, but it won’t leave a coconut taste at all. The sweetness and vanilla flavor completely overwhelms any coconut flavor. 

If you like coconut flavor and want coconut cupcakes, use coconut extract instead of vanilla extract and add two tablespoons of unsweetened desiccated coconut to the frosting. 

Can I make this recipe with regular or spelt flour?

Yes, you can! You can substitute gluten-free flour with ordinary all-purpose flour or spelt baking flour, but then the recipe won’t be gluten-free. It may rise a little more and have a slightly different texture, but the cupcakes will be delicious. 

Can I use coconut oil instead of vegan butter for the frosting?

No, I would not recommend it. This recipe is light and creamy and goes perfectly with the fluffy cupcakes. If you don’t have vegan butter or don’t use it, you could try a different frosting recipe that contains coconut oil. 

Vanilla gluten-free and dairy-free cupcakes topped with white frosting like a rose.

More Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cake Recipes You Might Like

Or, try these Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes!

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

And, consider following me on social media so we can stay connected. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!

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Vanilla cupcakes on a white marble surface.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

These cupcakes taste great, and they’re easy to make. They are not only gluten- and dairy-free but also oil-free and contain a lot less sugar. You’ll be in cupcake heaven in no time!

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x


Units Scale
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like Bob’s 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, packed and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Place 12 muffin liners in a muffin pan.
  3. Combine the gluten-free flour, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well.
  4. Shake the can of coconut milk thoroughly and measure a cup of it into a separate mixing bowl. Keep some aside for the frosting. Then, whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients as you whisk it all together.
  6. Keep whisking until the batter is smooth and lump-free, but be careful not to over-whisk it; it will make the cupcakes chewy. The batter should be scoopable but not thick or runny.
  7. Divide the batter into 12 liners ensuring each liner is about halfway full.
  8. Pick up the pan and jiggle it a bit from side to side.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until you can poke a toothpick into a cupcake and it comes out dry.
  10. While the cupcakes are baking in the oven, make the frosting.
  11. Use an electric hand mixer to cream the vegan butter in a mixing bowl until it’s soft and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and one tablespoon of coconut milk. Beat on low with the mixer until it’s combined. Increase the speed and keep beating until it’s a spreadable frosting. If it’s too thick, add the other tablespoon of coconut milk a little at a time as you beat the mix on low speed.
  12. Cool the cupcakes completely before you frost them, decorate them, and enjoy them!


  1. You can substitute the cane sugar with coconut sugar, if you prefer.
  2. Look for vegan butter in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores.
  3. This recipe can easily be doubled depending in how many cupcakes you need.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 203
  • Sugar: 15.4 g
  • Sodium: 227.1 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Fiber: 0.5 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with over 5 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.