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This makes the Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! Perfect for frosting carrot cake, red velvet cake, and piping onto cupcakes! Smooth, creamy and delicious!

Cream Cheese Frosting is my all-time favorite frosting! It is perfect for frosting desserts like hummingbird cakered velvet cake, carrot cake, cupcakes, and so much more. Fluffy, creamy, and delicious this is the frosting recipe you’ll definitely want to use again and again.

Hummingbird Cake with Cheese Frosting on silver beaded edge cake stand -

This Cream Cheese Frosting is sturdy, can be easily piped for decorating cakes and cupcakes, and can be colored with food dyes similar to buttercream frosting, and did I mention it is delicious?

How to Make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting comes together quickly, but there are a few tips to make sure that you make the best cream cheese frosting possible.

Cream Cheese

  • Use full-fat cream cheese.
  • Do not use low-fat, reduced-fat, or cream cheese spread.
  • Make sure it is fully softened so that your frosting is lump-free and creamy.


  • Make sure it is fully softened, so that your frosting is as creamy as possible.
  • I use salted butter. If you use unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon of Kosher salt, if desired.

Resource: How to Soften Butter (the same method can be used for cream cheese.)

Confectioner’s Sugar

  • Sift so that your sugar is clump-free. This will make for the creamiest and prettiest frosting as well as reduce the incidence of any problems if you choose to pipe your frosting.
  • Add sugar gradually. I like to incorporate my sugar ½ cup at a time at the lowest speed possible until just combined. This prevents the confectioner’s sugar from creating a sugar cloud in my kitchen and makes sure that the ingredients are well combined.
  • Go high. After each cup of sugar has been added to your frosting, turn the speed of your mixer to the high setting for about 10 seconds to make your frosting as light and fluffy as possible.

Vanilla Extract

Use the best available to you. The vanilla extract enhances the flavor of this frosting and by using the best available to you, you can prevent any flavors that may detract from your frosting. I prefer to use my homemade vanilla extract or a really good store-bought.

Resource: How to Make Vanilla Extract

Cream Cheese Frosting in a glass bowl on white counter - from

How Much Cream Cheese Frosting Does This Recipe Make?

This recipe yields just the right amount of frosting to generously frost 36 cupcakes or a 8 to 9-inch 3-layer cake.

This recipe works well to half or double depending on the amount of frosting that you need.

Does Cream Cheese Frosting Have to Be Refrigerated?

Desserts topped with this frosting do require refrigeration. You’ll want to store a cake or cupcakes, etc in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Can You Make Ahead Cream Cheese Frosting?

Cream Cheese Frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days, but can not be frozen as it will ruin the consistency of the frosting.

To use the frosting, remove it from the refrigerator and incorporated a tablespoon of heavy cream to the frosting with an electric mixer to return it to a spreadable consistency.

Can This Cream Cheese Frosting Be Used for Piping?

Yes, absolutely! This frosting spreads and pipes beautifully. It is sturdy and holds it shape well if you choose to pipe it onto cakes or cupcakes.

Can You Make This Frosting Thinner?

If you need a thinner frosting, you can add heavy cream a tablespoon at a time to thin it to your desired consistency.

Can You Make This Cream Cheese Frosting Thicker?

If you need a thicker frosting, you can add confectioner’s sugar a tablespoon at a time to thicken it to your desired consistency.

Here’s my Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. It’s a classic that everyone loves!

5 from 36 votes

Cream Cheese Frosting

Dessert 10 mins

Prep Time 10 mins
Servings 36 cupcakes or (1) 8″ or 9″ layered cake
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
This makes the Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! Perfect for frosting carrot cake, red velvet cake, and piping onto cupcakes! Smooth, creamy, and delicious!


  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Combine softened cream cheese and butter with a stand or electric mixer until well-combined and creamy, about 3 minutes. Make sure that the mixture is free of any lumps.
  • Add confectioner's sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  • Add in vanilla and beat until well-blended, light, and fluffy.
  • Use to frost cakes or cupcakes that have been cooled completely. Store in the refrigerator.


Use only full fat block cream cheese. Do not use cream cheese in tub. 

Nutritional Information

Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 23mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

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Robyn xo

Cream Cheese Frosting makes the perfect frosting recipe for so many sweet treats. An easy, yet elegant cream cheese frosting recipe. //

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives, originally published 2011.

Cake Recipes

Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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Recipe Review


  1. Hi Robyn,

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for your amazing Carrot Cake with the incredible dreamy cream cheese frosting – since I came across it about 3 years ago it is the ONLY recipe i’ve used and will ever use………the comments that i receive and most times they can’t believe that i baked it and that it was most probably store bought…..are endless!!! So i have to salute you and give credit where it’s due…….MANY THANKS xxx

  2. This is my go to recipe for cream cheese frosting. I love it! If I ice my cake now (Thursday) will it be ok if eaten on Saturday? Refrigerated of course. Thanks for your recipe!

    1. Does this call for two 8 ounce packages for a total of 16 ounces cream cheese or two 4 ounce packages of cream cheese for a total of 8 ounces? The total ounces wasn’t clear.

  3. Excellent!! This is the best Cream Cheese Recipe ever. I will use this recipe for so many cakes, etc. So light, creamy and not so sweet that keeps you from not wanting to finish the dessert!!
    Thank you for sharing,

  4. I love your cream cheese icing recipe…I was a little confused when I changed my Mom’s recipe…Your cream cheese icing clarified some needed changes…
    Thank You

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