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

Ingredients needed 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 1/4 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 1/2 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!

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 42 votes
This makes the Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! Perfect for frosting carrot cake, red velvet cake, and piping onto cupcakes! Smooth, creamy, and delicious!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 36 cupcakes or (1) 8″ or 9″ layered cake


  • 2 (8-ounce) packages (452 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) butter, softened
  • 3 cups (340 g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 g) 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, 1/2 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. 


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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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.

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review


  1. 5 stars
    I made this version to complement a 1865 Louisiana gingerbread I baked. There was no gingerbread left, and everyone loved the cream cheese icing. It truly is a delicious icing that isn’t powder sugar dominant leaving the cream cheese flavor to savor. Thank you!

  2. Hi Robyn! I need to color this cream cheese frosting for my granddaughters birthday party. It’s a Grinch themed party, so some of my frosting will be white, and a little will need to be green. How would you suggest to do this? I have a gel food color and also regular food color. Thank you!!!

  3. I’ve always baked a cake from a box.
    Im going to try my first cake with your chocolate cake recipe.
    Wish me luck.

    1. 5 stars
      The best cream cheese icing ever and it’s easy!!!! Thank you so much!!!! You have changed the game for my cakes forever!!!!♥️

  4. The best ever cream cheese frosting I’ve ever tasted! It is so soft and spreadable on sugar cookies. Thank you!😊😊😊

  5. 5 stars
    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