Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

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5 from 42 votes
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This is the Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! It’s perfect for frosting cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and more. It’s smooth and delicious and so easy to make with just four ingredients!

Cream Cheese Frosting is one of my family’s favorite frostings and I’ve been making it for many years. This versatile frosting recipe is perfect for frosting cakes like hummingbird cakered velvet cake, carrot cake, and cupcakes and is a special favorite on my Cinnamon Rolls. Fluffy, creamy, and delicious – you’ll want to make this frosting again and again!

Fluffy cream cheese frosting after mixing with hand mixer.

This Cream Cheese Frosting is just perfect for so many cakes and desserts and is so quick and easy to make with just four simple ingredients. It is a great recipe to add to your recipe collection along with my buttercream frosting. While buttercreams are usually a bit sweeter, both are equally useful and versatile. Like buttercream, this cream cheese frosting is sturdy enough to be piped for decorating cakes and cupcakes and can be easily colored with food dyes. Did I mention it is delicious?!

Photo of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans.
Cream cheese frosting being spread with an offset spatula onto a Red Velvet sheet cake.
Silver cake stand holds Hummingbird Cake topped with Cheese Frosting.

Let me share how easy it is to make this scrumptious frosting!

Tips for the BEST Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Make sure cream cheese and butter are fully softened so that the frosting is lump-free and creamy.
  • Use full fat cream cheese. No low fat or reduced fat or it won’t turn out as delicious!
  • Desserts topped with this frosting require refrigeration.
  • Sift powdered sugar so that it 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.
  • If you need to make it thinner, use a tablespoon (at a time) of heavy cream. You can make it thicker with an extra tablespoon (at a time)of powdered sugar. Mix after each addition until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s so quick and easy to make with four simple ingredients.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting recipe - Powdered Sugar, Vanilla, Butter and Cream Cheese.
Ingredients needed to make the best cream cheese frosting are measured into bowls and measuring spoons and on baking sheet along with softened cream cheese and butter.

Cream Cheese

  • Use full-fat cream cheese you’ve allowed to fully soften.
  • Do not use low-fat, reduced-fat, or cream cheese spread.

Butter

  • 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 (Powdered Sugar)

  • 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

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

How to Make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

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

Two softened blocks of cream cheese and softened butter in a glass mixing bowl on marble countertop.
Cream cheese and butter are creamed together with hand mixer in glass mixing bowl.

Soften cream cheese and butter. Then cream until smooth (about 3 minutes) in a mixing bowl making sure there are no lumps.

Glass mixing bowl with smooth cream cheese and butter with powdered sugar added.
Vanilla extract added to cream cheese frosting mixture and mixed with hand mixer.
Overhead of glass mixing bowl with fluffy cream cheese frosting mixed with a hand mixer. Bowl is sitting on marble countertop.

Add in powdered sugar a bit at a time according to the recipe, mixing after each addition until all sugar is added. Then add the vanilla and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Can You Make This Frosting Thinner or Thicker?

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

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

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.

Storage Tips

To store: Place frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days, but do not freeze as it will ruin the consistency of the frosting.

Desserts topped with this frosting require refrigeration. Store those desserts in airtight container in the refrigerator.

To use after it’s been refrigerated: Remove frosting from the refrigerator and add a tablespoon of heavy cream to the frosting. Then mix with an electric mixer until the frosting returns to a fluffy, 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 wish to pipe it onto cakes or cupcakes.

If you tried this Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below. Thanks for visiting!

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 42 votes
This makes the Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! Perfect for frosting cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and more! It's smooth and delicious and so easy to make with just four ingredients!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 36 cupcakes or (1) 8″ or 9″ layered cake

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

Use only full fat block cream cheese. Do not use cream cheese in tub. 
To thin the frosting, add 1 Tablespoon of Heavy Cream at a time and mix until it reaches the desired consistency.
To thicken the frosting, add 1 Tablespoon of Powdered Sugar at a time and mix until it reaches the desired consistency.
Storage Tips
To store: Place frosting 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.
Desserts topped with this frosting require refrigeration. Store those desserts in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To use: Remove frosting from the refrigerator and add a tablespoon of heavy cream to the frosting and mix with an electric mixer until the frosting returns to a spreadable consistency.
 

Nutrition

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.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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




160 Comments

  1. Margaret says:

    5 stars
    I Love this Cream Cheese Frosting is the BEST I’VE HAD! You have to try it for yourself.

  2. Palm Springs Real Estate Services says:

    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!

  3. Sharon Kaawa says:

    5 stars
    easy to make and tastes delicious

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thank you, Sharon. I also love how easy this frosting is to make.

  4. Debbie says:

    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!!!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Debbie, I would use the gel food coloring.

  5. Kimmie says:

    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. Robyn Stone says:

      Hope you enjoy your cake, Kimmie!

  6. Joyce Hight says:

    first attempt at baking a homemade cake & frosting.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Hope you enjoy the cake, Joyce.

    2. Mesha says:

      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!!!!♥️

    3. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks, Mesha. I’m so glad you found this recipe easy and loved it.

  7. Jackie says:

    Looks good. Do you use whisk or paddle attachment?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I use the paddle attachment, Jackie. Hope you enjoy!

  8. MammyC says:

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

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I’m so happy you enjoy this frosting, MammyC. Thank you.

  9. Sheila R Bailey says:

    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