This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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 - addapinch.com

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.

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 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 addapinch.com

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!

Ingredients  

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

Notes

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

Shout Out

Did you make this recipe?

Mention @addapinch or tag #addapinch!


Share it with the world!

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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

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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Review




Comments

  1. Um, little Buddy sounds like he’s on to something with the pancakes! How SMART is he?!?

    I *love* cream cheese frosting. LOVE.IT. I think I’ll make your recipe and stash it in the fridge….for “emergencies.” Ha!

  2. I’m pretty sure I saw cinnamon swirl or cinnamon bun type pancakes on pinterest yesterday… mmm… dinner tonight… something warm & comforting on this very rainy day!!! 🙂

  3. Cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite things in all the land!!

    And also…I like the pancake idea. Love it, actually. Smart kid.

  4. So waiting (impatiently) for the pumpkin cake recipe; I’ll have to make it quick as our fall is disappearing; one swift wind and all the leaves will have fallen ;(

  5. I LOVE cream cheese frosting and there is nothing better than licking frosting off of a spoon. They should call it *frosting therapy*. It cures many aliments. 🙂

    1. I love this cream cheese frosting for frosting cakes. It works great on so many – from pumpkin cake, red velvet, carrot. It does require being refrigerated so that might help make your decision on which frosting to use at a particular time.

  6. Can the cream cheese frosting be piped onto a cake? The recipe sounds delicious and I’d like to try it on my Orange blossom cake!
    And if the frosting CAN be piped, does it have to be refrigerated right up until serving time, or could I display the pretty cake on a cake stand for all to be tempted by?!

  7. Thank you once again Robyn, I made this just now for my Thanksgiving Dinner for later tonight. I’ve searched the net for the best cream cheese icing and after making your chocolate cake and frosting and it turned out magnificence, I searched your site to find this delightful recipe!!! So, light, fluffy and full of flavor. Thank you and Happy Holidays.

  8. Hi, I made this icing a few days ahead of time…….one of the first times I’ve ever made homemade icing. 🙂 It tasted really good! But the day I needed it, I got it out of the fridge and beat it a little in the mixer. It was still pretty firm. I then added some food coloring because I was decorating a cake with it. It ended up turning too thin to decorate with! I even tried to add powdered sugar. 🙁 I ended up having to throw it away. Any suggestions on what went wrong?

    1. from my experience, adding too much powdered sugar to the cream cheese actually has the opposite effect, it causes the frosting to become thinner. Also , perhaps the frosting wasn’t room temperature before you tried to blend it up? would so sad to have put all that cream cheese and butter down the drain 🙁

  9. This met rave reviews when paired with your white cake. I really wanted a pink icing for my daughter’s cake and it occurred to me to use fresh strawberry cream cheese from the bagel shop down the street in place of regular cream cheese. The result was a gorgeous pale pink frosting that didn’t require me to fool around with food coloring. Thanks for this recipe!!

  10. Cream cheese frosting has always stolen my heart. You make a mean delicious one right here! Can’t wait to try it!

  11. Oh how I love baked goods. That looks so good. I think I need to make a cake soon!

  12. I would like to know how much cream has to be added to the butter and the cream cheese . You say add the butter and the cream together to the cream cheese.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Gene,
      There isn’t any cream in the recipe. I used the term “cream” and probably should have used a better term. Basically, you are just combining the butter and cream cheese together until it is smooth and fluffy. I hope that makes it clearer. Sorry for any confusion.

  13. Halo! I like very much your recipe but I would like if you can wright the measures in grams for people from Europe because it is difficult to recalculate your measures to our. Thank you very much!

  14. Hello, This recipe sounds awesome, but can anyone tell me what size of the cake i may frost with given amount? It sais 3 layer cake, but at what size? 12″, 8″, 3″?

    Regards

  15. Great recipe! So glad I found it! I modified just a tad because I wanted a little more tangy/cream-cheesy flavor. I added 10 drops of lemon juice, and it was off-the-charts delicious. I only needed a little frosting, so I quartered the recipe. Obviously you’d need more lemon juice for a larger batch.

  16. Wanted to find a frosting recipe and thought this was the best I could find — how wrong was I . Wasted all the ingredients as it wouldn’t thicken up it stayed as a runny consistency . Not a Happy Bunny as I needed to use it for my cake as I had visitors coming .
    AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED THIS RECIPE WAS A COMPLETE FLOP

    VERY DISAPPOINTED

    1. I’m so sorry the frosting didn’t work for you. I’ve not had a problem with it remaining runny and hate that it didn’t turn out perfectly when you tried it.

    2. Maybe Carol should have tried adding more sugar. I made a batch for a hummingbird cake and can’t wait to try it. I only wish I had made a bit more for three 9 inch layers.i added a pinch of salt as I always do to something completely sweet. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Totally the best cream cheese frosting. Easy to make, tastes great! I used clear vanilla extract & only 2tsp, sifted confectioners sugar just to be sure. Loved it on the carrot cake! Left over extra frosting is a bonus!

  18. Hi Robyn

    At the foot of your instructions you mentioned add the vanilla and cream. There is on cream listed on the ingredients list. Can you please confirm the exact measurements or was this an error?

    Waiting in anticipation ; )

    1. You are just miss reading the instructions, it says add vanilla, cream until well blended.

  19. The ingredient list does not list cream, only cream cheese. Please include cream, and quantity, in your ingredient list.

    1. Hi Sheri,
      Cream is not in the ingredients. I used the term cream for mixing together the ingredients. The term beat or mix might have been clearer. Sorry for any confusion.

    2. Ha Ha. I had to double check the recipe, but when I read the directions, I understood what was meant instantly. With a picture as good-looking as that cake, I highly doubted the recipe lacked an ingredient. The cooks coming up today are certainly “challenged.”

  20. Do you know in the way of cupcakes how many this would frost? I am doing a wedding in June and have to frost 60 red velvet cupcakes and I am looking for a recipe that is not so sweet and this seems to be one of the best I can find!

  21. Mine will NOT thicken up, its 23.38, it’s my daughter’s 21st birthday tomorrow and all the shops that would sell the ingredients I just wasted and need to replace, are shut.
    Can I add that the error regarding the cream is that of Robyn’s not Peggy’s; the grammar that would have made “cream” a verb was missing therefore it read as if “cream” was a noun.
    Also, who is Miss Reading?

  22. Can I apologise for the second half of the comment I just sent, it’s rude. My excuse is I’m frustrated and panicking, it’s lame too.

    1. Hi Sara,
      I’m so sorry that it didn’t thicken for you. One thing that could cause problems is if you use reduced fat cream cheese. I’m not sure if you did or not, but that has caused problems with this recipe. xo

  23. Your recipe sound traditional home made and delicious! This question is not-too-smart, but how do I use this frosting recipe as glaze for cookies, brownies, etc.? thanks

  24. i need to make a cake and some cupcakes. Would it be ok if i frost and leave cupcakes and cake overnight in the fridge, then take out 3 hours before the party time and leave at room temperature? would it affect the taste in any way?
    thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. almost forgot, how many times do i need to multiply the recipe for 24 cupcakes and 10″ cake?
    i bake like once a year for my son’s birthday, and it is all a rocket science for me.
    thank you!!!!!!!!

  26. Hello,
    i wanted to bake for baby boy shower party and i wanted blue color for the frosting, how and when to add the color, and what brand do i need for this recipe, liquid food coloring, gel or paste?
    Thanks a lot.
    joan

    1. Hi Joan,
      I’ve not colored this frosting, but I’ve read others have used a gel or paste color with success. Thanks!

  27. How long can the iced cake stay out on counter? I will have to make on Dec. 23 to take to my daughter’s house on morning of Dec. 25th?

    1. Hi Denise – Desserts with cream cheese frosting do require refrigeration. You’ll want to place the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator before until it’s completely eaten. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Thanks so much! xo

  28. I made this for a red velvet cake and added a teaspoon of vinegar to the frosting. It made a nice addition.

  29. I just made this for a red velvet cake. It is not thick enough. If I put it in the fridge overnight will it thicken up? Is there anything else I can try?

    1. Hi Laura,
      I’m sorry it didn’t get thick enough – I’ve not had that happen. Is there a chance the butter got too warm (warmer than room temperature?) If so, that could be the reason…and you could refrigerate for a while til cool, then beat with mixer until fluffy, then frost the cake. I hope this helps. Thanks!

  30. Hello. I love this recipe and I’m about to try it today. Next week I am going to make a cake and cover it with this recipe. And my question is. Can I put the frosting on the cake in friday morning and keep it until saturday lunch without the frosting getting Bad? I’m going away on friday so the morning is my only chanse where I have time enough. I’ll do a “test cake” today to make sure what kind of “frosting” I can use.
    I’m swedish so I apologize for not perfect english hehe.

  31. I have always loved cream cheese icing, so does my husband on a moist Hershey’s semi sweet chocolate cocoa homemade cake, so this is the first time I made homemade icing instead of store bought, and the way I made it was with 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 3 1/2 cups of 10x confectioners sugar and the 16ozs of cream cheese and no vanilla and let me tell you if GOD has cream cheese icing in heaven, this would be the one, so thanks a billion for letting us fellow cooking readers into your recipe secrets and that it, the recipe could be done a little different and it turned out again, heavenly. Bless you and your dedication in cooking because it sure came out in this one recipe for now that I have tried! See I am new to your site and will look here first if I need any help with my recipes or am looking for a new recipe, thanks again!

    1. I’m so happy to have you join me here, KAS! And I’m just tickled that you enjoyed the frosting! So honored that mine was your first homemade frosting and that you enjoyed it so much! I love this frosting too!
      Your comment is so kind and so appreciated and I hope to speak with you again!
      Thank you so very much! xo

  32. In one part of the receipt is asks to blend cream together with cream cheese until light and fluffy. My question to you is what cream is it asking for since it is not in the ingredients? Thank you Gloria

    1. Hi Gloria,
      “Cream” in that part of the instructions is referring to a step in the recipe – a cooking term, like blend or mix. Thank you – I hope you enjoy the frosting! xo

  33. Loved this frosting! The kids and I finished what was left from icing the carrot cake. This is my 3rd time making it and it sure won’t be the last!

  34. Robyn, many thanks for the recipe. I just made a carrot cake with your frosting for my wife’s birthday. She’ll be home any minute now, and I know she’ll love the frosting most of all!

  35. I scrolled through the comments but couldn’t find the answer to my question-what is the three layer cake that is in the picture? It looks like an apple cake. Do you have the recipe for the cake? Thanks

    1. Hi Jill! The cake you see in some of the Cream Cheese Frosting pictures is my Hummingbird Cake. It is AMAZING! I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try! Thanks! xo

  36. not sure if my comment made it on so I’ll try again. What is the three layer cake in the picture? An apple cake with cream cheese frosting? I would love to find the recipe for it, thanks

  37. If I wanted to make this an Oreo Cookie Cream cheese frosting, what alterations would you suggest? Thanks!

    1. Substitute some of the cream cheese with oreo cream filling. Take the cookies, put them in a plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until you have crumbs. Then add the oreo cookie crumbs to the frosting! I haven’t made it like this but it seems like that’s how most oreo themed baked goods I’ve seen around make it.

  38. I’m not sure what cream cheese to buy .. I got quark soft cheese but I don’t think that’s right 🙁 is there any brand names to make it easier for me to find? I can’t find philly in a block anywhere

  39. Hi – 
    I want to frost the best chocolate cupcakes (your recipe) with this cream cheese frosting. 
    Couple of questions: 
    1) do you think this frosting on the chocolate cupcakes would go well together? 
    2) how many cupcakes will this recipe frost? 
    Thank you

    1. This will be delicious on the Best Chocolate Cupcakes! I hope you enjoy them – so good! xo

  40. This was the absolute best cream cheese frosting I have ever made or had in my life. I used it on a red velvet cake that I took to work and all of my coworkers thought it was divine! Thank you for sharing it!

    1. I’m thrilled to hear that you all enjoyed the frosting Rhonda! It’s so good on red velvet cake! Thanks!

    2. Frosting tasted delicious but it was thin put it in the refrigerator for a while was a little better

    3. Hi Karen,
      I’m sorry your frosting was thin. There are a few reasons I can think that could cause this. The cream cheese could have been beaten too much before the butter was added which would cause it to start to separate. The stand mixers are so powerful sometimes they can beat ingredients too hard and you don’t realize it. The butter could have been too soft. It needs to be just at stage where you can barely make a dent in it when you press it with your finger. The butter and the cream cheese both should be full fat. Hope this helps!

    4. Must use full fat cream cheese. I made a different cream cheese frosting and the first time I used a reduced fat cream cheese and it was too soft. Next time I used full fat and it was just right

  41. Do your instructions for beating in the sugar mean to crank up the mixer for each addition of the sugar or just after you have added  all of the sugar.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Martha,
      You’ll mix in with the electric mixer after each addition, then after all additions have been made, then crank it up to highest speed for time noted in recipe. Thanks!

  42. Looks like a good recipe. I’m using it with your Best Chocolate Cake {Ever} recipe since that’s what my friend wants for her birthday. But before I make the cake and since I need to go to the store anyways, what kind of butter do you use for this recipe? I would assume unsalted, but just want to make sure. Thanks!

  43. My frosting was runny as well. I’m so disappointed. The butter and cream cheese were room temperature. I tried adding extra powdered sugar. No luck. I tried freezing it too, didn’t help. I had just taken a cake decorating class and was very excited to use this.  Big bummer….

    1. It sounds like your cream cheese and/or butter got too warm before you made the frosting. It should only be softened, not melted or “mushy”. Here’s a post about Softening Butter.
      I hope this helps, Judi. I’m sorry it was too thin. Thanks.

  44. I made this and it taste delicious. The only problem is that it was too soft. My cream cheese and butter were both room temperature. I saw at least one other person had this problem. Still. easy to make and taste great.

    1. I’m sorry it was too soft. It does sound like the butter and cream cheese got too warm though, Cindy. I am happy though that you enjoyed how easy it is to make and you liked the taste. Thanks!

  45. helped my friend make this last minute though she is not a good baker haha this turned out great thank you so much for this recipe easy and delicious!

  46. Great frosting!  Not too sweet and the cream cheese flavor predominates.  This will be my “go-to” recipe from now on.

  47. Hi! I am making this right now for my granddaughter’s birthday celebration this evening. It is very runny even though I have added quite a bit of extra 10 X sugar. My butter & cream cheese were still very firm when I started. I am very disappointed and upset! I now have to figure out something for this cake! I have no supplies left which means I now have to make a trip to the store! What’s up with this? I have been baking for 55 years & I should have gone with my instincts! Way too much cream cheese & way too little sugar!

    1. I’m so sorry you had problems with this recipe. I’ve not had that issue with the ratio of cream cheese and sugar in this recipe. For reference, I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese and generally use Land O’ Lakes butter. I’ve used other brands successfully as well. Another thought on what may have caused an issue is if you didn’t beat the frosting on high speed as mentioned in step 3 after each addition of the confectioner’s sugar. That makes a huge difference.

  48. Do you think maybe a reason for runny constancy is using cream cheese in the tub vs block? JW.
    Can’t wait to rry!!

    1. That may make a difference, Yvonne, especially since it’s already creamier than the block of cream cheese. I always use the cream cheese in the blocks. I hope you enjoy this! xo

  49. Also making this with butter and not margarine will change the recipe a lot…I found this out when something I was baking said use butter and I used margarine instead and the cookies(I think that’s what I was making) came out runny…the batter was different and so was the cookie after baking them, margarine makes cookie spread out more well cooking….anyways I’m using this recipe tonight on red velvet! I’ll let you know how it goes 😄

    1. You are so right, Deanne. It is important to use butter in recipes when it’s listed for the desired results. I hope you enjoy the frosting! xo

  50. Hi, 

    I was wondering how many cupcakes this would frost. I was thinking half of the recipe for 12 cupcakes,
    Thanks.

  51. Will this frosting work with Russian Piping tips or will it not be thick enough? If not think enough, any tips on making it a bit thicker?

    Thanks!

    1. Heather,
      I have not used Russian piping tips with this frosting so I’m not sure how it would work. Sorry I couldn’t help you.

  52. Hi, 
    Is it possible to make chocolate cream cheese frosting?! If so, do you recommend adding cocoa powder and espresso powder? If so, how much? 
    Thank you!

  53. 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

  54. 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.

  55. 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,
    Elaine

  56. 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