This easy Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is silky smooth and creamy and ready to use on all of your favorite baked goods, like cinnamon rolls, cake, cupcakes, bars and cookies! It takes less than 10 minutes to make!

Cream Cheese Frosting on a red velvet cupcake.

What I Love About This Recipe:

  • Simple Ingredients – Homemade frosting really does taste better and it’s made with simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. No strange ingredients or chemicals here!
  • Consistency – Soft and spreadable or thick enough for piping. However you want it, you control the consistency of the frosting.
  • Adaptable – If you’re looking to add pizzaz to this basic cream cheese frosting recipe, I have different flavor ideas below, like chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Cream Cheese– Make sure your cream cheese is the regular full-fat variety in a brick, not the spreadable kind sold in a tub.
  • Butter– If using unsalted butter, add a small pinch of salt to the frosting.
  • Vanilla Extract– You can make your own here or use store bought.
  • Powdered Sugar– Sweetens and thickens the frosting. I’ve found this ratio to be perfect for nearly all recipes but it is easy to adapt for your needs! Check out my tips below to thicken or thin your frosting for the perfect consistency.
The ingredients needed to make cream cheese frosting, including powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla.

How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. (Make sure both are at room temperature, so the frosting turns out smooth.) Mix in vanilla extract.

A stick of butter and a block of cream cheese added to a mixing bowl.

Sweeten and thicken: Add powdered sugar, a cup at a time beating well after each addition.

Cream cheese and butter beaten to smooth in a mixing bowl and powdered sugar added on top.

Adjust if Needed: To thicken, add additional powdered sugar, or if you want it even stiffer without making it sweeter, add a little cornstarch (start with just one small spoonful at a time). To thin the frosting, add a splash of milk (regular, evaporated, or heavy cream).

Smooth and thick cream cheese frosting in a mixing bowl, ready to be used.

Decorating:

Yield: This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting; perfect for frosting a 9×13’’ pan, two layer cake, or 12-18 cupcakes.

Piping: Fill the piping bag with frosting and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cream cheese frosting isn’t as stiff as buttercream so refrigeration will help it pipe into more defined layers.

Spreading: This cream cheese icing is ready to spread immediately. If it’s been refrigerated, allow it to sit out for 20 minutes to soften before spreading.

Make-Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: Make according to directions and place covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. Remove from refrigerator and allow to soften for 20-30 minutes before using.

To Freeze: Place homemade cream cheese frosting in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and allow 20-30 minutes to soften at room temperature before using.

Variations:

  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: Add ⅓ cup of cocoa powder.
  • Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting: Use softened vegan butter and vegan cream cheese.

Recipes that use Cream Cheese Frosting:

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Recipe

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting on a red velvet cupcake.
Prep 7 mins
Total 7 mins
Save Recipe

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • ½ cup butter , softened*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla.
  • Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well. For best results, beat frosting for several minutes, to make it extra smooth and fluffy/creamy in texture.
  • Use to frost cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies and cookie bars.

Notes

Yield: This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting; perfect for frosting a 9×13’’ cake, 2 layer cake, or 12-18 cupcakes.
Butter: if using unsalted butter, add a small pinch of salt to the frosting.
For thicker frosting: Add additional powdered sugar, or if you want it even
stiffer without making it sweeter, add a little cornstarch (start with just one
small spoonful at a time).
For thinner frosting: Add a splash of milk (regular, evaporated, or heavy
cream).
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting: add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: add ⅓ cup cocoa powder
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting: Use softened vegan butter and vegan cream cheese.
Make Ahead Instructions:  Make according to directions and place covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. Remove from refrigerator and allow to soften for 20-30 minutes before using.
Freezing Instructions: Place prepared frosting in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and allow 20-30 minutes to soften at room temperature before using.

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 121mgPotassium: 28mgSugar: 35gVitamin A: 490IUCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

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I originally shared this recipe March 2021. Updated May 2022.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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