The best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe that’s perfectly tangy, sweet, and ready to put on cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, and cookies!

A red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting piped on top.

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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. Mix in vanilla.
A stick of butter and a block of cream cheese added to a mixing bowl.
  • 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.

Yield:

This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting; perfect for frosting a 9×13’’ pan or 12-18 cupcakes.
2 layer cake: make 1.5 the frosting recipe.
3 layer cake: double the recipe.

Tips:

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: 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:

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 frosting is ready to spread immediately. If it’s been refrigerated, allow it to sit out for 20 minutes to soften before spreading.

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.

Make-Ahead and Freezing:

  • 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 prepared 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.

Recipes that use Cream Cheese Frosting:

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Recipe

A red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting piped on top.
Prep 7 mins
Total 7 mins
Add to Meal Plan

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, and cookies.

Notes

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).
Yield: This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting; perfect for frosting a 9×13’’ pan
or 12-18 cupcakes.
  • 2 layer cake: 1.5 the frosting recipe
  • 3 layer cake: double the recipe.
Butter: if using unsalted butter, add a small pinch of salt to the frosting.
Flavor Variations
  • 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 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and allow 20-30 minutes to soften at room temperature before using.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 129mgPotassium: 30mgSugar: 35gVitamin A: 490IUCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

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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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