Adding Cream Cheese Frosting to your desserts makes them twice as nice! Soft and fluffy, this recipe is all you need to upscale your cakes and cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting makes everything better! Sure buttercream is good. But some desserts practically cry out for the creamy tang of cream cheese. And it’s easy! With only four ingredients and a few simple steps, you’ll have a thick and creamy icing in no time.
This recipe takes only about five minutes to make and is the perfect topping for your pastries. The sweet and tangy flavor of the cream cheese is delicious and the thick fluffy texture holds up well to piping a lofty and impressive dome!
Why You’ll Love This!
Delicious cake and cupcake topping. Cream Cheese Frosting is a tasty alternative to buttercream frosting. Even better, the more complex flavor is a perfect compliment to special desserts like carrot cake cupcakes or cinnamon rolls.
Easy to prepare. It uses only a handful of ingredients and takes just five minutes to make. Easy and no fuss!
What You’ll Need
Ingredients and Notes
- Butter. Butter helps emulsify the ingredients and makes the frosting thick and creamier.
- Cream cheese. Use full fat block cream cheese rather than cream cheese spread or lite varieties for this recipe. This facilitates a thicker textures–and when you beat the ingredients together, you essentially achieve a whipped cream cheese frosting anyway!
- Vanilla. Enhances the flavors of this frosting recipe.
- Powdered sugar. Sweetens and thickens the frosting.
- No special tools needed except for a hand mixer or stand mixer to blend the ingredients.
Step by Step Directions
Beat butter with a mixer until smooth, then beat in cream cheese. Make sure this is very smooth at both stages. Lumps are almost impossible to remove later.
Slowly blend in the powdered sugar, then add vanilla. Beat until just fluffy—beating too long can result in an overly soft frosting.
Store in refrigerator until needed. If it becomes too solid, let warm at room temperature briefly before using.
How to Serve
Use this Cream Cheese Frosting for toppings and fillings for cakes, cupcakes, muffins, brownies, bars, and other pastries. You can spread a modest layer with a knife, in which case this recipe will frost 18-24 cupcakes. Or pipe it into a professional looking dome. This amount frosts 12 cupcakes with a medium-height dome (like shown with the sprinkles below). For a tower, you may need to double the amounts.
This cream cheese frosting goes beautifully with dense, flavorful desserts like:
Tips & FAQs
In reading reviews all over the internet, people really vary in the amount of sweetness they like. The same recipe would have a few reviews saying it was too sweet and another couple saying they needed to add more powdered sugar. The amount of sugar varied from 1-4 cups in different recipes, so I went with 2-3 as a middle ground. I used 2 myself since I felt less sugar helped the cream cheese flavor shine through.
Why is my frosting runny?
Make sure that you are using a high-quality, full-fat cream cheese brick (plus the flavor of cheaper options is sometimes inferior). You can also try to add extra powdered sugar or some cornstarch to help make your frosting thicker.
How do I store this cream cheese frosting?
You can definitely make this cream cheese frosting ahead! You can store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to a month.
Can I use this for piping?
Yes. For better results, make sure to refrigerate your cream cheese frosting for 1-2 hours before piping to allow it to firm up. If you are looking for something that holds up even better (like when I piped dots of icing that needed to hold up an upper layer of cake) I would suggest trying my Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
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Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup butter 1 stick, softened
- 8 ounce cream cheese brick-style, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar up to 2, or to taste
- Beat butter with mixer until smooth, then beat in cream cheese. Make sure this is very smooth.
- Slowly blend in 2 cups of powdered sugar, then add vanilla. Beat until just fluffy—beating too long can result in an overly soft frosting. Taste and add additional powdered sugar if you'd like it sweeter.
- Store in refrigerator until needed. If needed, let warm at room temperature briefly before using.
- Frosts 12 cupcakes with a medium height dome.
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