Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

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Cream Cheese Frosting is my favorite way to top a cake or cupcakes and this recipe is the best I’ve ever had!

It’s rich and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of lemon.

This homemade cream cheese frosting is the perfect topper for banana cake, red velvet, carrot cake and so much more!

This is the best ever Cream Cheese Frosting. It's rich and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of lemon. This is the perfect topper for banana cake, red velvet, carrot cake and so much more!

How to Make Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

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I absolutely love Cream Cheese frosting..  it’s completely perfect on carrot cake or banana bread (or a spoon, are ya’ with me?)… oh and red velvet of course!

While I do love any cream cheese frosting; I mean really love it like.. arm wrestle you for that corner piece with the globs of frosting, love it.

The truth is, not just any frosting will do, it has to have flavor and not taste like lard and sugar.

If you’ve ever wondered how to make cream cheese frosting, THIS is the recipe you’ve been looking for.  Its truly the Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting.

It has the perfect balance between rich and light, it’s creamy and fluffy and it’s not sickly sweet.

Once you try this cream cheese frosting recipe, you’ll never need another!

Homemade cream cheese frosting is the perfect way to top all of your favorite cakes and cupcakes.

Adding of just a hint of lemon juice and a little bit of lemon zest really puts this cream cheese frosting over the top.

Do cakes with cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?

Generally speaking, if it’s a normal cooler day (depending on where you live) your cake or cupcakes are fine to sit on the counter for a couple of days.

If you live in a hot humid area (or say… Phoenix in the middle of summer), I’d suggest refrigerating your cream cheese frosting.

If you plan to keep your recipe longer than 3 days (at any temperature), I would suggest refrigerating it. I like to set it out on the counter about 20 minutes before serving to allow it to soften up again.

Why is my Cream Cheese Frosting Runny?

This recipe produces a soft spreadable frosting which is NOT runny, it’s perfect for my Best Ever Banana Cake or any 9×13 cake.

Combining powdered sugar and cream cheese does tend to make a soft cream cheese.

Tips to Make Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Using low fat cream cheese (or substituting butter products) will cause your frosting to be too soft and it may not hold up well.
  • DO NOT overbeat the cream cheese. Overbeating is most often the culprit for a runny cream cheese frosting.
  • Adding extra lemon juice, extract or extra powdered sugar will change the consistency of this recipe.
  • If your butter is too warm, your frosting will have a thinner consistency. It should be softened but not on the verge of melting.

I do not suggest adding extra powdered sugar as it will cause the frosting to be too sweet and will not thicken the mixture,

It works perfectly on cupcakes (red velvet anyone?) but this cream cheese frosting won’t hold its shape well for piping flowers (as it’s really soft).

If storing for long periods of time, I store this frosting in the refrigerator.

 

With just a hint of lemon, this homemade cream cheese frosting is the perfect way to top all of your favorite cakes and cupcakes.

What kind of cake goes with cream cheese frosting?

 

Lemon kissed cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly with banana cake, carrot cake, spice cake, gingerbread and cinnamon rolls to name a few.

If you don’t have lemon (or you prefer a more classic flavor) vanilla in place of the lemon juice is equally wonderful. (Or if you’re looking for a great vanilla buttercream frosting, you’ll want to check out this one)!

Either way, get a spoon ready because you’re going to want to dig into this!

Print Recipe
4.8 from 5 votes
Servings: 2 cups
Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins
 
Author: Holly N.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cream cheese frosting

This is the best homemadeCream Cheese Frosting. It’s rich and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of lemon. This is the perfect topper for banana cake, red velvet, carrot cake and so much more!

Ingredients
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  • 8 oz cream cheese , room temperature
  • 1/3 cup butter , softened
  • 3 to 3.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or vanilla)
  • (optional) 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Combine cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Mix in lemon juice (and lemon zest if using).
  2. Add in powdered sugar a bit at a time until fluffy.
  3. Do not overmix.

  4. Store up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

*Nutrition calculated using a serving size of 1 Tablespoon. Recipe will make about 40 tablespoons or 2.5 cups of frosting.

*Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 33, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 31mg, Potassium: 7mg, Vitamin A: 2.5%, Vitamin C: 0.1%, Calcium: 0.6%, Iron: 0.1%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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This is the best ever Cream Cheese Frosting.  It's rich and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of lemon.  This is the perfect topper for banana cake, red velvet, carrot cake and so much more!
This is the best ever Cream Cheese Frosting.  It's rich and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of lemon.  This is the perfect topper for banana cake, red velvet, carrot cake and so much more!

Holly

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

78 comments on “Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. I never thought of using lemon juice! I made mine with lemon juice & it really smooths out the flavor. I don’t use powdered sugar, but honey instead for decades, you get a smooth sweetness without the bite from sugar.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful recipe. Just a quick question – how many grams or mls is a cup?

  3. Thanx holly I am going to try this recipe only using1/2 to a cup less sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract pure and1/2 tsp pure almond extract paired with spice cake hoping it turns out great

  4. 3 cups of sugar must be very sweet?

  5. Very nice recipe. As advertised :) I skip the lemon and add cinnamon to mine for those beautiful, fragrant flecks in the frosting.

  6. This icing is NO JOKE! It is the best cream cheese icing I have ever eaten (title is on point). It’s not sickening sweet and the lemon gives it a hint of, “What is that?!” I didn’t even add the zest and it was still delicious.
    I made slightly more to heavily ice a 3 layer carrot cake.
    I did put each layer in the refrigerator to set up a bit after icing.
    The next time I make it I will add zest. Be aware….you will want to eat it straight out of the bowl (I did)!!

  7. So gooooooood! This is our new favorite cream cheese frosting! 

  8. Hi holly,can you please tell me what kind of butter I can use it in this recipe?

  9. Can you use this recipe for a layer cake or is it too soft to hold up – and does it make enough for 2 layers?

  10. Can you use Splenda in stead of powedered sugar??

    • I have only made it as written, but if you do try it please let me know how it works out for you.

  11. Is it possible to add extra powdered sugar to stiffen this frosting enough to be able to pipe?

    • I make this recipe as written but let me know if you do try adding the extra powdered sugar and what your results are for piping.

  12. Can’t wait to try these…they look delicious !! I’ve been looking for a good cream cheese recipe…it’s my FAVORITE !

  13. I made this icing but rather than add lemon, I added peanut butter for atop the banana
    cake. It was delicious.

  14. How many servings does this recipe make ?

  15. Can this icing be frozen?????

  16. I’ve found the best thing to make cream cheese frosting fluffy is to beat it about twice as long as you think you need to.

  17. Thaks just what i was looking for my carrot cake

  18. I make carrot cake for my son and daughter-in-laws birthdays. Always make cream cheese frosting and I do find it too sweet..So I will be trying this on the next one I make. Thinking I’ll use the lemon one first…then the vanilla on the second. It looks delicious.

  19. Love cream chees icing never made before now I will
    Thank you

  20. Would love to receive your recipes thank you

  21. Very good frosting all my family loved it.

  22. I love your recipe I will try it with a red velvet cake tomorrow.

  23. We found an amazing cream cheese frosting variety in the America’s Test Kitchen book – you add some powdered buttermilk to the frosting. SO good on Carrot Cake.

  24. Thank You for sharing your recipe I Lov homemade iceing !!! I’m going to try it soon !!! Keep them coming

  25. Hello,
    Does it matter if you use salted or unsalted butter?
    Thanks!

  26. hi
    I love your recipes and i live in Australia in some of your recipes you say a stick of butter can you please tell me what is the stick of butter so i know how much

    thank you
    kaz

  27. One of my favorite frosting Ever!! I love cream cheese in anything.. and frosting is always my favorite. Cant’ wait to try this. Thanks

  28. Absolutely love cream cheese frosting. I have a good recipe that I swear by but I am intrigued giving yours try since you say its the best ever!

  29. Wow that frosting looks so good!!! I don’t usually think to make frosting from scratch but now I think I have to! :)

  30. Cream cheese frosting is the icing on the cake, so to speak! Totally delicious and can transform a cake

  31. I want to lick the beater! Frosting beaters are the best :)

  32. How much cream cheese I have to take?Can you give measure in gram or cup please?

  33. Is this thick enough to be used to icing the outter came…..

  34. This was the first time I’ve ever made homemade frosting I will never go back so delicious thank you for this recipe

  35. This is the best cream cheese frosting ever! I added both the lemon juice and vanilla extract and it turned out perfect! I will make this recipe from now on! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  36. Wanted to make a banana cake but the recipe for their cream cheese frosting sounded too sweet. I read yours and liked the fact it had less sugar and the lemon juice gave it a kick. I baking the cake now so we’ll know tomorrow what everyone thinks .Thanks

  37. It taste great! But for some reason, mine isn’t getting light and fluffy. Could it be because I used country crock rather than butter? Ended up using the last stick I had making the cupcakes.

  38. Once you frost a cake with this frosting, do you need to keep it refrigerated? Thanks!

  39. This looks like great Frosting! Happy St. Patrick’s Day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  40. I’ve had this recipe for years, minus the butter, but I use the lemon juice as well as the vanilla essence & I always make it a day in advance :)

  41. I love it. Thanx!

  42. I love the fact that it’s almost all cream cheese with less powdered sugar. Pinned and following!

  43. I adore cream cheese, and this frosting sounds lovely! I’m stopping by from Two Uses Tuesday! I’d love it if you’d come share it at Totally Terrific Tuesday…the party is going on now! :)

  44. I love my regular homemade icing…best ever…from my mom…but I also like the cream cheese style so I am copying your recipe!
    Thanks
    Cheri

  45. hi there may I know how long does it store for?

  46. Thank you for sharing your recipe! I have a friend staying with us. She said she was going to bake a cake but we had no frosting. Well we do now!!! And so much better.

  47. Thanks for the recipe for the cream cheese frosting !like to make carrot cake and red velvet ,but I ‘m not fond of the store bought kind.

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