Light and fluffy cream cheese frosting is the perfect icing on any dessert!

Cream cheese and butter are sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla for a rich frosting.

Spread it over cakes, muffins, and other baked goodies.

plated Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

Our Favorite Frosting

This homemade cream cheese frosting recipe is delicious over carrot cake or cinnamon rolls.

  • Easy peasy – it takes just a few minutes to make.
  • Cream cheese frosting is made with basic ingredients you likely have on hand.
  • Make it ahead. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or 2 months in the freezer.
ingredients for cream cheese frosting

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese – Use any brand of full-fat cream cheese in the block form, not spreadable cream cheese in tubs. Reduced-fat cream cheese is not recommended as it can produce a runny frosting.

Butter – For baking and sweet recipes, I prefer to use unsalted sticks of butter and add a pinch of salt. If you do have salted butter, it will still work – skip the salt in the recipe.

Vanilla – Although it’s a bit pricey, real vanilla extract gives the best flavor. Imitation vanilla extract does work if it’s what you have on hand.

Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioners sugar, powdered sugar contains a little cornstarch to prevent caking and makes for a smooth frosting.

Make Your Own Powdered Sugar

If you’re out of powdered sugar, you can make your own with granulated sugar. In a blender or food processor, blend a ratio of 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch on high until it is fluffy and powdered. Measure the sugar for your recipe after it is powdered.

Variations – Add or substitute lemon juice and zest for the vanilla to give your frosting more tang. For a runnier icing, add a few drops of water.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

This is an easy recipe that comes together in minutes!

  1. Using a hand mixer, combine room-temperature cream cheese and butter, per the recipe below.
  2. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Add the sugar a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as you mix until fluffy. Do not over-mix.

Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Cream Cheese Icing on a beater

Holly’s Tips

  • Use room temperature cream cheese and butter.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months in a zippered bag with the air pressed out. Thaw to room temperature before using.
  • To change the consistency for drizzling, add water, a few drops at a time, while mixing.

Our Favorite Frostings

These frosting recipes are perfect to top a cupcake, cookies or your favorite layered cake!

Did you make this Cream Cheese Frosting? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting in a bowl
4.99 from 95 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

This rich cream cheese frosting is easy to make with a tangy vanilla flavor.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2.5 cups

Equipment

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Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 to 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or lemon juice
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • Combine cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Mix in vanilla (or lemon juice and lemon zest if using).
  • Add in salt and powdered sugar a bit at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue beating on medium speed until fluffy. Do not overmix.
  • Store up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • This frosting cannot be piped with a piping bag, it is a soft frosting.
  • To avoid a runny frosting, do not overmix. 
  • Use a stand mixer with either a whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, scraping the sides as needed.
  • To make a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar. A thinner frosting can be made with a touch of milk or water (1 teaspoon at a time).
  • Ensure baked goods are thoroughly cooled before spreading frosting to prevent it from melting.
*Nutrition information is for 1 tablespoon of frosting.  This recipe makes about 2 ½ cups of frosting.
Frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let it soften at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before using. 
4.99 from 95 votes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 34 | Carbohydrates: 0.4g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 8mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 123IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.01mg

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

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
rich and creamy Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting with writing
light and fluffy Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting with writing
bowl of Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting with a title
Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting in a bowl and on a whisk with a title

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About the author

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!
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Comments

  1. I made the following change to the recipe, used 4 ounce stick of butter and 3 cups confectioners sugar. Everything else was the same as the recipe. Excellent results. It frosted a 3 layer 8 inch cake.5 stars

    1. Hi Michelle, I have never tried freezing this icing so I can’t say for sure but other readers have tried it and said it works great!

  2. The recipe for cream cheese icing I added sour cream instead of small amounts milk to loosen from thick to desired smoothness. The addition of the sour cream made cream cheese icing delectable and great consistency.5 stars

  3. I did this with just 1 cup of sugar and thought it was perfect. I suggest you taste test along the way as 3 cups sounds to high and cloyingly sweet. Thank you for the easy recipe.