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. The fastest, the easiest, the BEST! I used 1+1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar and it was perfection, not the least bit thin or runny. For those who don’t know 1/3 cup of butter is 5 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. I iced pumpkin cupcakes this time. The first round of this frosting and many to come. Thanks so much!5 stars

      1. I added small amounts of sour cream instead of milk or cream to loosen icing to consistency I desired. Not only did I get great smoothness and fluffy cream but delectable flavor from sour cream!!5 stars

  2. Love this recipy,It’s the Best and the easiest I’ve ever made.
    I’ve made this cake twice in a week. I,love it. The icing is so smooth and tasty. Freezes great.Thanks so much for this great cake recipy.
    Try it cooks you’ll love it.❤️

  3. exceedingly sweet. Wow – it gave me a sugar rush and I spent the next two hours like an energizer bunny.

  4. This is the easiest cream cheese frosting ever!!! It’s exactly what I was looking for to top my key lime cheese cake (replaced the lemons with limes). Thank you.5 stars

  5. Hi, what calorie calculator did you use? I entered 16 Tbs/8 oz. cream cheese, 5.3 Tbs/.33 cup butter and 3 cups powdered sugar into Spark Nutrition and came out with a way different calorie number per serving, more than double actually, and that was using the low end of the sugar amount. I want to make this because the reviews are so good but I count calories so wanted to verify first. Thanks.

    1. You are definitely correct, thank you so much for bringing this to our attention! There was an error in the calculation (it wasn’t calculating the powdered sugar properly) and we have updated it. Sorry for any confusion.

      1. Hi Holly, going to make your icing tomorrow on a red velvet cake for my grandson’s 12 birthday, is the butter unsalted or salter? Thank you Linda

  6. Best frosting ever, did I say ever. I used this frosting on a coconut cake for a Church bake sale. It was sold in slices and the first to sale out within 5 minutes. Thank you so much for sharing I have another secret weapon thanks to you Holly.5 stars

    1. You can try it with less powdered sugar but it may change the consistency to be a bit more runny.

  7. 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.4 stars

  8. 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 5 stars

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

  10. 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)!!5 stars