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This really is the BEST Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe – it’s easy, fast and so so good. Just a few simple ingredients allows the cream cheese to be the star. It’s tangy and sweet and the perfect frosting for any cupcake, cake, or cookie recipe!

Overhead shot of cream cheese frosting in glass mixing bowl

The Best Frosting Ever!

If you’re looking for an easy cream cheese icing recipe, this is the one you need. This is my favorite frosting recipe – it’s a great frosting for so many recipes!

Normally, you see fluffy cream cheese frosting for carrot cake or red velvet cake recipes but that’s not all you can use it for. It’s my FAVORITE frosting recipe! The taste of cream cheese frosting is unparalleled – it goes with layered cake, spice cake, cookies and so many other desserts (or eaten from a spoon). This recipe is the one you’ll want to save to use over and over.


4 Ingredients Needed

  • Butter: Make sure you use unsalted butter that is softened. Room temperature butter will help prevent lumps.
  • Cream Cheese: Make sure that your brick of cream cheese is room temperature, also to prevent lumps. Use full-fat cream cheese. Use block cream cheese too – not the spreadable tub kind.
  • Powdered Sugar: Be sure not to pack your powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) when you’re measuring it. Sifting is not needed.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds a nice flavor. You could also add almond extract or coconut extract to this frosting.

How to make cream cheese frosting?

  1. Cream butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
  2. Add some of the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl during mixing.
  3. Add rest of the icing sugar and mix until smooth.
  4. Mixture will be soft and perfectly spreadable and pipe-able.
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on top

Why is my cream cheese frosting runny?

Cream cheese frosting is not meant to be the same consistency as the regular buttercream you’re familiar with. It’s a bit…gummier? is the only word I can think of. The cream cheese changes the texture vs. regular butter and powdered sugar frosting.

It doesn’t need heavy whipping cream or milk because there isn’t enough powdered sugar to make it stiff. That’s by design so that the cream cheese shines through. 

If you still think your frosting is runny try the following:

  • Chill it for a bit in case the butter was too softened. See if that firms it up.
  • If not, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it gets too sweet, add some salt (about 1/4 teaspoon) to cut the sweetness.

Fixing lumpy cream cheese frosting

It’s best to avoid lumps before even starting by making sure that your ingredients are room temperature. Let the butter and cream cheese sit out for at least an hour before making your frosting.

Once the lumps are there it is hard to get rid of them, but you can. Let the frosting sit for an hour or so at room temperature so the ingredients soften, then mix again.

Overhead shot of two cupcakes frosted with cream cheese frosting next to a piping bag full of frosting

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • Like any other frosting recipe, it’s easier if you use an electric mixer. This frosting has butter and cream cheese but it doesn’t have as much powdered sugar as a traditional buttercream. This allows the tang of the cream cheese to come through as the star of the recipe.
  • I always refrigerate my this frosting and the cakes, cookies, etc that use it. In fact, I refrigerate all of my frostings, just so they don’t get mushy, runny, or oily.
  • This frosting should last about 4 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for use in the future! Place the icing in an airtight container and store in the freezer; thaw in the refrigerator.
  • You can even make chocolate cream cheese frosting!
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on top


Can cream cheese frosting be used for piping?

Yes you can use this frosting recipe for piping. It is softer than buttercream but can be used to decorate cakes.

How do I make my cream cheese frosting thicker?

If you find your frosting is too thin add more powdered sugar to thicken. You can add up to 1 tablespoon cornstarch to thicken it if needed (start with 1 teaspoon at a time). Don’t add any more than that or it will alter the flavor.

What brand of cream cheese is best for frosting?

Use your favorite brand but be sure to use whole fat block cream cheese (not reduced or 1/3 less fat) and not whipped or spreadable cream cheese.

How to store and make ahead frosting?

Store this frosting in the refrigerator, and store any cakes or cupcakes frosted with it in the fridge too. You can freeze frosting in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Overhead shot of cream cheese frosting in glass mixing bowl

The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

4.73 from 11 votes
This Frosting is a simple frosting recipe perfect for cakes, for cookies, or for cupcakes! It goes great on red velvet, carrot cake cupcakes or any flavor you love!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 12 cupcakes
Serving Size 1 cupcake


  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened
  • 3 cups (339g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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  • Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  • Frosting option: use a 1M tip for a beautiful cupcake. Will frost about 12 cupcakes (more if you use a knife with a light amount of frosting).
  • Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Any baked goods with cream cheese frosting should be refrigerated.
  • For a thicker cream cheese frosting you can mix in up to 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
  • This frosting is good for piping but won’t pipe stiff and high like normal buttercream.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 26mg | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

What kind of cake goes well with cream cheese frosting?

Not only is great for frosting cakes, but it’s good on so many things. Here are some recipes that pair with this fluffy frosting recipe:

Favorite Frosting Recipes

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

4.73 from 11 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I loved this recipe! I used it as a guide for cream cheese frosting,I didn’t use the full amount of confectioner sugar….more so added to taste and also added a few drops of almond extract in addition to the vanilla extract. Squeezed in quite a few drops of fresh lemon juice to cut the sweetness and….voila!! The perfect sweet crem cheese frosting dip for my homemade cinnamon sugar soft pretzels!!Dorothy let’s chat! Avid baker here and I would love to contribute to your site!! Thank you for being so awesome!!