Sweet, fluffy, slightly tangy, and insanely easy to whip up, this Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is perfect for cakes, cupcakes and more! Made with a handful of basic ingredients, this rich and luxurious spread is a must-have recipe for all frosting enthusiasts!
Over the last few years, I’ve shared lots of treats that featured a slathering of thick, tangy cream cheese frosting. From cakes to bars to ice cream and cheesecake, there isn’t a recipe that can’t be improved with a smattering of cream cheese.
So, today we’re giving my go-to cream cheese frosting the spotlight! Sweet, lush, and flavorful, this frosting pairs well with so many different desserts. Did I mention how easy this recipe is to make? With just 5 ingredients, you and I can be eating spoonfuls of decadent frosting in under 10 minutes.
Follow along for the best frosting of all time and a few tips to ensure that it turns out the best it possibly can!
Perks and Highlights
Cuisine Inspiration: All-American Sweetness This isn’t just frosting; it’s the creamy crown that elevates everything it touches. Born in the USA, this delight has been adding pizzazz to desserts from sea to shining sea!
Primary Cooking Method: Whipping Get those mixers out, darlings! We’re whipping up magic. It’s all about achieving that fluffy perfection that makes your taste buds do the cha-cha.
Dietary Info: Vegetarian Indulgence Packed with dairy goodness, it’s a vegetarian’s dream come true. But let’s be real, it’s a treat – so moderation is key, sweet peas!
Key Flavor: Tangy Sweetness Oh, the beautiful balance! The tanginess of the cream cheese gracefully waltzing with the sweet confectioner’s sugar creates a flavor profile that’s nothing short of a masterpiece.
Skill Level: Easy Breezy Fear not, kitchen novices and pros alike! This recipe is as simple as they come, with room for little tweaks here and there to make it your own.
- Versatile Vixen: Cupcakes, carrot cakes, cinnamon rolls, you name it! This frosting doesn’t discriminate; it elevates EVERY dessert.
- Customizable Consistency: Want it thicker? Add more sugar. Craving for more creaminess? Amp up the cheese. You’re in control, chef!
- No-Fail Recipe: Seriously, it’s hard to mess this one up. Follow the steps, and you’re golden – a confidence booster indeed.
- Make Ahead Marvel: Short on time? No problemo! Make it ahead, store it in the fridge, and it’s good to go when you are. Talk about convenient!
Today, all we need is 5 simple ingredients to make the best frosting EVER:
Unsalted Butter- Room temperature butter is a must here; it’s what makes for smooth, creamy frosting. If you don’t have unsalted butter on hand, salted butter can be used instead.
Cream Cheese- For the best results, use a brick-style, full-fat cream cheese. Containers of cream cheese spread and reduced fat varieties both have ingredients that thin them out, which will make your frosting runny.
Confectioners/Powdered Sugar- This ingredient both thickens the frosting and sweetens it. For a lump-free frosting, I recommend sifting the sugar once or twice. Start with 3 ½ cups of sugar, adding up to a ½ cup more to thicken the frosting as needed.
Vanilla Extract- Vanilla adds a floral, earthy taste to the frosting. Use vanilla paste to add in those gorgeous little speckles throughout the spread.
Salt- Salt enhances flavor. If using salted butter, omit the added salt.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
To make this Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting, you’ll start by adding softened cream cheese and room temperature butter to a stand mixer bowl. You can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer. Beat the two ingredients together on high speed until it starts to thicken and fluff.
Slow down the mixer to a medium speed, then slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar. I’d recommend adding about a cup at a time and mixing until fully incorporated. Once all the sugar has been added, crank the mixer back up to high to continue whipping.
Lastly, add the salt and vanilla extract, then continue whipping until the frosting is smooth.
How Can I Thicken My Frosting?
Depending on the temperature of your ingredients or the temperature of your kitchen, this frosting can turn out a bit soft or runny. To fix this, simply refrigerate the frosting for 15-20 minutes before using. Alternatively, you can try mixing in a tablespoon of cornstarch to help thicken it.
Does Cream Cheese Frosting Need to Be Refrigerated?
Yes. Since this frosting contains cream cheese, you will need to refrigerate it. Once made, this frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to use it, let it come to room temperature and give it a good whisk before frosting your dessert.
Can I Freeze This Frosting?
Absolutely! Store the frosting in a freezer bag (or another airtight container of your choosing) in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, defrost it overnight in the fridge, then bring it to room temperature and mix well before using.
How to Serve
Best Frosting Recipes
I’m all about the options! Smother your treats with your choice of indulgent, luscious frosting.
- Caramel Buttercream
- Chocolate Swiss Meringue
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Brown Butter Frosting
- Seven Minute Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 16 oz cream cheese somewhat softened but still a little stiff
- 3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar to stiffen more, go up to 4 cups
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
- Next slow down mixer and carefully add in confectioner’s sugar. Once all sugar has incorporated, turn mixer back to high to continue whipping.
- Add salt and vanilla extract and continue whipping until it is smooth.