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The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

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Forget store-bought frosting! This easy recipe for The Best Cream Cheese Frosting delivers the richest, smoothest frosting you’ve ever tasted. Made with real cream cheese and simple ingredients and adds a delightful tangy-sweet flavor to every bite. Perfect for icing cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and more.

the best cream cheese frosting

This post was originally created in January 2015 and updated in May 2024 with new images and more information for the reader.

There’s something truly magical about the creamy, tangy goodness of cream cheese combined with the sweetness of powdered sugar and a hint of vanilla. That magic continues when you spread this delicious homemade frosting over a simple white cake, or homemade carrot cake cupcakes, or fill these sugar cookie cups with creamy icing.This recipe is perfect for beginners and experienced bakers to make. It’s my favorite frosting.

Why You’ll Love this recipe:

  • Minimal Ingredients: This recipe uses only 5 ingredients with just a few steps.
  • Say Goodbye to Runny Frosting: This recipe creates an easy frosting that’s thick but spreadable, holding its shape for perfect decorating and piping.
  • Beginner-Friendly: No complicated techniques or exotic ingredients here! This recipe is straightforward and achievable for bakers of all levels.
  • Versatile: This cream cheese topping is the perfect canvas for your creativity! Use it to frost cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or even add a swirl to cinnamon rolls. The possibilities are endless!
cream cheese icing in white bowl

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

The foundation of this ultimate cream cheese frosting is in its ingredients. Start with high-quality cream cheese, preferably full-fat for a richer consistency and flavor. Allowing the cream cheese and unsalted butter to soften at room temperature for smooth blending with the other ingredients: powdered sugar and a bit of whole milk. Finally, a splash of pure vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor profile, adding depth and complexity.

Of course, don’t skip the taste test. This is the most important step. If your frosting is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. If it’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt. It’s all about finding your perfect frosting balance!

bowl of Cream cheese frosting

⏰Time-Saving Tips and Variations

  • Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature to ensure a creamy icing Cold cream cheese and butter will. result in lumps
  • Using full-fat cream cheese will result in more flavor, that being said, I have found great success in using reduced-fat cream cheese in the recipe.
  • Once you’ve added the powdered sugar, resist the urge to overmix. This can make your frosting stiff and lose its smooth texture.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring it back to room temperature and give it a quick whip before using it again.
  • When spreading on a cake, crumb coat your cake first with a thin layer of frosting. Chill it, then apply the final, smooth coat.
  • Citrus Twist: Add a teaspoon of freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice for a delightful citrusy tang.
  • Add finely chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
  • Replace the vanilla extract with almond extract, or other flavorings like lemon extract, peppermint, orange, and others.
  • Pumpkin Spice: 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Chocolate Chip Craving: Fold in some mini chocolate chips for a fun surprise in every bite.
  • Spice Up Your Life: Add a pinch of cinnamon, or nutmeg.
frosted cake with homemade icing

🥣Equipment

📃Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) Full Fat Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
ingredients for homemade icing

Directions

In a large bowl, combine softened cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla using a handheld electric mixer (no need to pull out the stand mixer).

bowl with butter cream cheese milk and vanilla
bowl and mixer combining cream cheese

Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix well on low speed. Add enough powdered sugar until you have the consistency you want. I use about 3 1/2 cups.

*This homemade cream cheese frosting will frost a 13 x 9 inch cake easily as well as about 24 cupcakes. For two-layer cakes, you may want to double the recipe, depending on how much frosting you want on your cakes. Leftover frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*To use as a glaze for cakes, use less powdered sugar and add small amounts of milk (use 1 tablespoon to start) at a time until you have the consistency you want as a glaze.

cake with homemade frosting

I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you, including this one! I hope you try it, enjoy it, comment and rate it, and share it with your friends and family!

Printable Recipe Card

feature image of cream cheese frosting

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Forget store-bought frosting! This easy recipe for The Best Cream Cheese Frosting delivers the richest, smoothest frosting you’ve ever tasted. Made with real cream cheese and simple ingredients and adds a delightful tangy-sweet flavor to every bite. Perfect for icing cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and more.
4.80 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cream cheese, cream cheese frosting, the best cream cheese frosting
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3 cups

Equipment

  • electric handheld mixer
  • large mixing bowl
  • spatula
  • measuring spoons and cups

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) Full Fat Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup (half of a stick OR 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

  • Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add enough powdered sugar until you have the frosting the consistency you want. I use about 3 1/2 cups.
  • This will frost a 13 x 9 cake easily as well as about 24 cupcakes. For two layer cakes, you make want to double the recipe, depending on how much frosting you want on your cakes.
  • To use as a glaze for cakes, use less powdered sugar and add small amounts of milk (use 1 tablespoon to start) at a time until you have the consistency you want as a glaze.

Notes

See blog post for tips and variations

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Blogghetti” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Tried this recipe?I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you, including this one! I hope you try it, enjoy it, comment and rate it, and share it with your friends and family!
close up of homemade frosting with cream cheese

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Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

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