The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This is my family favorite BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! It goes great on Carrot Cake, Red Velvet Cake, and just about any other flavor cake or cupcake you can imagine. I’ve been making this cream cheese icing for years!

If I had things my way, every cake and every cupcake would be be buried beneath a mountain of cream cheese frosting.

Not buttercream —


rarely buttercream — always and only cream cheese. For someone with such a rampant sweet tooth, it’s alarming the number of times I’ve turned down a slice of cake or a sky-high frosted cupcake because the buttercream just makes my teeth hurt (OK full disclosure I have a buttercream recipe coming up on the blog next month, and it’s delicious, but cream cheese frosting will always win over my heart, even over my favorite chocolate frosting).

While buttercream frostings are usually too sweet, cream cheese frosting I could eat with a spoon, and this recipe is every bit as versatile as buttercream — it’s sturdy, pipe-able, can be dyed, and, most importantly, it’s delicious.

Tips for Making Cream Cheese Icing:

  • Make sure that you are using full-fat brick cream cheese, not low fat or spreadable cream cheese (which is usually sold in a tub rather than in brick form).
  • I always like to use unsalted butter and add a dash of salt so that I have complete control over the flavor of the frosting. However, if you only have salted butter on hand then just omit the salt called for in the recipe.
  • Make sure you allow your cream cheese and your butter to soften before making your frosting! Softening the butter and cream cheese ensure that your ingredients will combine well and be lump free.
  • If you intend to pipe your frosting, I recommend sifting your powdered sugar before mixing it into your butter/cream cheese mixture, as small lumps of sugar can clog up your piping tips, especially if you’re using a smaller tip.

Can cream cheese frosting be used for piping?

  • Yes! Especially with this recipe because it is nice and thick. Now, this frosting (as with most) is prone to melting in hot weather, but it pipes nicely and as you can see in the photos it holds its shape neatly as well.

How do I make my cream cheese frosting thicker?

  • What I love about this recipe is that it already makes a nice thick frosting, but if needed you can add more powdered sugar to make your cream cheese frosting even thicker. I recommend adding about 2 Tablespoons at a time until the desired thickness is reached. Alternatively you can add cornstarch… see more on that below.

Can I add cornstarch to my cream cheese frosting?

  • Yup! While this recipe does not call for it, if you need a particularly stiff frosting or are looking to make your frosting thicker without making it sweeter, you can add cornstarch (in fact, I use this technique for my carrot cake cookies). I don’t recommend adding more than a few Tablespoons, so start with just one Tablespoon at a time until desired thickness is reached.

Alright, while (in my humble opinion) cream cheese frosting goes great with everything, there are certain cakes and cupcakes that complement it particularly well. Wednesday I’ll be sharing one of my favorite cupcakes with you — the exact cupcakes seen in the photos above.

Can you guess what flavor they are???

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Servings 24 cupcakes or 1 8" or 9" 2-layer cake

Calories 100 kcal


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened (113g)
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened (brick-style, not spreadable) (226g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar* (500g)


  1. Combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or you may use an electric mixer) and beat until creamy, well-combined, and lump-free.
  2. Add vanilla extract and salt and stir well to combine.
  3. With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
  4. Use to frost completely cooled cake or cupcakes.

Recipe Notes

*If you plan to pipe the frosting with a small tip, I recommend sifting the powdered sugar (after measuring).

The cupcakes in these photos were frosted using an Ateco 848 tip.

Nutrition Facts

Cream Cheese Frosting

Amount Per Serving (1 /24 batch)

Calories 100

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe Reviewed by Sup on February 26, 2018 Rating: 5
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