Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Today, I’d like to share a recipe with you.  Not just any recipe… a cream cheese frosting recipe I have used dozens (maybe even hundreds) of times, and I love it each time!

There are two reasons I love this recipe… one is that it’s really, really easy, and the second is that it’s really delicious!

While I do also enjoy other styles of frosting, like Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Fluffy 7 Minute Frosting, or Whipped Ganache, this cream cheese frosting recipe is easier than any other.  This is basically American style buttercream (which is butter, powdered sugar, milk), but with the addition of cream cheese.

The cream cheese is really the key ingredient, since it helps off-set the sweetness of the powdered sugar, and adds to the creaminess of the butter while also removing the greasy, pure butter flavor.

Another thing I really like about this recipe is that if you use these proportions, the frosting is not over powered by the cream cheese, it takes on the flavor of whatever extract or additional flavorings are added.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
8 oz. Challenge cream cheese (directly from fridge)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds)

*Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
*Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
*Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
*Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
*Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

The recipe above will produce a delicious VANILLA flavored frosting, here are a couple of other options to try…

For a Stronger Cream Cheese Flavor: Use an additional 4 oz. (½ block) of cream cheese. This is good for any cake/cupcake recipe that is traditionally topped with Cream Cheese Frosting, like Carrot Cake, or Red Velvet Cake.

For Chocolate Frosting: (my favorite!) add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa (I use Ghirardelli brand, it’s really good). Add the cocoa powder before adding the powdered sugar, so it gets fully incorporated into the butter and cream cheese.

Strawberry, Blackberry, etc: Add 2-4 tablespoons of preserves. Depending on how chunky or seedy the preserves are, you may want to blend it in the food processor, and/or strain it through a fine strainer before adding it to the frosting. Add the preserves to the frosting mixture before adding the heavy cream. Depending on the amount of preserves you add you may need very little or no cream, especially if you want the frosting thick enough to pipe. A final option would be to add a drop of food coloring to add to the color of the preserves (for example, pink coloring for the Strawberry flavor).

* This recipe will frost about 22-24 cupcakes if you are piping a nice swirl, or even more if you just spread it on. If you’re making a cake, this will frost and fill a two layer 9″ cake.

Simply the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!!



  1. I tried this recipe today for my daughter’s birthday cake. I made the strawberry version with a seedless preserve and omitted the cream. I added some additional powdered sugar to try to get it to thicken up, but this ended up very loose–so much so that it was sliding down the sides of the cake. My cakes were completely cooled, as I baked them last night. I also put the frosting in the fridge before I frosted the cake in hopes that the chill would give it more structure. I have the frosted cake in the fridge now, hoping that it will stiffin up. I used organic powdered cane sugar and am wondering if maybe that product does not perform the same as plain ole’ powdered sugar. I really wanted to like this–it does taste really good, but I guess I need to stick to straight-up buttercream :’-(.

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