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)

Directions:
*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.

How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 7 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 22
Calories 160 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • ½ cup unsalted butter set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool
  • 8 oz. 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)

Instructions
 

  • 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.)

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 34mgPotassium: 14mgSugar: 22gVitamin A: 277IUCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cream cheese frosting
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Simply the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!!

 

273 comments

  1. I found your blog exactly 6 years ago, when making my daughter’s first birthday cake. I’ve been using your recipes since, and I have to say this frosting is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had in my mouth Thanks for sharing your passion!

  2. Do the cupcakes need to be refrigerated after you have frost them I have on make 100 and I don’t have room in your refridgerator. Can’t this recipe Ben doubled or should I make two batches?

  3. This has become my go-to for piped frosting I want to add different flavors to. So far have done orange and lemon. Added lemon zest and extract which was problematic for my piping tip (from now on will use a round tip if I do that instead of a star) and orange extract for chocolate orange cupcakes. Just replaced the vanilla extract with whatever flavor I wanted.

    But one FYI adding more powdered sugar may not solve a problem if for some reason the recipe is too soft. Adding a few tbs of cornstarch (in small additions) can also help.

    As far as the question of how much it will cover, that all depends on how much icing you put on a cupcake! I’ve found I usually have a decent-sized piping bag left after 24 cupcakes.

  4. Could I use Vanilla Bean Paste instead of extract or would it change the consistency of the frosting?

    • Feel free to use vanilla bean paste. Obviously it will add little flecks of color from the beans, but it would be a perfectly delicious adjustment.

  5. I just wanted to let you know that my daughter and I made the chocolate cream cheese  frosting today and it is THE BEST!!!! The hands down best I’ve ever had!!! Thank you for sharing!!

  6. I’v been looking for a great cupcake frosting and i think i just found it!!!

  7. Thank you for the great recipes. I just made the cream cheese frosting and it is delicious!

  8. Hi, what kind of cream cheese did you use, Philadelphia or mascarpone?

  9. Hi Glory,
    Can this cream cheese frosting be used to frost a 8″ cake instead? Would it give the cake a good flavor?

  10. I made this frosting today. As someone else said also mine was too thin to use as a piped frosting. I put strawberry reserves in part of it and left the other plain. I did not use the milk either. I have it in the fridge now. I wanted to use on cupcakes for a wedding reception. Not sure it will hold up . Yours looks great. My butter was cold. Cream cheese was a little cold but not as cold as the butter.

    I tried another cream cheese frosting a couple years ago and it was real runny. Had to through it out.

    • Hi Charlotte,  
      I’m sorry you’re having trouble!  I assure you the cupcakes pictured were piped with this frosting, and I’ve piped it on hundreds of cupcakes over the years.  Please report back after you’ve let it set up in the fridge.  Without being with you in the kitchen it’s hard to give suggestions as to what could be done differently, but generally it comes down to the ingredients being too warm, or too much liquid (which you mentioned was likely not the case).  Regular cream cheese, not a reduced fat version should be used, but I’m not sure if that is an issue.  You can always add a bit more powdered sugar if needed, but again, I use the recipe as is with no problem.  I hope you were able to work with it after letting it chill in the fridge a bit.  

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