How to make cream cheese icing

Published:
Feb 6, 2019 Updated:
Jun 16, 2022

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This is the BEST Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! Creamy, sweet, slightly tangy, and so easy to make. Delicious on cakes, cookies or even by the spoonful!

How to make cream cheese icing

Cream Cheese Frosting

Light, fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect topper to many of our very favorite desserts. From cinnamon rolls to cakes, this rich icing takes regular sweets to the next level. Plus, it’s really easy to make! Read on to find out how to make cream cheese frosting perfectly smooth and creamy every time.

What to do if Cream Cheese Frosting is Too Runny or Too Thick

Just like Goldilocks, you want your cream cheese frosting juuuuust right. If you’ve followed the recipe below and it’s still too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, just add milk, one teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

Why is My Cream Cheese Frosting Lumpy?

To be clear, cream cheese frosting should NOT be lumpy. Believe me, it’s taken some trial and error to figure it out, but here’s the secret to velvety smooth frosting: room temperature cream cheese and butter! It is important that you give your butter and cream cheese time to rest on the counter before mixing. Once they’re softened completely, whip them together for at least thirty seconds before adding any sugar. You’ll have delicious, silky cream cheese frosting every time!

How to make cream cheese icing

Can Cream Cheese Frosting be Piped?

Yes! We pipe this frosting recipe often, on cupcakes, cakes, sugar cookies and more. Just make sure it’s firm enough to not run everywhere. To achieve this, you may want to add a bit more powdered sugar. Also, don’t whip the mixture for too long, as over-beating can cause the frosting to lose its shape.

How to make cream cheese icing

Can I Use Fat Free Cream Cheese?

This is not the time to skimp. Life’s all about little indulgences after all! For the best tasting frosting, use regular cream cheese. You can use reduced fat or nufachel cheese in a pinch, but fat free just won’t taste right. Enjoy the tasty treat and eat veggies tomorrow. Everything in moderation, right?

How to make cream cheese icing

Is Cream Cheese Frosting Gluten Free?

Absolutely! For gluten free friends and family, you can use this frosting to top all sorts of delicious GF treats.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to Store Cream Cheese Frosting

Once prepared, this frosting can sit at cool room temperature for up to eight hours before it needs to be refrigerated. Then it should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Plus, you can freeze any extra frosting in the freezer for up to a month! However, no frosting of mine has ever lasted that long. I tend to keep a spoon nearby and sample this decadent frosting straight from the fridge!

How to make cream cheese icing

How Much Cream Cheese Frosting Does This Recipe Make?

This simple recipe makes about 3-4 cups of cream cheese frosting, so you should be able to easily frost 24 cupcakes or an 11×13 sheet cake. If you only need enough for 12-14 cupcakes, you can half this recipe but more often than not I prepare the recipe as-is or even double it, especially when making a double layer cake or cinnamon rolls. Then I have plenty for spoon sampling (ahem, see above).

How to make cream cheese icing

Recipes that use Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe elevates so many of our favorite recipes from ordinary to extraordinary! Try a few and see for yourself.

Whip up this easy cream cheese frosting for icing classic bakes like carrot cake, cinnamon buns, chocolate cake or cupcakes

Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving

Nutrient Unit
kcal 206
fat 16 g
saturates 10 g
carbs 13 g
sugars 13 g
fibre 0 g
protein 1 g
salt 0.4 g

Ingredients

  • 100g butter , softened
  • 1 tbsp orange juice (optional)
  • 100g icing sugar , sieved
  • 200g full fat cream cheese

Method

  • STEP 1

Beat the softened butter to a soft and even consistency. Add the orange juice, if using, then the icing sugar. Cream until you have a smooth, soft buttercream consistency.

Add the cream cheese and work it in – don’t beat it in, just slowly mix with a wooden spoon. Depending on how soft the mixture is, you may want to put it in the fridge for 10 mins at this point. If it’s runny, it will firm up again. It should be spreadable and not run off the cake.

What is cream cheese frosting made of?

This recipe for a classic cream cheese frosting combines butter, icing sugar and full-fat cream cheese. It’s important to use full-fat cream cheese as the lower-fat options won’t whip as thickly. You can also use a little orange juice for a hint of citrus.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

If the consistency is too thin or runny you can put the frosting mixture in the fridge for up to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.If it’s still too thin, take out some of the runny mixture and beat in some more cream cheese. Alternatively, if you whisk it with an electric whisk or in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment on high it will thicken after 3-4 minutes.

How to store and freeze cream cheese frosting

  • Store the leftover cream cheese frosting in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days. Take it out of the fridge for an hour beforehand to soften, making sure you stir it before using.
  • Freeze in a container for up to two months. To defrost, either leave it in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for around four hours.

Tips for making cream cheese frosting

  • To achieve perfectly light and fluffy cream cheese icing, let the butter and cream cheese warm to room temperature before whisking together.
  • To avoid a cloud of icing sugar in the air, beat it in little by little into the softened butter (and orange juice, if using).
  • When adding in the cream cheese, it’s best to slowly mix it in to avoid any lumps.
  • Don’t panic if your cream cheese frosting is too runny, use an electric whisk to whip it up for a few more minutes until it starts to thicken.

Cream cheese frosting twists

Give this cream cheese mixture an extra flavour boost by adding the following ingredients:

  • Cocoa powder: 2 tbsp cocoa for a chocolate cream cheese frosting
  • Espresso coffee: 1 tsp coffee granules dissolved in ½ tbsp hot water
  • Desiccated coconut shavings: 20g
  • Almond extract 1 tsp
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • Ground cinnamon: 2 tsp for a spiced flavour
  • Add in an extra 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste to intensify the vanilla flavour
  • Make it boozy by adding a dash of amaretto or other liqueur

What recipes can cream cheese frosting be used in?

Some of our favourite recipes with cream cheese frosting include:

By Olivia on April 14, 2022 | 10 Comments | This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

How to make cream cheese icing

Sweet & tangy, stiff & pipeable. A simple blend of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. This is the perfect cream cheese frosting recipe for all your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies!

How to make cream cheese icing

I have a love/hate relationship with cream cheese frosting. LOVE the flavor, hate the consistency. Or rather that it’s so difficult to work with.

Even though I am not a cream cheese fan (you’ll never catch me ordering a cheesecake), there is something insanely delicious about cream cheese frosting. Especially when it’s paired with certain flavors like Carrot Cake, Hummingbird Cake, and Pumpkin Cake.

Frosting a cake with it, however, is the bane of my existence. It’s SO difficult to work with. It’s soft and impossible to get a nice, smooth look so I always just opt for something rustic like a swirl.

I have resigned myself to the fact that this is just how cream cheese frosting *is* though and accepted the fact that cream cheese frosted cakes will never be pristine and perfect but they will be delicious and that’s all that matters.

Over the years I have tried countless different combinations and ratios of cream cheese to butter to powdered sugar and can finally say I have found one that I love and that works best for me. It is the most stable one I’ve made too. Yay!

So, let’s get to it.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

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How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

It only takes a few simple ingredients to make a delicious and stable cream cheese frosting. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • powdered sugar (sifted)
  • vanilla (or any other flavoring)
  • cream cheese (chilled! read on for why)
  • cornstarch or meringue powder (optional, read on)

Cream Cheese Tip!

Be sure to use full-fat block style cream cheese. Low fat and tub cream cheese is too watery and will make an already soft frosting even more so.

The method is simple. While most recipes call for beating butter and cream cheese first, I beat the butter and powdered sugar first and add the (chilled) cream cheese at the very end.

I learned about this technique — beating the butter and powdered sugar together first — from my friend Janice over at The Bake School. There is some science behind it that I won’t try to explain but it made sense to me so I gave it a go and it worked great!

How to make cream cheese icing

Using Chilled Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is already somewhat soft even straight out of the fridge so there is really no reason to have it come to room temperature. Using it chilled makes for a stiffer frosting. The frosting will obviously soften the longer it sits at room temperature but it starts out stiffer and easier to work with this way.

I take my cream cheese out of the fridge when I start making the frosting. By the time I’m ready to add it it has been out of the fridge for 10mins or so.

I cut it up into small cubes (about 1 Tbsp each) and add them one at a time while the buttercream is whipping. Because the cream cheese is cold you want to make sure you incorporate it well so that there are no chunks of cream cheese in your frosting. Just give it a good whip once it’s all been added.

How to Thicken Cream Cheese Icing

The easiest and most common way to thicken cream cheese frosting is to add powdered sugar but this would make a sweet frosting even sweeter.

If you find that your frosting is still too thin you can add either cornstarch or meringue powder a little bit at a time at the end to help thicken it up. Add it slowly and only enough to get the frosting to the consistency you need.

How to make cream cheese icing

That’s it! Everything you need to make a delicious, decorator-friendly cream cheese frosting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make it in advance?

  • Yes. The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 1 week for frozen for up to 3 months (sometimes longer). Be sure to bring to room temperature and give it a good rewhip before using.

How can I convert this recipe?

  • This recipe makes enough to frost a two-layer 8″ cake or a three-layer 6″ cake or about 18-24 cupcakes depending on the amount used per cupcake.
  • If you want extra frosting to decorate the cake 1.5x the recipe.

Can I add different flavourings?

  • Add any kind of extract of flavouring that you like. Try some freeze-dried fruit powders for a delicious fruity version!

Can I use low fat or tub style cream cheese?

  • No. Both of these options are too watery and will make for a runny frosting. Be sure to use full fat block style cream cheese only and make sure it’s chilled!

For many desserts, an amazing cream cheese frosting recipe is literally the icing on the cake! Learn how to make cream cheese frosting with these simple steps and tips for getting that perfect creamy, delicious consistency every time.

How to make cream cheese icing

Are you a fan of cakes and cupcakes? If so, you’ll likely agree that a good cream cheese frosting recipe is a must for any baker. Cream Cheese frosting is simple to make, and comes together easily if you keep these tips in mind. I’ve compiled the essential steps that you need to know in how to make cream cheese frosting that’s fluffy and delicious each time. Here’s the simple steps to making cream cheese frosting and the simple tips to getting the perfect frosting consistency every time.

How to make cream cheese icing

Gather your ingredients:

The essential ingredients you’ll need to make cream cheese frosting is butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. My recipe below is for a double-batch of frosting. This is ideal for a layer cake or a large batch of cupcakes (24 or more). If you’re making a single layer cake, or sheet cake, I would recommend cutting this double-batch in half.

Can I make this cream cheese frosting recipe a different color?

Yes, you can definitely make it any color you wish. Should you want to tint the frosting a special color, I recommend gel food coloring. Start with small amounts first, and then add more coloring to deepen the shade of the frosting.

What can I add into the frosting to enhance the flavor and texture?

You can add in just about any ingredient to compliment the dessert you are working with. Cinnamon, coconut, caramel, nuts, cocoa – just about anything is game.

Just be mindful of the temperature and consistency of the ingredient. Ingredients that are too hot (like melted caramel) can melt the butter. Just make sure the caramel has cooled. Thicker, more substantial ingredients like nuts and coconut need to be stirred in at the very end, after all the sugar has been added. Ingredients like spices (cinnamon or nutmeg) and cocoa, can be added in with the powdered sugar. With cocoa, be sure to sift to eliminate any lumps.

What ingredients will I need to make this Cream Cheese Frosting recipe?

  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Sugar

(For exact amounts of the ingredients, be sure to reference the recipe below.)

How to make cream cheese icing

Step 1: Beat Together the Butter and Cream Cheese

You begin by beating together the room temperature butter and cream cheese. I can’t stress how important it is to make sure that these two ingredients are room temperature. If you takes these two ingredients right out of the refrigerator and try to beat them together, you won’t have good results. You’ll likely have a very lumpy frosting. Conversely, if the butter and cream cheese are at a consistency where you can touch it, and your finger leaves a slight dimple, it is ready to be made into frosting.

Using a hand or stand mixer is ideal for making frosting. I have a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer, that I’ve been using for over 15 years. I use the whisk attachment which does a great job of whipping the butter and cream cheese together.

How to make cream cheese icing

Step 2: Add in the Vanilla or any Other Flavoring

Once you’ve beat together the butter and cream cheese to a fluffy consistency, add in the vanilla. Beat in the vanilla until combined.

If you’re adding in any other flavor to your frosting (for example, coconut extract for my Pina Colada Cupcakes), almond extract, or mint extract, now is the time to add it.

You can also adjust the flavor of the frosting by adding ingredients like cocoa powder to make a chocolate flavored frosting. Should you do this, be sure to sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar to eliminate any small lumps in the cocoa. I top my Triple Chocolate Espresso Brownies with a yummy chocolate cream cheese frosting!

How to make cream cheese icing

Step 3: Gradually add in the Powdered Sugar

One cup at a time, gradually add in the powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture. Be sure to stop the mixer each time you add in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber scraper. Once all of the sugar has been added, the frosting will be very thick and creamy.

How to make cream cheese icing

How do I keep the powdered sugar from going everywhere?

When adding in the powdered sugar, it’s helpful to cover the sides of the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel as the sugar begins to mix in. This will prevent the powdered sugar from flying all over. You can then take down the towel once the sugar begins working in to the frosting.

How to make cream cheese icing

By following these simple steps, you’ll have a wonderfully cream frosting to top your cakes, cupcakes, bars and desserts. Enjoy!

I love adding this cream cheese frosting recipe to sheet cakes, like these:

How to make cream cheese icing

Even the most experienced bakers encounter problems with their recipes. Whether you are a pro or beginner, here are some simple tips on how to fix lumpy cream cheese frosting.

Finding annoying little lumps in your frosting is not the end of the word; it can still be used, and it could even taste delicious, but when you have put so much time and effort into making a cake, then decorating it with imperfect frosting probably won’t do.

Although it is a simple recipe, just overlooking a few basic things can easily result in a fail.

Once you’ve covered the basics, you can add flavors or colors, depending on what you’re creating and what you’d like it to look like!

Make sure you’re making enough frosting to cover your cake or cupcakes!

So, before we go into troubleshooting and fixes, I will give you a deliciously rich and sweet cream cheese frosting recipe that is relatively foolproof without any lumps if you just follow the instructions.

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

(For up to 12 cupcakes or one medium-size cake)

Ingredients:

  • Icing sugar (Sieved) 2 ½ cups
  • Softened and cut butter ½ a cup
  • Block of full-fat cream cheese 8oz
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp (optional)

How To Make It

  1. In a round-bottom mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Make sure you sift the powdered confectioner’s sugar on top, then mix until smooth and well-combined.
  2. Once light and fluffy, then add in any food coloring that you like or additional flavors. If the food coloring you use is in powdered form, to prevent any lumps or pieces, sift that also.
  3. Beat until smooth, roughly around 5 minutes, but any longer, and the mixture may split and no longer be useable.
  4. Apply the frosting to a cooled cake and chill in the fridge to set.

While you can mix the ingredients by hand, using a mixer will allow a consistent beating and save you lots of energy!

Although these instructions sound simple enough, we all know that sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan. Frosting can split, become runny, curdled, or lumpy!

How To Fix Lumpy Cream Cheese Frosting?

Firstly, identify what the lumps are within your mixture. Are they butter clumps? Or icing sugar that hasn’t been sieved enough?

If the ingredients for cream cheese frosting are too cold, it could cause the butter to become lumpy. To eliminate these lumps, treat it with a heat fix; for dry ingredients clumps, beat some more. If few pieces remain even after thorough mixing, pick out the lumps by hand.

Sift Sugar And Other Dry Ingredients

Firstly, make sure your bowl is clear of icing sugar lumps, which could be creating additional lumps in your frosting. While it’s easy to ignore a recipe’s instruction to sieve the icing sugar, it makes a big difference to the smoothness of your frosting.

Mix Ingredients Thoroughly

Having lumpy frosting is often a sign of the mixture not having been beaten for long enough. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are combined and not stuck to the bottom of the mixing bowl.

Mix it once again to break up any remaining lumps and create that dreamy and velvety cream cheese frosting texture.

Give It A Quick Blast Of Heat

If you’re looking for a quick fix for lumpy icing, put the mixture in the microwave for 3-5 seconds. After a short burst of heat, mix once again. The cream cheese and butter will have softened due to the heat, allowing you to dissolve the lumps and create smoother cream cheese icing.

Lumpy Frozen Frosting Fix

If you’ve already made your frosting in advance and are using it from frozen, firstly, make sure you’re using it within three months of freezing it.

Defrost it to room temperature, add a spoonful of fresh, sieved icing sugar to the mix before mixing to revive and refresh the mixture and get the desired consistency.

Whether it’s a smooth cream cheese frosting for a cake topping or a rainbow sprinkle icing to top a rainbow bagel with something sweet, a creamy coating for decorating is an essential element to any baker’s arsenal. Casually spoon your frosting for an informal look, or use silicone icing bags and nozzles for fancy swirl perfection. The choice is up to you!

Lastly

But most importantly, remember, if your frosting hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to, don’t panic, be sure to return the mixture to the mixer and beat further, removing any lumps and pieces.

Life is sweet, even if it’s lumpy.

Read Also: Why Is My Banana Bread Gummy And Dense? (Fixes and Troubleshooting)

Posted on Last updated: April 10, 2021

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

What can I say about Cream Cheese Frosting? Well, this recipe is a little different than most others and I like it better.

How to make cream cheese icing

The internet is funny, isn’t it? When I google “Cream Cheese Frosting” or “Cream Cheese Icing” a million recipes come up and almost every one of them is exactly the same.

I like it this recipe better than the typical one that’s out there on the web. I perfected this recipe for my cake decorating business. You can imagine a wedding cake with a very soft filling might not be a great idea.

Virtually all the other recipes I’ve seen have twice as much cream cheese as butter and about 3-4 cups of powdered sugar per 8 oz of cream cheese.

The procedure is also the same…you start by with creaming the butter and cream cheese together.

How to make the best Cream Cheese Frosting

  • The first difference between my recipe and the standard is that I use equal parts cream cheese and butter because more butter makes a slightly firmer frosting, especially when it’s chilled.
  • I use slightly less sugar than average and a hint of lemon juice to enhance the flavor.
  • Butter and cream cheese have different textures. Butter is more brittle, especially when it’s cool. As the butter gets warm it can become very soft and greasy, whereas cream cheese keeps a fairly consistent texture.
  • I start my Cream Cheese Frosting by softening the butter with the beater, then adding the sugar and finally the cream cheese. Because cream cheese has more water than butter, mixing the butter with the sugar first prevents the sugar from absorbing too much water from the cream cheese. This is why cream cheese frosting made in the usual way often becomes soupy.
  • This process allows the butter to become similar in texture to the cream cheese before the two are combined, even if the butter is still a little cool. So, no lumps!

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make the best Cream Cheese Frosting with no lumps:

This recipe has a pronounced cream cheese flavor (thanks to the lemon juice, which accentuates the cream cheese) and it’s plenty sweet but not cloying. It’s a versatile recipe that I use for carrot and red velvet cake, as a topping for breakfast buns and to decorate cheesecakes.

I hope you like it!

How to make cream cheese icing

If you love classic frosting recipes like this you’ll love my new book: Easy Baking From Scratch: Quick Tutorials, Time-Saving Tips, Extraordinary Sweet and Savory Classics. The book contains over 100 recipes that have been well-tested and are presented in simple, clear language. It’s available now on Amazon.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

How to make cream cheese icing

Most cream cheese frosting can end up too soft and runny, unstable, or too sweet from an excess of powdered sugar added to thicken it enough to use on decorated layer cakes. It’s a problem that most bakers face. Fear not: with a change in technique and an easy recipe, you can make thick cream cheese frosting that you can use to decorate cakes and with a lot less sugar!

How to make cream cheese icing

Why is cream cheese frosting runny or too sweet?

Typical recipes for cream cheese frosting have you cream the butter and the cream cheese together, then add A TON of icing sugar. The reason cream cheese frosting recipes call for so much powdered sugar is because without the extra powdered sugar, cream cheese frosting tends to be runny, unstable, weepy, and soupy.

How to make cream cheese icing

Why is it so unstable?

A block of cream cheese contains a lot more water than the same weight of butter. Remember that most grocery store butters have roughly 80 % fat in them, while cream cheese is half of that, around 40 % fat. What remains in both cases is mostly water, so cream cheese contains more moisture than butter.

When the cream cheese is creamed with the butter, and then the icing sugar is added in, the icing sugar draws out that moisture from the butter and the cheese. Butter has very little moisture to draw out, so you can make a thick, pipeable frosting with butter and icing sugar without much worry. But since cream cheese contributes double the moisture, when the icing sugar draws out that moisture, you end up with a soupy, runny, unstable cream cheese frosting.

How to make cream cheese icing

This is the main reason why most cream cheese frosting recipes recommend a huge amount of icing sugar. Without all the extra powdered sugar, the frosting is too soft to work with. The frosting doesn’t hold its shape when piped and it’s quite unstable. Bakers tend to overload the frosting with powdered sugar to stiffen the frosting. This leads to a cloyingly sweet cream cheese frosting that doesn’t taste very good.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make thick cream cheese frosting that is stable and can be piped

Without resorting to adding an excess amount of icing sugar, to make a thicker cream cheese frosting that can be used to frost a cake or decorate cupcakes, the solution is simple: change the order you mix your ingredients in:

  • Step 1: Cream the butter with the icing sugar first, thereby coating all the little sugar molecules with fat
  • Step 2: Once the butter and icing sugar are well mixed, THEN you add in the cream cheese. The sugar is coated with fat, therefore making it more difficult to draw out the moisture from the cream cheese. The cream cheese remains intact, and no water leeches out.

By following this mixing order, you can make a frosting with significantly less sugar. In fact, you end up with a frosting that tastes a lot like cheesecake, tangy and not overly sweet!

How to make cream cheese icing

Cream cheese in the tub versus blocks of cream cheese

The cream cheese product you buy has an impact on this recipe. Cream cheese sold in the tub is formulated to be spreadable and that softer consistency comes the water content: cream cheese sold in the tub has slightly less fat and more water than cream cheese sold in blocks, which is much firmer.

How to make cream cheese icing

That extra water in the tub product means your cream cheese frosting will be more prone to breaking down or becoming too soft. If you can, buy the cream cheese sold in blocks and make sure to buy full-fat cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia brand.

How to make cream cheese icing

What recipes to make with it

Once you have mastered this thick cream cheese frosting recipe, you will see that it is so thick that you can use it to make layer cakes and for decorating. I’ve used this recipe for:

You know this recipe is good because this cream cheese frosting works great in layer cakes without the risk of sliding layers and weeping frosting!

How to make cream cheese icing

There are so many ways to get creative with this frosting. You can alo use this frosting to fill whoopie pies and you can also colour it with gel food colouring for decorating. Try browning the butter, then cooling it to room temperature to give the frosting a nutty flavour.

Frequently asked questions

The brand and type of cream cheese makes a HUGE difference in frosting recipes. You should use Philadelphia, full fat cream cheese, sold in blocks of 250 grams (roughly, though the weight of the block depends on the country).
Any other brand may lead to a different taste and mouthfeel as some have more gums or different stabilizers which has an impact on taste and texture.
Also, in some countries, cream cheese is sold exclusively in tubs. Cream cheese sold in tubs may have more water in it. I recommend straining the cream cheese by placing it in a strainer lined with a few layers of paper towel or cheese cloth to try and drain the excess water before proceeding with the recipe.

Change the order you mix your ingredients in and your frosting will be thicker and you won’t need as much sugar! Mix the butter with part of the icing sugar first, then add the cream cheese and the rest of the sugar (or as much to achieve the right flavour). You’ll see that you won’t need so much if you mix the ingredients in this order!

I do not suggest substituting any other type of sugar in this frosting recipe. The smooth texture of cream cheese frosting has as much to do with the butter and cream cheese as it does the icing sugar. You can’t replace it here with anything else. This is not a baking substitution that I would recommend. If you would like a cream cheese frosting without icing sugar, try this white chocolate cream cheese frosting!

Cream cheese frosting is very versatile and tastes great with most types of cake. I love to frost chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, and of course it goes well with spice cake and carrot cakes. It’s great on cupcakes too, as you can see in the photo!

Yes, you should definitely store frosted cakes in the fridge. If you aren’t a fan of cold cake, slice it cold and let the slice come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before enjoying.

Yes, you can, but don’t leave it out for too long. I wouldn’t suggest storing it on the counter for more than a day. Cream cheese frosting contains butter and cream cheese, and both of these ingredients spoil and go bad at room temperature, so opt to refrigerate as much as possible for long term storage.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
82 Calories
5g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 82
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 48mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 30mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Whether you’re glazing a red velvet cupcake or a ​pumpkin Bundt cake, there’s nothing like a smooth, rich cream cheese glaze as the finishing touch. This is the perfect, essential topping to any moist or sweet dessert, and it’s easily made with four ingredients in just 15 minutes.

Cream cheese is a fresh cheese, which is to say it’s made from curds that haven’t been aged or pressed. It has a fat content of 33 percent, which makes it quite fatty, with a moderate 7 grams of protein per 100 grams . Depending on the brand, the sodium content can vary, but its salty profile makes it ideal for sweet-and-savory dishes.

While cream cheese frosting can be too rich and thick for a particular dessert, a glaze is an excellent compromise, adding a sweet and tangy touch without overwhelming your cake. This glaze also pairs nicely with cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, doughnuts, scones, banana bread, or muffins. Check our recipe variations for different flavors.

“This is a great way to spruce up a cake or pastry without making an overly sweet or time-consuming frosting. You can add this to pumpkin muffins, lemon cake, or apple pound cake to bring it to the next level. It is simple to prepare and tastes great.” —Tracy Wilk

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Ingredients

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar ( or powdered sugar), sifted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.

How to make cream cheese icing

Beat cream cheese until very smooth.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

Stir in vanilla extract and add 3 tablespoons of milk.

How to make cream cheese icing

Add more milk to get the desired consistency for drizzling.

How to make cream cheese icing

Try on your favorite cake or on another recipe. Enjoy.

How to Soften Cream Cheese Quickly

If you don’t have enough time to let your cream cheese sit at room temperature until soft, here are a few suggestions to soften it quickly:

  • Microwave: Put an unwrapped slab of cream cheese onto a microwavable plate (if you put it into a bowl, it might be difficult to scrape off when done). Microwave it on high for 15 seconds. If it is not soft enough, microwave it in 15-second increments until it gets to the right texture. Although it might be a little cooler in the middle, the warmer sides may help it soften evenly and completely in just a few minutes. Flip the cream cheese halfway through microwaving for a more even softening.
  • Alternatively, chop the cold cream cheese slab into a few chunks and then microwave it. This ensures that your microwave can more quickly heat the individual chunks instead of the whole slab at once.

Flavored and Colored Cream Cheese Glaze

Here are some of our favorite additions:

  • Flavor your cream cheese glaze by simply adding 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or pumpkin spice, or 2 teaspoons sweetened cocoa.
  • Give some color and flavor to your glaze by adding 1 tablespoon of your favorite jam, preserve, or honey before adding the milk. Add 1 tablespoon of milk afterward and test the texture before adding more. Adding 1/2 teaspoon of citrus zest gives a beautiful zing to the glaze.
  • Add natural food coloring to give the basic recipe a pink, blue, or yellow hue. Use on berry muffins or lemon pound cake.

How to make cream cheese icing

I know I’m about to hear some “boos” on this, but I have to admit I’m not a fan of most frostings.

When it comes to cutting a cake, you won’t get any fight from me to get the frosting-loaded corner piece . or the piece with all the swirly frosting-formed flowers. Nope. Just give me a regular-old thin-layer-of-frosting piece. And sometimes I’m known to even scrape that off.

The slight tang from the cream cheese perfectly tones down the sweetness for me, creating one creamy frosting I absolutely adore.

How to make cream cheese icing

When it comes to making perfectly creamy, not-too-sweet Cream Cheese Frosting, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Keep a good ratio of cream cheese and butter

I find using just a little more cream cheese than butter turns out the best texture, flavor, and creaminess. For a batch of frosting for one cake or about 18 cupcakes, I recommend 8 ounces cream cheese to 7 tablespoons butter.

How to make cream cheese icing

Use regular, full-fat cream cheese. Substituting reduced-fat cream cheese can lead to runny, thin frosting that doesn’t hold up well.

When it comes to making perfectly creamy, not-too-sweet Cream Cheese Frosting, there are a few things to keep in mind.

One caution with how to make Cream Cheese Frosting with great texture is to be careful not to over beat it. Over beating can also lead to runny, thin frosting that doesn’t hold up well.

How to make cream cheese icing

To cut the sweetness and balance the frosting’s flavor, toss in a pinch of salt. But just a small pinch! You wouldn’t think just a tiny pinch of salt would make all that much difference in a big batch of frosting . but it does.

You wouldn’t think just a tiny pinch of salt would make all that much difference in a big batch of frosting . but it does.

How to make cream cheese icing

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Aug 16, 2021

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

This simple cream cheese frosting is made with only four ingredients! Great for cakes, cupcakes and cookies! Check out the ideas to change flavors and more!

How to make cream cheese icing

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How to make cream cheese icing

This post will tell you exactly how to make an easy and delicious cream cheese frosting!

Cream cheese frosting has always been my favorite, especially on carrot cake or zucchini cookies. It’s so easy to mix up and you can use right away or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.

We love it on cakes, cupcakes and cookies, or by the spoonful if you’re a frosting lover like I am.

You can add any food coloring you want for that special occasion, or add different flavor extracts, spices, fruit and more!

Keep scrolling for tips, process photos, recipes to use cream cheese frosting and more!

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What are the ingredients in this recipe?

How to make cream cheese icing

  • Butter: A dairy product consisting of approximately 80% butterfat and made from the fat and protein components of milk or cream. Most commonly made from cow’s milk, but can also be made from sheep, goat, yak, or buffalo milk.
  • Cream Cheese: It’s been around since the 1800’s and was produced mostly in Philadelphia. You can use store bought like I did or homemade cream cheese. I love the versatility, and that you can use it in sweet or savory recipes.
  • Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar. It is finely ground by milling, and is used for frostings or dusted onto food to add sweetness or decoration. You can use store bought or make your own powdered sugar!
  • Vanilla extract: This extract is made from vanilla bean pods soaked in water and alcohol. Try using pure vanilla extract instead of imitation. This is the most common extract used in American desserts and I put it in pretty much anything sweet, Use store bought or make your own vanilla!

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for measurements and instructions!

Recipe tips:

  • How to store: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and mix.
  • How to freeze: Freeze in an airtight freezer bag or container for up to 3 months. Before using, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature and mix.
  • Make sure to use a brick of cream cheese and not the spreadable kind.

How to make cream cheese icing

Recipes using cream cheese frosting you might like:

You can add or substitute with these ingredients:

  • add lemon extract instead of vanilla
  • add one teaspoon lemon zest
  • add one teaspoon cinnamon
  • add almond extract instead of vanilla
  • add 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • add 1/2 cup chopped berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries)
  • add 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

How to make cream cheese icing

Recipes around this time in blog history.

How to make cream cheese icing

4 simple ingredients come together to make a delicious, slightly tangy cream cheese frosting perfect for almost any type of dessert.

Have I mentioned before that Cream Cheese Frosting is my favorite? I think I may have. On a few occasions. Here and there. Every chance I get. Many of my recipes use this frosting. But I’ve never dedicated a post to the frosting.

I know cream cheese frosting isn’t for everyone. There are many options, such as buttercream frosting. You can view my recipe for buttercream frosting with the Sorting Hat Cupcakes.

There are so many varieties of icing or frosting. But the definition of frosting is a bit vague, at least according to Wikipedia:

Icing, or frosting, is a sweet, often creamy glaze made of sugar with a liquid, such as water or milk, that is often enriched with ingredients like butter, egg whites, cream cheese, or flavorings. It is used to cover or decorate baked goods, such as cakes or cookies. When it is used between layers of cake, it is called filling.

Looking at the definition, this qualifies as a frosting. The powdered sugar is the sugar needed. Vanilla extract is the liquid. And butter and cream cheese are the flavorings. You can then use it on cookies, cookie cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake, and so many other delicious desserts.

Recipes in England as early as 1583 have used cream cheese. I can’t find the first use of cream cheese as a frosting ingredient, though. Recipes in the US started around the mid-18th century.

Cream cheese frosting is a bit thicker and creamier than buttercream frosting. I like that it goes on smoothly, but it isn’t perfect. I’ve noticed it’s not great if you want to use a piping tool to make decorative frosting bits on your desserts. If you want a perfectly smooth cake, you’ll probably have to work with fondant. Personally, I don’t like fondant and I’ve never worked with it before.

If I’m baking anything with frosting, it’s going to be cream cheese. I don’t think the cream cheese is overpowering, but I love cream cheese. I know a few people who don’t care for cream cheese so they don’t like the frosting as much. But, if you decide to make your own cream cheese frosting, it’s very simple to put together.

Most stores sell cream cheese in a tub or a block. The block is much easier for this recipe. I find the blocks in 8oz sizes which is perfect for this recipe.

The most important thing to do is to let the cream cheese and butter soften ahead of time. They mix better so you have fewer lumps in the end.

How to make cream cheese icing

Step by Step

Let the cream cheese and butter soften before making your frosting for the best results.

Use an electric mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter and cream cheese together. Beat in the vanilla extract. Get as many of the lumps out as possible.

How to make cream cheese icing

Slowly add the powdered sugar while mixing on low speed. Once the powdered sugar has been mixed in, set the speed to high. Mix until the frosting is smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of milk. Continue to stir until the frosting is smooth. It should be thick enough to stick to a spatula when you pull it out of the bowl.

How to make cream cheese icing

Use immediately to frost your dessert. I like using an angled spatula for spreading on a cake. Keep the dessert in the refrigerator for the best results and to keep the longest.

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This silky Cream Cheese Frosting is a basic recipe that can be used in a variety of ways. It’s not too sweet and has a ton of tangy cream cheese flavor!

How to make cream cheese icing

Cream cheese frosting recipe

This is the best cream cheese frosting recipe! Seriously, it’s the only recipe you’ll ever need. Trust me, I’ve used it so many times for cakes and cupcakes, and I always get rave reviews!

I’ve made a lemon cream cheese frosting in the past but honestly, a basic frosting is my absolute favorite! It’s so smooth, tangy, and lightly sweet.

It’s actually a great base for other flavors as well but you have to be careful because adding too much of anything extra will thin out the frosting and make it runny.

You could mix in things like crushed pineapple that’s been very well-drained. Different citrus curds. Or you could add a little cocoa powder to make chocolate cream cheese!

Best Cakes to go with Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting is phenomenal on so many different cake flavors. Here are just a few of my favorites:

How to make cream cheese icing

Ingredients

My cream cheese frosting recipe uses five simple ingredients. Let’s talk about what they are.

  1. Butter: Use unsalted butter because cream cheese already contains a good amount of salt.
  2. Cream cheese: Use a good quality cream cheese like Philadelphia. Avoid using low-fat cream cheese. These will not yield the same results.
  3. Sugar: Confectioners’ sugar also known as powdered sugar is the only sugar that works for this recipe. Any other sugar will leave the frosting with a gritty mouthfeel.
  4. Vanilla: I highly recommend using a good quality pure vanilla extract.
  5. Salt: This is completely optional! I find that a little extra salt helps balance the extreme sweetness that comes from using so much powdered sugar. Taste your frosting before you add it and only add a little at a time until you’re happy with the results.

How to make cream cheese frosting

The concept is the same as making a buttercream. You want to start with softened butter and cream cheese but the butter shouldn’t be so soft that it looks oily. 20 to 30 minutes on the countertop seems to be the sweet spot for softening butter.

Whip the butter and cream cheese together until it’s completely smooth creamy. This can take up to 5 minutes depending on your mixer.

Then I just add all of the remaining ingredients at once – the sugar, salt, and vanilla – and beat it until is completely mixed in and smooth. Alternatively, you can add the sugar in two additions to make it easier to fully incorporate without making a huge mess.

How to make cream cheese icing

The frosting is very soft and supple but it does hold its shape well when pipped. If the frosting seems too soft, you can pop in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes then whip it a bit more. The cold temperature will help stiffen it some.

But, do try to avoid adding more confectioners’ sugar. The cream cheese makes the frosting creamier and it will take quite a bit of confectioners’ sugar to get a stiff frosting. The excess sugar may be too sweet to handle.

You can make cream cheese frosting up to a week in advance. Just store it in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated.

Variations to try

Create these other fun flavors by adding mix-ins to the base recipe.

  • Chocolate cream cheese frosting: Add 4-6 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Strawberry cream cheese frosting: Add ⅓ cup of ground freeze-dried strawberries. This works with any freeze-dried fruit!
  • Cinnamon cream cheese frosting: Mix in 1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

How to make cream cheese icing

Can you color cream cheese frosting?

The answer is yes! You can add a few drops of gel food coloring to color the frosting. Avoid using liquid food coloring because it can ruin the texture and make the frosting too runny.

How do you thicken cream cheese frosting?

The best way to thicken cream cheese frosting is to refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes. As the butter cools, it’ll help firm up the frosting.

You can also add meringue powder to thicken the frosting and keep it stable. I’ve done this countless times and it works like a charm. It’s even great for stabilizing frosting with wet ingredients, like my pineapple frosting. Start with 1 tablespoon, mix it in, then see if you need to add more.

Tips for success

  • Don’t work with butter that is too soft. If it’s oily, it’s too soft and won’t mix properly with the cream cheese.
  • Make sure the confectioners’ sugar contains cornstarch as the anticaking agent. It will help thicken the frosting.
  • Use full-fat cream cheese! Cream cheese with lower fat content contains more liquid and can result in a runny frosting.
  • Avoid adding more sugar to thicken the frosting! This will only make it too sweet.

How to make cream cheese icing

You will be so impressed with this light and smooth frosting. It’s perfect for all sorts of cakes, cupcakes, and even cookies!

This cream cheese Cool Whip frosting is super easy when you need to frost cakes, cupcakes, pies, or other pastries. Color as you like with food coloring, and customize the flavor with any pudding mix you desire! If making ahead, store in the fridge until it’s time to frost and eat!

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) container whipped topping (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (or other desired flavor), optional

Details

Servings 4
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 15mins
Adapted from allrecipes.com

Preparation

Step 1

In a large mixing bowl, stir together softened cream cheese with the Cool Whip. Add the sugar, vanilla, and pudding mix, if using. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

If you would like a colored frosting, add several drops of food coloring and mix. Continue to add food coloring, stirring after each addition, until the frosting is the desired color.

With a spatula, spread the frosting over your desired dessert, several tablespoons at a time. Once the entire surface is covered, use the spatula to smooth out the frosting and make sure it’s evenly distributed over the surface.

For an even more attractive cake, use a butter knife or spatula to create a wave-like design in the frosting. You can also spoon the frosting into a pastry bag (or a plastic storage bag with a small hole cut from one of the corners), and, with a frosting tip, squeeze frosting onto your dessert.

There are endless complaints that I receive about the same old vanilla buttercream. It’s admittedly too sweet, admittedly too unhealthy. And incomes in our beautiful cream cheese frosting to rescue you from the same old. Cream cheese frosting is a sweet-tangy frosting that goes beautifully with almost every dessert out there. Plus we can make the cream cheese at home too! Click here to see the cream cheese at home recipe.

Honestly, we all are pretty much done with the conventional frostings. Vanilla buttercream and whipped cream on another dessert will just be too boring for me. I have always been a cream cheese frosting admirer because it’s not that sweet, it’s beautifully tangy and goes well with just about anything! Buttercream uses literally butter and sugar and it is such an issue for people keeping a check on their weight or their sugar consumption. In this area, this frosting really comes handy. If your cupcakes or cakes are adequately sweet for you, you can lessen the sugar quantity in your frosting. In this way, it is highly versatile and that’s another reason to love it!

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese frosting

There are a thousand different cream cheese frosting recipes over the internet. But, if not done right, your frosting will get too runny, won’t pipe properly. Worse off, if you are making more than one tiers, your cakes might slip right off. This is why it is super important to get the perfect recipe for this frosting. This is where I come into the picture! I am going to share world’s best frosting with you guys and you can find the recipe below!

You need ½ cup butter, softened, 1 cup cream cheese, 1.5 cups icing sugar, and 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract. To prepare, in a bowl beat the butter and cream cheese together until the mixture is light and fluffy. While the mixture is running gradually add the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and mix well until well combined. Don’t over-mix because that never makes anything better. Haha.

Preventing cream cheese frosting from becoming runny

Now, I have mentioned how cream cheese frosting can end up being runny and end up destroying your dessert (and your mood). In order to get a perfect consistency and the perfect pipe-able frosting, keep some general tips in mind.

The softened butter

When I say your butter should be softened, I mean that when you press into your butter brick, your finger should easily go into it. It should not be liquidy and not even a teeny bit cold. I might be making softened butter a complicated idea for you guys. But, please remember that this is a vital step and at the end of the day, it’s just room temperature butter. In case you need softened butter for your frosting stat, you can microwave it for 10 seconds until it is adequately softened. Not melted- softened. This is your keyword.

The cold cream cheese

Your cream cheese should again be softened but cold. For this, keep it in the refrigerator an hour before you wish to whip up your cream cheese frosting. The cold cream cheese ensures that your frosting is not too runny!

The sugar

Please know that icing sugar is strikingly different from powdered sugar. Icing sugar has a certain amount of cornflour mixed into it which causes stability in your frostings. It is of apex importance that you use only icing sugar for this recipe and no other sugar. This icing sugar will make your frosting more stable and will give it a good structure.

The perfect cream cheese frosting recipe

  1. The temperature of your ingredients really matters. Butter is at room temperature and cream cheese is cold and fresh out of the fridge. It’s not frozen- just cold.
  2. Blending- if you are blending with a whisk, you might face a little issue but nevertheless, with the right amount of dedication-you’ll get there. If you are using a stand mixer, please use a whisk attachment because it fills in the air into the mixture and allows it to have a better structure.
  3. Don’t over-whip. It is hardly every desirable. Throughout the process of making this cream cheese frosting, just mix everything until you see it combined. Not more- not less.
  4. Don’t use cold butter or you will positively end up with a lumpy frosting which is highly undesirable.
  5. Don’t use low-quality cream cheese because it has more water content and it makes the frosting very runny.

Ingredients to take care of while making this cream cheese frosting

The cream cheese

Good quality cream cheese ensures that you have a smooth and thick frosting. Low-quality cream cheese has a lot of water content and it makes your frosting runny and unstable. Popular brands are d’LECTA, Britannia, and Philadelphia.

The butter

Unsalted and salted butter both work beautifully. It’s always a nicer after-taste when you use salted butter because it complements the tangy cream cheese! Brands that you can use are Amul or Mother Dairy.

The sugar

Icing sugar works best for the above-stated reasons! Popular brands for the same are Solar, Dhampur, and more!

The Vanilla

Using good quality vanilla is of utmost importance too. The vanilla makes your frosting super pleasant! Popular brands are Sprig and Bush.

How to make cream cheese icing

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
318 Calories
16g Fat
44g Carbs
2g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 318
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 19mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 43g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 4mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Whether you’re allergic to dairy, lactose intolerant, following a vegan diet, or simply looking for a twist on traditional frosting, this dairy-free vegan cream cheese frosting is for you. It takes just minutes to whip up and only requires a few ingredients. You can find dairy-free “butter” and “cream cheese” in most supermarkets near the dairy section. These vegan alternatives tend to be soy-based and taste remarkably like the real thing.

To make this frosting easier to mix up, let the margarine and cream cheese come to room temperature. If it is too soft for decorating, let the frosting chill in the fridge to stiffen up.

This cream cheese frosting is thicker and sweeter than traditional buttercream and can be used in a number of desserts beyond cake. Use it to frost cupcakes, decorate cookies, on top of quick bread or cinnamon rolls, or make cake balls.

Cream cheese frosting is so easy to make! This is a classic cream cheese frosting with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. It’s perfect for icing carrot cake, cupcakes, and cookies. Nothing beats homemade frosting.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

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How to make cream cheese icing

Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

Cream cheese frosting is a baking classic!

It’s perfect for practically any cake and any leftovers are great dolloped onto some freshly cut fruit.

Video: How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Swaps and Suggestions for Cream Cheese Frosting

This is the basic recipe. You can reduce the amount of butter if you want a bit more tang, and increase or decrease the sugar according to your taste. Dress up with ginger, vanilla bean, or coconut flakes.

Here are some fun variations!

  • Add 1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and a pinch of salt for a chocolate cream cheese frosting
  • Mix freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut to the frosting to make a coconut frosting
  • Intensify a vanilla frosting by adding some scrapings from a fresh vanilla bean to the frosting
  • Add some blueberry syrup for blueberry cream cheese frosting
  • Add a tablespoon of Amaretto or a quarter teaspoon of almond extract for an almond-flavored cream cheese frosting

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Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

How to Make This Frosting Thicker

Cream cheese frosting is creamy and best suited for spreading with a spatula rather than detailed piping work. If the frosting is too thin for your liking, beat in powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. It may require more powdered sugar than you’d think, so be patient.

You can also refrigerate the frosting to help it thicken a bit. Tightly cover or add to a piping bag and seal. Chill for 30 minutes.

Adjusting the Sweetness

Tweak the sugar level in this recipe to suit your tastes. You can make the frosting with as little as 1 cup of powdered sugar, but the frosting will be thinner. Add more powdered sugar for a sweeter, thicker frosting.

Do You Have to Refrigerate Cream Cheese Frosting?

If your kitchen is around 70°F, then you can leave desserts with cream cheese frosting sitting out for up to a day. If your kitchen is warmer, or your dessert has been out for a while, refrigerate it.

How to Store and Freeze

Refrigerate leftover cream cheese frosting in a tightly covered container for up to 1 week. Let it soften on the counter 15-30 minutes before spreading. Freeze cream cheese frosting for up to 2 months. (Try leftovers sandwiched between graham crackers and frozen like ice cream sandwiches. Divine!)

When storing frosted desserts like cakes, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before serving.

Looking for the best cream cheese frosting recipe without leftovers? Your search ends here with this Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting! Makes enough to frost 6 cupcakes or one 6 inch cake.

How to make cream cheese icing
If you’ve been baking for as long as I have, then you know cream cheese frosting is a classic for most cakes.

I’ve been making this recipe for years and have used it on small carrot cake, strawberry cake, pumpkin cake, and more.

Because I do small batch baking, usually I don’t use as much frosting. Most of the time I end up throwing half of it away. Who wants to waste all of that butter and sugar?

That’s why I’m sharing my Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. It makes enough to cover a small 6 inch cake or pipe onto 6 cupcakes.

How to make cream cheese icing
The yield for this frosting recipe will range depending on what you’re making:

  • If you’re piping cupcakes, you can frost between 6-8 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make the swirls.
  • If you’re frosting cupcakes with an offset spatula, you can frost 1 dozen cupcakes because you typically don’t use as much as you would piping.
  • If you’re frosting a 6 inch cake, you can frost the top and edges with about a spoonful or two left over, depending on how thick you like it.
  • If you’re frosting an 8 inch cake, you can still frost the top and edges. Depending on how thick you like your frosting, you may or may not have some leftover.
  • If you’re frosting a small two layer cake, you can frost the middle and top. Frosting the edges will depend on how much you’ve used so far. You can always leave it as a naked cake with the edges showing.

How to make cream cheese icing
What you’re making will also determine how much powdered sugar you should use. I found 1/2 cup sufficient enough to spread onto a cake.

However, if you’re piping onto cupcakes, you may want to add a little more to stiffen it up.

Sometimes if the frosting gets too warm especially during the summer, you can refrigerate it for about 15 minutes or until it starts to firm up again.

If I’m piping cupcakes, I find transferring the frosting to the piping bag then refrigerating the bag to be the easiest method.

Cake Recipes For Your Small Batch Frosting

As much fun as it is to eat frosting with a spoon, chances are you need small cake recipes. That’s why I wrote my 6 Inch Cake Recipes and Small Batch Cupcake Recipes guides.

Cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly with small red velvet cake and red velvet cupcakes.

It also pairs well with Small Pumpkin Cake and Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes for Thanksgiving.

You can also pipe it onto Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple for Easter.

Other Small Batch Frosting Recipes

Don’t want to make cream cheese frosting? Here are more small batch frosting recipes you can make:

How to make delicious cream cheese buttercream perfect for decorating carrot cakes and red velvet cakes.

How to make cream cheese icing

I’m happy to say that after a lot of trial and error, I’ve finally mastered an easy carrot cake that I absolutely love. It started life as carrot cake cupcakes as recipe testing is far easier for little cakes but they’re delicious too.

In this post I’m sharing my recipe for the delicious, smooth cream cheese buttercream that I use in both recipes. It’s the perfect match for my fruity carrot cake as well as other recipes like red velvet cake.

How to make cream cheese icing

This cream cheese buttercream is perfect for piping as it has a lovely smooth texture. In the recipe, I’ve mentioned using a splash of milk if the buttercream is a little firm, but generally, I find this isn’t needed.

One thing to note is that this is a soft buttercream and it doesn’t crust like some other buttercream recipes. That means it’s better for popping on cupcakes or decorating a simple layer cake, rather than for elaborate decorations or putting under fondant.

This also means that it freezes brilliantly and it just as perfect for piping after it’s defrosted than on the day it was made. I’ve also tried freezing the cupcakes after they’ve been decorated and this also works well.

How to make cream cheese icing

Can you freeze cream cheese buttercream?

❄️ Suitable for freezing

Absolutely yes! This buttercream freezes extremely well and once defrosted is as smooth and perfect for piping as when it was first made.

To freeze the buttercream, simply put it into an airtight bag and pop it into the freezer. Allow it to defrost thoroughly in the fridge before using.

It should be fine in the freezer for up to three months.

How to make cream cheese icing

Free From/Suitable For…

The ingredients I used to make this recipe are all free from the following allergens. However, please check any labels carefully for allergens you need to avoid as brands can vary and product recipes can change over time.

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Gluten-Free
  • Egg-Free
  • Tree Nut-Free
  • Peanut-Free
  • Sesame-Free
  • Soya-Free
  • Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphite-Free
  • Lupin-Free

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How to make cream cheese icing

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How to make cream cheese icing

This honey cream cheese frosting recipe will knock your socks off. It’s so good, so simple, and sweetened with a touch of honey (an unrefined sugar). Instead of dumping the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl, just add a bit of honey and you’ll end up with a healthier, but still delicious cream cheese frosting to enjoy on your cakes, cookies, or brownies today!

How to make cream cheese icing

In the great debate of, “Which is better buttercream or cream cheese frosting?”, I’m a HUGE fan of cream cheese frosting. So I’m in the cream cheese frosting camp in that debate.

This honey cream cheese frosting recipe is simple, delicious, and it doesn’t require you to use pounds of powdered sugar that’s typically added to frosting. Whenever possible, I try to avoid refined sugar. And frosting is no exception.

Tools Used

  • Mixer – stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Bowl (or use the bowl with your stand mixer)

Ingredients Used

  • Unsalted butter – We love this grass fed butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Honey
  • Vanilla extract

How to Make Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

When making this frosting, it’s essential that the butter and the cream cheese are brought to room temperature before trying to mix them. If they’re not, you’ll likely end up with lumps in your frosting – which are annoying when you’re trying to decorate your cake. They’re also really hard to get rid of once they’re there.

Once your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, you can make the frosting. Lucky for you, this is a SUPER simple recipe.

  1. Mix all ingredients in your stand mixer or with a rubber spatula and a bowl, until mixed & smooth
  2. Frost cake, cookies, or brownies.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

FAQ & Troubleshooting

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll answer ASAP. I’d love to hear how you plan to use your refined-sugar free cream cheese frosting!

Is cream cheese frosting stable at room temp?

According to this website, cream cheese frosting can be left on the counter (on a cake or off) for 8 hours before it needs to be refrigerated. Other sources say after two hours it should be put in the fridge.

We left ours out closer to the 8 hour mark (maybe more). Make the decision based on what you’re comfortable with.

How long does this frosting keep in the fridge?

This frosting will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days, or you can freeze it for 1-3 months.

Does this frosting work for piping, even though it doesn’t have powdered sugar?

As seen in this picture, the frosting worked really well for piping. Let me be clear that I am not a professional baker, but I like to decorate cakes and make them look pretty. I had fun piping this cake with some of my piping tips and I was really pleased with the result.

How to make cream cheese icing

Troubleshooting Your Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Why is my cream cheese frosting gummy or lumpy?

In order to avoid the dreaded lumpy cream cheese frosting, you’ll want to make sure the cream cheese and butter are both at room temperature before mixing them together.

What is a good substitute for cream cheese frosting?

If you don’t have any cream cheese on hand, a buttercream frosting will work just fine. And if you want a deliciously healthy chocolate frosting made with avocados and honey, you’ll want to save this avocado chocolate frosting recipe for later.

How can you use this honey cream cheese frosting?

If you’re looking for a yummy way to use this cream cheese frosting (other than just eating it by the spoonful) here are some ideas for you:

  • Use it to frost cakes & cupcakes: I used it on this chocolate cake recipe, we also love it on carrot cake/cupcakes (recipe coming soon).
  • Frost cookies – like these double chocolate almond cookies, or ginger chocolate chip cookies
  • On brownies. Frost your brownies with this honey cream cheese frosting for a real treat. These are my favorite healthy brownies.

16th September 2017 by Holly 6 Comments

Lumpy icing or frosting is easy to make but with this quick fix it’s no problem! Save yourself from having to start again with this simple solution.
How to make cream cheese icing

I’ve been on 3 different holidays over the past two weeks hence the lack of blog posts. We started with lots of family on the Yorkshire coast. Fabulous uncles had filled a treasure chest with goodies and buried it on the beach. You can imagine the delight of the six little ones when they ‘found it’ and dug it up.

How to make cream cheese icing

Then we headed to near Oban in Scotland for a few chilled days before sailing to the Isle of Coll to meet with friends and their lovely kids. Coll was a reunion of sorts because most of us get to see each other three or four times a year – however we met 16 years ago on Coll. I met Dave and other wonderful people through these friends. They are my oldest friends, people I know will always be part of my life. We met through an organisation called Project Trust and visited Project’s HQ while on the island. I won’t go into loads of detail – Project’s website can do that for you, but suffice to say if you are about to leave school I’d definitely explore what they offer. The experience I had with them has significantly shaped my life, it gave me a confidence I didn’t know I had and it landed me a best friend to spend the rest of my life with.

How to make cream cheese icing

Anyway we are back in Edinburgh and not thinking about post holiday blues or anything similar! Right now to focus on what I’m here to talk about – lumpy icing or frosting. Everything was going well making this Madeira raspberry and cream cheese cake until I forgot to sift the icing (confectioners) sugar. (Actually that is a lie. Things weren’t going smoothly and you can read more here Why cakes sink in the middle and what you can do about it.) What had been smooth beautiful icing became lumpy although not big, the lumps were definitely there.
How to make cream cheese icing

I looked in the fridge just to check some more cream cheese hadn’t magiced itself there in the last ten minutes, but no joy. I couldn’t start again. I was going to have to persevere with this lumpy mess. Given I had forgotten to sift the sugar, I thought that pushing the lumpy icing through a sieve would solve the problem. It did sort of – the lumps were smaller but still there.

How to make cream cheese icing

But I thought on and came up with this easy fix.

How to fix lumpy icing or frosting

My simple solution to the lumpy icing or frosting problem is to put the whole lot into the microwave for a short blast sufficient to melt the cream cheese and butter mixture just a little – I started with ten seconds. Then, with a good mix, your lumps of sugar just dissolve. Ta da! Back to silky smooth icing. Pop it in the fridge to harden it up a little, so that you get thick icing for the top of the cake. If you want a cake with dribbles of icing cascading down the sides, don’t fridge it. It will just be a little thinner on the top, but you’ll have that wonderful drippy look on the sides.
How to make cream cheese icing

I love cream cheese icing. I love the taste, how easy it is to make and how it isn’t too sweet. Cream cheese icing is also far healthier than buttercream. Full fat cream cheese has a quarter of the fat compared to butter. As well as far less fat, this cream cheese icing is only 14% sugar, whereas traditional buttercream icing is 50% butter 50% sugar. So it’s almost healthy, right?!

Cream cheese icing or frosting

5 from 2 reviews

This icing is great on it’s own, but you can also add additional flavours.

  • A pinch of cinnamon works well for a carrot cake.
  • The zest of one lemon for a lemon and blueberry cake.
  • Or you could add a raspberry coulis, 100g of raspberries gently reduced with ½ tsp of icing sugar. See the link above to my Madeira raspberry and cream cheese cake.
  • Author: Holly
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 180g cream cheese
  • 40g butter
  • 70g icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Put the cream cheese and butter into a bowl and beat well until combined.
  2. Sift in the icing sugar, add other flavourings if using, and stir well.
  3. Ice cake.

Notes

This is enough buttercream icing to generously ice the top of a

  • 8”/20cm x 4”/10cm rectangular cake
  • 2lb loaf cake.
  • 6”/16cm round cake

This is an easy recipe to scale up if you need to.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing

Special occasions call for cake, and cake calls for cream cheese frosting. Am I right? No? If cream cheese frosting is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

The best cream cheese frosting is lusciously creamy, sweet and tangy. It’s the perfect counterpart to sweet, tender, fluffy cake. To make it, you’ll only need a few basic ingredients: cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

How to make cream cheese icing

Cream cheese frosting is undeniably fantastic on carrot cake, so I’m sharing this recipe just in time for tomorrow’s carrot cake recipe. It’s also wonderful on vanilla cake, lemon cake, banana cake, gingerbread cake and chocolate cake.

Yes, chocolate cake. My mom always orders me a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for our favorite local bakery. If you haven’t had chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, you’ve been missing out!

How to make cream cheese icing

How to Make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is quite simple to make. Here are a few tips to ensure your frosting turns out perfectly every time.

Start with softened cream cheese and butter. Set them out on the counter to warm up for at least 30 minutes before you get started.

Always wait to ice your cake until your cake has completely cooled. Otherwise, your frosting might start to drip down the sides.

Check your powdered sugar for hard lumps before using. Hopefully, you don’t find any. If you do, to ensure that your frosting is completely smooth, measure out your sugar and then sift it into a bowl before using (I wish I had done that for the frosting on the cake shown below).

You can whip up your cream cheese frosting a few different ways. I usually make mine with my hand mixer, since I don’t like to drag out my heavy stand mixer. You can also make it in a food processor. If you don’t have any of those, you can whip up your frosting by hand. It just takes some muscle!

Stir the powdered sugar into the whipped cream cheese by hand. If you try to whip it in with a mixer, you’ll send a plume of powdered sugar into your kitchen.

Lastly, you can make cream cheese frosting in advance. Store it in the refrigerator for later. When it’s time to frost your cake, let the frosting rest on the counter for 15 minutes and briefly rewhip it before using.

I hope this frosting recipe takes your homemade cakes to the next level. Please let me know how it turns out in the comments!

Unwrap the cheesecloth and place cream cheese into a mixing bowl sprinkle with salt and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Beat 100g very soft slightly salted butter with 200g icing sugar until smooth.

How to make cream cheese icing
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The cool air will harden the fats in the cream cheese and butter and make the icing thicker.

How to make cream cheese icing

How to make cream cheese icing. Itll already look a little bit like frosting but will be thicker and glossier. If the cream cheese frosting. But the way they.

Keep beating until the mix is light and fluffy. How to make cream cheese icing. Method Place the butter in a large bowl with the caster sugar.

Add in powdered sugar a bit at a time. Cream until you have a smooth soft buttercream consistency. Add 50g full-fat cream cheese and beat well then add another 50g.

Butter cream cheese lemon juice vanilla powdered sugar and just a little pinch of salt to carry the flavors. You want to keep on beating it till its really lovely before you go anywhere near adding the cream cheese. Combine cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Spread the icing onto your cake or cupcakes. Then beat in the cream cheese until smooth. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese butter vanilla and salt in a large bowl.

Learning how to make cream cheese frosting only takes a few minutes and youll fall in love with this ultra creamy slightly tangy and perfectly swee icingt. STEP 2 Add the cream cheese and work it in dont beat it in just slowly. You only need a few simple ingredients to make cream cheese icing.

Do not overbeat or the icing may turn runny. Line a 4 12-ounce ramekin or a small bowl with 4 thin layers of clean cheesecloth. Typical recipes for cream cheese frosting have you cream the butter and the cream cheese together then add A TON of icing sugar.

The reason cream cheese frosting recipes call for so much. Can be kept in the fridge. If the cream cheese is still too soft after 1 hour leave it in the fridge for a further 30 minutes.

Beat the butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Spoon the salted cream cheese into the ramekin avoiding creating. The amount you want is based on the amount of cream cheese you have.

Add the orange juice if using then the icing sugar. Mix in vanilla or lemon juice and lemon zest if using.

How to make cream cheese icing
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How to make cream cheese icing
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How to make cream cheese icing
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How to make cream cheese icing
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What is the one thing you would want to make sure of before making frosting? Stability. Cream cheese buttercream icing and frosting can be amazing, but if it doesn’t hold up for long periods of time it’s not worth serving. We’ll show you how to make perfect and stable cream cheese buttercream frosting so that your cakes will always look their best!

What are some tips for a more stable cream cheese buttercream frosting?

  1. The most important tip is to use a lower amount of liquid than usual when mixing the ingredients together. This will help avoid any separation in the mixture while whipping or piping out.
  2. Another way to stabilize the texture is by adding an emulsifier such as egg whites or heavy cream which also helps add volume and stability to our cream cheese buttercream frosting.
  3. Or you can always use Magic Whizk.

7 Common Cream Cheese Buttercreme Frosting Issues

  1. Unstable Icing
  2. Frosting Melts Easily
  3. Coarse & Gritty Frosting Texture
  4. Inconsistent Frosting Outcome
  5. Annoying After-taste
  6. Difficult to Prepare
  7. Short Shelf-life

Creating a desirable and stable cream cheese buttercream icing or frosting is indeed one of the most difficult skills to master.

Well, time to level up! Say Goodbye to issues! Be confident and stand out from the rest. Start making those popular Red Velvet and Carrot Cakes and Cupcakes with our unique best stable Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.

We have an easy guide on how to achieve that smooth, velvety, and stable consistency you’ve been wanting for your cream cheese with whipped cream or buttercream frosting without the hassle.

By Khushboo 117 Comments January 11, 2017 May 14, 2018

Cream cheese frosting for piping and decorating cakes/ cupcakes because your bakes deserve a heavenly touch and nothing can taste more amazing than cream cheese frosting.

How to make cream cheese icing

My very first sweet post of the year is here . Rich and creamy cream cheese frosting that is not runny. I love this silky smooth frosting on about every dessert. You may say I am a bit obsessed .I have been getting a lot of requests to post a workable and pipeable cream cheese frosting. As Valentine’s is around the corner I thought of sharing an elaborate post on ‘All about successful cream cheese frosting. ‘ I hope to share everything that I have learnt about cream cheese frosting over years. You may also like my posts on buttercream frosting , ganache , stabilized whipped cream.

How to make cream cheese icingFew years ago when I baked in New York ,bakes with cream cheese frosting were the most popular ones amongst my clients. You will notice that most of the fruit based or special occasion cakes are frosted with cream cheese. And why not , it’s light, creamy and rich in taste . It is sweet but lighter than buttercream.

So what is this cream cheese frosting made of?

It’s made of cream cheese , butter/ veg shortening and lots of powdered sugar and extracts/ flavoring if desired.

I like to add little bit of lemon juice or zest to cut off the sweetness and add more flavor.

Cream cheese alone cannot hold the shape so some butter is always added.

When the weather is warm / hot then I like to make cream cheese frosting with combination of cream cheese and veg shortening and not butter. This makes the frosting more stable and is more likely to hold shape.

We all have had our share of curdled or runny cream cheese frosting and believe me its totally heart breaking.

Making cream cheese frosting is very easy but it’s important to follow few tips and tricks mentioned below-

Always use room temperature cream cheese. It should be soft to touch . Never use cream cheese melted or straight out of the fridge. I leave it out on the kitchen counter for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Butter should be soft to touch as well and not melted or runny .

Using cold cream cheese or butter will curdle your frosting.

Using melted one will make runny frosting.

So be patient and remember that if it starts well it will end well 😉

Use good quality butter and full fat cream cheese.

Always sift the confectionary/ icing sugar before adding to the cream . It makes a lot of difference.

Once you are done making the frosting refrigerate it for at least 1-2 hours or more to set before piping.

How to make cream cheese icing

Over the time I have realized that for making a nice frosting butter needs to be beaten well and longer than cream cheese.

Initially when I started making cream cheese frosting I used to beat cream cheese and butter together and by cream cheese would thin out considerably. After looking up a lot online I found a great tip on Cake Central. The tip was to beat the butter for 2-3 minutes and add cream cheese later . And since then there wasn’t any looking back . This one tip changed my cream cheese frosting. It help shape and was perfect to decorate cakes.

How to make cream cheese icing

You might even like my post on sturdy whipped cream cream cheese frosting. It is light , airy and less sweeter than this classic cream cheese frosting.

How to make cream cheese icing

Liked this recipe? Do give it a star rating in the comments !

How to make cream cheese icing

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Perfect for carrot cake and red velvet, our cream cheese icing is light and fluffy with a hint of vanilla.

This recipe makes enough to pipe onto 12 cupcakes, cover a 1 layer 20cm cake, or ice the top of a 20cm x 30cm sheet cake

TIP: avoid over mixing, as the cream cheese will get too soft and lose its shape and firmness. Start with room temperature cream cheese and mix until just combined and smooth.

Love this recipe? Share it!

How to make cream cheese icing

Ingredients

  1. 200g cream cheese
  2. 2 tsp Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
  3. 75g unsalted butter, softened
  4. 3 cups (450g) icing sugar

Related Tags

  • cream cheese
  • icing
  • vanilla bean

Method

Step 1

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth.

Step 2

Add Vanilla Bean Paste and butter and mix until just incorporated.

Step 3

Add icing sugar and mix on low until combined – do not over mix.

For a 20cm 1 layer cake or medium loaf:
125g cream cheese
1 tsp Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
50g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (300g) icing sugar, sifted

For filling and icing the side of a 20cm 2 x layer cake, filling a 20cm 3 x layer cake or generous piping onto 12 cupcakes:
250g cream cheese
3 tsp Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
100g unsalted butter, softened
4 cups (600g) icing sugar

For filling and icing the sides of a 20cm 3 x layer cake:
400g cream cheese
4 tsp Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
150g unsalted butter, softened
6 cups (900g) icing sugar

Ingredients

2 (8-ounce) packages lowfat cream cheese

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons half-and-half

3 ½ cups Splenda® Granulated Sweetener

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon frosting

Calories 70
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 20mg
Sodium 45mg
Total Carbs 3g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 1g
Added Sugars 0g
Protein 1g

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl using an electric mixer), combine butter and cream cheese and beat until fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and mix to incorporate.
  3. Add half-and-half and beat on high until fluffy. Gradually add Splenda Sweetener and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  4. Frost on your favorite cake or cupcakes.

Made With

How to make cream cheese icing

Splenda® Granulated Sweetener

Splenda® Granulated Sweetener

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon frosting

Calories 70
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 20mg
Sodium 45mg
Total Carbs 3g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 1g
Added Sugars 0g
Protein 1g

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Published: Jan 11, 2022 · Modified: Jun 26, 2022 by Kelly Neil · 1 Comment

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How to make cream cheese icing

I know it sounds cliché to say this is the best cream cheese frosting ever, so what if I told you it’s the best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever had? It’s less sweet than other frostings — you can actually taste the cream cheese. It’s fluffy and smooth and easy to spread. I have a hard time not eating it by the spoonful and I bet you will too.

It’s perfect for frosting desserts like carrot cake, homemade cinnamon buns, or for double-chocolate brownies (talk about decadent!). It’s also terrific with desserts you maybe haven’t thought of like banana bread, sugar cookies, or chocolate cake.

I have more ideas for how to use cream cheese frosting listed below. I also have tips to troubleshoot problems like frosting that’s too runny, too sweet, or too thick, so keep scrolling.

Ingredients

Step-By-Step Instructions

Add the butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Beat the two together on high speed until they are well combined, light, and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

How to make cream cheese icing

Add the vanilla and salt to the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Don’t worry if the mixture looks lumpy or curdled, it will smooth out!

How to make cream cheese icing

Beat everything together, again on high-speed, until well combined.

How to make cream cheese icing

Use a fine mesh sieve to sift the powdered sugar into the bowl.

TOP TIP
I like to use the back of a soup spoon to push, scrape, and press the sugar through the sieve.

How to make cream cheese icing

Repeat until all of the powdered sugar is sifted into the bowl.

How to make cream cheese icing

With the mixer running on low, start to mix the powdered sugar into the whipped butter and cream cheese.

How to make cream cheese icing

Once most of the sugar is incorporated, the frosting will look lumpy. Increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the frosting until it is fluffy and smooth.

Use the rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

How to make cream cheese icing

Give the whipped cream cheese frosting a final mix on high speed until it is completely smooth. Use the frosting anywhere you like.

How to make cream cheese icing

Notes & Tips

  • Don’t use low-fat cream cheese unless you absolutely must. I find it doesn’t taste as good and has a slightly different texture.
  • I use this recipe to ice one 8-inch (20-cm) double layer carrot cake. If you need less frosting you can cut the recipe in half. This recipe also doubles or triples well.
  • This frosting contains butter which means it will stay fairly soft at room temperature, especially if your house is warm. See the FAQ section to troubleshoot.

Storage

  • Fridge — Whipped cream cheese frosting will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
  • Freezer — This frosting freezes really well! I have frozen it for up to three months, again in an airtight container, with no difference in flavour. To thaw, place it in the fridge the day before you need it and let it thaw overnight. You can also let it sit at room temperature on the counter for a few hours to soften.

How to make cream cheese icing

Substitutions

  • You can try using dairy-free butter and cream cheese to make dairy-free cream cheese frosting, however, I have not tested this and can’t be sure of the results.

You can leave a frosted cake, cupcakes, or whatever, left out overnight on the counter, however, keeping frosted baked goods in the fridge is safer. Just remove what you want to eat an hour or so beforehand to take the chill off.

ABSOLUTELY! I honestly believe you can spread cream cheese frosting on pretty much any baked good.

Yes! This frosting freezes really well. In fact, I have frozen it for up to three months in an airtight container with no noticeable difference in flavour. To thaw frozen frosting, place it in the fridge the day before you need it and let it thaw overnight. You can also let it sit at room temperature on the counter for a few hours to soften.

This frosting recipe is whipped, meaning the frosting is light and fluffy — it shouldn’t be runny at all. If for some reason yours is too thin, sift powdered sugar into the frosting by the tablespoon and mix until you reach a consistency you are happy with.

The best way to stiffen cream cheese frosting is to place it in the fridge. If it’s still not firm enough after a few hours add more powdered sugar by the tablespoon until you are happy with the consistency.

Anything you want! Swirl it on top of muffins (does that then make them cupcakes?), make cookies sandwiches, use it for a red velvet cake or any other layer cake. Basically, try not to eat the whole batch with a spoon.😅

Of course you can! You can follow the same steps with a food processor, and even though i haven’t tried this in my Vitamix, I think you could also make it in a blender! Worst case scenario? Soften the butter and cream cheese then whip the frosting by hand using a wooden spoon (and some patience).

By: April Woods On: 3/26/18 • This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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This simple Cream Cheese Frosting only takes a couple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen!

Growing up I was not a fan of cream cheese frosting. And then, as an adult), I tried it again and oh em gee. Life changed! I am all in on this cream cheese frosting recipe now! My husband had a similar revelation with Brussels sprouts recently. Turns out they’re quite yummy!

How to make cream cheese icing

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Click the button above to save this recipe!

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • Butter – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love a lower moisture butter like Kerrygold. Typically it’s European butters, but lately I’ve seen some American butters with lower moisture content available. The reason being, there’s less water and more flavor. And flavor is what we’re all about. You can always make whipped butter if you’re going for a lighter flavor or wanting to increase volume.
  • Cream Cheese – This is not the time to go on a diet. Get the thick and creamy full fat stuff. And not the whipped stuff. You want your cream cheese dense and delicious.
  • Vanilla – I implore and beg you to use real vanilla extract in this cream cheese frosting recipe. Please, and thank you.
  • Sugar – For the sugar you’ll want to get confectioners sugar, also called powdered sugar. In a pinch, you can make powdered sugar from regular sugar in a food processor, but it’s definitely easier to just buy a bag at the market.

What is Cream Cheese Icing?

Cream cheese icing is a slightly tangy icing made with cream cheese (think cheesecake-ish) perfect on carrot cake, red velvet cake, and in pastries! Cream cheese frosting is not typically as sweet as traditional icings. It’s also super easy to jazz up. We love this pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting made by adding a few extra spices.

How to make cream cheese icing

Can Cream Cheese Frosting be used for piping?

Yes, cream cheese frosting can be used for piping! The key here is just to make sure that the frosting has enough body. Depending on where you are making this (I’m in super humid Florida), you may need to add extra powdered sugar to give it a thick enough consistency for piping.

Do you have to refrigerate a cake with cream cheese frosting?

You do not have to refrigerate a cake with cream cheese frosting. At least not right away. You can keep a cake on the counter (assuming your home is cool) for about two days, or in the refrigerator for up to six days. Even if it’s iced with cream cheese frosting.

My mother will balk at reading this, and you definitely need to use your own judgement and comfort level, but this is how we operate in our home.

If you’re storing your cake in the refrigerator, you will want to make sure it’s fully iced (not a naked cake with icing only between the layers), because the refrigerator will draw out the moisture and make the cake drier.

Can you freeze cream cheese icing?

Yes, you can freeze cream cheese frosting. You can also freeze cake. The caveat is that you’ll want to freeze them separately. Don’t freeze iced cupcakes or a whole iced cake. Freeze them separately and then once the cake and cream cheese frosting have thawed, put them together.

How to make cream cheese icing

What kind of cake goes with cream cheese frosting?

Cream cheese icing goes so well with several types of cakes and pastries! It’s a great addition especially if you want to cut the sweetness a little bit.

  • Pumpkin spice cake – I make this all year, pumpkin season be damned.
  • Pumpkin mug cake – For when you don’t want to share. P.S. it’s totally grain free!
  • Carrot cake – Such a classic, made super easy by starting with a box mix.
  • Chocolate cream cheese pastry – A total show stopper. YUM.
  • Poke cake with strawberry jello – Swap out the cool whip!
  • Blueberry muffins– Okay, not technically cake.

Not in the mood for cake? Try it on these crescent roll cinnamon rolls!