How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Posted on Last updated: April 10, 2021

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Is your cream cheese frosting runny? No need to throw it out! Here are a few ways you can thicken it up in no time at all. You don’t even need powdered sugar or cornstarch to thicken your icing!

Runny Cream Cheese Frosting? Here’s How To Fix It

1) Add more cream cheese to the frosting: If your frosting is still too thin despite adding some cream cheese, add more until you achieve the desired consistency.

2) Mix in sour cream, milk, or yogurt: If you want to make your frosting lighter and less sweet, just mix in some sour cream or yogurt for a milder flavor.

3) Add flour: If you want your frosting to be fairly thick, just add a little flour. This works pretty well and you can easily get a fluffy consistency. Add a small amount at a time while stirring until you reach desired consistency.

4) Add more powdered sugar: If your frosting is still runny after trying the above steps, add in more powdered sugar until it has the right texture.

5) Beat it: If your frosting is too thin, you can just beat the frosting for a few minutes at medium-high speed until it has the correct texture.

6) Use a different cream cheese: Using a different brand of cream cheese or one with a higher fat content may result in a thicker consistency. Try a different type next time to see what kind of results you get and if they are thicker.

Does cream cheese icing harden?

The answer is yes. Cream cheese icing can become hard and almost solid after being refrigerated. To re-soften, allow cream cheese icing to sit at room temp for an hour or place in an oven heated to 200 F for a few minutes.

Can I leave cream cheese out overnight to soften?

No, you shouldn’t leave cream cheese out overnight. Cream cheese could possibly grow mold or bacteria. It is better to soften cream cheese on the counter for a couple hours at most before using.

How long can you store leftover cream cheese frosting?

Cream cheese frosting should be stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Leftover cream cheese frosting can last up to five days in the refrigerator.

What best thickens cream cheese frosting?

Overall powdered sugar or cornstarch are the most commonly used cream cheese frosting thickeners but if you don’t have either of those I would recommend using more cream cheese or a small amount of all-purpose flour.

Why is my cream cheese frosting grainy?

This is most likely because you didn’t whip the frosting enough or fast enough when adding in more powdered sugar to thicken your cream cheese frosting. To fix this, beat the frosting on medium-high speed for a few minutes until your desired consistency is achieved.

Why does your cream cheese icing separate?

If the ingredients were not brought together cold enough or over mixed, the fat and liquid components of your cream cheese icing could separate.

Why is my cream cheese frosting gummy?

In order for an icing to be smooth and free from lumps, it needs to be mixed for at least five minutes. Cream cheese Icing takes a little longer to mix than other frostings because of the softer consistency.

Can cream cheese frosting go bad?

Yes, but only if it is kept at room temperature. Store it in your fridge for up to five days.


If you follow the above steps, your cream cheese frosting should be thick and fluffy! It may take you a few tries to get it exactly right, but that’s okay, just keep trying and you’ll learn how to change it up a bit.

If you have ever made cream cheese frosting, you may have noticed that it sometimes turns out a little runny.

This can be frustrating, especially if you are trying to make a beautiful cake or cupcake.

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why cream cheese frosting is sometimes watery and how to fix it.

We will also discuss some tips for thickening cream cheese frosting without cornstarch. So, whether you are a beginner baker or an experienced pastry chef, read on for some helpful tips!

Why is Cream Cheese Frosting Runny or Watery?

There can be several reasons why cream cheese frosting turns out watery.

It could be due to the high moisture content in the cream cheese used, which makes it difficult to achieve a thick consistency with other ingredients like sugar and butter.

If you are using Philadelphia cream cheese, try to use the block rather than the tub or spread which tends to have higher moisture.

The quality of the cream cheese brands matters too.

Some brands have more moisture than others, so it is important to do your research and find a brand that you trust. The maximum moisture allowed by FDA is 55% by weight (1). Also, the stabilizers selection play an important role to keep the fat and water content from separating for a longer shelf life and better quality.

One reason for runny may be that the cream cheese was not at the correct temperature before you started to make the frosting.

If the cream cheese is too cold, it will be difficult to mix and will result in a thin consistency or lumpy as explained here. It is best to use cream cheese that has been at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you start making the frosting.

Another common reason why cream cheese frosting can be runny or watery is if there was too much liquid in the recipe.

For example, this may happen if you add too much milk or cream to the frosting.

A third reason may be that the recipe was not correctly proportioned. In particular, if there is too much sugar in comparison to the amount of cream cheese, then the frosting will likely be watery or runny.

Lastly, freeze-thawing the cream cheese will form ice crystals that draw the water content out of the cheese, end up with a grainy texture.

So, avoid freezing the cream cheese if possible.

How to Fix Runny Cream Cheese Frosting?

One way to thicken your runny cream cheese frosting is by adding butter and/or powdered sugar to it.

Use a ratio of one tablespoon per cup, then mix until smooth before adding more as needed until you achieve desired consistency.

You can also add cornstarch to thicken the frosting without making it too sweet by using a ratio of one tablespoon per cup and mixing thoroughly before adding more/less depending on taste preference (and thickness desired).

Another option is beating in confectioners’ sugar, starting with just a few tablespoons at first until the desired consistency is reached.

If you are using a stand mixer, be sure to use the paddle attachment as opposed to the whisk attachment which will create more air in the frosting and make it less dense (and runny).

Lastly, if your cream cheese frosting is too thin, try refrigerating it for 30 minutes or so before frosting your cake or cupcakes.

This will help thicken up the consistency and make it easier to use for decorating purposes!

How do you Fix Runny Cream Cheese Frosting Without Cornstarch? (Or sugar)

If you don’t have cornstarch, there are a few other ingredients that can be used to thicken cream cheese frosting.

One option is using all-purpose flour. Start by mixing one tablespoon of flour with two tablespoons of water until smooth, then add this mixture to the frosting while beating it at medium speed.

Another option is using instant pudding mix. Just follow the instructions on the package to create a thickener, then add it to your frosting and beat until smooth.

Lastly, you can also use ground nuts like almonds or cashews. Add one cup of ground nuts to the frosting and mix until well combined. This will help thicken up the consistency without adding any additional sweetness.

If your frosting is still too thin after following these steps, try refrigerating it for 30 minutes before frosting anything else! You’d be surprised how much that can help with the thickness and stability of cream cheese frostings in general (and when they’re over-thinned).

Final Thought

The best way to make your cream cheese frosting thicker is by using a high-fat content brand of cream cheese. Only then will you be able to achieve the right consistency without adding too much sugar or liquid into the mix.

If the cream cheese frosting is too thick, add a little milk or cream until it reaches the desired consistency.

So there you have it – a few tips and tricks on how to fix runny cream cheese frosting! Now go forth and make some delicious desserts with your newfound knowledge…

When you’re baking, it’s better to start out with an extra thick frosting, because it is easier to thin out. This is not to say that you cannot thicken frosting, because you can.

However, it is more difficult to do. Thick frosting is great for most baking, and you need a thick buttercream frosting in order to have a solid and well-built cake.

Nobody likes runny frosting, and a firm royal icing is just as important as a thick buttercream frosting.

In this article, we are going to be showing you how to thicken frosting without ruining it. Let’s get started!

What Is Frosting?

Frosting is the sugary, creamy icing that is on top of cakes, cookies, and lots of other baked goods. Frosting is the thick and fluffy icing that will make or break a great cake.

Royal icing, buttercream frosting, and cream cheese frostings are some of the most common frostings.

However, Swiss meringue frosting, Italian meringue frosting, and French buttercream frosting are also just as popular in the prestigious baking world.

How Do You Make Perfect Frosting?

For this purpose, we are going to tell you how to make perfect vanilla buttercream frosting.

The key to great buttercream is butter, more butter, and butter! Jokes aside, whipped butter, with powdered sugar is the way to achieve the perfect consistency of buttercream.

Adding butter to sugar is always delicious, but powdered sugar and butter is what makes the perfect frosting.

To make perfect consistency frosting, use an electric mixer, or even a hand mixer. This will get all the air into your cream frosting, meaning it will be light and airy.

Additionally, make sure that your butter is softened. If your butter is soft, you can gradually add the sugar, without the frosting becoming curdled. Nobody wants warm frosting, so softened butter that is not warm is the key to great buttercream.

Whip the frosting fast, on a medium speed for around eight minutes. When the butter is ready for its desired consistency, add your confectioners sugar. This should always be sifted into the frosting.

How To Thicken Frosting

So, now we know how to make the perfect buttercream, how can you actually thicken frosting?

How To Thicken Buttercream

If your frosting is too runny, it will slide off the cake, and it will not be a spreadable consistency. We need frosting to be thick and firm.

To thicken buttercream, let your buttercream sit in the fridge, making sure to tightly cover the top with plastic wrap. This will help it firm up, and form a hardened skin.

If the frosting has not thickened after being in the fridge, add some more confectioner sugar. Add the ingredients gradually, otherwise it will become clumped. Making frosting is pretty simple, and you need to reach the desired thickness.

How To Thicken Royal Icing

Royal icing is often used on cookies, but you need it to be smooth and thick, Raw egg whites are the key to royal icing, but so is confectioners sugar.

To thicken royal icing, add more sugar, or add corn starch. This will thicken it up. Also, give it time to thicken in the fridge, making sure to tightly cover the top with saran wrap.

Other Popular Ways To Thicken Frosting

What is the best way to thicken frosting? Well, there are many types of frosting, and ways to thicken each. For example, thickening cream cheese frosting is different from thickening whipped cream frosting.

Add Flour

A popular way to thicken frosting is by adding flour. You can use all purpose flour as thickening agent for frosting, but it needs to be cooked. Add flour whilst using an electric mixer or whisk.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Add Meringue Powder

Meringue powder is sweet, and is typically used for buttercream. Add meringue powder to buttercream, spoonful at a time. This will thicken up runny frosting.

Add Butter

Butter is an obvious choice for thickening frosting. Although more powdered sugar may be the obvious choice, sometimes butter is better.

To thicken runny icing, add softened butter, one spoon at a time. Continue doing this until it has reached its desired consistency.

Add Unflavored Gelatin

Unflavored gelatin will act as a thickener for frosting, and you should add two spoons at a time. Gelatin acts as a thickening agent, so it should be thicker than using additional sugar.

Add Cream

If you need your frosting firm, add whipping cream to whipped cream frosting, or just regular frosting. Whipping cream will thicken frosting naturally, making frosting thicker.

Try using heavy whipping cream or heavy cream, too. Heavy cream is often the same as whipping cheap, and the more whipping cream, the thicker the icing! Avoid sour cream, as this tastes weird.

How Do You Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting?

Cream cheese frosting is a popular frosting, especially for chocolate cakes or carrot cakes. Cream cheese frosting will differ in its thickness depending on how warm the icing is.

Warm icing is not firm, but cream cheese needs to be softened to be whipped. The best way to thicken a runny cream cheese frosting is to put it in the refrigerator, and let it firm up.

If this does not work, grab a mixing bowl, and add more sugar. When it comes to using the piping bag, you will see that cream cheese frostings are a lot thicker.

You can try adding butter, arrowroot starch, or more powdered sugar to your cream cheese frosting. Thick frosting is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite cakes.

Final Thoughts

Thickening frosting is more difficult to do than thinning out frosting, but with our tips and tricks, you will have no issues.

Thickening agents are necessary for thickening icing, and using things such as heavy cream, softened cream cheese, and more powdered sugar, will make your frosting thicker than ever.

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Put a bit of cornflower into the cream cheese, not too much. Have a look at the recipe for Guinness Cake. They’ve updated the recipe, it never used to have cornflower in it.

This has happened to me many times and I have found two solutions. If possible try to source ‘block’ cream cheese which has a lower water content this is what most recipes are based on, whether they mention this fact or not! It’s the most common kind in the USA. In the U.K. you can sometimes get it in Lidle or similar shops selling Eastern European produce. If you can’t find any, decant a tub of cream cheese into a muslin and hang it for 20 minutes or so. A surprising amount of water drains off and what’s left is much thicker and less likely to liquefy. If it’s too late and your mix is already runny, you can add 50-100ml double cream and whip vigorously. The thickening cream starts to thicken the mixture – this can take a few minutes. Keep adding cream a glug at a time and whipping untilit thickens to a spreadable/pipable consistency. It doesn’t alter the taste much and saves you throwing out your icing. For very large batches you’ll need more cream to get the ratio right.

This will work every time: beat sugar and room temp butter FIRST until smooth and creamy, in a magimix or with a beater, and only then add COLD cream cheese until just mixed and your icing will not be runny. It does not have to be Philly, but full fat.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

To decorate your baked goods like cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins or any other sweets, a perfect glazed creamy frosting is all you need. So it is a very important step to thick the frosting as thin frosting you cannot cover well the baked items with.

To have the desired appearance of your dish mostly for cupcakes and cakes thin frosting cannot satisfy you either. But there is nothing to be worried about as several ways we will give you on ticking frosting right here.

Ingredients you need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Gelatin
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Coconut
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Meringue Powder

Frosting with cornstarch

Before start adding the cornstarch to thin frosting, it is better to grind it in an electric grinder which helps it to be a soft powder and much easier for you to mix it in your base ingredient.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

The benefits of doing this are your frosting never form small clumps.

  • Add a small amount of cornstarch around 1/2 tablespoon and stir it with 1or 2 tablespoon of milk.
  • Give it a good whisk with your frosting until the cornstarch gets commended well with the frosting mixture.
  • Let it rest for a while doing this your frosting will become more firm and there you have the thicken frosting.

Frosting with Gelatin

Gelatin is also a good agent that helps your frosting get thicken.

  • Add around 1 or 2 tablespoons of plain flavorless gelatin with ½ tablespoon of cold water and mix it well until the gelatin dissolves.
  • Take your frosting and add the gelatin and keep stirring.
  • After giving the mixture a good mix, refrigerate your frosting to get thicken.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Frosting with powdered sugar

Powdered sugar is the easiest way and the most common ingredient that is used to thicken the frosting. Especially if your frosting is made with cream cheese or buttercream it works the best for both.

It is very necessary to choose a bowl with depth where you will mix all the ingredients. If you have an electric mixer then it will be a great help just in case you don’t have it or the mixture is not working use a spatula as an alternative.

  • Take a bow and place all the required ingredients you need for a basic frosting recipe including sugar, milk, cream cheese, butter, meringue powder.
  • Next step is to whisk all the ingredients together using an electric beater or a spatula. Continue doing it until the frosting get the perfect smoothness
  • Add ½ cup of powdered sugar per batch while mixing it is recommended. By doing this the runny frosting will get more thicken and will reach the consistency level to your desire.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Frosting with coconut

Coconut is another good ingredient you can make your frosting thicken with. If your frosting requires the flavor of coconut then using it is absolutely a good choice as shredded coconut helps the frosting get thicken.

  • Place your frosting in a bowl then add 1 tablespoon of coconut at a time and give it a good mix.
  • Keep gradually adding 1 tablespoon of coconut at a time until the frosting reaches the thickness you want.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Frosting with whipped cream

For cupcakes and cakes, a fluffy frosting or icing is very important. So here whipped cream comes out a great help to make the frosting perfectly thicken.

Be sure you take a very cold whipping cream not melted before you start of whisking it. If the whipped cream is runny and to melted leave, it to chill thoroughly.

  • Place your frosting in a bowl and add around 3 to 4 tablespoon of chill whipped cream to it.
  • Whisk the frosting well using an electric beater or spatula. Check the consistency and pour some more whipped cream until it gets firm and frothy
  • You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoon of cornstarch which makes the frosting more stable.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Frosting with butter

Butter is a great thickening agent when the ingredient of your frosting is already butter

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

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How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How Do I Make Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing Thicker?

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

I’ve been having the toughest time trying to create a thick strawberry cream cheese icing. Of course once I put it in the refrigerator/freezer it thickens up but once I pipe it onto the cupcakes it only stays thick for about an hour and then it starts to melt. The recipe consist of strawberry puree, cream cheese, powdered sugar, butte and strawberry extract (optional).

I feel like I have to add so much powdered sugar for it to get a thick consistency but by me adding so much sugar it takes away from the fresh strawberry taste. Any suggestions on how to thicken the frosting?

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Well, I know what you mean. Tried so many recipes also. I just was this recipe, but the pic doesn,t look so thick. I have ordered some freeze dried strawberries. saw recipes where the people that uses these in their cakes and frosting are raving about using them . so google cakes with freeze dried strawberries. I order blueberry and raspberry also. just haven,t used them look at this recipe,

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

AYou could try adding pulverized freeze dried strawberries. You’ll get more strawberry flavor without adding moisture.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Okay thanks I will try that this weekend.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

I add dream whip to frosting that I want to thicken up.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

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I’ve heard it said that one can never have too many friends, and I’ve found the same to be true of cream cheese frosting. There are versions for every occasion—sometimes I want an icing with plenty of butter for structure (like the Cream Cheese Buttercream from my cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts); in other cases, I’m more inclined to reach for a fluffy frosting like this one that I can whip up in no time flat.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

The traditional method is to simply beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth, but this tends to produce a frosting that’s runny and thin, as cream cheese itself doesn’t aerate well. It can be made thick and light by increasing the powdered sugar, but at the cost of its flavor and texture, as the excess sugar makes it unbearably sweet and a little gritty, too.

So, when I want a no-fuss frosting in a hurry, I take an entirely different approach, ditching the powdered sugar for a combination of granulated sugar and cream.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

The cream dissolves the sugar into a totally grit-free foundation, then whips up thick and light, whether you use a hand mixer or a stand mixer (we recommend the KitchenAid Pro Series mixer). In turn, the sugar protects against over-whipping, allowing me to chuck in cold cream cheese a few tablespoons at a time—no waiting around for it to soften. The cream cuts through the density of the cream cheese, aerating it so it’s firm and light.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Along the way, this frosting tends to appear slightly curdled, but it’s not! The “curds” are simply tiny bits of cream cheese that have yet to be homogenized, and they’ll disappear soon enough, so keep whipping until the frosting forms a thick and creamy mass. The occasional fleck of cream cheese may slip through, but these bits will disappear on their own in time.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Because it’s whipped, this frosting doesn’t feel heavy or dense even when served straight from the fridge; its cool, creamy consistency will melt in your mouth just like a spoonful of cheesecake. My approach uses roughly 70% less sugar than a recipe based on powdered sugar, meaning that this frosting behaves more like cream cheese, giving it a wonderful stability.

As a test, I piped the frosting on a few cupcakes and left them sitting out on the corner of my kitchen range, where they were exposed to the heat of my oven and stovetop running full blast all day. (Those recipes for panna cotta and roasted-cherry ice cream don’t test themselves.) Though the ambient temperature continued to rise, the frosted cupcakes looked as perky as ever, so I decided to continue the test by leaving them out overnight.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

I fully expected them to ooze into a puddle by morning, yet I found them none the worse for wear. If anything, losing its cool had made the frosting feel even richer and creamier on my tongue.

This isn’t to say I recommend leaving frosted cupcakes out all day in the sun—only that this whipped cream–based frosting is sturdier than you’d expect. That means it’s great for picnics, potlucks, and any other laid-back, casual occasions when cakes deserve an amazing frosting without any fuss.

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details!*

An Easy How-To Guide on How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting! Another in my series of Back to Basics!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

This is probably a first on my blog – a complete and utter how-to guide, on just a frosting. Not even a cake itself! Don’t worry, I will be doing more classic ‘Jane’ style recipes, but things like Cream Cheese Frosting need their own post.

Cream Cheese frosting, in case you weren’t aware, is a mixture of butter, sugar, and cream cheese. Occasionally, like with this one, some other bits will be added in… but those are the basics.

The reason I thought that Cream Cheese Frosting needed its own post, is because it can be infuriatingly annoying to make, especially when you live in the UK. If you don’t understand how on earth it could be a problem… just believe it’s true.

Cream Cheese in America for example, comes in two forms. Spreadable, and a block. When Americans then make cream cheese frosting, they use the block form. It has a lot less water in it, it’s a hell of a lot firmer, and it’s perfect for the job.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

When you live in the UK? We only have spreadable. Spreadable cream cheese is what we use for cheesecakes, so I can’t be sad about it… but my god I wished we had a block version. Like so much.

So! When it comes to making Cream Cheese Frosting in the UK… it’s difficult. I have had a few recipes on my blog now, with slightly different methods on how to make it, and yeah… they will all be replaced with this version now.

The reason cream cheese frosting can be so difficult, is when the cream cheese is beaten on it’s own, it gets runnier. It’s not something that thickens up really. This isn’t helped by the added water content that you can sometimes see, and sometimes not see inside it.

I tend to stick to using Philadelphia full fat original cream cheese, because I find it works best. The cream cheeses in Aldi and Lidl are also good.. but for example, other supermarket own cream cheeses have a lot more water just floating on the top.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

When you open up a tub, sometimes you can see a little water just sort of sitting there, but if you actually got your cream cheese, and squeezed it through a muslin cloth, a lot more can come out. This is the killer. However, if you use a good quality cream cheese, you don’t HAVE to remove it. It’s just something that could be good to do if you usually struggle with cream cheese frosting!

When it comes to the butter for cream cheese frosting, just like ANY OTHER FROSTING, you want to use actual real butter. The butter tubs you get too spread on your toast on the morning, is not real butter. The kind you want is wrapped in foil, and is absolutely solid when you get it out of the fridge.

You want to use real butter, as once that is cold again, it’s much much firmer. It will help the cream cheese frosting so so much. The only thing though is you have to make sure it’s at room temperature to make the frosting, otherwise it could go lumpy.

For the icing sugar… you just need icing sugar. There isn’t anything fancy here – I personally use Tate & Lyle at the moment because it’s my personal favourite, but any will do. The vanilla is also optional, but I just love the little vanilla bean specks through the frosting!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

When it comes to making the cream cheese frosting – you have to find the happy medium between beating it enough, and not over beating. I was genuinely shocked and surprised that this worked SO WELL. You can see from the photos just how thick and lovely it is!

You want to beat your equal amounts of butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. For a typical American buttercream you would use double the icing sugar to butter, but this time you want equal. The amount you want is based on the amount of cream cheese you have. You want to keep on beating it till it’s really lovely, before you go anywhere near adding the cream cheese!

Say you have 300g of cream cheese, you want half the amount for the butter and sugar. Therefore, you want 150g of Unsalted Butter, and 150g of Icing Sugar. If you have 250g of Cream cheese, you want 125g of butter and sugar. Make sense? I hope so!

Once the buttercream has been beaten for at least 3-4 minutes, and is light and fluffy and smooth, you add in the cream cheese. If there is a lot of water on the top, you want to get rid of that, but generally I don’t squeeze it out.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Add in the cream cheese, and vanilla, and using the beater (not the whisk), you beat the mixture together. I use colder cream cheese, not room temperature, and it can look a little funny at first. Beating them can make it seem like there are lumps, but just keep on beating. I beat mine for about two minutes, and suddenly the lumps disappeared and the frosting thickened up beautifully.

My past recipes, and lots of other recipes can sometimes suck – and now I realise why. The order of the ingredients was wrong, the ingredient quantities was wrong, and so on! Honestly, this cream cheese frosting is life changing.

I will say though, I will never call this foolproof. I don’t believe any cream cheese frosting is foolproof – because sometimes it will go wrong. Too much water in the cream cheese, the wrong butter as people won’t read my notes on using the correct butter, different mixers etc. However, it’s damn close!

If you have any problems with the frosting – please comment below! Sometimes, as I have mentioned, it will still end up runny. There isn’t much you can do about runny cream cheese frosting once it’s got to that stage.

Adding more icing sugar won’t help the situation – but you can probably still use the mix in something else! Make some cream cheese truffles, or use the mix in an ice cream or something – it definitely won’t go to waste! Just try your best to use the correct ingredients, and try and use an electric mixer if you can! Happy cream cheese frosting making! x

Keep adding cream a glug at a time and whipping untilit thickens to a spreadablepipable consistency. Heres How To Fix It 1 Add more cream cheese to the frosting.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting
Cinnamon Zucchini Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe Nom Nom 3 Bizcocho Reposteria Budin

To cut down on the.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting. As the fats from the cream cheese and butter cool the frosting will change consistency and become much thicker. 2 Mix in sour cream milk or yogurt. You only need a few simple ingredients to make cream cheese icing.

Of course once I put it in the refrigeratorfreezer it thickens up but once I pipe it onto the cupcakes it only stays thick for about an hour and then it starts to melt. How to Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkle an additional 1 to 2 Tbsp 15 to 30 ml into the frosting and mix well.

You can also add meringue powder to thicken the frosting and keep it stable. If it is Philly then the fridge and icing sugar should save it if it is not then dont bother. How do you thicken cream cheese frosting.

If you want your. How do I make my cream cheese frosting thicker. Give it an hour in the fridge to see if.

Too densethick for a light-textured cake- how do I make it fluffier. If your frosting requires the flavor of coconut then using it is absolutely a good choice as. Add a little cocoa powder or melted chocolate to taste for Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting.

Mix cream cheese with butter make sure the butter isnt too soft. If playback doesnt begin. If its too late and your mix is already runny you can add 50-100ml double cream and whip vigorously.

Next add the confection sugar the vanilla and lemon juice. Most frostings contain powdered sugar or icing sugar and the most common way to thicken a. Butter cream cheese lemon juice vanilla powdered sugar and just a little pinch of salt to carry the flavors.

Of powdered sugar but you can certainly use less down to as little as 2 c if you like a less-sweet thicker firmer more cream cheesey frosting. Try using proper cream cheese rather than Philadelphia or equivalent. Ive always used 3-12 to 4 c.

Add more powdered sugar. No extra powdered sugar required. The easiest way to thicken up cream cheese frosting is to pop it in the refrigerator.

Stir the cream cheese frosting and continue to add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is achieved. The best way to thicken cream cheese frosting is to refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes. You want the cheese and butter to mix but it must be some what firm.

T Im making red velvet cupcakes but the cake parts came out really soft and delicate so the typical dense homemade cream cheese frosting seems too heavy for them especially since I. There are several solutions to restore the thick texture to your cream cheese frosting. If you want to make your frosting lighter and less sweet just mix in some sour.

Look up cream cheese frosting recipes to give you an idea of quantities. Add more icing sugar do it bit by bit. Its sometimes called curd cheese and is much thicker.

Or if youre using low fat make sure youre using full fat. How to Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting – YouTube. The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe – Just 5 Ingredients.

Powdered sugar to the mixture. Hold it over a bowl or sink and apply pressure and watch liquid drip out. Most frostings contain powdered sugar and the most common way to thicken a runny frosting is by gradually mixing in a bit more powdered sugar to offset the liquid ingredients.

To this add 1 block of cream cheese. Heavy cream to the mixture. If playback doesnt begin shortly try restarting your device.

To drain scoop out your cream cheese onto the centre of a square of muslin cloth. Adding Dry Thickening Ingredients 1. But the way they are put together can make all the difference.

Gather up the cloth and twist it like you would the top of a piping bag. The thickening cream starts to thicken the mixture – this can take a few minutes. Start with soft butter.

Add more icing sugar do it bit by bit. HOW TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. Cream cheese frosting can vary in consistency based on temperature.

If your frosting is still too thin despite adding some cream cheese add more. The recipe consist of strawberry puree cream cheese powdered sugar butte and. Mix in a bit of meringue powder alongside the powdered sugar.

As the butter cools itll help firm up the frosting. The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe – Just 5 Ingredients. Only add the sugar a little at a time.

Dont over mix with a hand mixer or youll wind up with thin icing. I got about 30ml out of mine. Coconut is another good ingredient you can make your frosting thicken with.

Oh or make a small quantity of butter cream and add the runny mess to that. Cream cheese frosting. Ive been having the toughest time trying to create a thick strawberry cream cheese icing.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting
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How to thicken cream cheese frosting

​I love baking cupcakes and I take a special interest in topping them with different frosting designs and flavors. If you’re a baker like me, there’s a big chance that you’ve encountered a batch of runny frosting before. Thin frosting is very hard to add on cupcakes because they tend to fall off or not spread evenly.

Getting the right frosting consistency is important if you want to come up with the perfect batch of cupcakes to serve at parties or as simple desserts after meals. Today, I will share different ways on how to thicken frosting, depending on the type you’re serving and the available ingredients you have in your kitchen.

Things You Need


There are many thickening agents you can choose from, depending on the type of frosting you need to fix. The most common one is powdered sugar, although some bakers prefer cornstarch because it doesn’t add any flavor to the frosting.

You can also use meringue powder or heavy cream to make your frosting thicker. Butter is often used to thicken cream cheese frosting and Italian buttercream.

While flour is technically another thickening agent, you should only use it for cooked frosting. Raw flour tastes weird, so don’t use it to thicken cold frosting.


  • Bowl
  • Electric or hand whisk or mixer


Option 1: By adding powdered sugar

Powdered sugar is the most common thickening ingredient for frosting. This is because most frosting is composed largely of sugar to begin with.

It is important to add just the right amount of sugar because most frostings are already sweet. Adding too much sugar might make your frosting too thick or too sweet. When this happens, you will need to add more liquid into the frosting, which defeats the purpose of adding the thickening agent in the first place.

I recommend adding ½ cup of powdered sugar per batch. Mix the frosting well using a hand whisk or electric mixer until the frosting sticks to the whisk instead of falling off.

Optional: Add meringue powder

An optional step is to add meringue powder to balance out the sweetness of the powdered sugar. Meringue powder does not have its own taste so you can safely add it to make your frosting thicker.

As a baseline, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of meringue powder for every ½ cup of powdered sugar. If you’re using less than half a cup of sugar, then you can just leave out the meringue powder altogether.

Option 2: By adding cornstarch

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

​Some bakers prefer using cornstarch because it doesn’t add any taste to the frosting. I personally like using this for frosting that are already on the super sweet side.

Before mixing in the cornstarch with your thin frosting, you may want to grind it in an electric grinder first. This helps to further break it down into a soft powder and makes it easier to mix it in your base ingredient. This also prevents it from forming small clumps all over your frosting.

Add ½ teaspoon of cornstarch into a bowl of frosting and whisk it by hand or by an electric mixer. Add another ½ teaspoon if you still find the frosting’s consistency a bit thin for your taste.

Option 3: By adding heavy whipping cream

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

If you need a fluffy frosting for your cupcakes or as icing on a cake, then you may want to use heavy whipping cream as a thickening agent.

To do this, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cream into your bowl of frosting and whisk with an electric mixer. Check the consistency and add more, preferably at 1 tablespoon increments, until the frosting becomes light and frothy.

Option 4: By adding butter

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

​Butter is another great thickening agent, especially if your frosting already has butter as an ingredient.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter at a time and mix well with a hand whisk or electric mixer. To make it easier to mix in, allow butter to soften slightly before adding it to the frosting. Don’t let it melt though!

Don’t worry if the consistency of your frosting doesn’t immediately improve. Butter usually liquefies when exposed to heat, so you may want to refrigerate your frosting for a few minutes to allow the butter to properly set in.

Option 5: By adding flour

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

​If you’re cooking frosting and it turns out to be a bit runny, you can add flour into the pot to make it thicker. Remember, however, that flour only works as a thickening agent when you’re making warm frosting because it tastes weird when it is not cooked properly.

Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of flour into the warm frosting and stir slowly over low heat for a few minutes. Once you notice that the frosting is starting to thicken, remove the pot from the stove and let it cool to room temperature.


Nobody likes runny frosting on their cupcakes, and these options will help you make sure this never happens. But don’t limit yourself to the options I listed above. There are other thickening ingredients you can use – you just need to check what’s available in your kitchen!

Is this article helpful? Do you have a favorite way of making frosting thicker? Please share them in the comments’ section below. I’d like to hear more about it! And don’t forget to share this article and my tips with your baker friends.

Say goodbye to runny frosting and hello to thick, fluffy ones!

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Learn to make the best cream cheese frosting with my proven tips and troubleshooting guide for light and fluffy frosting that’s thick enough to pipe. *Video tutorial is included!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Table of Contents

Why you’ll love this recipe:

This cream cheese frosting is my absolute favorite frosting ever! In my book, a good cream cheese frosting should be:

  • Smooth and creamy
  • Light and fluffy
  • Not overly sweet
  • With a slight tang
  • And thick enough to pipe

Ingredients you need:

  • Cream cheese – It’s important to use the “right” type of cream cheese for proper consistency. You need a brick-style, full fat, plain block of cream cheese for sturdy thick frosting.
  • Butter – I recommend unsalted butter, so you can control the saltiness. If you need sturdier, more stable frosting, you may increase the butter amount up to 1.5 cups. That way you’ll get more like a cream cheese buttercream, which is still delicious.
  • Powdered sugar – Don’t be surprised by low amount of sugar in my recipe compared to the most recipes online. It’s no mistake, but you’ll still get the most delicious frosting, which is still plenty sweet!

The “secret” to perfectly smooth frosting is softened cream cheese and butter. Cold cream cheese will yield lumpy frosting.

Simply take cream cheese and butter out of the fridge for 1-2 hours in advance.

How to make this frosting:

It’s really quick and easy to make this frosting.

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter on medium high speed until nice and fluffy for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add powdered sugar and stir on low speed until incorporated. Then increase the speed to medium high and whip until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add salt and vanilla extract and whip for another 30 seconds or so.
  4. And voila! Frost your cakes or cupcakes right away, or refrigerate it until ready to use.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Troubleshooting Common Issues

And before you make your frosting, read through the following troubleshooting guide to avoid any mistakes that could ruin your work without salvage.

What causes runny cream cheese frosting:

  • Make sure to use full fat, brick-style cream cheese, because brick-style cream cheese has lower water content, which is crucial for a thick frosting. Reduced fat or low fat cream cheeses or cream cheese spreads contain higher water content, which melts the sugar making a cream cheese soup.
  • Too soft butter can also make the frosting a bit loose. Room temperature butter should be firm, yet soft enough to leave a little dent when you push on it.
  • Avoid adding too much liquids to flavor your frosting. Up to 1 teaspoon of liquids, like vanilla extract, would be ok. And add extracts at the very end, so that it won’t melt the sugar causing a runny frosting.
  • Opt for dry flavorings, like lemon zest, vanilla paste or vanilla beans, freeze-dried fruit powders, cocoa powder, etc.
  • Don’t over-beat cream cheese and butter, or the mixture may heat up and melt the sugar, again making a soupy frosting.

How to fix runny frosting:

Adding more powdered sugar won’t help you if you already got runny frosting, because your frosting is runny is due to excess moisture in it, and adding more sugar will just melt it. Also, putting it in the fridge won’t help in this case as well, because moisture doesn’t thicken in cold temperature.

Instead, try adding up to 1/2 cup of cornstarch into the runny frosting. Cornstarch helps to thicken the frosting without altering the flavor by absorbing excess moisture.

Too sweet frosting:

If you think your frosting is too sweet, add a pinch of salt. Salt will balance out the sweetness and it’ll taste much better!

Grainy frosting:

This could happen if there’s not enough moisture in the frosting, and sugar isn’t incorporated properly.

FIX: Try adding 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream and whip it again.

Lumpy frosting:

It’s likely that you used cold cream cheese. Make sure to soften your cream cheese at room temperature, about 1 hour on the counter. Also, check your powdered sugar. If it has lots of lumps, I suggest sifting it before adding it to the frosting.

How to thicken cream cheese frostingCheck out my Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe

Make-Ahead Tip:

You can definitely make this frosting in advance.

  • Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring it to room temperature and re-whip before using.
  • You can also freeze it for up to 3 months! Simply thaw it overnight in the fridge. Then bring it to room temperature and re-whip before using.

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Cream Cheese Frosting – my absolute favorite! A rich and luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth frosting made with just a handful of basic ingredients.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This decadent, silky smooth, cloud-like frosting is what dreams are made of! It’s perfect for just about any type of cake and it is so easy to make!

And it brings one more layer of heavenly flavor to an already delicious cake. A frosting like this is where the statement “icing on the cake” likely started. Perfect upgrade.

You can prepare it in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, just use whichever you prefer. Just keep to my number one tip of chilling!

Best Cakes to go with Cream Cheese Frosting

Here’s a list of my favorite cakes to pair with it:

  • Carrot Cake
  • Chocolate Cake (you can make it chocolate cream cheese frosting too, see note below)
  • Coconut Cake
  • Lemon Blueberry Cake
  • Pumpkin Cake
  • Red Velvet Cake
  • Spice Cake
  • Zucchini Cake

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

4 Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Cream cheese: I recommend Philadelphia (not sponsored it’s just the only cream cheese I buy, delicious flavor and consistent consistency). Do not use Neufchâtel cheese (aka low fat cream cheese).
  2. Unsalted butter: Since there’s already salt in the cream cheese I highly recommend going with unsalted butter so frosting isn’t too salty.
  3. Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioners sugar. No substitutes here, this very fine sugar makes for a smooth, non-gritty frosting.
  4. Vanilla extract: I recommend sticking with real vanilla for best flavor.

How to thicken cream cheese frostingHow to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to Make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Three easy steps to making this simple frosting:

  1. In a mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth and slightly fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Then increase speed to high and whip for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Transfer frosting to freezer and freeze 3 minutes. Remove and mix with mixer just briefly. Repeat this process up to 2 more times until frosting is more firm.

How to thicken cream cheese frostingHow to thicken cream cheese frosting

How Long Can This Frosting Sit Out?

For food safety it shouldn’t sit out longer than 2 hours, but keep in mind it should be kept cool so it doesn’t get runny (if that comes before two hours. Even at room temperature (70 degrees) frosting can start to run so I recommend chilling shortly after frosting.

Does Cream Cheese Frosting Need to be Refrigerated?

  • Yes. Cream cheese frosting does need to be refrigerated (and can be chilled 4 – 5 days in an airtight container).
  • Keep in mind upon chilling through it does harden up some so bring nearly to room temp before using or serving.
  • Once you’ve added it to your cake the cake should be stored in an airtight container and chilled.

Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting?

  • Yes cream cheese frosting can be frozen in an airtight container up to 3 months.
  • Thaw for one day in the refrigerator then let rest on the counter to bring nearly to room temperature.
  • Preferably rewhip for a minute with a mixer before using.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Can You Tint It with Color?

Yes absolutely. You can use gel food coloring, liquid food coloring (they make natural versions now), or powdered coloring such as beet powder (sift first). Remember when tinting a little goes a long way.

How do You Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting?

To make chocolate cream cheese frosting just add 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted) to the mixture when adding powdered sugar. You can see it on this cake here.

How do You Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting (My Best Tip)?

My number one tip for cream cheese frosting is to make ingredients cool again. When cream cheese (and butter) gets softer it get’s runnier. I started doing this years ago and it’s been a game changer:

  • Upon completion of mixing frosting freeze the frosting in mixing bowl in short bursts, just a few minutes at a time.
  • Then mix again using the electric stand mixer or hand mixer.
  • Freeze briefly again. Mix again.
  • This really just firms it back up quickly. Just don’t overdue it with freezing or it will get clumpy and become too hard for spreading over a soft cake.
  • Work quickly to frost cake or cupcakes before it starts to return to warm room temperature again.
  • Another thing that helps thicken is to add a little more powdered sugar.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Tips for Success

  • Use good quality cream cheese. The store brands can tend to have a runnier consistency. Don’t use whipped cream cheese in a tub.
  • Don’t melt butter! If you have to soften in the microwave soften in short bursts on a low power, rotating butter every few seconds. But should just soft.
  • Never add liquid. Save that for buttercream frosting, cream cheese frosting will be too runny if you try to add cream or milk.
  • Whip and whip frosting to make it fluffy, but also be careful not to overdue it so it has some stability.
  • Keep chilled and when out of the fridge keep at a cool temperature, don’t serve a cream cheese frosted cake outdoors on a hot summer day unless you’ve got a way to keep it cold or serve right away.


Try adding one of these ingredients for a fun flavor boost:

  • ground cinnamon
  • crushed freeze dried strawberries or blueberries.
  • lemon zest
  • coconut extract
  • vanilla bean

Posted on Last updated: March 2, 2022

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Go to Home » Post Archive » How to Thicken a No-Bake Cheesecake

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It can generally go without saying that there are many, many different recipes out there for a quick and easy dessert dish.

After all, it depends entirely on what you are in the mood to eat.

If you are in the mood for something baked, there’s a good chance that you are going to be spending a fair bit of time tending to your baking recipe, measuring out the ingredients, and making sure that everything is baking the way it should.

More often than not, if you have to bake a dessert, you are going to be spending at least an hour dealing with it. Not everyone has that much time to spare in their days.

It could be that you need to prepare this dessert in a quick and timely manner for another event or it could be that you simply aren’t in the mood to dedicate that much time and effort to baking something.

Thankfully, because there are many people out there who feel the same way, people are coming up with more and more variants on traditional baked recipes that don’t rely on baking.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

In fact, there are some recipes that fall under the name of “no-bake” that involve absolutely no baking.

Of course, these recipes are going to taste somewhat different than the traditional baked recipe but for people who are working on a deadline or people who don’t have the patience to bake, these recipes can be the perfect answer to a specific craving.

One of the most popular variants of this recipe is the no-bake cheesecake.

Because cheesecake is often a fickle recipe in the first place and even experienced bakers have trouble getting it to work right, a no-bake cheesecake is right up the alley for people who do not want all of the hassle of dealing with the tough ingredients.

However, if you want your cheesecake to replicate the ones that you are used to eating, there may be a few adjustments that you have to make.

Depending on the ingredients that you have chosen, you might find that the texture of your no-bake cheesecake is completely off the target that you want it to be.

While there are many things that can go wrong when substituting the traditional cheesecake ingredients and methods, there are a few ways that you can try and fix your cheesecake.

For example, if the problem at hand is that your cheesecake is too watery, is too liquid, or simply doesn’t hold its shape very well, you may find that you want to thicken it.

There are a couple ways that you can go about adding thickness to your cheesecake without the need for baking it.

What Can Go Wrong?

Before you can figure out how to fix your no-bake cheesecake, you will first have to figure out what exactly went wrong.

Do keep in mind that by nature, no-bake cheesecakes are going to have a slightly different texture than standard cheesecakes will and you should account for this.

With that being said, if your cheesecake is too runny to work with in any capacity, then it is time to determine what went wrong.

One common problem with cheesecakes is that the cream cheese being used adds too much moisture to the cake itself, which can cause it to become runny. This is why many cheesecakes are baked, as they include eggs and other ingredients to add thickness to the cake.

If you do not add anything to help offset the cream cheese’s water content, then there’s a good chance that you will have some trouble with the texture of the cake.

This can apply especially to low-fat cream cheese as well as the higher fat content can actually work in your favor to keep the structure of the cheesecake.

When picking out a cream cheese to use, you will want to use a high-fat cream cheese that has reached room temperature so that you can adequately incorporate it into the cake.

Something else that can go wrong is that there are no other ingredients in the cheesecake to help give it some structure. This can happen when following faulty recipes.

When searching for recipes, you should always try to find a review of the recipe or some feedback from people who have tested it out. This will give you a good idea of any changes you need to make and any results that would sway your opinion of the recipe one way or another.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Now that you have a good idea of what can go wrong in a no-bake cheesecake, you now need to learn the best way to remedy the issue without altering the way that the cake needs to be made too much more.

Fixing the No-Bake Cheesecake

In most cases, the best way that you can fix your recipe for a no-bake cheesecake (assuming that the recipe you are following is not faulty), is adding gelatin to the cheesecake. Gelatin is a natural thickener and it is used in many recipes to help thicken sauces, custards, and other foods.

Gelatin itself is generally flavorless, meaning that you can add it to your recipe without any issue of taste, texture, or flavor.

Instead, you can expect it to help add some solidity to your dish, ensuring that your potentially runny cheesecake is not going to have any more issues with its structure.

There is generally going to be a specific amount that you should add as adding too much gelatin will result in a cheesecake that has a strange, gummy texture, and adding too little will not fix the problem that you are trying to deal with.

The amount of gelatin that you will need to add will depend heavily on the amount of other ingredients that are already in the cheesecake as well as the size of the cake itself.

However, when you add the gelatin to the cake, you will be able to quickly see and make sure that you are reaching the texture that you want to achieve in your cheesecake.

From a runny mess to a firm and tasty no-bake cake, you can rest assured knowing that your no-hassle cheesecake can be saved and you will have a treat to eat for the next several days.

Quick and easy cream cheese frosting recipe, requiring basic ingredients. Fluffy, stable, creamy and tangy. Perfect for piping cupcakes and cake decorating.

This classic cream cheese frosting recipe is the BEST!

It has the perfect BALANCE of sweetness and tanginess.

It’s so flavorful that I can eat it by the spoonfuls.

This fluffy cream cheese frosting like bakery is:

  • Easy to make with simple ingredients
  • Stable and holds its shape
  • Not runny, not lumpy, not grainy and not too stiff
  • Perfect for cake decorating
  • Perfect for piping cupcakes
  • Rich, creamy, fluffy, sweet and tangy

I have used this simple cream cheese frosting for red velvet cake.

I have also used this cream cheese frosting for carrot cake.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting
Here are some helpful TIPS for this easy frosting recipe:

  • DON’T use low fat cream cheese. It must be full fat cream cheese. This adds flavor and richness to your frosting.
  • Use cold cream cheese. It should NOT be at room temperature.
  • DON’T skip meringue powder/ cornstarch since that makes this frosting thicker and and helps stabilize it.
  • You will know your frosting is ready when you scoop frosting onto your spatula and it holds its shape without dripping.
  • This icing should be colored with gel colors. DON’T use liquid food coloring or else the consistency may change.
  • Unsalted butter must be used!
  • You can add less sugar (about 3 cups), if you don’t want the frosting to be too sweet.
  • If you like, you can make this frosting THINNER by adding more milk or heavy cream (only 1 tbsp at a time) until you reach the desired consistency.
  • To make lemon cream cheese frosting, add 1 tbsp lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon extract in this recipe.
  • To make cream cheese lime frosting, add 1 tbsp lime zest and 1 tsp lime extract in this recipe.
  • To make cream cheese frosting to drizzle, thin out this frosting with milk or heavy cream until you have a thick syrup-like consistency. That’s the perfect cream cheese icing for cinnamon rolls… Similar to cream cheese frosting like Cinnabon.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Here are some common questions and answers for this easy cream cheese icing:

  1. How to make cream cheese frosting from scratch?
    Start off by creaming together butter and cream cheese. Add extracts. Then, gradually add powdered sugar, cornstarch/meringue powder and whip until frosting is light and fluffy. The more you whip it, the fluffier it gets.
  2. What does cream cheese frosting take like?
    It’s silky, smooth, rich and creamy and has the perfect BALANCE of sweetness and tanginess.
  3. Cream cheese frosting vs. buttercream?
    They both have different flavors and go well with different cake flavors. Cream cheese icing has a subtle tanginess to it. Buttercream frosting has no tanginess and a strong vanilla flavor.
  4. Cream cheese frosting- butter or margarine?
    Never use margarine! It does not work well and the consistency is awful.
  5. How much cream cheese frosting for 24 cupcakes, for 9×13 cake?
    The recipe below will yield about 3 cups of frosting. That’s enough for icing 24 cupcakes or frosting a sheet cake. However, recipe can easily be doubled to frost bigger cakes or layer cakes.
  6. How to make cream cheese frosting thicker? How to stiffen cream cheese frosting?
    Adding more powdered sugar will make it thicker but it will also make the icing more sweeter. I like to add some meringue powder and/or cornstarch to thicken it.
  7. How to store cream cheese frosting? Why does it need to be refrigerated?
    It MUST be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It’s refrigerated because cream cheese is used and that can go bad at room temperature.
  8. Can you make cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar?
    Some people like to use Splenda instead of powdered sugar but I prefer the powdered sugar version better.
  9. How to make cream cheese frosting without butter?
    You can make cream cheese frosting with shortening instead of butter. However, I have noticed that cream cheese icing without butter is not as rich and creamy.
  10. How to stabilize cream cheese frosting?
    Here are some ways to make stable frosting:
    – Use a combination of shortening and butter OR just shortening in this recipe.
    – Use meringue powder/ cornstarch, which helps to keep the frosting thick.
  11. Why is my cream cheese frosting runny?
    There is too much liquid in your recipe and not enough powdered sugar.
  12. Why is my cream cheese frosting lumpy and grainy?
    It was not mixed together properly and the ingredients were not combined smoothly. For best results, I suggest using an electric mixer.
  13. Why use cream cheese frosting?
    It’s a nice change from classic American buttercream icing and the subtle tangy but sweet flavor compliments some cakes really well.
  14. When to use cream cheese frosting? What is it good on?
    It’s great on red velvet cakes and carrot cakes but I also really like it on these chocolate cupcakes.
  15. What is crusting cream cheese frosting?
    It’s basically frosting that looks like fondant. This type of frosting is really sweet and made with a high ratio of sugar. Due to this, when it’s used to frost cakes, a light sugar crust forms on the cake. You need to use the Viva method to smooth out the frosting on the cake. It’s considered to be a decorator’s cream cheese buttercream and used when people don’t like the taste of fondant but prefer the look of fondant. My recipe below is NOT for crusting buttercream frosting.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

If you liked this Philadelphia cream cheese frosting, be sure to check out some of these other frosting recipes:

While I make cakes and frostings from scratch every week, I do it for a living. There was a time that I worked in the “corporate world” Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 and just the thought of going home to make a cake and frosting from scratch was daunting to say the least!

Box cakes, in my opinion, are actually pretty good but store bought frosting, on the other hand, could use some improvement. I’ll tell you how to improve on cake mixes another time . . . today is all about improving on the store bought frosting!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

For most people store bought frosting is too sweet and hard to spread on a cake. Though not specifically labeled, most of the tub frostings are considered buttercream frosting, except for those specifically labeled as cream cheese. Here are a few tricks to making any tub of store bought frosting taste pretty close to homemade:


  • Empty the room temperature tub of frosting into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and mix with a hand or stand mixer. Put a spatula into the middle of the frosting and check for the right consistency. You want the frosting to be thick enough to allow the spatula to stand by itself but not so thick that it causes the mixer to overheat. It’s better to be too soft then too thick so avoid adding too much. The main thing to remember is that you don’t want the frosting so soft that the spatula consistently falls to the side of the bowl. Continue to add powdered sugar a little at a time until you get the consistency that you want.


  • Cream Cheese Buttercream – Using one tub of room temperature buttercream frosting and one (8 oz) package of room temperature cream cheese, combine the two. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract to the frosting prior to adding powdered sugar as directed above. Just be sure to refrigerate the cake, cupcakes and any leftovers as cream cheese can’t remain at room temperature overnight.
  • Whipped Cream Buttercream – Mix equal parts of store bought frosting with whipped cream for a great whipped cream buttercream. Add powdered sugar as directed above to get the right consistency. Add 1 tsp of extract. Vanilla is always a great extract to use but mix it up based on the flavor of cake you are making. Try maple, rum or orange extract or even some coffee syrups for a bit of a change. Like the cream cheese version be sure to refrigerate the cake, cupcakes and any leftovers as whipped cream can’t remain at room temperature overnight.
  • Glaze – If you like the flavor of the tub frosting but just want to make it easier to put on a cake, empty the contents of the tub into a microwave safe bowl and microwave, on high, for 20 to 30 seconds. You want the frosting to be a consistency of syrup so stir and microwave for another 10 seconds, if needed. Stir well and pour over the top of the cake. Let stand to cool. This will work great for a cake but don’t try this for cupcakes. Not only will it be too runny, you could burn yourself also! Be Careful!!
  • Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup of nuts, chocolate chips or coconut to the frosting for some added flair.
  • Mix 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter to a tub of chocolate frosting for a great taste of Reese’s candy!
  • If you plan to use the frosting to write on the cake, use food coloring to change the color (use 1 drop at a time) and powdered sugar to thicken the frosting. Invest in a couple of icing tips or use a gallon baggie with the corner cut out.

I hope these tips will help you to create your own homemade version of frosting. If you know of more tips, please share them in the comment section below. Until next time . . .

This Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is quick, easy and perfect for frosting cupcakes since it holds its shape for piping! It’s the best cream cheese frosting and can be used on either cupcakes or layer cakes. You have to try this cream cheese frosting!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Table of Contents

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Frosting is one of the most important parts of a cake and tends to be the best part, in my opinion. Every one needs great frosting recipes that they can work with and cream cheese frosting is a classic and must-have. It’s also quick easy to make and work with, if you have a great recipe and know how to make minor adjustments as needed.

How do you make cream cheese frosting?

To make cream cheese frosting, you’ll need your butter and cream cheese, which should basically be at room temperature. Keep in mind though that if you’re in a pretty warm climate, room temperature may be little too warm. So as you consider the right consistency for the butter and cream cheese, it should be a little cool to the touch, but soft enough that if poked, it makes an indention without your finger going straight through it.

As for ratio of butter to cream cheese, I use a little less butter and a little more cream cheese. If you’re going for a cream cheese frosting, I say really go for it. There’s not a big decrease in butter, but just enough to make sure it doesn’t steal the show.

Once you’ve combined your cream cheese and butter so that it’s nice and smooth (if you have lumps, they are probably too cool and you’ll want to let them come closer to room temperature), it’s time to add the powdered sugar. I know it’s tempting to reduce the amount of powdered sugar and might seem harmless, but this is what adds volume and structure to the frosting. If you reduce the amount of powdered sugar, just know that it’ll affect the final consistency. If you’re looking for a pipe-able frosting, be sure to use the full amount.

The final ingredient is the vanilla extract, which adds nice flavor to the cream cheese frosting for that last final touch!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cupcakes

So, I make my cream cheese frosting for cakes and cupcakes just a little bit differently. Cupcakes are a little more forgiving when it comes to frosting consistency and having a little thinner frosting. You get away with a thinner frosting because it sits nicely on top of the cupcake and doesn’t need to cling to the sides of something, like with cake.

For my cupcakes, I use four cups of powdered sugar. That’s the standard amount of powdered sugar I use in most of my buttercream frostings to have enough frosting for about 12 cupcakes or so. It works perfectly in this cream cheese frosting to give it volume and enough thickness that it holds it’s shape when piped, but doesn’t go overboard on sweetness.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cakes

When it comes to cakes, I up the powdered sugar by just a bit. A cup to be exact. Although you’ll find that they way the recipe is written below, I double the frosting for a cake. It’s enough frosting to generously frost a three layer 8-inch cake and have frosting between the layers and on the outside of the cake. It also pipes beautifully if using it for borders and decorations.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

What does cream cheese frosting go well with?

Cream cheese frosting pairs well with so many things, you really can’t go wrong. It is probably most often paired with carrot cake, like I did with these Carrot Cake Swirl Cupcakes. Such a classic combination.

You will also find that it’s the classic accompaniment with a Red Velvet Cake. You could even use chocolate cream cheese frosting, as used on these Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Cream cheese frosting goes well with some of these other favorites:

How to store cream cheese frosting

While cream cheese needs to be stored in the fridge, there can sometimes be a little wiggle room with cream cheese frosting. Although it safest to store it in the fridge and that’s what I do, if you’re home is kept at about 70 degrees or cooler, the frosting should be fine to sit on the counter for a day or so. If you’re going to leave it out longer than that though, I’d refrigerate it. If you do refrigerate it prior to adding it to your cake or cupcakes, you’ll want to let it sit out and soften up again before using it.

A Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting sturdy enough to be used for piping perfect swirls onto cakes and cupcakes that tastes so good you’ll want to bathe in it!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Without a doubt, Cream Cheese frosting would be my favorite frosting in the whole wide world. I guess this comes as no surprise, seeing as how I am such a huuuuge fan of cheesecake.

The only problem with most cream cheese frosting is that it is so soft and delicate that it often tends to be very difficult, if not impossible to pipe… swirls have a tendency to lose their shape as soon as they get formed. And, well, something has to be said for swirled frosting. It just so pretty to look at, it seems to make it taste that much better!

So, if you’ve been looking for the perfect Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, rejoice! Your search has just come to an end.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Not only is the gorgeous, mouthwatering, drool-worthy cream cheese frosting you’re looking at right now sturdy enough to be used for piping the most perfect swirls onto your favorite cakes or cupcakes, it also tastes so insanely, heavenly good you’ll want to bathe in it… and then roll yourself in coconut flakes and bathe in it again.

Why coconut? Dunno… You could very well roll yourself in something else if you wanted to. I just find that coconut and cream cheese frosting make for a really good pair. Must be why I chose to add loads of coconut to the Hummingbird Cake I recently made and then covered in all those luscious cream cheese frosting swirls!

Wouldn’t you say that this is a very tempting slice of cake? I think I could stare at it and drool for hours…

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Just in case you needed to take a closer look… can you get a sense of how dreamy that stuff is?

I’ve no doubt that this Cream Cheese Frosting recipe will become your new go-to recipe. And while this may seems like it makes a huge batch, trust me if you’re gonna be piping a whole bunch of swirls, you will be needing a very generous amount of frosting.

Besides, I’m sure you won’t mind a little bit of leftover, if you should be lucky enough as to generate some!

I’ve no doubt that you’ll think of ways to use it up…

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

First, you need to make sure that your butter is at room temperature. While you could definitely get away with using coldish cream cheese, the butter absolutely needs to be soft and easily spreadable to start with.

Put that softened butter, cream cheese, a pinch of salt and about a quarter of a teaspoon of pure lemon extract in a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.

You’ll notice that I’m not adding any vanilla extract because I like to keep the liquid content as minimal as possible: powdered sugar requires so very little moisture to completely liquefy, I figure the less moisture we add, the better. Besides, the lemon extract adds so much POP to the flavor of the icing, the vanilla would only go unnoticed. Poor thing. Might as well not invite it to the party, if no one’s even going to notice its presence!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Next, in a separate LARGE bowl, combine a few tablespoons of dry buttermilk and a whole lot of powdered sugar — we’re talking a whopping 12 cups here (thank goodness we didn’t use that vanilla extract!) — and mix with a whisk until well combined and completely lump free.

Add this powdered sugar to the creamed butter and cheese mixture a few cups at a time and beat on low speed between each addition until well incorporated.

Now about that dry buttermilk: while you don’t absolutely have to add it in, I strongly suggest that you do if you can get your hands on it. Cream cheese frosting is extremely delicate in nature, and I find that the addition of dry buttermilk helps to stabilize it and makes it a tad firmer and easier to work with.

Not only that, but I find that it also makes the frosting fluffier and gives it a hint of a mysterious yet very pleasant aroma…

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat the frosting for 2 to 3 minutes, until it becomes really light and fluffy.

Your frosting is now technically ready to use, but chances are it’ll be a bit on the soft side from all that whipping action. If you find that it is indeed too soft to be used right away, refrigerate it for 10 to 15 minutes and then beat it again for a few seconds before you use it.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

All that’s left to do now is load that piping bag of yours and pipe away to your heart’s content! See how beautiful those swirls are and how well they hold their shape?

If it’s particularly warm out, though, or if your cake is taking a particularly long time to frost and you ever feel like your frosting is starting to soften up a bit too much on you, feel free to return it to the refrigerator as necessary so it firms up again. Just a few minutes, followed by a gentle beating with a wooden spoon will do the trick.

Since cream cheese frosting is so delicate, I strongly suggest that you keep your finished cake, or cupcakes, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

An easy recipe for cream cheese frosting made with four simple ingredients and ready in just a few minutes. This frosting pipes perfectly and can be used on so many different desserts!

*Post and pictures updated July 2020*

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Today we’re talking about one of the best frostings in the world, cream cheese frosting. Over the years I’ve shared several ways to use this frosting, but I felt that this recipe needed it’s own post because it’s one of my absolute favorites!

One of the reasons I love this cream cheese frosting recipe is because it pairs well with so many different desserts. Not only that, but it’s also:

  • Incredibly easy to make
  • Made with just 4 ingredients
  • Super delicious!

I’m also sharing tons of helpful tips on how to ensure that this frosting turns out perfect for you. I guarantee this is the best cream cheese frosting you will ever try!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Recipe Ingredients

To make this frosting you’ll need some cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract. Let’s discuss each of these ingredients:

  • Cream Cheese: Make sure to use brick-style cream cheese for this recipe. You want to avoid the containers of cream cheese spread because they have ingredients added to thin them out, which will make your frosting runny. For the best results I suggest full-fat cream cheese too.
  • Unsalted Butter: A s always I use unsalted butter, so that’s what I used here . However, if you only have salted butter on hand, you can use that instead.
  • Powdered Sugar: This helps to thicken the frosting and sweeten it.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: To add a little flavor to the frosting. I highly recommend sticking with pure vanilla extract instead of imitation.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting

To make this homemade cream cheese frosting, you’ll start by adding your softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl and mixing it until it’s smooth. Then, add the softened butter and mix until the cream cheese and butter are fully combined.

Next, you’ll add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until everything is well combined and the frosting is smooth and creamy. I recommend stopping to scrape down the sides of your bowl once or twice and mixing again to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed together.

Once the frosting is ready, you can use it on top of just about any dessert or refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Does cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?

Since this frosting has cream cheese in it you will need to refrigerate it. If you need to make the frosting ahead of time, simply mix it together, cover it tightly, and refrigerate it for 1 to 2 days. When you’re ready to use it, let it come to room temperature, and mix well before frosting your dessert.

Can you freeze this frosting?

Yes! Store the frosting in a freezer bag or container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature and mix well before using it.

How can I thicken my frosting if it’s too soft or runny?

I recommend refrigerating the frosting for 15 to 20 minutes and that should help make it easier to pipe. You can also try mixing in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to help thicken it.

Can I reduce the amount of powdered sugar?

You can reduce the powdered sugar in this recipe by 1/2 to 1 cup. Just keep in mind that the less powdered sugar that you use, the softer your frosting will be when it’s mixed together.

This is the lightest and creamiest (aka the BEST) cream cheese frosting! It’s perfect for frosting cakes, cupcakes, and more.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

I’m usually a classic vanilla buttercream gal, but I’m finding more and more that cream cheese frosting is what I’m craving on my cakes and cupcakes. It’s like traditional buttercream, but with a delicious sweet and tangy flavor, and a lot more elegance.

The best cream cheese frosting recipe

This easy 5-ingredient cream cheese frosting is creamy, super light, silky smooth and ultra rich. I promise you won’t find a better recipe. Plus, I’m sharing my best tips to ensure your frosting comes out perfect every single time.

Use this cream cheese frosting to dress up a cake, a batch of cupcakes, your favorite sugar cookies, and more!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Ingredients you’ll need

Let’s get started! Here’s everything you’ll need to make this cream cheese frosting (full recipe below):

  • Cream cheese— use only full-fat brick cream cheese for the best flavor, not reduced fat cream cheese or cream cheese spread
  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar— sift it after measuring for the smoothest and silkiest texture
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract

How to make cream cheese buttercream frosting

This recipe couldn’t be easier! Just combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat it for 4-5 minutes until smooth, light and creamy (scrape the bowl down once or twice). You can also make this frosting with a hand-held mixer and a large bowl.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Cream cheese frosting FAQs answered!

Here’s a few tips to help you have the most success with this recipe:

How to quickly soften cream cheese

No one likes cream cheese lumps! And you get lumps when your cream cheese is still cold. Ideally, you should remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it come to room temperature on the counter for a few hours, but sometimes you forget or don’t have the time. It happens. Here are a few ways to warm it up quickly:

  • Remove cream cheese from packaging and cut into cubes. Microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  • Leave cream cheese sealed in foil packaging and place in a bowl. Cover with warm water and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Why is my cream cheese frosting runny?

If your cream cheese frosting is too soft or runny it could be for a few reasons:

  • The cream cheese used has a high water content because it’s low-fat or a cream cheese “spread”. Use only full-fat brick cream cheese.
  • The cream cheese and butter were too soft when used. Both should be at room temperature and a finger will leave a gentle imprint, but won’t be able to press all the way through.
  • The frosting has sat out for too long in a warm kitchen.

If your frosting is too soft or runny, put it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, then beat it again briefly and see if that fixes the problem.

Does cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?

Here’s what I recommend— if the frosting will be consumed within the day, you’re fine to leave it at room temperature. The high amount of sugar should keep bacteria growth at bay for at least that long. However, if you’re making it ahead, or using the frosting on a dessert that will be enjoyed over several days, it’s best to keep it in the fridge.

Cream cheese buttercream is also softer than a lot of other frosting, so it’s smart to keep it in the fridge to keep it firm and prevent it from melting. This is especially helpful during the summer or if you have a warm kitchen.

Can I freeze cream cheese frosting?

Cream cheese frosting can be stored in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for up to a month. Bring to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until smooth before using.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Uses for cream cheese buttercream frosting

This frosting is so versatile! It’s delicious on pretty much everything, but here are a few of my faves:

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Note: This recipe was originally published May 2018.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting
Most of the time, when we think of frosting, we think of something sweet with a thick, smooth and spreadable consistency. Frosting can be very thin, like a glaze, when you want to drizzle a little extra something over the top of a bundt cake, but we usually want a thicker frosting for topping our cupcakes and layer cakes.

The exact consistency of frosting will vary depending on what type of frosting you are making. Cream cheese frostings will be much softer than buttercream frostings. Meringue frostings will have a much lighter consistency than cream cheese or buttercream frostings. Whatever type of frosting you are working with, there will be times when the frosting turns out thinner than you anticipate. The consistency of frosting can be impacted by everything from the ingredients you’re using to the weather. It can be frustrating to try to decorate with frosting that is not thick enough, but these guidelines for several basic frostings will help you to ensure that yours turns out with the perfect consistency every time.

Cream Cheese Frosting – You may have over-softened your cream cheese. You can stiffen it by adding additional confectioners’ sugar or even by adding both softened butter and confectioners’ sugar, as the butter will be a bit firmer than cream cheese.

Whipped Cream Frosting – Make sure the whipping cream is very cold before you start to whip it to stiff peaks. If it is runny, chill it thoroughly. You can add a small amount (1-2 teaspoons) of cornstarch to give it a little extra stability.

Simple (American) Buttercream – A runny American buttercream is usually caused by adding too much milk (or other liquid ingredients). You can thicken this by adding additional confectioners’ sugar. A very small amount of cornstarch can help, too, but more than a tablespoon will give your icing an unpleasant starchy flavor. If your buttercream has additional ingredients, such as sour cream, it will have a softer consistency than frosting made with butter alone, but extra sugar can still help thicken it up.

Italian Buttercream – A runny Italian buttercream is often caused by adding butter that is too soft to meringue that is too hot. While beating, dd in additional colder butter (slightly softened, not ice cold) to cool the mixture down and to allow it to thicken

Royal Icing – Royal icing that is too thin can be thickened by adding additional meringue powder or confectioners’ sugar. If it is very runny, it is best to start by adding in a little bit of meringue powder before adding additional sugar so that the icing does not become too sweet.

When making frosting in general, combine your ingredients gradually so that you don’t overdo the wet or dry ingredients accidentally. Make sure your ingredients, such as butter, are at the temperature recommended by the recipe to help ensure that they come together properly.

Five simple hacks to save yourself from frosting failure.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Some of my favorite baked goods are topped off with a delicious frosting or glaze. However, there are times when making frosting can be a little tricky, causing your hard-earned treats to be topped with a glaze you’re less than proud of. Today we’re tackling five frosting problems you may run into and five solutions to turn your problematic topping into the best, most-flavorful addition for your cookies, cakes and desserts!

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Problem 1: Your Glaze Is Too Runny

Solution: Gradually add more powdered sugar to obtain the desired consistency.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

When making pastries, muffins or cakes, adding a delicious glaze is the perfect way to top it off. However, if the glaze is too runny, it will sink right into your baked good, making it soggy and not very attractive.

A good rule of thumb for glaze consistency is that it’s pourable with a spoon, but able to stand up on its own. Start with a ratio of 1 cup of powdered sugar, to 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of milk. Adding the milk gradually and stirring it until smooth is the ideal way to achieve the desired consistency. If you feel the glaze is too runny, simply add a few additional spoonfuls of powdered sugar.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

The beauty of a great glaze is how easy it is to add to your finished baked goods. Simply drizzle by the spoonful, making long, sweeping strands of frosting. The results are a perfectly imperfect treat!

Problem 2: Your Cream Cheese Frosting Is Lumpy

Solution: Ensure the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Cream cheese frosting is a delicious addition to many cakes, cookies, desserts and even cinnamon rolls. However, a frosting with clumps of butter and cream cheese can look and taste a little off.

Before making the frosting, make sure you have the appropriate ratio of ingredients. Start by creaming together 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of butter. Having both the cream cheese and butter at room temperature is essential in preventing lumps. When the butter and cream cheese are too cold, it is harder to break up the fats, thus resulting in clumps that are difficult to break apart. Additionally, using a hand or stand mixer for beating the frosting is very helpful. Next, add any flavoring like vanilla extract to the butter/cream cheese mixture and continue beating. Lastly, gradually add 4 cups of powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Gradually adding the powdered sugar will help achieve a smooth, creamy and spreadable frosting.

Problem 3: Your Frosting Is Running

Solution: Pipe a border or well around the edges.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Delicious frosted sugar cookies are a classic treat for special occasions — especially during the holidays. However, if you don’t make the frosting just right, you may have icing running over the edges of the cookies. When using a royal icing, a good consistency is key, but also using a technique called “flooding” will help the smooth icing stay in place on your cookies.

Once your cookies have cooled completely, begin by piping a border around the edge of the cookie. This will act as a well or border to hold in the interior icing. Once your border is in place, let the icing set for a few minutes. Then add icing to the center area of the cookie within the border. Don’t overfill the cookie. Use a toothpick to evenly smooth out and fill the entire area. This will help ensure your icing stays in place and provides a smooth finish. Add additional sprinkles and decorations, if desired.

Problem 4: You Can’t Pipe Your Frosting

Solution: Adjust frosting consistency with milk.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Piping cookies and cakes doesn’t need to be a hassle. If you’re frosting is getting suck in your piping bag we have an easy fix: Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to create a creamier and more pipeable consistency.

Start by tempting your frosting from the piping bag back into the mixing bowl. Then add 1 tablespoon of milk to the frosting and mix well. If the frosting is still a little too thick and stiff, add another tablespoon of milk. Continue repeating this process until you achieve a smoother, thinner frosting. Test by adding your frosting back into your piping bag fitted with the desired tip. Using gentle pressure, start piping your frosting. If it pipes smoothly, add the rest of your frosting to your pastry bag and pipe away.

Problem 5: Your Fudge Frosting Is Not Setting Up

Solution: Patience!

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Sheet cake recipes often call for a frosting that is cooked in a saucepan over low heat. The ingredients are melted together and mixed until a creamy consistency is achieved. Many make the mistake of pouring the frosting on to the cake or dessert immediately after it has finished melting. The frosting is likely to run off the edges and sides of the cake, and very little will be left in the center.

A simple remedy to this problem is letting the frosting cool and thicken a bit before pouring on to the cake or dessert. Giving the frosting time to set helps it achieve a thicker consistency — allowing you to easily spread it over the entire cake. Additionally, make sure the cake that is being frosted is completely cool. If the cake is still warm, the heat will not allow the frosting to set properly.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Erin, the “E” in Delightful E Made, delights in sharing the best of all that she cooks, bakes, creates and loves. She has a true joy for being in the kitchen and making things for the people around her. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

When baking, it’s always wise to start with a thicker frosting and thin it out as needed. Thick frosting comes in handy in a variety of baking projects and applications. In order to build a structurally-sound layer cake, you’ll want to use a thick, firmer buttercream in between your cake layers; this will give the cake height and keep it level. When decorating cookies, a firm royal icing is crucial to piping elegant, clean designs and fine lines.

While it’s relatively easy to thin out your frosting—a bit of water, milk, or cream should do the trick—regaining body and thickness in your frosting is slightly more challenging. But don’t worry: It’s not impossible to thicken frosting. If your frosting has gone wrong for who knows what reason (from a hot kitchen to too much added moisture) and has devolved into a soupy mess, not to worry: We’re here with a route back to fluffy frosting perfection.

Some of our techniques for thickening frosting call for added ingredients, like powdered sugar; others simply require time. We’re giving you the complete lowdown on how to thicken frosting in a pinch, whether you’re working with buttercream or royal icing. Keep these tricks in your back pocket for future baking mishaps.

How to Thicken Buttercream

When you are frosting a cake, it’s crucial to work with buttercream that’s reached the perfect consistency. If your frosting is too runny, it’ll melt and slide all over the cake; if it’s too thick, it won’t spread easily. Think of building and frosting your layer cake as a construction process: You’ll want to start by forming a solid base structure, then work from there. When building a cake, we start with a thick, firm buttercream, then as we move into decoration, we thin our frosting out with a little bit of heavy cream to make it more spreadable and viscous.

But if you’re starting out with a frosting that’s a little too thin and runny, don’t fret: You can come back from this. There are a few different ways to thicken your frosting to ensure that your cake is sturdy, clean, and polished:

  • Allow your frosting to sit in the fridge, covered with saran wrap, for 2 hours—this will help your frosting firm up.
  • If the frosting still has not reached your desired thickness after chilling, add a few tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar to help your buttercream stiffen.

How to Thicken Royal Icing

If you’re making royal icing, often used for decorating cookies, mixing to the right consistency is key to achieving clean, pretty lines and decorative features. You can learn all about the different consistencies of royal icing that we use for different purposes here, but the main distinction is between flooding-consistency icing (a looser icing used to fill in large surfaces) and piping-consistency icing (a stiffer icing used to pipe lines and intricate designs).

We always start with a firmer icing, then gradually add water to make it more liquid. To achieve a flooding-consistency icing, we add water—a couple tablespoons at a time—until the icing reaches a spreadable consistency. But what if you want to work the other way around, making the icing firmer rather than looser? We’ve all been there: You accidentally added too much water at the onset, making your icing far too runny for the piping bag.

Luckily, you have a few options for an easy fix:

  1. How Many Calories Are in Cream of Wheat?
  2. How to Make a White Decorator Icing
  3. How to Make Whipped Frosting Without Gelatin
  4. How to Substitute Cornstarch for Tapioca Flour When Baking
  5. How to Make Creamy Alfredo Sauce With Milk Instead of Cream

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

To fill cakes, cupcakes or other pastries, you’ll need a cream filling that is thick enough so that it won’t run or cause baked goods to become soggy. If your cream filling isn’t thick enough, a starch thickener will improve its texture without much effort and without altering its delicate flavor. Cornstarch works best for dairy-based fillings, but flour can also be used. However, flour is about half as potent as cornstarch so you’ll need to use more, which can affect the flavor of cream fillings. Tapioca starch is best for cream fillings that need to be used immediately, since it thickens rather quickly and at a relatively low temperature. Avoid using arrowroot, which will turn slimy when combined with dairy products.

Step 1

Prepare your cream filling as you would normally.

Step 2

Combine the starch thickener of your choice with an equal amount of cold liquid, like water or cream. Stir the mixture thoroughly until a paste forms and there are no more lumps present.

Step 3

Heat your cream filling in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the thickener paste in small amounts until the filling reaches your desired consistency. Stir the cream filling consistently as it heats. Do not overcook the mixture; some thickeners, like flour or arrowroot, can actually make liquids thinner if cooked for too long or at too high a temperature.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
183 Calories
7g Fat
29g Carbs
1g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 183
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 87mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 28mg 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 it’s atop red velvet cupcakes or a deliciously moist carrot cake, cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement for a wide variety of desserts. In this recipe, the cream cheese flavor comes through beautifully, as it’s made with all cream cheese and no butter. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, so it blends in easily and makes for a smooth and creamy frosting.

This recipe makes enough frosting to generously frost a 9-inch cake, a dozen cupcakes, or the top of a 9 x 13-inch cake, and it’s easily scaled up for multilayered cakes.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Top sugar cookies with this creamy, rich, and flavorful cream cheese frosting for cookies! It’s easy to make with basic ingredients (without milk!) and can be used to frost just about any sugar cookie recipe. Add it to thick, fluffy no roll sugar cookies or just as an easy spreadable icing on top of cut out sugar cookies.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t a big fan of frosting on cookies. It wasn’t until I moved to Salt Lake and found the best little cookie shop named Ruby Snap that I fell in love with thick, soft cookies topped with frosting.

They have a cookie called the Mia, which is essentially a thick fluffy sugar cookie topped with a thick layer of the creamiest, most delicious beet frosting (I was skeptical of the beet at first, but it’s magical).

Ever since then, I’ve made it my mission to replicate the cookie and although I haven’t tackled a beet frosting, this cream cheese frosting paired with my no roll sugar cookies is the closest thing I have gotten to those prized little cookies.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

What You Need to Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cream Cheese
  • Vanilla
  • Almond Extract
  • Perfectly paired with: No Roll Sugar Cookies

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

Step 1: Using a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy.

How to thicken cream cheese frostingStep 2: Keeping the mixer on medium speed, slowly add in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar disappears, turn the mixer on high speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Yes, this is a frosting without milk!)

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Step 3: To color the icing, I recommend squeezing a dot of food coloring on a paper plate, dipping the tip of a toothpick through it, then swiping it through the frosting. This will allow you to control the amount of color you add.

Tip: For this light pink shade, I just did one swipe of red food coloring.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Step 4: Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread frosting onto cooled cookies. If not enjoying immediately, store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator (they need to be refrigerated since the frosting contains cream cheese).

How to thicken cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

Top sugar cookies with this creamy, rich, and flavorful cream cheese frosting! It’s easy to make with basic ingredients and can be used to frost just about any sugar cookie recipe. Add it to thick, fluffy no roll sugar cookies or just as an easy spreadable icing on top of cut out sugar cookies.