This classic Cream Cheese Frosting is smooth and creamy, super simple and can be turned into all kinds of yummy flavors. Use to frost your favorite layer cakes, sheet cakes, cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes.
Best Cream Cheese Frosting
After trying all sorts of cream cheese icing recipes, I’ve settled on this Cream Cheese Frosting as my go-to. It’s a tried and true recipe that tastes great, stays super creamy and holds its shape well enough to be able to pipe or spread onto any of your favorite cake recipes.
You can use this sweet frosting as is, add food coloring and sprinkles for a kid's birthday party or use any one of the frosting flavor ideas we’ve included below. It really is the best cream cheese frosting recipe you can rely on again and again. Give it a try and let us know what variation you love the most.
If you love cream cheese frosting, be sure to try our Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting too.
Ingredients in Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese - make sure it is room temperature and softened so that it will mix well. For best results, use bricks of full fat cream cheese rather than a tub of cream cheese.
- Butter - you’ll also want your butter to be room temperature. We prefer unsalted, but you can use salted if you like.
- Powdered Sugar - it’s always a good idea to sift your confectioners sugar prior to using.
- Vanilla Extract - pure vanilla extract tastes best but there are some fun flavor variations that are worth a try if you're wanting to switch it up a bit.
Let's jump right in. It’s easy to use this classic Cream Cheese Frosting recipe to make some pretty epic variations. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Chocolate: add 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
- Cinnamon: add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Coconut: add ½ cup shredded coconut and a splash of coconut extract.
- Strawberry: add ¼ cup strawberry puree and an extra 2 cups powdered sugar.
- Oreo: add ½ cup crushed Oreos. (bit bottm lip, fist bump)
- Brown Butter: use an equal amount of cooled and hardened brown butter instead of regular butter.
How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream the cream cheese and butter. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room tempreture butter and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, or about 2-3 minutes. Next, add the room temperature cream cheese and beat again until light and fluffy, or about 2 minutes more.
- Add the rest. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix on low until fully incorporated, then beat on high for about 30 seconds until it is light and fluffy again.
- Use immediately or store. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Chances are, you didn’t use the bricks of full-fat cream cheese. Another reason could be because your butter and cream cheese were too warm. Make sure they are soft but NOT melted when you make the frosting.
The easiest fix is to cover the bowl and toss it into the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill it back down, then remove and mix again.
Yes! Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. The day before you want to use it, transfer to the fridge overnight to thaw. The next day, pull it out to room temperature for at least 30 minutes then transfer to the mixer. Use the paddle attachment to cream again until light and fluffy again.
You can! Just keep in mind that it can be a little tricker to pipe than buttercream and is much easier to pipe when it is colder. One trick is to transfer to a piping bag just after you have gotten it light and fluffy, then store in the fridge for just about 20-30 minutes to chill back up a bit. This way, it should still be smooth and creamy but hold its shape a bit better.
Easy Storing Instructions
- Refrigerator: store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: store in an airtight container, or freezer bags, in the freezer for up to 2 months. To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight.
- To use: once you are ready to use the frosting again, remove it from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. Then, using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, whip the frosting back up until it is nice and fluffy.
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- ½ cup Butter room temperature
- 8 oz Cream Cheese room temperature
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, or about 2-3 minutes. Add the room temperature cream cheese and beat again until light and fluffy, or about 2 minutes more.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix on low until fully incorporated, then beat on high for about 30 seconds until it is light and fluffy again.
- Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting: Add 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 1-2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest to your cream cheese frosting for a zesty, tangy twist.
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix in ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to your cream cheese frosting for a rich, chocolatey flavor.
- Maple Cream Cheese Frosting: Replace some of the powdered sugar in your cream cheese frosting with maple syrup for a sweet and nutty flavor.
- Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix in 1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to your cream cheese frosting for a warm and cozy taste.
- Berry Cream Cheese Frosting: Add ½ cup of fresh or frozen berries (such as raspberries or strawberries) to your cream cheese frosting and blend until smooth for a fruity flavor.
- Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix in ¼ cup of caramel sauce and a pinch of sea salt to your cream cheese frosting for a sweet and salty twist.
- Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix in 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and ¼ cup of pumpkin puree to your cream cheese frosting for a fall-inspired flavor.
Here are more of our favorite frosting recipes:
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Cinnamon Buttercream
- Mint Cream Cheese Frosting
- Frosted Pumpkin Bars
- Classic Buttercream Frosting
- Eggnog Buttercream Frosting
- Blood Orange Frosting
- More Dessert Recipes
- More Cake Recipes
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This Cream Cheese Frosting tastes great, stays super creamy and is quick and easy. It holds its shape well enough to pipe or spread onto any of your favorite cakes, cupcakes and more.