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Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe – Love and Lemons


Learn how to make cream cheese frosting with just 4 ingredients! Sweet, creamy, rich, and tangy, it’s delicious on cakes, cupcakes, and more.


Cream cheese frosting


Who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?! This sweet, tangy topping is the perfect complement to just about any cake or cupcake, not to mention cookies, bars, and quick breads. I have it on repeat around here in the spring, when we have carrot cake cupcakes for Easter, an actual carrot cake for Jack’s birthday, and then carrot cake cookies, well, just because I like them. 🙂

My cream cheese frosting recipe calls for 4 basic ingredients, and it comes together in less than 10 minutes. The next time you want to make a homemade baked good taste extra-decadent and special, all you have to do is whip it up!


Bowl of powdered sugar next to block of cream cheese, butter, bottle of vanilla extract, measuring spoons, and spatula


Recipe Ingredients

You only need 4 ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Cream cheese, of course! Skip the whipped or low-fat stuff and seek out block-style, full-fat cream cheese. It gives this frosting the best rich texture and tangy flavor. Let it come to room temperature or soften it slightly in the microwave before making the frosting.
  • Unsalted butter – It gives the frosting buttery flavor and a texture that’s thick enough for piping. Allow the butter to soften to room temperature before mixing up the frosting. If it’s too firm, the frosting will be lumpy.
  • Powdered sugar – Aka confectioner’s sugar. It thickens and sweetens the frosting. Make homemade powdered sugar, or use store-bought.
  • And vanilla extract – For warm depth of flavor.

Optional: season to taste with a dash of salt!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.


Frosting in mixing bowl with powdered sugar on the sides


How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

My method for how to make cream cheese frosting couldn’t be simpler! Here’s how it goes:

First, combine the cream cheese and butter. Place them in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until smooth. I like to use an electric hand mixer to make this recipe, because as written, it’s a bit small for my stand mixer. If you prefer to use a stand mixer, you may need to double the recipe.

If you don’t have a mixer, you can make this recipe by hand with a whisk. It’ll just take some elbow grease!


Closeup shot of cream cheese frosting swirl


Then, add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until the frosting is smooth and creamy (check out that texture above!!). Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Tip: if your powdered sugar is lumpy, sift it before adding it to the cream cheese mixture.

Taste and adjust, adding a pinch of salt if needed. That’s it!

How to Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting

If your frosting is runnier than you’d like, you have a few options for how to thicken it.

  • Add more powdered sugar. Beat in a tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Keep in mind that adding more sugar will make the frosting sweeter.
  • Stick it in the fridge. The frosting will firm up as it chills.

Note: Full-fat, brick-style cream cheese is essential for thick frosting. Whipped, low-fat, or spreadable cream cheese will make the frosting runny. When in doubt, choose cream cheese that comes in a box, not a plastic tub.


Bowl of cream cheese frosting with spatula


How to Use Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups of frosting. That’s enough for an 8- or 9-inch cake, a loaf cake, or a batch of 12 cupcakes. I love to use it on these treats:

Double the recipe for a 9×13-inch sheet cake, or triple it for a layer cake.

Storage

Cream cheese frosting shouldn’t sit at room temperature for more than a few hours. Store leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Baked goods topped with cream cheese frosting should also be refrigerated.

Can you freeze cream cheese frosting?

Yes! Cream cheese frosting freezes well for up to a month and thaws nicely in the fridge.

Its texture will change slightly after freezing and thawing, so I recommend re-whipping it before use. If necessary, add little milk to the frosting to loosen it up.


Cream cheese frosting recipe


More Frostings, Glazes, and Whips

If you love this recipe, try one of these sweet toppings next:

Craving more treats? Check out these 25 Super Fun Baking Recipes!

Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves 8

Our favorite cream cheese frosting recipe! It’s SO easy to make, and it’s the perfect sweet and tangy topping for desserts like cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bars, and more.

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth.

  • Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. For a stiffer frosting, beat in additional powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste and adjust, adding a pinch of salt if needed.

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.



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