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*

A group of cupcakes resting on a round cooling rack topped with 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!

The ingredients needed to make cream cheese frosting laying on a gray surface.

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: As 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 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.

A glass mixing bowl with cream cheese frosting and the beater that was used to mix it up.

FAQ’s

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. 

A group of cupcakes on a round cooling rack being topped with cream cheese frosting.

Baking Tips

  • Make sure to use a block or brick of cream cheese for this frosting and avoid using cream cheese that’s in a tub.
  • Let your cream cheese and butter sit at room temperature for about one hour. This will ensure a smooth and creamy frosting! 
  • This recipe will yield about 2 cups, which is enough to frost one dozen cupcakes or a 9×13 cake. If you’re frosting a layered cake, I recommend multiplying this recipe by 1.5.

Different Ways To Use This Frosting

A cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting on a round cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 26 ratings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
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!

Ingredients

Servings: 2 cups
  • 1 (8-ounce) package brick style cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until well combined and smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Pipe or frost on cooled cupcakes, cakes, or other desserts.

Notes

Storing Instructions: Frosting may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. When you're ready to use it, place it on the counter to come to room temperature, and mix well before frosting your dessert.
Freezing Instructions: This frosting will freeze well in a freezer bag/container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and mix well before using it.
Cream Cheese: Make sure to use a block/brick of cream cheese for this recipe and avoid using cream cheese spread.
This recipe will yield 2 cups of cream cheese frosting. You can use this recipe to lightly frost a layered cake, 12 to 14 cupcakes, or a 9x13 cake.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
Did you make this recipe?Mention @livewellbakeoften on Instagram or tag #livewellbakeoften.