This rich, tangy, spoon-lickable Best Cream Cheese Frosting is the only cream cheese frosting recipe you'll need! Made with just 4 ingredients, it takes only 10 minutes to whip up! This easy frosting recipe is perfect for carrot cakes, red velvet cupcakes, and even chocolate cupcakes too. Make it ahead and freeze it for later!

We love to frost our cakes and cupcakes with new and exciting flavors! For something a little more exotic, check out our fruity Guava Frosting or Dragon Fruit Buttercream Frosting. And for something a little more traditional, our Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is light, fluffy, and perfect for chocolate lovers!

Overhead, freshly mixed cream cheese frosting in a glass measuring cup.


Table of Contents
  1. The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting
  2. Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe ingredients
  3. How to make Cream Cheese Frosting
  4. How to store the Best Cream Cheese Frosting
  5. Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe FAQs
  6. How to use Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
  7. More Frosting Recipes Like This
  8. Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese just seems to make desserts taste AMAZING, right?! Whether it's my No-Bake Cheesecake, Cream Cheese Brownies, or my Award-Winning Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie, I'm always experimenting with adding this savory spread into sweet baked goods. Can't stop, won't stop, it's just delicious!

This is the BEST Cream Cheese Frosting, and you'll love it for several reasons. First off, it requires just 4 (F-O-U-R!) ingredients, most of them you'll already have in the pantry or fridge (powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract) and you may even already have the cream cheese on hand as well! I always buy it in bulk so I have some on hand for sweet or savory recipes, and since it freezes well you can keep it in the freezer for 2-3 months and just thaw it as needed. I love recipes that don't need special trips to the store to throw together. Life is busy, and that's just another thing I don't need to fit into my day!

Second, this cream cheese frosting is made so quickly, you'll wonder if you've missed something. You haven't! It took me about 5 minutes of creaming the butter and cream cheese together first, and then tossing in the other ingredients...and just like that, we have cream cheese buttercream, ready to pipe and eat!

Cream Cheese Frosting piped into a small glass jar, with piping bag nozzle to the side

Pro Tip: if you'd like your cream cheese frosting to be a little firmer for piping, stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or add a little cornstarch. These two techniques together hold the piping shape beautifully!

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe ingredients

It's just four ingredients to rich, delicious, homemade frosting that is the perfect topping for cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and bars! I recommend using high quality ingredients, especially in a recipe like this where the ingredient list is short because you will really notice a difference in taste.

  • Cream cheese: Full-fat cream cheese, softened will make the best cream cheese frosting! It's extremely rich and tangy. I have done this with reduced fat cream cheese and it's still good, just not quite as good as with full-fat.
  • Butter: Plenty of softened butter makes this Cream Cheese Buttercream even richer! There's nothing like a buttery frosting.
  • Sugar: Powdered sugar is the best for this icing recipe as it melts easily into the rest of the ingredients.
  • Vanilla extract: Just a little extra flavor, the vanilla complements the cream cheese deliciously! You can use store-bought, or make your own with my Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe.

How to make Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter. Firstly, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth using a hand mixer or a stand mixer. This is much easier if your ingredients are room temperature to begin with. Mix them really well to make sure there aren't any lumps of cream cheese.
  2. Mix in sugar and vanilla. For the last step, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat again until creamy and smooth. That's really all there is to it!

How to store the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

You can make this cream cheese frosting up to 3 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you're ready to use it, let it sit on the counter to take off the chill before beating it back into its fluffy state and piping it or spreading it over a cake.

Can you freeze Cream Cheese Frosting?

Yes! This frosting can be frozen for up to about 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge, then let it sit out on the counter to come to room temperature before beating well and using. I like to make a double batch and freeze half just to have some on hand.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe FAQs

How do you firm up Cream Cheese Frosting?

If you want a cream cheese frosting with even more stability for piping, the best way I've found is refrigerating it for 15-30 minutes and/or mixing in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. If you're making cupcakes but aren't going to serve them immediately after piping, stick them in the fridge to retain the piped shape as well.

What is the difference between icing and frosting?

Frosting tends to be fluffier and is perfect for topping cupcakes with, or spreading over and in between cake layers. Icing is usually glossier and is great for decorating finer details on baked goods like cookies. Check out my Easy Royal Icing Recipe for Sugar Cookies tutorial and video for more information on icing!

How to use Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

CAKES:

CUPCAKES:

COOKIES & BROWNIES:

Cream Cheese Frosting overhead shot, piped into glass jar with piping nozzle to the side

More Frosting Recipes Like This

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

4.99 from 95 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Frostings
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups
This rich, tangy, spoon-lickable Best Cream Cheese Frosting is the only cream cheese frosting recipe you'll need! Made with just 4 ingredients, it takes only 10 minutes to whip up! This easy frosting recipe is perfect for carrot cakes, red velvet cupcakes, and even chocolate cupcakes too. Make it ahead and freeze it for later!

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup salted butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
  • Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat again until creamy and smooth.

Notes

  • Stiffer Frosting: If you want a cream cheese frosting with even more stability for piping, try refrigerating it for 15-30 minutes and/or mixing in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
  • Yield: This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting, which is enough for 1 dozen cupcakes (if you are piping it on like in the photos) or a 2 layer cake.
  • Make Ahead and Storage Instructions: This frosting keeps in and airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days if you want to make it in advance. Let it sit for a while on the counter to take off the chill before beating and using.
  • Freezing Instructions: This frosting can be frozen for up to about 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then let it sit out on the counter to come to room temperature before beating well and using.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 15mg | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I don’t comment on recipes but had to tell you that my entire family ate every single bite! Practically licked the plate! Thank you so much!

  2. 5 stars
    YUMMY!!! I made cupcakes for a neighbor and used this recipe! A Hit! I had some left over, so I put it on a pumpkin bread. Thank you!

  3. I just made this and it is amazing. Put it on a strawberry lemon cake and it was fantastic. Thank you for sharing this

    1. Hi! Yes, I would refrigerate them. Anything with cream cheese - cakes, cookies, cakes should be refrigerated. They shouldn't sit out more than two hours.

      1. I will be making this for red velvet cupcakes, and love that you gave an option for a stiffer frosting! Could I use arrow root powder instead of cornstarch and does it change the taste? Thanks!

        1. I'm not as familiar with arrow root powder but unless it's a very strong flavor I think you will be fine!

  4. 5 stars
    This was really easy! This was really good on the pecan cake I made yesterday! This one is going to be a keeper!

  5. 4 stars
    This turned out really great, except that I don't really taste any tang from the cream cheese. It's pure sweet. Still worked great, but I am just a little disappointed the taste wasn't what I expected.

    1. Yep you can use this on a cake! If you'd like your cream cheese frosting to be a little firmer for piping, stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or add a little cornstarch. These two techniques together hold the piping shape beautifully!

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this frosting and its amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing such a great recipe. My new go to!!

  7. Hello, I would love to try making vanilla as gifts. About how many beans does it take to make a batch of 12, 4oz bottles and how long does it need to sit.

    1. If you are using smaller, 4-ounce jars, you will need to cut the beans in half so they fit and use only 2-3 beans per jar. It takes at least 8 weeks for the vanilla beans to infuse the vodka for full-strength vanilla. But the vanilla extract gets even better if you wait 6 or even 12 months (or longer!).
      This post will explain it all with detailed instructions and even printable labels! Homemade Vanilla Extract

  8. 5 stars
    I LOVE THIS!! I made the Cream Cheese frosting used half and froze half! Delicious and so darn easy!! Thank you for this delicious recipe! YUM YUM

  9. Hi. I love this recipe. I just wanted to ask if it OK to add food coloring. I'm hosting a baby shower and she wants the cupcakes to be blue and white

  10. This is the best vanilla frosting I’ve ever made. I would like to add some orange juice and zest next time ..what would you recommend. Thank you so much for your help

    1. I'm so glad you liked it! Rather than adding orange juice, which would like loosen the frosting too much without adding enough flavor, I would either use only zest (1-2 tablespoons of fresh zest, depending on how strong you would like the orange to be) or MAYBE some orange extract (probably not my personal choice) or a tablespoon of thawed frozen orange juice concentrate (probably the route I would start with). I hope that helps!

    1. It's personal preference. If you prefer it less sweet you can either add more cream cheese or decrease the amount of sugar. Personally, I think it's just right!

  11. I would like to use this cream cheese frosting as part of a cookie sandwich and need to know if the cookie sandwiches have to be refridgetated!

    1. Not really. The frosting is going to be too soft. Even sticking them in the fridge to solidify first isn't going to solve the issue if you want to use a cream cheese based frosting for cookies.

    1. My guess is you beat it too long with your mixer. Cream cheese frosting gets runnier the longer you beat it, unlike American buttercream which tends to get fluffier. You want to mix it just until smooth and then stop.