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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!
Cream Cheese Buttercream
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!
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!
Simple, Real 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 do you make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting from scratch?
- 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.
- 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.
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!
What are some recipes I can use this Buttercream with?
- Best Carrot Cake Recipe
- Best Red Velvet Cake
- One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake
- Best Ever Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Gingerbread Cupcakes
- Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
- Best Ever Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
COOKIES & BROWNIES:
More Frosting Recipes Like This
- Homemade Rainbow Chip Frosting Recipe
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Fresh Strawberry Frosting
- Light & Fluffy Oreo Frosting (aka Cookies & Cream Frosting)
- Easy Salted Caramel Frosting
- The Best German Chocolate Cake Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 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.
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 121mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 0gSugar: 37gProtein: 1g
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.