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!
Table of Contents
- Simple, Real Ingredients
- How do you make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting from scratch?
- How to store the best Cream Cheese Frosting
- Can you freeze Cream Cheese Frosting?
- How do you firm up Cream Cheese Frosting?
- What is the difference between icing and frosting?
- What are some recipes I can use this Buttercream with?
- More Frosting Recipes Like This
- Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
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
- Light & Fluffy Oreo Frosting (aka Cookies & Cream Frosting)
- Easy Salted Caramel Frosting
Fresh Strawberry Frosting
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
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.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ 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.
Reader questions and reviews
Off the charts delicious!
Easy & Excellent 💗
Creamy and delicious!! Thanks!
My favorite kind of recipe, easy, delicious, and makes me feel like a gourmet cook. Lol Thanks Amy!
LOL, fake it til you make it, right? So glad you love this recipe!
Best cream cheese frosting I've made to date!
I'm glad you liked it!
I was out of butter so I substituted Parkay stick margarine. Perfect. Worked well.
Yum!!!!! Easy and delish. Put this on my carrot cake, so good.
Oh yes this would be perfect for carrot cake! So good!
This is a great recipe for more than just frosting
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!
I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! It really does make a difference!
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!
Oh man this frosting would be so good on pumpkin bread! Thank you for using this recipe!
I just made this and it is amazing. Put it on a strawberry lemon cake and it was fantastic. Thank you for sharing this
Ooh that sounds delicious! Glad you liked it!
So do my cookies have to be refrigerated if I use this recipe on them?
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.
I love it. Just tried it today.
Very easy, very delicious and creamy.
This was really easy! This was really good on the pecan cake I made yesterday! This one is going to be a keeper!