Cream Cheese Frosting

This is the only cream cheese frosting recipe you’ll ever need! It’s tangy, rich, silky smooth, and the perfect addition to cupcakes, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls and so much more.

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This luscious cream cheese frosting recipe is sure to be a new favorite in your collection. It’s thick, rich, and velvety smooth. Not only is it delicious but it only requires 5 ingredients and can be made in less than 10 minutes. What’s not to love about that?! This versatile frosting can be used for frosting a cake, piping on cupcakes, filling cookie sandwiches, or even slathering on top of gooey cinnamon rolls!

Although this recipe is fairly simple, I’ve found that cream cheese frosting can be a little finicky to get just the right consistency. So I’m sharing all my tips and tricks to help you make a successful and delicious cream cheese frosting!

Ingredient Notes

  • Cream Cheese: the star of the show. This is what makes the frosting tangy and creamy. Be sure to use the 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, not the spreadable kind, and also let it come to room temperature.

  • Butter: I use unsalted butter to control how much salt goes in the frosting. Also, like the cream cheese, be sure to allow the butter to come to room temperature.

  • Powdered Sugar: this adds sweetness and helps thicken the frosting. I don’t like an overly sweet frosting but you can add more if you prefer a sweeter frosting.

  • Vanilla Extract: adds a nice flavor that perfectly compliments the cream cheese. You can also swap it out for vanilla bean paste instead.

  • Salt: this helps offset the sweetness of the frosting. Just a pinch is all you need.

See the full list of ingredients and measurements in the recipe card below!

Tips for the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Use cream cheese blocks. You will need the solid 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese for this recipe. Don’t use the whipped or spreadable cream cheese typically used for spreading on bagels. The blocks of cream cheese have a different consistency than the other varieties which will affect your frosting and won’t give you the right consistency. 
  • Use room temp ingredients. It’s important to let your cream cheese and butter come to room temperature before you start mixing. This will ensure that your frosting beats up nice and smooth, without any pesky lumps. I like to leave my cream cheese out for at least 2 hours but I find that the butter needs longer so I like to pull this out of the fridge the night before I make the frosting.

  • Sift the powdered sugar. Powdered sugar tends to be pretty lumpy right out of the bag and it can be hard to get every lump out in the mixer, so sifting your powdered sugar is an important step. Use a fine mesh sieve to sift the powdered sugar over a piece of parchment paper, then you can bring two ends of the parchment together to easily funnel it right into the mixing bowl.

  • Don’t overmix. After adding the powdered sugar, be careful to only mix the frosting until everything is combined and smooth. Overmixing the frosting at this point can make it break which will make the frosting runny which will not work if you need to use it for frosting a cake or piping on cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe FAQs

Can the frosting be made ahead of time?

Yes, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. If it’s in the fridge long enough to become completely chilled, it will need to come back to room temperature. The butter in the frosting will solidify when it is refrigerated so it will not be pipeable or spreadable right out of the fridge. You could also carefully warm the frosting in the microwave on the defrost setting, stirring every 15-20 seconds if you’re short on time.

How long can cream cheese frosting be stored?

The frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Can the cream cheese frosting be piped?

Yes! This cream cheese frosting is great for piping. The frosting may be a little on the soft side when it’s fresh so I like to pop it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before filling my piping bag, for a slightly stiffer consistency. It works well with both a round or star piping tip.

How much frosting does this recipe make?

This makes about 2 cups of frosting or enough to pipe a generous amount on 12 cupcakes.

Why is my cream cheese runny? 

Two main issues can cause soft or runny cream cheese frosting. The first is using the wrong type of cream cheese – be sure to use the solid blocks. The other reason could be because it was overmixed. If that happens, let it chill in the fridge for about 30 to firm up. You can also try adding more powdered sugar, a little at a time to thicken up the frosting.

Baking Tip: Weigh Your Ingredients!

I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients rather than using measuring cups because it is the most accurate way to bake. Weighing your ingredients will give you more consistent results with your recipes and a better success rate, every time. Using a scale also saves you dishes which means easier cleanup! I provide gram measurements in all my recipes and this is the scale I love to use.


Chocolate Cream Cheese

This is without a doubt my all-time favorite frosting. Like so good that I could eat it by the spoonful. I love to frost my Vanilla Cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese. Sift ½ cup (43g) of unsweetened cocoa powder and add it, as well as 2 Tablespoons of milk or heavy cream, with the powdered sugar. Mix until everything is incorporated and the frosting is smooth.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese

Adding brown butter is an easy way to add an extra layer of flavor to your cream cheese frosting. Melt and brown the butter on the stove, allow it to cool to room temperature and re-solidify, then add it in with the cream cheese just like the standard instructions. I use a variation of this for my Carrot Snack Cake.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese

Another variation is to spice up your cream cheese frosting with some cinnamon. Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in with the powdered sugar. This would be a delicious addition to my Ginger Molasses Cookie Sandwiches.

More Ways to Use Cream Cheese Frosting

If you make this recipe and love it, be sure to leave a comment below. Happy baking!

Cream Cheese Frosting

This tangy, rich, and silky smooth cream cheese frosting is the perfect addition to cupcakes, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls and so much more!
Author: Rachel
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 2 cups or enough for 12 cupcakes


  • 1 block (8-ounce or 227g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cups (300g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  • Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Add half the powdered sugar along with the vanilla, and salt. Mix until mostly incorporated then add the remaining half of powdered sugar. Scrape the bowl again then mix until the frosting is combined and smooth.
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I’m Rachel

I’m the dessert lover, recipe developer, and content creator behind Sweet Kitchen Cravings. Here you’ll find classic yet special recipes that are sure to impress your loved ones!

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