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Cream Cheese Frosting

This homemade Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is one that everyone needs in their recipe file. You can use it for icing cupcakes, sheet cakes or layer cakes in any flavor.


Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

How do you make Cream Cheese Frosting? First, allow time for the cream cheese and butter to soften to room temperature. This is an important step so that all of the ingredients will fully combine. Next, add vanilla extract and gradually add powdered sugar while beating with an electric mixer on  medium-low speed. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until it’s creamy and spreadable.


How to Make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Cream Cheese Frosting: Plain cream cheese, salted butter, clear vanilla, powdered sugar (confectioners sugar) and heavy cream to thin the frosting until it’s creamy and spreadable.
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: A stand mixer or a hand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, a rubber spatula and airtight container for storing chilled in the refrigerator.
  • If there are any lumps in the powdered sugar, it’s best to run it through a fine mesh sieve to remove them prior to adding to the remaining ingredients.
  • This type of icing does require an electric mixer to make it properly. It’s important to whip the ingredients until creamed and no lumps remain. That’s very difficult to do by hand so a mixer is the way to go here.
  • You can use classic vanilla extract in this recipe or clear vanilla, if you prefer not to add color. The purpose of clear vanilla is that doesn’t affect the color. Either will work.
  • If you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the frosting.
  • You can change the flavor profile of cream cheese frosting by adding different flavors of extracts. Lemon, orange, almond or rum depending on the cake flavor you’re frosting. You could also add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for frosting your fall cakes, cookies and cupcakes.
  • You can spread this frosting using icing spatulas onto the cake or pipe it using your favorite pastry bag tips and make designs on cakes, cupcakes or even cookies.
  • This recipe makes enough to frost a 2 or 3 layer cake, 24 cupcakes or a half sheet cake. A quarter sheet cake baked in a 13 x 9 inch pan will likely only need a half batch depending on how you intend to decorate the top.
  • Most cakes and cupcakes topped with this icing will keep chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.



More Homemade Frosting Recipes to Make


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Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time5 minutes
Chill time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cream-cheese-frosting-recipe, easy-cream-cheese-frosting


  • 2 8 oz blocks plain cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 2 tsp classic or clear vanilla extract
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tbsp heavy cream for thinning plus additional as needed


  • Use an electric mixer to cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy and smooth.
  • Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat well after each addition, stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time to smooth to spreading consistency.
  • Use immediately to frost a three layer 8 inch cake or two layer 9 inch cake or 24 cupcakes. Chill the cake or cupcakes until serving. (You'll only need half to frost a quarter sheet cake or cake baked in a 13 x 9 inch pan.)
  • Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Whip with a mixer, adding additional cream to thin slightly prior to using.


Please note:
  • Any cake frosted with this icing should be kept chilled. 
  • This recipe makes enough to frost a 2 layer cake (9 inch) or 3 layer cake (8 inch), 24 cupcakes or a half sheet cake. A quarter sheet cake baked in a 13 x 9 inch pan will likely only need a half batch depending on how you intend to decorate the top.
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