Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (4-ingredients)

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This Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe is a delicious twist on a traditional frosting. This sweet and tangy frosting is thick and creamy and pairs great with just about any dessert, including quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.

frsoting a cupcake

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

I use this cream cheese frosting recipe on a lot of desserts, from cupcakes to layer cakes. This frosting plays nicely with desserts because while it is sweet, it isn’t as sweet as traditional buttercream frosting. The cream cheese cuts through the sweetness with a bit of tang.


  • Cream cheese – You want to make sure the cream cheese is softened so that is will break down with no lumps in the frosting.
  • Unsalted butter – I always recommend using unsalted butter. This lets you control the amount of salt in the recipe, even when you are adding salt to the recipe.
  • Powdered sugar – Powdered sugar is the base of any frosting recipe. If you are using a piping bag or want to prevent lumps, sift the powdered sugar before mixing it into the recipe.
  • Vanilla extract –Always use pure vanilla extract. It tastes better than imitation.

 cream cheese frosting ingredients

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Using a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth.

Add in the softened butter and cream together with the cream cheese.

mixer with frosting

Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix well between each addition and scrape down the bowl.

add vanilla

Beat in the vanilla.

Use the frosting to frost cupcakes and cake.

cream cheese frosting

Store the leftovers in the refrigerator. Use within 3 to 4 days.

How Can I Soften Cream Cheese Safely?

When you want to soften cream cheese, you want to leave the cream cheese out at room temperature. It is safe to leave the cream cheese at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Use the cream cheese to make the frosting as soon as it is softened.

Does Cream Cheese Frosting Have to Be Refrigerated?

While many cakes do not have to be refrigerated, you always want to store this frosting, and anything that has been frosted with it in the refrigerator so that it does not spoil.

Can This Cream Cheese Frosting be Piped?

Cream cheese frosting is very creamy which can make it difficult to pipe. However, this frosting will hold its decorative piped shape if you refrigerate it prior to piping. Fit your piping bag with a decorative tip, fill your bag with the frosting, then refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes before piping. Works like a charm!

cream cheese frosting


  • Full fat cream cheese is best to use for this. Try to avoid low-fat or the spreadable cream cheese that comes in a tub (use the brick).
  • Make sure your cream cheese and butter are completely softened before mixing. This will prevent any lumps and makes a smooth frosting.
  • Always sift your powdered sugar as well. This will also prevent lumps of sugar and won’t clog up your piping bag if decorating with a small piping tip.
  • I always use unsalted butter. You don’t want your frosting to taste salty. You can always add a pinch of salt to your frosting if you prefer.

Recipes to Make Using this Cream Cheese Frosting

Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade Cream cheese frosting is a delicious twist on a traditional frosting. This sweet and tangy frosting is thick and creamy and pairs great with just about any dessert, including quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
Servings: 1
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 15 minutes


  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 6-8 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, and beat until smooth
  • Add in butter, an beat butter until smooth
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing in between each addition
  • Beat until smooth
  • Beat in vanilla until smooth
  • Frost cupcakes or cake
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in a covered container

Last Step:

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This is the amount for a layered cake or a large amount of cupcakes. You can cut the recipe in half if needed for a smaller amount.


cream cheese frosting on a cupcake