This homemade Cream Cheese Frosting is fluffy and pipes beautifully. We’re sharing our tips for a perfectly thick and whipped frosting. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is.

We love this frosting on cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. It’s especially good on Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake Cupcakes, and Pumpkin Cake. If you’ve been looking for that perfect and versatile frosting recipe, this is a must-try!

Cream Cheese Frosting on serving spoon

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Cream Cheese Frosting Video

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The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Hands down, this is our favorite cream cheese icing. Here’s why this will become your go-to recipe:

  • Texture – it’s thick enough to pipe onto a cake or cupcakes and isn’t runny like many cream cheese-based frostings tend to be.
  • Sweetness – this has just the right amount of sugar and isn’t overly sweet.
  • Flavor – the proportion of butter and cream cheese is balanced and it doesn’t taste too much like cream cheese. The vanilla and salt also add great flavor.
  • Freezer-friendly – you can make it ahead and freeze or even pipe it onto cakes and cupcakes and freeze an entire dessert (see make-ahead instructions below)
Whipped cream cheese frosting in bowl with spatula

Ingredients

The key to making great cream cheese frosting is in making sure your butter and cream cheese aren’t overly softened.

  • Unsalted butter – use an inexpensive, light-colored butter for a lighter-colored frosting.
  • Cream cheese – 8oz adds just enough cream cheese flavor and lightens up the frosting.
  • Powdered sugar – sweetens up the frosting without being too sweet like many storebought frostings, but you can add more if you prefer.
  • Vanilla extract – use a real extract or homemade vanilla for the best taste.
  • Fine Sea Salt – a little goes a long way to balance the flavor.
Ingredients for frosting with cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar

The Best Cream Cheese for Frosting

Make sure to use full-fat, block-style cream cheese. Avoid cream cheese sold in a tub as those can make frosting runny and are intended to be used for spreads rather than frosting.

Block style cream cheese for making frosting

How long to soften butter and cream cheese? Keep at room temperature (70˚F room) for about 1 1/2 hours, or until you can indent the butter with your fingertip. It should feel cool to the touch and should not feel too soft or squishy.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat butter with an electric hand mixer until smooth and creamy then beat on high speed for 1 minute until lightened in color. 
  2. Beat in cream cheese pieces just until combined, scraping down the bowl.
  3. Add vanilla and salt and beat to combine.
  4. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix at low speed until incorporated. Increase to high speed and beat another 2-3 minutes until whipped, thick and spreadable, scraping down the bowl a couple of times to ensure everything is really well blended. 
Step by step ingredients for cream cheese frosting

Common Questions

Does Cream Cheese Frosting have to be refrigerated?

Yes, since it has cream cheese and is dairy-based, it should be refrigerated. See instructions for refrigerating and freezing in the “Make-ahead” section below.

How to thicken cream cheese frosting?

Add more powdered sugar if an even thicker frosting is desired.

Can I use this on cookies?

Yes, it is a sturdy frosting and perfect for cookies. You can even use gel food coloring at the end to tint the frosting.

How long can Cream Cheese Frosting sit out?

It can sit out at room temperature for 6 hours. In a warmer or more humid climate, refrigerate until ready to serve.

Can I add food coloring?

Yes, use a spatula to fold in a gel food coloring to the finished frosting to reach the desired color. Gel colors are less likely to thin your frosting.

Is cream cheese frosting best with butter or cream?

We love it with butter because it is thicker and easier to pipe and decorate with. It also keeps really well in the refrigerator when using butter.

Use Cream Cheese Frosting for

We love to serve this recipe for cream cheese frosting on all kinds of desserts. These pair really well with the balanced sweetness of this frosting.

Cream cheese frosting recipe piped

I hope this becomes your go-to Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. The texture is impressive, it pipes beautifully, and best of all, it freezes and keeps really well.

Make-Ahead

  • To Refrigerate: Cover frosting and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or until ready to use. To use, let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour or just until spreadable or pipeable. If you frost and refrigerate your cake, let it soften at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.
  • Freezing: Transfer frosting to a freezer-safe zip bag and shape it into an even thickness in the bag. Freeze flat for 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then keep at room temperature for 30-60 minutes just until spreadable. You can pipe the frosting over cakes and cupcakes then just thaw the dessert in the fridge overnight before serving.

More Frosting Recipes

These frosting recipes every baker should have in their collection. You will use these again and again.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

4.96 from 106 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Cream cheese frosting piped onto spoon
This homemade Cream Cheese Frosting is fluffy and pipes beautifully. Learn how to make the perfect thick and whipped frosting.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 24 cupcakes or 2-layer 9″ cake

Instructions

  • Place butter into a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy then beat on high speed 1 minute until lightened in color.
  • Beat in softened cream cheese, just until combined, scraping down the bowl.
  • Beat in vanilla and salt until incorporated.
  • Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix on low speed until incorporated. Once all the powdered sugar is in, Increase to high speed and beat another 2-3 minutes until whipped, thick and spreadable, scraping down the bowl a couple of times to ensure everything is really well blended.

Nutrition Per Serving

213kcal Calories20g Carbs1g Protein15g Fat9g Saturated Fat1g Trans Fat41mg Cholesterol44mg Sodium18mg Potassium20g Sugar481IU Vitamin A13mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
213
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
15
g
23
%
Saturated Fat
 
9
g
56
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
41
mg
14
%
Sodium
 
44
mg
2
%
Potassium
 
18
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
20
g
7
%
Sugar
 
20
g
22
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
481
IU
10
%
Calcium
 
13
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cream Cheese Frosting
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 213

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Touna
    April 3, 2024

    Hello Natasha, i did the cake but not going to decorate until later today. Should i make the frosting and let it rest for sometime before using or it can be used instantly?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 3, 2024

      Hi Touna! Because this frosting contains cream cheese and needs to be refrigerated. It should not sit out. If you were wanting to use it to decorate later, you will have to let it sit on the counter for a little while till it’s often’s and re-whip it so that it is spreadable.

      Reply

  • Connie Stowe
    April 1, 2024

    I am new to frosting cakes, layer cakes in particular. My cake will be 8 inch rounds and 3 of them. Will this frost that much or should I double it. I love your cookbook and all of your posts and videos:}

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 1, 2024

      Hi Connie, this recipe makes enought to cover 24 cupcakes or 2-layer 9″ cake. It may be enough for 8″ at a very thin layer. If you want to get a decent layer on the cake, I would make more. I hope this helps.

      Reply

  • Jean reed
    March 30, 2024

    Made this cake today for dessert after Easter dinner. It smelled so good when baking and the frosting was absolutely delicious. I know it’s going to be a hit tomorrow in Garden Valley, Idaho! Thank you! Oh and I followed the recipe exactly and it came together so nicely.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 30, 2024

      Hi Jean! Thanks for trying my recipe. Happy Easter!

      Reply

  • Donna Bawcom
    March 30, 2024

    I Love your carrot cake and tomorrow I will serve it at Easter dinner as a 4 layer beauty with one of my 35 grandchildren. Shes so excited about serving it on her new 4 layer dome cake plate.

    Reply

  • Claudia
    March 30, 2024

    Love your carrot cake! I’m going to attempt the star design on top with the icing. What size is the tip that you used in the video?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 30, 2024

      Hi Claudia! I believe it was a Wilton 1M.

      Reply

  • Marie S
    March 15, 2024

    The frosting recipe looks great. I will cut 1/2 because it makes too much when you live alone.

    Reply

  • Laura
    February 21, 2024

    Hey Natasha, I’d like to try making this red velvet cake. It sounds absolutely delicious. But I have a question. Can I use the frosting that you used at the strawberry layer cake instead of this one? I love the cream cheese combination with Whipping cream and I’m wondering if it works on this cake.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 21, 2024

      Hi Laura! I don’t see why not. It’s a pretty versatile frosting.

      Reply

  • Jan M
    February 13, 2024

    Most recipes I’ve looked at call for 1stick (1/2 cup) butter. Do you actually use 3 sticks of butter?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 13, 2024

      Hi Jan, yes, this recipe calls for 1 1/2 cup butter. I hope you love it

      Reply

  • Chloe
    February 9, 2024

    Hi Natasha, I am struggling to find the block style cream cheese here in the UK. Are there any alternatives that I can use please?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 9, 2024

      Hi Chloe! Sometimes you can find cream cheese in the tub and that works too. Just as long as it’s not “whipped.” I’m unsure about this, it’s just what I read online, but it may also be labeled as “soft white cheese” in the UK.

      Reply

  • Sharon
    December 17, 2023

    Tried the icing but when i was finished it curdled and separated, what did I do wrong?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 17, 2023

      Hi Sharon! Did you use block-style cream cheese? The one in the whipped or spreadable container will not work well. It could also be due to using cream cheese or butter that is overly softened. Make sure you let it sit at room temperature (70-75˚F) for about 1 1/2 hours, you don’t need longer. It will be even faster in a humid or warm location. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Christine Alexandrou
    December 5, 2023

    Hi, Can I double the recipe? We would like to use more than the recipe calls for!!!
    Thanks.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 5, 2023

      Yes, you can! I hope you love the recipe.

      Reply

  • Marija Milenkovic
    September 18, 2023

    Can we use mascarpone cheese?
    I adore you way of cooking 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 18, 2023

      I honestly haven’t tested that to advise. If you do an experiment, we’d love to know how it goes.

      Reply

  • Anne Moody
    August 14, 2023

    When whipped long enough it was easy to put on the cake and definitely a hit when consumed .Thank you for sharing

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 14, 2023

      You’re welcome, great to hear that you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • mimi
    July 20, 2023

    is it okay if i make the frosting and leave it in the fridge for a few hours before putting it on the cake.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 21, 2023

      Hi Mimi. It would work best to use this frosting right away. It will harden in the fridge and become harder to spread.

      Reply

  • Raye
    July 16, 2023

    Easy recipe, slightly sweet. I would have added more cream cheese but did not have any. It is very soft and did not pipe well. Maybe It should go in the refrigerator 15 minutes before using. Good Taste, thanks.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 17, 2023

      Hi Raye! It’s not the most stable frosting but it should pipe fairly well and hold its shape. It can be the temperature of the ingredients so you can refrigerate it to help it harden a bit.

      Reply

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