This fluffy whipped cream and cream cheese frosting is the perfect cupcake frosting. This vanilla frosting is easy, lightly sweet, pipes beautifully, and keeps well in the refrigerator.

This is our go-to frosting for our Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes. A single recipe will frost 24 cupcakes but it’s easy to double the recipe if you’re making a big batch for a birthday party.

Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla frosting decorated with a strawberry

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Watch Cupcake Frosting Video Tutorial:

This frosting pipes so beautifully onto cupcakes, cakes and even cookies! I used the Wilton 1M Tip with a large piping bag. These 3 piping tips are the only ones I use for frosting cupcakes. Watch the video below. If it doesn’t load, be sure your ad blocker is turned off.

Homemade Cupcake Frosting is Best!

Flashback: as a child, I used to hide in the pantry and sneak spoonfuls of canned frosting [gross]; there’s something about the store-bought one that was just terribly irresistible. Maybe all those fabulous chemicals? Well, take that irresistible trait, minus the chemicals, and you get this frosting.

It also stays put pretty well in the fridge for, well, mine has been in there a week and I’ll go poke my finger in it. Be right back……… ok that’s just ridiculous. It’s still good!

Ingredients for Vanilla Frosting:

Combining cream cheese and whipped cream creates a soft and airy frosting that keeps its shape when piped. Make it once and you will make it over and over.

  • Cream Cheese – should be softened at room temp, but not overly soft. If cream cheese is too soft, the frosting will end up runnier and won’t have that brilliant white color
  • Powdered Sugar – also known as confectioners sugar, adds sweetness and helps build texture
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – make sure it’s labeled HEAVY which has a 35-38% fat content
  • Real Vanilla Extract – the flavor of real vanilla can’t be beat

Cream Cheese frosting on cupcake garnished with strawberry and basil

How to Make the Cupcake Frosting:

Cooks Tip: For best results with whipped cream, freeze your mixing bowl and whisk attachment 10-15 minutes before using. Also, keep the heavy whipping cream refrigerated until ready to use.

  1. Whip the cream on high speed with an electric hand mixer (1-2 minutes) until thick, fluffy and spreadable.
  2. In a second mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar (start on low speed unless you want to be standing in a cloud of powdered sugar), then beat in 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix.

Steph by step photos How to Make Cupcake Frosting in a bowl with a mixer

That’s it! Just three steps and you’ve nailed it! Keep it covered in the fridge until ready to use on these Vanilla Cupcakes, our moist Chocolate Cupcakes, or even these super fluffy Pumpkin Cupcakes.

Folding whipped cream into cream cheese mixture to make cupcake frosting

Tips for Making the Best Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Use a full-fat cream cheese for the best taste and texture (avoid low-fat). Soften cream cheese inside of it’s packaging at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Heavy whipping cream which has a higher fat content and will whip much easier. Avoid “whipping cream” or “light cream.”
  • Make Sure Heavy Cream is Chilled until ready to use. Cold cream will whip up better.
  • Don’t cut the sugar too much. We have tested with 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar which works but if you take out more, the texture will be affected.

Vanilla Cupcake Frosting Piped onto a cupcake

Can I Use this to Frost A Cake?

You’ll fall in love with this frosting and naturally, you’ll want to use it on all your desserts. This makes enough frosting for a 2-layer, 9-inch cake. If you want a super generous amount of frosting, or if working with a 4-layer cake, you can make 1 1/2 times the recipe.

More Frosting Recipes:

If you love to change up your cupcake frosting, try these top-rated frosting recipes. We have everything from rich chocolate frostings to marshmallow-soft creams.

Cupcake Frosting Recipe

4.96 from 333 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Cupcake with Vanilla Cupcake Frosting
Our go-to cupcake frosting recipe. This vanilla frosting always gets rave reviews and doubles as a perfect cake frosting!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 24 frosts 24 cupcakes or 1 cake
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, (confectioners sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, (keep chilled until ready to use)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, whip the cold heavy cream on high speed (1-2 minutes) until thick, fluffy and spreadable.
  • In a second mixing bowl (using the same electric mixer - no need to wash it), beat cream cheese and powdered sugar. Start on low speed to incorporate then beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamy and whipped, then beat in 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Use a spatula to gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix until well blended. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Nutrition Per Serving

123kcal Calories11g Carbs1g Protein9g Fat5g Saturated Fat31mg Cholesterol36mg Sodium24mg Potassium10g Sugar346IU Vitamin A1mg Vitamin C19mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Cupcake Frosting Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
123
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Cholesterol
 
31
mg
10
%
Sodium
 
36
mg
2
%
Potassium
 
24
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
4
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
346
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
19
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cupcake Frosting, cupcake icing, vanilla frosting
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 123
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

We first published this recipe in June 2012. We re-photographed and added new photos. After much testing, we now use 2 cups of powdered sugar instead of 1 1/2 since it gave the cream a better structure. 

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • geraldine
    June 15, 2024

    Can I add puréed strawberries to this cupcake frosting? I’m planning to add fresh strawberry purée but not sure of the results.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 15, 2024

      Hi Geraldine. I haven’t tested that to know how it would hold up. I worry it would be too soft. If you experiment with it, I would start with adding just a little at a time to see how it holds up.

      Reply

  • Kathy Rivera
    June 10, 2024

    Can this recipe be done by hand
    Would love to try and make this

    Thank you

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 10, 2024

      Hi Kathy. It would be very difficult to try and make this recipe by hand without an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.

      Reply

  • Cheryl I
    May 31, 2024

    I love the recipe, it came out great! I made your 12 cupcake recipe, so I have left over icing. Can I store it in the fridge and rewhip, for later? If so, how long will it stay fresh?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 1, 2024

      Hi Cheryl, I’m so glad you loved it. I would not freeze this one since it does not freeze as well as buttercream.

      Reply

  • Robin
    May 6, 2024

    Sorry if this is a repetitive question but I take it that the cupcakes frosted with this delicious buttercream recipe will have to be refrigerated because of the cream cheese. I understood once you make the buttercream it will need to be refrigerated until you use it. I just hate to refrigerate cupcakes because they dry out! They don’t dry out in the freezer though.
    Which brings me to another question. If you but the whole dozen of frosted cupcakes in the freezer, when you take one out and let it come to room temp, how do you think the frosting will hold up?? Thanks. You’re the best!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 6, 2024

      Hi Robin! This frosting is not buttercream (which is sugar and butter based). It’s cream cheese with heavy whipping cream so it needs to be refrigerated due to food safety laws. It can stay out a max of about 2hrs at room temp. I would not freeze this one since it does not freeze as well as buttercream. You can frost the cupcakes prior to serving, or you can use my vanilla buttercream frosting recipe instead which is stable at room temperature for 1-2 days and also freezes very well.
      The key to moist cupcakes is to store them in an airtight container and if you’re refrigerating them, then allow them to come to room temperature before serving so they soften again. A cold cupcake can be dense and dry but allowing it to return to room temperature will help this significantly.

      Reply

  • Hollie
    May 1, 2024

    How long can cupcakes sit at room temp? I do lots of cooking and baking and have loved ALL of your recipes! The first recipe of yours I ever made was your Instant Pot Rice Recipe (Beef Plov)and I was hooked. Our 15 year old son made your lasagna the other day and it was superb! Our family loves your content! Keep up the good work! Over the years I’ve made many different types of frostings and this new to me with cream cheese and this much whipping cream. Super excited to try sounds fantastic!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 1, 2024

      Hi Hollie! I’m glad you’re loving the recipes. This specific frosting needs to be refrigerated because if the cream cheese and heavy whipping cream. It can stay at room temperature no more than 2hrs.

      Reply

  • svetlana
    April 23, 2024

    the cupcakes were so good I have 1 question in the frosting what can I substitute for heavy whipping cream?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 23, 2024

      Hi Svetlana! I do not have a substitute to recommend. The heavy whipping cream is a very important ingredient and aids in the stability and lightly whipped texture of this frosting.
      If you want a cream cheese frosting without heavy whipping cream, I would recommend my other Cream cheese frosting recipe with butter.

      Reply

  • Anonymous
    March 12, 2024

    Such an amazing recipe. Just didnt work in humid weathers like here in the Philippines 😭

    Reply

  • Raimie
    February 29, 2024

    So far delicious! Just made and will be frosting the cupcakes soon. Do they need to be refrigerated until eaten or will they be ok at room temp?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 29, 2024

      Hi Raime! Because this recipe contains cream cheese and heavy whipping cream, it needs to be refrigerated. It should not stay at room temperature longer than 2 hrs.

      Reply

  • Rita
    February 18, 2024

    Amazing! Not too sweet. Better than anything out of a can by far. For not having butter in it, I’m very impressed with how easily I was able to pipe it onto my granddaughter’s cupcakes today. I made a double batch, put a lot on them and still had extra. Thank you!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 18, 2024

      You’re very welcome, Rita! I’m so glad you loved it.

      Reply

  • Wendy R
    February 11, 2024

    I made this frosting yesterday. The only thing that I noticed was that I had to whip the heavy whipping cream for 5 minutes (instead of 2 or so) to get to the lovely whipped stage. From there it combined really nicely with the cream cheese mixture. I paired it with Natasha’s delicious cupcakes, which I would say are delightfully dense. But, notice this frosting is for 24 cupcakes.. no problem here, we dipped cookies in it and today, I just ate it out of the bowl….. not too proud to admit that. It was still delicious straight out of the bowl (still nice creamy/whipped consistency) as well as on a day old cupcake! 5 stars!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 12, 2024

      Thank you so much for sharing, Wendy! I’m so glad you loved the recipe.

      Reply

  • Amy
    February 11, 2024

    Amazing… I added almond flavor and everyone went nuts! This frosting has just the right amount of sweetness. I don’t really like frosting but took the cupcake with the most frosting on it. Everyone asked for the recipe. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 11, 2024

      You’re so welcome, Amy! Happy to hear that you loved this frosting recipe. Glad the added almond flavor worked too!

      Reply

    • Melanie
      February 18, 2024

      Oh my gosh! This frosting is perfection! I followed it to the t and it was the perfect consistency to pipe right onto my cupcakes. Then I licked the bowl clean! Definitely a keeper. Thank you!

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        February 18, 2024

        I’m so glad to hear that, Melanie!

        Reply

  • Anna
    February 7, 2024

    I stumbled across this icing recipe after making Natasha’s vanilla cupcake recipe. The icing was creamy yet light. It was delicate and has that smooth vanilla taste I was looking for!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 7, 2024

      I’m so glad you found this recipe, Anna! Thanks for sharing.

      Reply

  • Samantha
    February 4, 2024

    Mine came out so runny :(. My toddler is so sad that he can’t decorate the cupcakes now. I used heavy cream and whipped until it was thick. Used block cream cheese and had it sit out for about 15 min so it wasn’t too warm. Not sure what else to do :/

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 4, 2024

      Hi Samantha, I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out. I’m always happy to help troubleshoot. If you used heavy whipping cream make sure it’s cold right out of the fridge and also when beating together, be sure to use a high powered mixer. A stand mixer with as whisk attachment is more efficient and will whip and thicken up faster while a hand held electric mixer will take a little longer. I suggest beating until it thickens up. Also make sure to use the amount of sugar that is called for in the recipe. I hope that helps for next time.

      Reply

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