This cream cheese frosting takes less than 5 ingredients to make and comes together in just 10 minutes! Perfectly smooth, fluffy and has a delicious, rich flavor. Great to use on cakes, bars, cookies, cupcakes and more!
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Classic Cream Cheese Frosting
This homemade cream cheese frosting is one of my favorites! It’s seriously so easy to make and takes less than 5 ingredients! The consistency is perfectly smooth, fluffy and creamy, while the taste is rich and decadent.
I love that this recipe is so easy to adapt to your own taste. Just add more powdered sugar if you prefer a sweeter and thicker frosting or add more milk for a dripper cream cheese glaze. Or even add in your favorite flavorings like cocoa, lemon or orange.
Have leftovers? Spread on top of a graham cracker or over a strawberry with a few graham cracker crumbs. SO yummy and one of my favorite childhood snacks.
It’s made with just 4 simple ingredients and comes together in minutes! Feel free to add in a couple of drops of food coloring or additional flavoring like cocoa, lemon juice or orange juice.
- Cream cheese
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat just until combined and fluffy. Make sure not to over mix.
- Taste and add pinch of salt or extra vanilla if needed. If you’d like a sweeter and thicker frosting, add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar.
- Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
TIP: If using to pipe on cupcakes, I suggest adding an additional 1-2 cups of powdered sugar and make sure not to soften the butter or cream cheese too much.
Below are a few of my favorite variations. There are so many ways you can flavor it to meet your needs!
- Chocolate: Add in 1/2 cup of cocoa powder with the sugar and mix until combined.
- Cinnamon: Adding in a few teaspoons of cinnamon is the perfect way to achieve a sweet and tangy cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
- Lemon: Add in a teaspoon of both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest for lemon cream cheese frosting.
- Orange: Add in a teaspoon of both fresh orange juice and orange zest.
- Strawberry: Puree 1/2 cup fresh strawberries in blender, then fold in strawberry puree at the end. Nothing beats strawberry cream cheese frosting!
- Peanut butter: Add in 1/2 cup peanut butter and beat with the cream cheese and butter.
- Maple: Add in 2 teaspoons maple extract, like I did in this maple cream cheese frosting.
- Caramel: Add 1/2 cup dulce de leche to make caramel cream cheese frosting.
- Coconut: A dash of coconut milk and coconut extract makes the best coconut frosting.
Favorite Ways to Use
- Bars: This is the perfect frosting for bars! I especially love to use it to frost pumpkin bars and banana bars.
- Cakes: My absolute favorite way to use it is for carrot cake. It also tastes amazing on red velvet cake or strawberry sheet cake, too.
- Cupcakes: If frosting cupcakes, I typically add 1-2 more cups of powdered sugar so that it holds it’s shape. It tastes amazing piped on chocolate cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, churro cupcakes and carrot cake cupcakes. Click here to learn how to frost a cupcake.
- Cookies: Sugar cookies or sugar cookie bars topped with this frosting are my jam! They both compliment each other so well. It also tastes great over pumpkin cookies or this carrot cake cookie recipe. Try it sandwiched between pumpkin whoopie pies or chocolate whoopie pies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it runny? If your frosting is runny, you could have beaten the cream cheese a little too long prior to adding the powdered sugar. I’ve also found that the low fat version makes for a more liquid-y frosting. These types of cheeses contain more liquid, so I always suggest using the full fat version.
How do you fix lumpy frosting? If it’s lumpy, it’s probably because you didn’t allow the butter and cream cheese to soften enough. If this happens, try microwaving the frosting for about 10 seconds, so that the lumpy bits can melt.
How do you thicken it? Try adding 1/2 cup more powdered sugar. If I’m frosting cupcakes, I like to add 1-2 more cups of powdered sugar so that it will keep it’s shape.
Should it be refrigerated? Yes, this frosting needs to be refrigerated. Place in an airtight container or bag and store in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Can it be frozen? Yes, it holds up well in the freezer due to it’s thick consistency. Simply add frosting to a zip top freezer bag and store in freezer for up to 3 months.
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Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar , more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: pinch of salt, food coloring
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat just until combined and fluffy. Do not over mix.
- Taste and add a pinch of salt and more vanilla if desired. You can also add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar if you’d like it a little sweeter or thicker.
- Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
- If using this recipe to pipe on cupcakes, I suggest adding an additional 1-2 cups of powdered sugar and make sure not to soften the butter or cream cheese too much. This will help the frosting hold it’s shape.
- If you’d like to make chocolate variation, add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder with the sugar and mix until combined.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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