How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting (video)

dollop of cream cheese frosting

The easiest and most delicious recipe for creamy cream cheese frosting! It’s the perfect frosting for cakes, cupcakes and other desserts. I make my cream cheese buttercream with just 5 simple ingredients: unsalted butter, cream cheese, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar and just a pinch of salt. This easy frosting recipe also holds its shape well so it’s great for piping and cake decorating! This recipe makes enough frosting for a layered 8-inch cake or 24 cupcakes.

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How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting

This buttercream frosting recipe is super easy to make! You just need to follow a few tips to get the perfect frosting every time with perfect consistency. Here are my tips for making this recipe:

  • Temperature! Make sure your butter and cream cheese are softened at room temperature. This does not mean the butter and cheese need to be at room temperature, just that they both need to be softened, not ice cold. The butter especially cannot be too soft or melted, otherwise the frosting will be too soft. If you butter or cream cheese are too soft/melted, place them back into fridge.
  • Whisk the butter separately first! Whisk the butter for 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often. Using a whisk attachment adds extra air into the butter, making it really fluffy. Whisk the butter until it’s almost white in color.
  • Add the cream cheese. Mix together the cream cheese and butter for a few minutes, until the mixture is uniform, before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • After adding the salt, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar, continue whisking the frosting for 2  to 3 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. For a fluffier frosting, chill the frosting first for 30 minutes, then beat again.
  • This frosting can be made ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator. When ready to use, allow the frosting to soften at room temperature, then whisk again for a few minutes to fluff the frosting.

Help – My Frosting is Too Soft!

If your cream cheese frosting came out softer than you want it to be, don’t worry! This is very fixable! Simply place the frosting into the refrigerator and let it chill anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, until it has chilled. I like to make this frosting the night before and let it chill overnight. Chilling the frosting makes it easier to work with and gives it better texture.

easy cream cheese frosting recipe for cake decorating

Flavor Variations

This cream cheese frosting recipe is great with added flavors! For a chocolate version, try adding 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder to the buttercream along with the sugar. For fruit flavors, use a combination of fruit extract and fruit preserves. I love to use Lorann Oils (shop their products on Amazon) – they are concentrated and add great flavor. Add the preserves at the very end of the recipe and whisk for about 30 seconds, just until the preserves are incorporated. Overmixing the frosting once you add fruit will cause it to separate.

Can I Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting?

This is a great question! Yes, you can freeze many different types of buttercreams, this one included. If you need to make this frosting ahead of time, or you simply have some left over, you can freeze this cream cheese frosting for up to 3 months. Simply place the frosting into an airtight container and place it into the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, remove it from the freezer and into the refrigerator 1 day in advance to slowly let it soften. Let it stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours when you’re ready to use it, to soften. I recommend beating the frosting for a minute or two to make it light and fluffy again.

piped dollops of creamy cream cheese frosting

Recipe Ideas

You can use this recipe for so many different types of cakes, cupcakes, tarts and other desserts! Here are some recipes that I use this frosting with:

raspberry lemon cake with homemade lemon curd on floral cake stand

More Recipes!

Looking for more frosting and cake recipes? I have an entire ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series, showing you how to make simple, everyday recipes that you can mix and match to create your own cake recipe!

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Easy, 5-Ingredient Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):

Get this set of jumbo cake decorating tips, which includes all my favorite tips!
Use the decorating tips with these disposable pastry bags – these are life-changing if you do a lot of cake decorating!
Want to add more cream cheese flavor to this recipe? Add a teaspoon of cream cheese extract!
Every baker needs a classic KitchenAid stand mixer!

5-Ingredient Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (video)

15 mins prep
5 servings
Learn how to make the best cream cheese frosting with just 5 ingredients!

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cream cheese extract, optional

Instructions

  • Soften the cream cheese and butter at room temperature until slightly soft to touch - not melted or too soft! Place the butter into a stand mixer bowl and use a whisk attachment to whisk the butter. Whisk on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter creamed.
  • Add the softened cream cheese next and whisk again for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often, until the mixture is uniform and smooth.
  • Add the vanilla, optional cream cheese extract, salt and confectioner's sugar. Whisk on low speed first until the sugar is incorporated, then turn the speed up and whisk on high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • If your cream cheese frosting came out softer than you want it to be, don't worry! This is very fixable! Simply place the frosting into the refrigerator and let it chill anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, until it has chilled. I like to make this frosting the night before and let it chill overnight. Chilling the frosting makes it easier to work with and gives it better texture.
  • For more flavor variations, check the post above! For storing the frosting, place it into an airtight container and refrigerator for up to 1 week. When ready to use, soften for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, then whisk again for a few minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 1245kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 105g | Saturated Fat: 64g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 27g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 295mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 150mg | Sugar: 74g | Vitamin A: 3487IU | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 1mg