This post may contain affiliate links. This blog generates income via ads.
Are you searching for the best cream cheese frosting recipe? One that’s light and fluffy and tangy? One that’s perfect for cakes, cookies, and cupcakes? Look no further than this family favorite!
This frosting recipe has been used in our family for decades. It’s easy to make, has an amazing flavor, and a texture that just cannot be beat! It’s one of those back-pocket recipes that can be pulled out for any occasion to impress people.
I can’t take credit for this recipe, though. All that I know about cream cheese frosting I learned from my mother. It’s one of the three things she can make better than anyone else I know. (The other two being tuna salad and lasagna.) Every birthday cake, every Christmas cookie, every cinnamon roll in my childhood was slathered in this beautiful, fluffy magic. And I’m a better woman for it.
Ingredients for this recipe
- Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
How to make Cream Cheese Frosting
- Soften the cream cheese and butter. This is of the utmost importance. Any chill on either the cream cheese or the butter will lead to a lumpy frosting. We do not want that! I'll leave them out overnight if I know I'll be making frosting in the morning.
- Whip them together. I do this in the bowl of my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Just for a minute or two. The mixture will go from two separate textures and colors to one that is fully combined and uniform.
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt. And then mix it oh so slowly. With a stand mixer I kick the power switch on and off a couple of times to start incorporating the powdered sugar gently so there isn’t a sugar explosion all over my kitchen. You’d be wise to do the same.
- Once the powdered sugar starts to combine, flip the mixer on medium and let it whip, whip, whip until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape the bowl down once or twice to be sure that all of the butter and cream cheese is fully incorporated into the frosting.
How to fix runny, thin frosting
Recipes for frosting are SO forgivable! If something goes wrong and your frosting recipes comes out a little runny (this can happen if the butter is too soft, almost melted or if too much milk is added) it can easily be fixed! Just add more powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Mix for 30 – 60 seconds after each addition of powdered sugar.
Can you freeze frosting?
Yes! I have had great success both refrigerating and freezing this recipe! It will last in the fridge for two weeks and in the freezer for up to three months. When it is frozen, remove it from the freezer to the fridge to thaw overnight before using. To reconstitute refrigerated cream cheese frosting bring it up to room temperature, put it in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip with a paddle attachment until fluffy. If the frosting feels runny, add another ¼ cup of powdered sugar to help thicken it.
What to put Cream Cheese Frosting on:
- Cinnamon Rolls. Maybe even sourdough ones!
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies. Swap out the maple glaze in the original recipe for a swirl of cream cheese frosting!
- Carrot Cake. The end all, be all combo, imo.
- Christmas Cookies. My favorite thing about this recipe is that when it’s thinly spread on cookies it firms up! It’s no royal icing (because it tastes better), but the outer layer of frosting forms a sort of crust that can hold a design or even stand being stacked on top of another cookie.
Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- Stand Mixer
- Electric Mixer
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 pounds powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup milk
- Pinch of salt
- Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Scrape down bowl and add almost all of the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt. Pulsing the mixer on and off, slowly begin to combine the dry ingredients.
- Increase mixer speed to medium and whip frosting for 2 – 3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl at least once during the mixing process to ensure all of the cream cheese and butter mixture is well-incorporated into the frosting. Add the remaining powdered sugar, if desired consistency has not been reached yet and mix again.
- Frost cake, cookies, or cinnamon rolls as desired.
- This recipe makes enough frosting to coat a simple two-layer cake. For cinnamon rolls or a sheet cake, halve the recipe. (Or freeze any leftovers!)
- Leftover frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Or frozen for up to three months. When it is frozen, remove it from the freezer to the fridge to thaw overnight before using.
- To reconstitute refrigerated cream cheese frosting bring it up to room temperature, put it in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip with a paddle attachment until fluffy. If the frosting feels runny, add another ¼ cup of powdered sugar to the frosting and mix until incorporated.
Absolutely delish!! I made double so I can have some for cookies and cinnamon buns and more 🙂
Glad you're finding so much to enjoy this frosting recipe on, Haley! Happy baking! <3
I cant believe how easy and delicious this frosting is! I made Pumpkin Bars(also Amanda's recipe) and topped with this frosting. It was probably the best dessert I have ever made. I'm going to add this to cookies and cinnamon rolls next!
Amanda Gajdosik says
Yes, Tori! Love, love, love this on pumpkin bars! I truly think this is the best frosting ever 🙂 Happy baking!
Sue Ahrens says
Why is this cream cheese frosting instead of butter cream frosting?
Why do you think it’s the best? Recipe is same as so many others?
Amanda Gajdosik says
1) Because there is cream cheese in it. Hence...cream cheese frosting.
2) Because it's my mother's recipe, I grew up eating it, and it holds a very special place in my heart. I also grew up eating other people's versions of cream cheese frosting. I've also worked in many professional kitchens and have eaten at world famous bakeries, tasting countless versions of cream cheese frosting. In my opinion, this version of cream cheese frosting is the best I've ever had. It's not too tangy, is light, a dream to work with, and great on so many baked goods.
3) You're welcome to go make any other recipe for cream cheese frosting you would like. You're also welcome to keep these types of inane questions and unhelpful comments to yourself. Happy baking 🙂