Cream Cheese Frosting is smooth and sweet with an irresistible tangy flavor—perfect for cakes, cupcakes, sandwich cookies, and so much more! With just 6 ingredients, anyone can make it!

Close up of a bowl of cream cheese frosting with metal mixing paddles.

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This classic Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is the perfect complement to so many desserts! From zucchini bars to red velvet and carrot cake, cream cheese frosting has a way of making everything just a little bit tastier.

I love recipes using boxed cake mix, but when it comes to cream cheese frosting, I always avoid the pre-made tubs and make my own. There are some things where you really can’t tell the difference between store-bought and homemade, but this recipe isn’t one of them. Homemade has a tang and creaminess that you don’t get from the tubs!

Bowl of cream cheese frosting with hand mixer.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Now, a lot of cakes and cupcakes will come with their own frosting recipes. However, if you make a cake mix and want to top it with something special, or you have a recipe that needs a little sumthin-sumthin, you can’t go wrong with this frosting. It’s a classic for a reason!

Some might call this the frosting for frosting haters. People who find buttercream or Homemade Chocolate Frosting too sugary often love this cream cheese frosting recipe, because it strikes a nice balance between sweet and tangy. It also pairs well with just about any flavor from chocolate to pumpkin.

(If you love all things cream cheese like I do, be sure to try out my Cream Cheese Bars, too!)

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Unsalted butter – Take this out of the fridge about an hour before you’re going to make the frosting so it has time to soften.
  • Cream cheese – You’ll also want to take the cream cheese out to soften so it doesn’t stick to your mixer paddle. Use full-fat cream cheese when making this frosting, not the low-fat kind. Also, avoid the kind that comes in the tub. You want the blocks of cream cheese!
  • Confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Milk – Whole or reduced fat (2%) is best.


  • Add a different extract to suit your taste preferences or a specific holiday. For example, peppermint extract would be great when using this frosting on baked treats for the holidays.
  • Add gel food coloring for a touch of festive color.
  • Whole cream can be used instead of milk for a more luxurious taste and texture.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Combine the butter and cream cheese: Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute or until the two are combined and smooth.
  2. Add the sugar: Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the sugar slowly, beating until it’s fully incorporated into the cream cheese and butter. If you need to, turn off the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Finish the frosting: While the mixer is running on low speed, add the vanilla and salt. Then, add the milk a tablespoon at a time, and continue mixing until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Finally, turn the mixer to high speed, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting on a plate.

Quick Tip

Always allow your baked treats to cool before adding the cream cheese frosting. Otherwise, it will melt and become a runny mess! Make the cream cheese frosting just before adding it to your baked treats. Or, store it in the fridge until ready to use.

How To Store Cream Cheese Frosting

This cream cheese frosting should be stored in an airtight container or closed piping bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Give it a good stir, and add in extra milk to loosen it up as needed before using it again.

Cream cheese frosting can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months! Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some recipes that are perfect for finishing with this frosting:


Does cream cheese frosting need to be chilled?

While sugar does help preserve the frosting, if it gets warm enough, it will spoil. (Plus, even in the best conditions, it will only last for about 8 hours at room temperature before needing to be refrigerated.) It’s best to play it safe, and store your frosting (and the baked goods you use it for) in the fridge.

Why is my cream cheese frosting lumpy?

There are a few possible culprits here. Your cream cheese could have been too cold, your butter could have been too cold, or both! Lumps in your powdered sugar can also result in a lumpy frosting.

Can I use regular sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar?

No, if you use regular sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar, you’ll end up with a grainy frosting.

More Frosted Treats

Bowl of cream cheese frosting with hand mixer.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting is smooth and sweet with an irresistible tangy flavor—perfect for cakes, cupcakes, sandwich cookies, and so much more! With just 6 ingredients, anyone can make it!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes



  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softenened
  • 5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk


  • Place butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, 8 ounces cream cheese
  • Reduce the speed to low, slowly add confectioners, and beat until fully incorporated and smooth, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    5 cups confectioners sugar
  • Add vanilla and salt. Mixing completely.
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract, dash of salt
  • Add milk one tablespoon at a time until it’s a smooth consistency.
    3-4 tablespoons milk
  • Turn mixer to high and beat until light and fluffy.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 18mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.03mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. Karen Nank says:

    What size cake will this cover?

    1. Kasey Schwartz says:

      9×13 or two 9×9’s or two 8×8’s

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