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 cream cheese frosting isn’t one of them. Homemade has a tang and creaminess that you don’t get from the tubs!

a bowl of cream cheese frosting

Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Now, a lot of cakes and cupcakes will come with their own frosting recipes, but 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 cream cheese frosting because it strikes a nice balance between sweet and tangy. It also pairs well with just about any flavor you can match it with, from chocolate to pumpkin.

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.
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Milk – Whole or reduced fat (2%) are best for making frosting.

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; turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting on a plate

Suggested Uses

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 confectioners sugar?

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

mixing bowl with frosting in it

Top Tip

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!

If you’re looking for more….try these recipes next!

Cream Cheese Frosting

You can't beat this classic cream cheese frosting recipe! It's rich and creamy, a little bit tangy, and perfect with so many desserts!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Kasey Schwartz
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 8 oz 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.
  • 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.
  • Add vanilla and salt. Mixing completely.
  • Add milk one tablespoon at a time until it’s a smooth consistency.
  • Turn mixer to high and beat until light and fluffy.
Keyword: cake frosting, cream cheese, cream cheese frosting, cupcake frosting, frosting
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

Categories: , ,

About Kasey Schwartz

Hi, I’m Kasey, Founder of All Things Mamma – where I am dishing up family favorite recipes that are easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients. Plus – tips and tricks for living your best life!


  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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.