This 4-ingredient cream cheese frosting recipe is so simple and delicious. It’s the perfect finishing touch for cakes, cupcakes, and more.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting on Whisk of Stand Mixer

Cream cheese frosting is a delicious way to finish cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods (especially pumpkin treats). With just four ingredients–butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, you can whip up a batch in just 15 minutes.

If you typically buy canned cream cheese frosting, we promise this homemade recipe is so easy and tastes much better than store-bought. We’ll show you how to make this delicious frosting and ideas for baked goods to use it on.

Cream Cheese Frosting in Glass Cup

Here’s What You’ll Need

From ingredients to supplies, here is everything you need to make the perfect cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

All you need are these 4 simple ingredients.

Frosting Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter: salted butter, or you can use unsalted, and add a pinch of salt.

8 ounces of cream cheese: original cream cheese.

1 teaspoon of vanilla: regular vanilla extract.

4 cups of powdered sugar: confectioners sugar or cane powdered sugar.

Supplies & Favorite Tools for Making Frosting

  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Piping bag and tips (optional)

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

Follow these simple steps to make this simple, delicious frosting.

Step 1 | soften butter and cream cheese

Set out butter and cream cheese to soften. Or you can use your microwave’s defrost setting to soften them in small increments to ensure you don’t melt them.

Step 2 | Add butter, cream cheese, Vanilla

Add the softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract to a stand mixer bowl (or large bowl to use a hand mixer). Mix until creamy and smooth.

Butter, Cream Cheese, Vanilla in Stand Mixer

Step 3 | Add powdered sugar 1/2 at a time

Add half of the powdered sugar and mix. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix well.

Adding Powdered Sugar to Butter Cream Cheese Mixture

Step 4 | Mix until peaks form

Mix the frosting on medium to high speed until it forms stiff peaks.

Cream Cheese Frosting with Peaks

More About This Recipe – Notes from Kelsey

  • This homemade frosting is the perfect topping for many different desserts, from pumpkin bread to banana bars to carrot cake.
  • It’s the perfect consistency for piping, so you can easily use it to pipe cakes and other desserts.
  • With only 4 simple ingredients, it comes together in about 15 minutes. You’ll want to save this recipe when you need a quick and easy frosting.

Tips to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Soften the Ingredients: Let the butter and cream cheese soften before starting. If you’re in a hurry, you can use the microwave’s defrost setting in short increments, but don’t let them melt.
  • Use a Mixer: It’s easier to use a stand mixer or a hand mixer to get a smooth and creamy consistency, but you can mix by hand if needed.
  • Add Ingredients Gradually: Add powdered sugar in two parts when mixing. First, add half of it, then the rest. This helps avoid lumps and ensures a smooth texture.
  • Check for Stiff Peaks: Mix the frosting on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. This means it holds its shape and it’s ready to use.

How to Use Cream Cheese Frosting

Here are delicious ways to put your homemade frosting to use.

Frosting Methods

  • Pipe with decorating bag – see our easy tips for filling a piping bag
  • Frost with a knife or angled spatula

What to Frost with Cream Cheese

Piping Frosting on Cookie

How to Store Cream Cheese Frosting

Fridge

We recommend not letting cream cheese frosting sit out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours (because of the cream cheese). Store the frosting in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

Per the USDA, cream cheese must be refrigerated and follow the ‘2-hour rule’ for food safety.

Freezer

Frosting made with cream cheese can be frozen for future use by following these steps:

  1. Store the frosting in airtight containers or freezer-safe bags, removing excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  2. Label and date each container, and place them in the freezer, where they can be stored for 2-3 months.
  3. When ready to use the frozen frosting, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  4. After thawing, stir the frosting to restore its texture, but avoid using a microwave or heat, as it may cause undesirable changes in consistency.
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Easy Cream Cheese Frosting on Whisk of Stand Mixer

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

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This 4 ingredient cream cheese frosting recipe is so simple and delicious. It’s the perfect finishing touch for cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods.

  • Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Set out butter and cream cheese to soften.
  2. Add the softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract to a stand mixer (or large bowl and hand mixer). Mix until creamy and smooth.
  3. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix well.
  5. On medium to high speed mix the frosting until stiff peaks form.
  6. Frost baked goods right away or store for later.

Notes

  • We love using a stand or hand mixer to make this recipe super simple. But you can, of course, mix by hand as well. 
  • If you’re in a hurry and need to soften the butter and cream cheese quickly, you can use your microwave’s defrost setting to soften them in small increments. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t melt.
  • Author: Kelsey Restemayer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 145
  • Sugar: 19.9 g
  • Sodium: 60.5 mg
  • Fat: 7.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.5 g
  • Protein: 0.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 19.7 mg
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to common questions about making frosting with cream cheese.

how can you thicken cream cheese frosting?

To make cream cheese frosting thicker, you can add a bit more powdered sugar slowly until it’s just right. But be careful not to add too much, or it might become too sweet or heavy. Or, you can use a little cornstarch mixed with water and add it to the frosting. Putting the frosting in the fridge for a bit can also make it thicker because the cold makes it firm.

how long can cream cheese frosting sit out?

Cream cheese frosting should not stay out for more than 2 hours. After that, put it in the fridge. If you need to keep it out longer, make sure it’s in a cool place, covered, and not too warm. Remember to keep the frosting in the fridge when you’re not using it, especially on hot days.

how long does cream cheese frosting last?

Cream cheese frosting lasts for about one week in the fridge. After a week, it might not be good to eat, so it’s important to use it before then or freeze it if you want to keep it longer.

how do I get lumps out of cream cheese frosting?

To get lumps out of cream cheese frosting, you can use these simple steps.

  1. Make sure to soften the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese and butter until they are smooth and creamy.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar while continuing to mix.

Remember to be patient and take your time while mixing and adding ingredients. This should help you achieve a smooth and lump-free frosting.

Closeup of Cream Cheese Frosting in Glass Cup

Final Thoughts

Making cream cheese frosting at home is easy and delicious. With just four simple ingredients and a few steps, you can create a yummy topping for your desserts. It’s way better than store-bought! Give it a try, and enjoy the homemade goodness on your cakes and cupcakes. Happy baking!

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