This 4-ingredient cream cheese frosting recipe is so simple and delicious. It’s the perfect finishing touch for cakes, cupcakes, and more.
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.
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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.
Here’s What You’ll Need
From ingredients to supplies, here is everything you need to make the perfect cream cheese frosting.
All you need are these 4 simple 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.
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.
Step 4 | Mix until peaks form
Mix the frosting on medium to high speed until it forms stiff 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.
- 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
- Pumpkin bread
- Pumpkin whoopie pies
- Pumpkin bars
- Carrot cake
- Banana bars
- Chocolate cake
- Pumpkin muffins
How to Store Cream Cheese Frosting
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.
Frosting made with cream cheese can be frozen for future use by following these steps:
- Store the frosting in airtight containers or freezer-safe bags, removing excess air to prevent freezer burn.
- Label and date each container, and place them in the freezer, where they can be stored for 2-3 months.
- When ready to use the frozen frosting, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- After thawing, stir the frosting to restore its texture, but avoid using a microwave or heat, as it may cause undesirable changes in consistency.
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Set out butter and cream cheese to soften.
- Add the softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract to a stand mixer (or large bowl and hand mixer). Mix until creamy and smooth.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix well.
- On medium to high speed mix the frosting until stiff peaks form.
- Frost baked goods right away or store for later.
- 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.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: American
- 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
Keywords: cream cheese filling, frosting, holiday baking
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.
- Make sure to soften the cream cheese and butter.
- Use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese and butter until they are smooth and creamy.
- 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.
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!
Have You Tried This Recipe? Please rate it in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
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