This is the best cream cheese frosting recipe! It's a classic: so simple, made with just five ingredients, in about 15 minutes. Perfect frosting for cakes and other baked goods.
There's something so decadent and heavenly about cream cheese frosting.
After decades of baking, of trial and error, of recipe testing over and over again, I'm finally ready to share this recipe. It is, in my humble opinion, the Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe I've ever made!
And, I hope you will love it too.
Table of contents
Why use cream cheese frosting?
While there are many different types of frosting used for desserts, cream cheese frosting is the one I turn to when I want to balance out the sweetness of cakes and cupcakes.
Using cream cheese frosting instead of, say, buttercream frosting, brings another layer of flavors to a dessert. Most cakes and cupcakes are pretty sweet on their own. Cream cheese adds a little tangy flavor and balances out that sweetness.
Try this frosting with my Green Velvet Cake recipe!
Kitchen tools and equipment
To make this frosting, you only need a couple of basic baking tools:
Stand mixer - A stand mixer makes beating the cream cheese and butter together easier.
If you don't have a stand mixer, you can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer.
For frosting the cake, these kitchen tools will come in handy:
Cake turntable - Optional, but a cake turntable really makes frosting cakes a breeze!
Offset spatula - Use an offset spatula to frost cooled cakes.
Serrated knife - A serrated knife is the best tool to slice cakes in half. In this recipe, you'll use it to slice off the edges of the cake if you only want the green color showing.
Bench scraper - These handy bench scrapers help you smooth out the frosting on the sides and top of the cake.
Pastry bags and piping tools - If you want to get a little fancy with your frosting decorations, you can use pastry bags and different piping tips to decorate your baked goods with cream cheese frosting!
Cream cheese - Use full-fat cream cheese for the best results. Be sure to take your cream cheese out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you start making the frosting, to allow it to soften to room temperature and mix easily.
Butter - Use unsalted butter and take it out of the refrigerator along with the cream cheese about 30 minutes before you are ready to start baking. Both need to be softened in order to mix smoothly.
Powdered sugar - The recipe calls for 4 cups of powdered sugar, which results in a nice thick, rich frosting that is still easy enough to pipe with. If you prefer a thinner frosting, start with 3 cups of powdered sugar then just add more until you reach your desired level of thickness for the frosting.
Salt - I use ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. If you are substituting table salt, you can use the same amount.
Vanilla - Use pure vanilla extract instead of imitation vanilla extract for the best flavor.
First: make sure your butter and cream cheese are softened at room temperature.
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until light yellow and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed in between mixing.
Add the vanilla and salt; mix.
Then gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting is light and creamy.
While both are equally delicious, there are some differences in taste and texture. Buttercream frosting tends to be lighter, fluffier, and sweeter. Whereas, cream cheese tends to be a little tangier and richer.
As long as the room temperature stays average and doesn't run hot and humid, you can keep cream cheese frosting out at room temp for up to two hours safely. However, because cream cheese frosting can spoil, you should store it in the refrigerator if you are not going to eat it within a couple of hours.
Store this frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three or four days.
You can tell if your cream cheese frosting is still edible by its color, taste, and smell. The frosting should be white or light cream colored; if it is discolored, it's no longer good. If the frosting starts to have a very strong, rancid smell, it's time to throw it out. Finally, if the frosting turns slimy or has a slimy outer film on it, then that's another sign the cream cheese frosting has turned bad.
More dessert recipes
- Green Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting
- Mini Brownie Bites - substitute this cream cheese frosting for the eggnog whipped cream!
- Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Best Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- First: make sure your butter and cream cheese are softened at room temperature.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until light yellow and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed in between mixing.
- Add the vanilla and salt; mix.
- Then gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting is light and creamy.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
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