Three chocolate cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Rich, sweet and slightly tangy, cream cheese frosting brings a delicious flavor and texture to a dessert. With simple ingredients like butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar, this frosting recipe is easy to make whenever you have a craving and using the right tools makes it even easier.

A KitchenAid® stand mixer equipped with an accessory like the KitchenAid® Flex Edge Beater can help you execute this recipe while reducing mixing time. Use this article to learn how to make homemade cream cheese frosting to top off a delicious carrot cake, fresh baked cinnamon roll bread or cupcakes.

Vanilla cupcakes being frosted with cream cheese frosting

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Cream cheese frosting is a simple and versatile recipe that can be easily customized to your taste. You can add citrus zest, spices or flavor extracts to make a cream cheese frosting that will pair well with any dessert. Follow this cream cheese frosting recipe for an overview of the making process.

BASIC INGREDIENTS

  • 2 parts cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 part unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 parts powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract

YIELDS

  • 24–32 cupcakes or one 8–9" two layer cake

TIP:

If you include additional sweeteners like honey or fruit jam, reduce the sugar content a bit to balance the flavors.

TOOLS

TOTAL TIME

  • 10 minutes

     

PREP TIME

  • 10 minutes

     

Person adding cubed butter into a KitchenAid® stand mixer bowl

STEP 1. COMBINE BUTTER AND CREAM CHEESE

Using your stand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until the mixture has a smooth consistency (about three minutes). Shut off your mixture once the desired texture has been reached.

Overbeaten cream cheese frosting may become too soft. You can try refrigerating it to regain the right consistency. If that doesn’t work, try beating in a bit more sugar or, alternatively, tapioca flour to avoiding making it too sweet.

Person adding a liquid into a measuring cup

Step 2. Add vanilla extract

Add vanilla extract to the butter and cream cheese mixture and stir with a spatula to combine.

Person sifting powdered sugar with a handheld sifter

Step 3. Add powdered sugar

With your KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment, measure out your powdered sugar and sift it into the cream cheese and butter mixture. Turn your stand mixer on medium-low speed and mix powdered sugar into the mixture until fully combined (about 3 minutes).

During this step, you can also add additional flavors to your frosting if you’d prefer. Ingredients like freeze-dried fruits or cocoa powder add flavor to your frosting without altering the creamy consistency.

Cake covered in toasted coconut flakes on a cake stand

What Are Some Uses For Cream Cheese Frosting?

Cream cheese frosting can be used to frost, decorate or fill sweet treats cupcakes, loaves, cookies, brownies and cakes. This simple frosting recipe adds a delicious tang to Chai Spiced Carrot Cake and Toasted Coconut Ginger Cake, and can be used to create a creamy center in unique creations like these Churro Quesadillas. You can even thin out leftover cream cheese frosting to create a glaze for sticky buns or a syrup for Carrot Pancakes.

What’s the Difference Between Cream Cheese Frosting vs. Icing?

The main difference between cream cheese frosting and cream cheese icing can be found in the consistency. Frosting is thick and fluffy and is typically used to coat inner and outer layers of a dessert. Icing is much thinner and often glossier, and is often used as a glaze.

While frosting and icing are both made using sugar, their recipes differ greatly. Frosting often utilizes thicker ingredients like butter, egg whites and/or cream cheese, while icing is made by simply combining powdered sugar with a liquid, such as cream or liqueur.

Close up of cream cheese frosting

How Do You Store Cream Cheese Frosting?

If you have extra cream cheese frosting, it can be stored in an airtight container placed in your refrigerator and can last up to one to two weeks. If you need your frosting to be soft and spreadable for cake decorating, you can take it out of the refrigerator and let it soften before use. Because cream cheese is a dairy product, you should never store cream cheese frosting at room temperature for longer than two hours. 

Can Cream Cheese Frosting Be Frozen For Later Use?

Yes, if plans change and you can’t use the frosting right away, you can store it in the freezer in an airtight container. Cream cheese frosting can last up to two to three months when stored in the freezer under the right conditions.

Discover KitchenAid®Stand Mixers and Accessories

You can turn your kitchen into a dessert-making haven with a KitchenAid® stand mixer and accessories like the KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment and the Flex-Edge Beater. KitchenAid brand also offers a large collection of colors to choose from, proving that there’s a mixer for every maker. Shop KitchenAid® stand mixers to find the right style for you.

Discover More Recipes and Uses for Your Stand Mixer