Learn how to make cream cheese frosting with our go-to vanilla cream cheese frosting recipe. This is our base recipe for deviating and adding flavors and colors.
Note: this vanilla cream cheese frosting recipe is enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes or 2 8-inch round cakes.
Best Cream Cheese Frosting
Looking for a recipe for cream cheese frosting? Look no further than our basic vanilla cream chees frosting recipe!
We’re huge fans of developing base recipes that we can deviate from and this cream cheese frosting is exactly that. Our go-to cream cheese frosting recipe can be made your very own by adding flavors, add-ins, etc.
In this post, we’re chatting about all things cream cheese frosting and how to get that perfectly fluffy, sweet, and thick taste that you know and love.
Why you’ll love it!
- 4 ingredients
- Ready in 15 minutes
- Perfect for cakes and cupcakes
- Butter: gives the frosting structure– with only cream cheese, the frosting would be too soft. Just make sure the butter is fully softened– we don’t want lumps in our frosting.
- Cream cheese: adds richness and tang to the frosting! Again, make sure it is fully softened so you don’t end up with lumps.
- Powdered sugar: also gives the frosting structure– plus it adds great sweetness. Feel free to add a bit more powdered sugar if you like a stiffer frosting or a bit less for a softer frosting.
- Vanilla: is key to great cream cheese frosting– don’t skip it! You can swap the vanilla extract for 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla bean paste if you want to see the specs of vanilla in the frosting.
Have vanilla bean on hand instead? Use the paste from 1 a vanilla bean in the frosting instead of the vanilla extract.
How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
- Mix butter and cream cheese: add softened butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a paddle attachment to beat on medium speed until well combined with no lumps.
- Add powdered sugar: add powdered sugar by 1/4 cup and beat on low speed. Then add vanilla extract.
- Beat until light and fluffy: turn the mixer up to medium/high and beat for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Use immediately: frost cupcakes, cakes, or cinnamon rolls.
How to soften cream cheese
Looking for a quick method to soften cream cheese? Check out our post – How to Soften Cream Cheese – 4 Ways! Here you’ll learn 4 unique (and quick!) methods to soften cream cheese to the perfect amount for baking and cooking.
What to Use it On
Cupcakes: vanilla cream cheese frosting is delicious on any and all cupcakes. Try it on:
- Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Cakes: this recipe will frost an 8-inch 2-layer cake. Try this frosting on:
Cinnamon Rolls: try this classic cream cheese frosting on Fit Foodie Finds’ (our sister site!) Maple Cinnamon Rolls.
How to Add Color to your Cream Cheese Frosting
Looking to turn your vanilla cream cheese frosting a color? Simply add a few drops of your favorite food coloring to this recipe and mix. Start small and continue to add drops of color until your desired darkness is achieved.
Cream cheese frosting is better with butter because the texture will come out light and fluffy.
Cream cheese frosting is made up of a base of cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.
Cream cheese frosting is light and fluffy whereas icing is stiffer and will likely harden as it sits.
Your cream cheese frosting likely went runny because you melted your butter and/or cream cheese. Make sure to use softened butter and cream cheese to get that nice and fluffy consistency.
Transfer cream cheese frosting into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To reuse: as your frosting sits in the fridge, it is going to thicken. Let your frosting sit on the countertop for 30 minutes to an hour before using it again. Make sure to give it a good stir before piping or frosting.
Still too thick? Add a teaspoon of milk at a time and stir until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 4.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the softened butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined– scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar about ¼ cup at a time. When all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the vanilla extract.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy– about 2 minutes.
- Use in your desired recipe. This is enough to very generously frost 12 cupcakes (bakery style), normally frost 18 cupcakes, or frost a two layer 8” cake.