Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

  • This Easy Cream Cheese Frosting needs only 4 simple ingredients and about 5 minutes to make! It’s light, fluffy, lightly sweet, and tangy. Plus, I’ll give you tips on how to make a pipeable frosting!

    Are you looking for an easy way to make your baked goods a little extra special?? This frosting is an easy way to add flair to an otherwise boring dessert. Some other desserts we like made with cream cheese are Lime Cheesecake Fluff, No-Bake Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake, and Easy Fruit Pizza.

    A cake on a stand covered in cream cheese frosting.

    The perfect cream cheese frosting is:

    • Lightly sweet and tangy
    • Light and fluffy
    • Sturdy enough to be pipeable
    • Creamy and smooth
    • Not runny!

    4 Ingredient list!

    • Cream cheese- make sure it is room temperature
    • Butter- also make sure this is room temperature
    • Powdered sugar- spooned and leveled. Don’t just scoop or you may pack too much powdered sugar in the cup making the frosting too thick and too sweet.
    • Vanilla- a vital ingredient in all frostings! Homemade is even better!
    Top down picture of frosting ingredients.

    Why is my cream cheese frosting runny?

    There are a few reasons for this. Using the wrong type of cream cheese is the number 1 reason. Also, heat……too warm of an environment will make almost any frosting runny.

    Here are my best tips to prevent runny cream cheese frosting:

    • You have to use full fat block style cream cheese. The cream cheese in the tub will not work because they contain more water. Block style cream cheese has the lowest water content.
    • Don’t over whip. Most frostings do fine with a longer whipping time but I have found cream cheese frosting can be over whipped and start to break down and become runny. When everything is combined and fluffy, turn off the mixer.
    • I also prefer to use the whip attachment over the paddle for this frosting.
    • Too much heat. If you have followed all of the above and find your frosting a little too loose to pipe then chill the frosting before piping. Fill a piping bag fitted with your tip and refrigerate 15-20 minutes before piping.
    • Don’t be tempted to keep adding in more and more powdered sugar to stiffen the frosting. It will make the frosting too sweet and lose that classic tangy flavor. Some may even think this recipe is too sweet but I needed to use a little more powdered sugar to create a pipeable frosting.
    • Just a note- cream cheese frosting will never be as stiff as buttercream and thus will not be suitable for really intricate designs.
    Top down picture of frosting on top of a cake ready to spread.

    What does cream cheese frosting go with?

    • Carrot cake and cupcakes
    • Hummingbird cake and cupcakes
    • Red velvet cake and cupcakes
    • Banana cake and cupcakes
    • Doughnuts- top or dip them into the frosting
    • Chocolate cake and cupcakes
    • Lemon cupcakes, breads, cakes
    • All sorts of cookies- chocolate, chocolate chip, lemon, sugar, pumpkin
    • Brownies
    • Gingerbread Scones
    • Cinnamon rolls
    • Banana bars
    • Pumpkin bars
    • and the list goes on

    How to store this frosting?

    I recommend storing leftover frosting in the refrigerator. And any baked good frosted with cream cheese frosting should be refrigerated. Now there is a little leeway with frosted cakes and other goods. If your house is relatively cool (70 or below) you should be fine with leaving it on the counter for the day. Any longer than that I recommend refrigerating it.

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    5 from 4 votes
    A cake on a stand covered in cream cheese frosting.
    Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Total Time
    5 mins
     
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: 4 ingredient cream cheese frosting, best cream cheese frosting
    Servings: 3 cups (about)
    Calories: 3257 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces (224g) full fat block style cream cheese, room temperature
    • ½ cup (113g) butter, room temperature
    • cups (350g) confectioners' sugar
    • teaspoons vanilla
    Instructions
    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the cream cheese and butter. With the whisk attachment beat on high just until smooth. Scrape down the sides often.

    2. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat on low for 30 seconds then on high speed just until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl often.

    Recipe Notes
    1. Storage: Store leftover frosting in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Allow to come to room temperature and whip a little before using. Can also freeze for up to 3 months.
    2. Amount: This makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes or 1 9×13 cake. To frost a 2 layer cake make 1.5x the amount. So 12 ounces cream cheese, 3/4 cup butter, 5 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.
    3. Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate. Nutrition information shown for the entire batch of frosting. 
    Nutrition Facts
    Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 3257 Calories from Fat 1539
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 171g263%
    Saturated Fat 108g675%
    Cholesterol 494mg165%
    Sodium 1330mg58%
    Potassium 316mg9%
    Carbohydrates 425g142%
    Sugar 412g458%
    Protein 18g36%
    Vitamin A 1025IU21%
    Calcium 275mg28%
    Iron 1mg6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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