Learn how to make cream cheese frosting with this step-by-step guide. With just five ingredients, you’ll have deliciously sweet and creamy homemade frosting to use on all your favorite recipes! 

I am so excited to bring you another post in our All the Healthy Things “Just the Basics” series. These posts are focused on helping you master basics in the kitchen and, hopefully, inspiring you with a few new ideas along the way.

If you are new to cooking, or just need a refresher on the basics, these posts are designed to help you feel more confident in the kitchen. Once you have a handle on a few basic concepts and techniques, you can easily build upon them to create new and exciting recipes and dishes without a second thought.

If you have ever wondered how some people just seem to know how to cook without a recipe or can quickly throw together a meal in a moment’s notice, it’s likely because they have a good grasp of the basics. I want that for you! It’s my hope that every just the basics post helps you feel more comfortable so that you can enjoy your time spent in the kitchen even more!

If you haven’t already be sure to check out the other how-to guides in the series.

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Is There a Difference Between Cream Cheese Icing and Cream Cheese Frosting?

Sometimes the words are used interchangeably, but they’re not the same things. Icing is usually made with powdered sugar and milk or water. As a result, it has a thin consistency and is drizzled over recipes. 

Meanwhile, frosting contains butter, which creates a richer flavor and a thicker, more spreadable consistency. Both are equally tasty and can be used as a topping for cakes, cookies, and more! 

cream cheese frosting ingredients

What is Cream Cheese Frosting Made Of?

Cream Cheese: the star of the show! Make sure to use block-style cream cheese, not varieties from a tub. Full-fat works best! 

Butter: I highly recommend using unsalted butter in this recipe so you have control over the flavor. Use a butter that tastes good! 

Confectioner’s Sugar: also known as powdered sugar, this helps sweeten the frosting while keeping it smooth and creamy. Granulated sugar will not work for this recipe. 

Vanilla Extract: this enhances the sweetness and adds a touch of vanilla flavor. 

Salt: to help enhance the flavor of the rest of the ingredients. 

Milk: this is an optional ingredient that you may need when you want to thin out the cream cheese frosting for something like quick breads. 

Helpful Kitchen Tools

cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Step One: Add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl. 

Step Two: Cream the ingredients together on high until they’re well combined, smooth, and creamy. 

Step Three: Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat again on low speed for about 30 seconds to incorporate. 

Step Four: Next, increase the speed to high, and beat the frosting for 2 minutes or until it’s light and fluffy. 

Tips and Tricks

  • Soften the ingredients – allow the cream cheese and butter to sit out and come to room temperature before you begin. This makes for easy mixing and prevents your easy cream cheese frosting from becoming lumpy. 
  • Sift the confectioner’s sugar – this isn’t completely necessary but is a great way to make sure your frosting is completely smooth. It’s particularly useful if you plan on piping your frosting! 
  • Thicken the consistency – if you prefer a thicker frosting, beat in extra confectioner’s sugar, using up to 1/4 a cup. 

cinnamon cream cheese frosting

Flavor Ideas

If you’re just learning how to make cream cheese frosting, feel free to keep it plain. It’s delicious as is! However, if you want to experiment and get a little creative, feel free to use different flavor combinations to make this recipe your own. There are lots of options, but some of my favorite variations include: 

  • Cinnamon – ground cinnamon
  • Chocolate – cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin Spice – pumpkin pie spice
  • Citrus – lemon zest or orange zest

cut carrot cake on platter

Ways to Use Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

There are endless ways to use cream cheese frosting! It works great as a topping on a variety of TREATS and can even be used in some breakfast recipes to add a touch of sweetness to your morning. Some of my favorite ways to put it to use include: 

Can I Use This Recipe for Piping?

Yes! It can be a little difficult to work with because it’s so thick, but if you’re preparing a simple recipe, this frosting works well for piping. 

For the best results, transfer it to a piping bag, and let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before you plan on frosting. This will make it much easier to work with! 

Also, keep in mind that cream cheese frosting is not super stable and doesn’t hold up well in heat. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re planning on eating your dessert quickly or keep it in the fridge.

sheet cake with cream cheese frosting

Does Cream Cheese Frosting Need to Be Refrigerated?

Leftover frosting can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours. However, any longer than that, and you’ll want to transfer it to the fridge to keep it fresh. 

How to Store

Once combined, transfer the frosting to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days.

Can I Freeze?

Yes! Transfer any leftovers to a freezer-safe container, and keep them frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use, thaw your cream cheese frosting in the fridge. Then, beat it for a few seconds to make it nice and creamy again. 

cream cheese frosting in bowl

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I hope you give this post on How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting is helpful! It’s surprisingly easy to make and the perfect topper for so many treats.  If you do give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews and ratings help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you trust and love.

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cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cream the butter and cream cheese together on high until smooth and creamy.
  3. Next, add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat the frosting on low speed for around 30 seconds to incorporate and then increase to high speed.
  4. Beat the frosting on high for around 2 minutes until fluffy.

Keywords:

best cream cheese frosting, easy cream cheese frosting, homemade cream cheese frosting, how to make cream cheese frosting

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