The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

I get asked a lot about my cream cheese frosting recipe, and I’m finally sharing it!

A lot of cream cheese frosting recipes taste great, but don’t hold their shape.

This can be super frustrating when you’re trying to get super smooth sides on a cake, or pipe some fun designs onto a cupcake!!

That’s what makes this frosting recipe so fantastic; it has the tang of a cream cheese frosting, but is sturdy like my classic american buttercream.

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It’s great for piping on cupcakes, and smoothing on cakes. The recipe and tutorial are included below:

When using this recipe to frost my favorite vanilla layer cake recipe (which is amazing and bakes flat!!), which can be used to make four 7 inch or 8 inch cake layers, I usually make 1.5 – 2 batches, depending on how I’m decorating the cake.

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

A lot of cream cheese frosting recipes taste great, but don’t hold their shape.This can be super frustrating when you’re trying to get super smooth sides on a cake, or pipe some fun designs onto a cupcake!!

That’s what makes this frosting recipe so fantastic; it has the tang of a cream cheese frosting, but is sturdy like my classic american buttercream. It’s great for piping on cupcakes, and smoothing on cakes.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets, cream cheese buttercream, cream cheese frosting, easy cream cheese frosting
Servings 1 7-inch layer cake


  • 1.5 cups unsalted butter, room temp (325 grams)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room tmp (115 grams)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (900 grams)
  • 0.5 tsp. table salt (3 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (15 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)



  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.

  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  3. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.

  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

NOTE: If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process.

This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

69 thoughts on “The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Can the butter cream frosting be made 2 weeks in advance, placed in frig with air tight container; then remove letting come to room temp, and adding the cream cheese- blending well; before decorating?

  2. Can this frosting be left unrefrigerated for 1 or 2 days? Would you recommend this frosting to stacked, tiered or sculpted cakes?

    1. While buttercream can sit out for a couple days, I’m always hesitant to let cream cheese frosting sit out! I’d put it in the fridge until a few hours before you need it. This frosting slightly more elastic than my regular buttercream recipe, which makes it slightly less stiff! It can still be used for stacked and tiered cakes, but a bit more difficult to get perfectly smooth sides with.

    1. it will hold a rosette design, and can be made up to a month in advance! You can store it in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge. I usually made it the day before, and leave it out on the counter overnight. If you do make it in advance, be sure to give it a good stir to ensure it’s nice and smooth for piping!

  3. Hi Chelsea,
    If I wanted to add a whole pack of cream cheese instead of half (I like a more intense cream cheese flavor) how much butter should I omit from the recipe?


  4. Hi Chelsea!

    Can I use this for a classic vanilla cupcake? Is the recipe enough to frost 24 cupcakes?


    1. yup! It will probably be enough to frost like 48 cupcakes! you prob only need a 1/2 batch for 24 cupcakes (depending on how you’re frosting them)

  5. This recipe is fabulous!! Just tried it and now I’m trying to save it for my cake I’m decorating tomorrow! If you make sure you have the correct weight of powdered sugar (scooping by cups almost always gives you too much) then it is perfect- not overly sweet but it definitely still has yummy cream cheese flavor!

  6. can you add gel colouring to this frosting and if so at what stage. making a monster cake for my little mans first birthday and wanted something a little different the regular vanilla buttercream

  7. my frosting feels heavy and is not firm. it was great when I turned the machine off, but lost its shape within 5 mins!!!! HELP

    1. It will throw off the consistency if you add less sugar! it will be much thinner. if you are ok with that, then you can reduce the amount of sugar! but if you need to pipe with this recipe, I wouldn’t recommend it <3

  8. THANK YOU for including metric amounts in your recipes! It makes life SO much easier when trying to convert US cups/spoons to AU (Australian) cups/spoons. Thank you!!!!

    1. Haha I try!! I’m working on adding them to more recipes 🙂 just takes a bit more work! but I’m happy to hear it’s worth it!!! <3

    1. In the recipe and video I say three sticks 🙂 it just looks like two sticks bc of the way I edited the video <3 I was just trying to make the video shorter/ quicker to watch!

  9. I LOVE this recipe!
    One question: Can you add other flavorings? Eg. lemon, almond, chocolate?
    I wanted to do a lemon cream cheese frosting but when I added the juice from a couple lemons it ended up too overpowering for the cake!

    1. Definitely! I’d suggest adding them in slowly though, and tasting as you go! Because you can always add in more, but you can’t take it away you add too much! It’s definitely more annoying to make it that way, but I promise it’s worth it 🙂

  10. I love the taste of this icing. But, it won’t hold any shape for me! I made it ahead and put it in the fridge for 24 hours before trying to use it. I pulled my cakes out of the freezer (followed your advice for making the cakes a few days ahead) and let them sit while I got everything else ready so the cakes were still slightly cold when I went to ice them. I spread the icing on the cake and all it did was goop down the sides and would not hold form. What did I do wrong??

    1. Is your kitchen warm, or do you live in a warm climate?? That’s my only guess if you followed the recipe to a T!

  11. Hi Chelsey 🙂
    Do you taste the cream cheese, or is it very subtle? If I were to add 8 oz of cream cheese and only 1 cup of butter, would it have a strong enough consistency to hold a rosette? I am making red velvet cupcakes (with your red velvet recipe of course) and want to make sure it is a true cream cheese frosting over an american buttercream.
    Thanks so much!

    1. You can definitely taste it! if you used 1 cup of cream cheese, it will definitely be a softer consistency, and I’m not sure if the rosettes would hold up ?

    2. you can definitely still taste it, but it’s less strong than a straight up cream cheese icing! If you do half cream cheese half butter, it will change the stability of the frosting and I don’t think it’d hold up well enough for rosettes on cake. however, if you’re piping individual rosettes on cupcakes, I think that’d be just fine!!

  12. Can you add honey to this to make a honey cream cheese frosting? If so, how much honey would I add to keep the consistency right? Thanks!

    1. Definitely, that would be delicious! You can really add to taste, and just an in additional heavy cream to get it back to the right consistency. I’d start with 1/3 cup, and add more if you want a stronger flavor 🙂 Add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream to keep the buttercream smooth and workable <3

  13. Beat for only 30 seconds? This is so different than regular buttercream, how come only 30 seconds? Do I not want the butter to get whipped like regular? Can’t wait to try this!

    1. exactly! i don’t like to whip a ton of air into my frosting, because that makes it harder to smooth on cakes! by minimizing the amount of air beaten into the frosting, it’s so much easier to get smooth sides on cakes 🙂 It’s definitely denser than a fluffy buttercream, but it’s a dream to decorate with!

  14. Does it taste like buttercream because the person im making the cake does not like buttercream

    1. When someone says they don’t like buttercream, what are they referring to? There are tons of types (American, Swiss, Italian…), so that’s a pretty blanket statement. Cream cheese is definitely the strongest taste in this frosting recipe, so I think they should like it. But it does include butter and powdered sugar since it’s an American buttercream.

  15. Hi Chelsea!
    I came for some advice because my cream cheese frosting came out way too loose. I read where you are asking people if it is warm where they live. Yes for me and it’s about 90 degrees F now during afternoons.. I live in Orlando,Fl and if the kitchen is too warm many fostings will need help. I have added A LOT more powdered sugar than recipe calls for, but it is still way too loose.

    Sooooo…do you, or anyone know of tricks for getting firm frosting where it is warm and humid? I heard that egg white meringue powder will help stabilize buttercream, so off I ran and bought a small can of Wilton meringue powder. I thought I had better search for some advice on adding this first before it becomes the Guinea pig! (which it may anyways)

  16. Hi Chelsea,
    How many batches will I need to decorate a 3 tier Semi Naked Wedding cake? The cake will be 12′ , 9′, 6′.
    Should I make each batch separately or can I double the quantity when make it.?

    1. You can definitely make double batches to speed up the process! I’m not 100% sure, because it can vary based on how much frosting you add between the layers. I’d say you’ll need at least 4 batches though!

  17. Hi I was just reading your post on red buttercream. How many drops of red coding would add to this? Or would you definitely add pink first? I’m doing this for cupcakes for an order on Friday. Thank you!

    1. I usually go by squirts, but to be more precise, you’ll need at least 1-2 tsp of gel food coloring. You can start with some pink, then build on that with the red! I’d recommend making it ASAP, so that the color can deepen over time. Hope that helps!! <3

Let me know what you think!