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Best Cream Cheese Frosting

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

People call cream cheese frosting all kinds of things. Sometimes it’s called cream cheese icing, other times cream cheese buttercream.

In my mind, there’s a huge difference between the two.

Cream cheese icing is much thinner, and works great when glazing muffins, or topping cinnamon rolls. However, it does not pipe well!

image of cream cheese frosting being mixed in a glass bowl with a hand mixer

Cream Cheese Frosting That’s Sturdy Enough to Pipe

On the other hand, this cream cheese frosting is pipeable!! It’s thick, has structure, and pipes like a dream. Bring on the cupcakes, layer cakes, and even tiered cakes!!

This is what makes this frosting recipe so great. It has that delicious cream cheese tang, but is sturdy like my classic American buttercream. This means you can easily pipe big swirls on you cupcakes.

cream cheese buttercream frosted onto a pumpkin cupcake

Thick Enough for Layer Cakes and Tiered Cakes

This also means you can make a tall layer cake or even tiered cakes and feel confident that this cream cheese frosting will be sturdy enough to keep its shape. 

I’ve paired this frosting recipe with my chocolate layer cake, red velvet cake recipe and with my red velvet cupcakes, and loved it on all of them!

I also used this frosting recipe on my bagel and lox inspired cake shown below.

bagel and lox cake

I get loads of questions asking if it’s ok to use cream cheese frosting in a wedding cake. The short answer is yes, you totally can fill a wedding cake with this cream cheese frosting recipe.

I made a massive wedding cake with my olive oil cake recipe, and used this frosting recipe (plus some lemon zest) to frost it. As long as you properly support the cake, it should be totally fine.

The cake sat in the reception room for 6 hours before it was cut into, and it kept its shape perfectly!! The picture below shows the cake before it was transported to the venue (I added some fresh flowers to it once we got there).

Photo of a three tiered semi naked wedding cake frosted with cream cheese frosting

Tips For Making Best Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Use full fat cream cheese! It gives the frosting a better texture and taste.
  • Make sure the cream cheese and butter are both at room temperature! If they’re not, they won’t properly mix together, and you can end up with chunks of cream cheese in your frosting.
  • If you’re making this frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have been incorporated during the mixing process.
  • I usually use 1 batch of frosting to stack and frost a 7-inch or 8-inch layer cake.
image of a spice cupcake that's been frosted with cream cheese buttercream frosting

Making This Cream Cheese Frosting in Advance and Storage Tips

Make your frosting ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

image of moist red velvet cake, decorated with reserved red velvet crumbs

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this pipeable cream cheese frosting recipe, I’d love to hear what you think!

Please leave a rating below and a comment to let me know your thoughts.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 6

Best Cream Cheese Frosting

image of cream cheese frosting being piped onto a cupcake

This cream cheese frosting has that delicious cream cheese tang, but the structure of a classic buttercream! It pipes like a dream, and is great for frosting layer cakes and cupcakes!!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (339g) - 3 sticks
  • 1/2 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (113g or 4 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12ml)
  • 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
  • 7 cups or a 2 lb. bag powdered sugar (904g)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream or whipping cream (30ml)

Instructions

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Beat 1 1/2 cups of butter and 1/2 cup of cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or hand mixer until smooth.
  2. Add in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp fine salt and beat on low until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Gradually mix in 7 cups powdered sugar on a low speed. Halfway through add in 2 Tbsp of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix. Mix on the lowest setting for another minute to make sure the frosting is nice and smooth.
  4. If the frosting seems too thick at this stage, add in additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time).
  5. If the frosting seems too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
  6. Once it's reached the desired consistency, cover the cream cheese frosting with a piece of plastic wrap or place it in a piping bag. This will prevent a crust from forming until you're ready to use it.

Notes

Yield

This recipe makes about 6 cups of frosting, which is enough to frost an 8-inch layer cake or about 3 dozen cupcakes.

Making This Cream Cheese Buttercream in Advance

Make your frosting ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 1103Total Fat 56gSaturated Fat 35gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 153mgSodium 460mgCarbohydrates 153gFiber 0gSugar 149gProtein 2g

Lori

Monday 19th of September 2022

You said something about cream cheese icing. How do you make that?

Chelsweets

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Hi Lori,

Cream cheese icing is more like a glaze, similar to what I use on my mini cinnamon rolls! Here's the link: https://chelsweets.com/mini-cinnamon-rolls/ Hope that helps, happy baking!

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