Sweet and creamy and delicious, our The Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe never disappoints and is super easy to make. Always a crowd-favorite frosting!

Three chocolate cupcakes sitting on a white board frosted with swirls of The Best Cream Cheese Frosting.

Every home baker needs a great Buttercream Frosting recipe and a great Cream Cheese Frosting recipe and Two Sisters has you covered on both counts. Our The Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is sweet and creamy with just the right amount of tang from the cream cheese. And wow, does it make cookies, cakes, and cupcakes taste great! And don’t worry, it is super easy to make too. Your friends and family will beg you to make this frosting again and again!

How-to Video:

How to Make

Collage image showing the steps for creaming the Cream Cheese, Butter and Vanilla extract to make a batch of The Best Cream Cheese Frosting.

Step 1: Add the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. The butter and the cream cheese should be “slightly softened” which means it is still cold but has been out of the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
Step 2: Mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together on medium speed until thoroughly combined (about 2 minutes.)  You want to fully cream the ingredients together so their flavors meld together. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture down from the sides of the bowl before moving on to the next step.  

Collage image that shows the steps for mixing the powdered sugar with the Cream Cheese and Butter mixture to make Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, use a food scale to measure 1 Pound of Powdered Sugar.  If you don’t have a food scale, measure 4 cups instead. We normally do not sift the powdered sugar and instead rely on the mixer to do that work for us.
Step 4: Add the Powdered Sugar into the mixing bowl.
Step 5: Two Sisters Tip – cover the mixer with a towel during this part of the mixing process to keep the powdered sugar from flying out of the mixer.
Step 6: 
Start your mixer (or electric beater) on the lowest setting and keep it on low until the cream cheese/butter and sugar are incorporated (about 30 seconds). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and then increase the speed to medium-high and mix for another 30-45 seconds so the frosting gets light and fluffy.

Close up on a white spatula covered with Cream Cheese Icing that is hovering above a glass mixing bowl that is sitting on a white table.

Step 7: This is the fun part of the frosting-making process where you get to taste your icing. You are tasting to determine taste (does it need more vanilla?) and consistency (is it too thin or too thick?)  (Two Sisters note about cream cheese frosting.  It is a thin frosting.  It will never be a frosting that is pipeable or will crust up like buttercream. That being said, as you can see in our pictures, you can do a swirl.) The first thing you should do before using the frosting is put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so, that will help the butter and cream cheese firm up.  Another thing to try if the frosting is too thin is to add EITHER 1/2 cup of powdered sugar or 1 tablespoon of corn starch.  Mix again and see if the consistency is better.

A frosting decorating bag filled with Cream Cheese Frosting sitting on a white table in front of a batch of unfrosted chocolate cupcakes.

Step 8: How much frosting will you need?  That always depends on how thick or thin you apply the frosting or how much decorating you do but here are a couple of guidelines. Our recipe should make enough Cream Cheese Icing to cover a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake or a two-layer 8″ cake.  If you are making cupcakes, you should be able to frost 24 cupcakes if you apply the frosting with a knife.  If you swirl on the frosting with a pastry bag as we have done here, you should be able to frost 15-18 cupcakes depending on the size of the swirl.

Expert Tips and FAQ’s

Does the frosting need to be refrigerated?

Yes. Cream Cheese Frosting needs to be refrigerated because of the Cream Cheese. You can leave it out for a couple of hours at a maximum before it needs to be refrigerated again. And be very careful with it outside on a sunny day.

How do I store any leftover frosting?

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting will only be good for as long as your Cream Cheese is good so make sure to check the expiration date on the Cream Cheese package before making the frosting. For example, if the expiration date on the Cream Cheese is two days away, the frosting will be good for two days. Store any left-over frosting, in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. If you carefully wrap the frosting in order to avoid freezer burn, the frosting should be fine in the freezer for 3-4 months.

IIf you are looking for dessert ideas, don’t miss these yummy recipes that would taste great frosted with our Cream Cheese Frosting: Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Banana Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Closeup on three chocolate cupcakes topped with The Best Cream Cheese Frosting.

Other Cream Cheese Frostings You Will Love

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield 2 1/2 cups
Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Sweet and creamy and delicious, our The Best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe never disappoints and is super easy to make. Always a crowd-favorite frosting!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Butter, slightly softened (We use Salted Sweet Cream Butter)
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 pound Powdered Sugar (or 4 cups)
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Instructions

    1. Add the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. The butter and the cream cheese should be “slightly softened” which means it is still cold but has been out of the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
    2. Mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together on medium speed until thoroughly combined (about 2 minutes.)  You want to fully cream the ingredients together so their flavors meld together. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture down from the sides of the bowl before moving on to the next step.
    3. In a separate bowl, use a food scale to measure 1 Pound of Powdered Sugar.  If you don’t have a food scale, measure 4 cups instead.
    4. Add the Powdered Sugar into the mixing bowl.
    5. Start your mixer (or electric beater) on the lowest setting and keep it on low until the cream cheese/butter and sugar are incorporated (about 30 seconds). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and then increase the speed to medium-high and mix for another 30-45 seconds so the frosting gets light and fluffy.
    6. This is the fun part of the frosting-making process where you get to taste your icing. You are tasting to determine taste (does it need more vanilla?) and consistency (is it too thin or too thick?)  (Two Sisters note about cream cheese frosting.  It is a thin frosting.  It will never be a frosting that is pipeable or will crust up like buttercream. That being said, as you can see in our pictures, you can do a swirl.) The first thing you should do before using the frosting is put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so, that will help the butter and cream cheese firm up.  Another thing to try if the frosting is too thin is to add EITHER 1/2 cup of powdered sugar or 1 tablespoon of corn starch.  Mix again and see if the consistency is better.

Notes

How much frosting will you need?
That always depends on how thick or thin you apply the frosting or how much decorating you do but here are a couple of guidelines. Our recipe should make enough Cream Cheese Icing to cover a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake or a two-layer 8″ cake.  If you are making cupcakes, you should be able to frost 24 cupcakes if you apply the frosting with a knife.  If you swirl on the frosting with a pastry bag as we have done here, you should be able to frost 15-18 cupcakes depending on the size of the swirl

Did you Make this Recipe? Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @twosisterscrafting on Instagram so we can see it!

If you are looking for more tips and tricks for making that perfect batch of homemade frosting we have a few other posts you might want to check out: