Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Are you more of a buttercream or cream cheese frosting person? We'd argue that there's a rightful place in the dessert world for both, but we have to be honest: There really is something special about cream cheese frosting. It's sweet and buttery like buttercream, but it has the rich and slightly tangy flavor of cream cheese, which adds a whole new level of decadence. Recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge has crafted this quick and easy cream cheese frosting recipe, and your next baked good is just begging to be smothered in it.

"I find frosting a tad bit [too] sweet sometimes," Olayinka admits, "so the salt and tangy cream cheese help to balance the sugar." Whereas buttercream can be almost too sweet, it's much easier to tamper the sweetness of cream cheese frosting, especially when you're making it from scratch and can control how much sugar goes in. Olayinka's recipe calls for less sugar than many frosting recipes, so you'll get that classic sweetness without it being cloying. It's all about balance!

Gather the ingredients for classic cream cheese frosting

The ingredients that you need for this recipe are pretty standard: softened cream cheese, softened butter, vanilla extract, whole milk, powdered sugar, and salt. While the salt may seem a little out of place in a sweet recipe, it actually works really well and "balances the sweetness," as Olayinka describes. "I love a sprinkle in salt in anything sweet," she adds. 

Mix together the cream cheese and butter

Grab a medium-sized bowl and add both the cream cheese and butter, which should each be softened to room temperature. Use a hand mixer to cream the ingredients together until they form a light, fluffy, and cohesive mix. This should take about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients

Once the cream cheese and butter mixture is nice and fluffy, go ahead and add the vanilla extract, milk, and salt. Turn on the hand mixer once again, and once those ingredients are incorporated, you can begin adding in the sugar. Blend the powdered sugar in a little bit at a time, and keep adding it until you reach both desired consistency and sweetness.

Frost your favorite cake or cupcake

Just like that, your cream cheese frosting is ready to go. If you've already baked your favorite cake or cupcake recipe, you can use the frosting immediately and pipe it on top. Olayinka notes that she likes using this frosting on "plain vanilla sponge or carrot cake," but this sweet treat will pair well with just about any iconic cake flavor.

If you don't want to use the frosting immediately, don't worry. You can store the frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you're ready to use it, you may want to let the frosting soften up a bit out of the fridge, but otherwise you'll be ready to frost away!

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
5 from 56 ratings
Cream cheese frosting is sweet and buttery like a buttercream, but it also has a rich and slightly tangy flavor that adds a whole new level of decadence.
Prep Time
Cook Time
frosting on cupcake and knife
Total time: 5 minutes
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ⅛ cup (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. This will take 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract, milk, and salt.
  3. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the desired consistency and sweetness is reached.
  4. Use the frosting immediately or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Calories per Serving 273
Total Fat 21.4 g
Saturated Fat 13.3 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 59.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 20.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 20.1 g
Sodium 127.8 mg
Protein 0.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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