This Cream Cheese Frosting is not overly sweet and has a great cream cheese flavor thanks to a key ingredient. It is never lumpy and never, ever runny!
I perfected this recipe for my cake decorating business. You can imagine a wedding cake with a runny filling would not be a great idea.
Why this is the best tasting Cream Cheese Frosting
- This recipe uses just 1 1/2 times sugar to cream cheese/butter. Most recipes for cream cheese frosting use twice as much sugar as cream cheese/butter. This allows the cream cheese flavor to be front and center in this frosting.
- A splash of fresh lemon juice emphasizes the cream cheese flavor. This ensures that even with equal parts cream cheese and butter the frosting has a distinct cream cheese flavor.
Why this Cream Cheese Frosting is never runny
- Butter is about 20% water and cream cheese is about 50% water. The extra moisture in the cheese can make the frosting runny. The extra butter in this recipe makes a slightly firmer frosting, especially when it’s chilled.
- I start my Cream Cheese Frosting by softening the butter with the beater, then adding the sugar and finally the cream cheese. Because cream cheese has more water than butter, mixing the butter with the sugar first prevents the sugar from absorbing too much water from the cream cheese. This is why cream cheese frosting made in the usual way often becomes soupy.
- This process allows the butter to become similar in texture to the cream cheese before the two are combined, even if the butter is still a little cool. So, no lumps!
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- Confectioner’s Sugar – Compared to most recipes, this one has less sugar but still plenty of sweet flavor.
- Cream Cheese/Butter – Used in equal proportion for the perfect frosting texture that is never runny.
- Vanilla/Lemon Juice/Salt – The combination of these ingredients emphasizes the flavor of the cream cheese and balances the sweetness.
How to make Cream Cheese Frosting that is not runny
See the recipe card for detailed instructions and measurements.
- First, soften the butter with the beater attachment.
- The butter should be room temperature. Pliable, but not soft and melty.
- Add the powdered sugar to the butter and mix until well combined and there are no lumps of butter.
- Mixing the butter with the sugar coats the sugar with fat so it absorbs less water from the cream cheese. This prevents the icing from becoming runny.
- Once the sugar and butter are combined toss the cream cheese in while the mixer is running.
- Mix until the frosting is smooth and well combined.
- Switch to the whisk and whip until the frosting is light and aerated.
- It’s best to use this frosting right away.
Cream Cheese Frosting FAQs
Always mix the butter with the sugar before adding the cream cheese. Add a little lemon juice to emphasize the cream cheese flavor.
The best way to prevent runny cream cheese frosting is to mix butter with the sugar to waterproof it before adding cream cheese. If you mix butter and cream cheese together before adding sugar the sugar will absorb too much water from the cream cheese and the frosting becomes runny.
Cream cheese frosting will be softer at room temperature so you can chill it a bit to thicken it.
A cake iced with cream cheese frosting can be held at room temperature for 3-4 hours. After a few hours the cake should be refrigerated.
This recipe has a pronounced cream cheese flavor and it’s plenty sweet but not cloying. It’s a versatile recipe that I use for carrot and red velvet cake, as a topping for breakfast buns and to decorate cheesecakes.
Here are some of my other favorite frosting recipes:
- Ermine Frosting Recipe
- Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting
- American Buttercream Frosting
- Seven Minute Frosting
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- 8 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 12 oz confectioner’s sugar (3 cups)
- 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Cream 8 oz unsalted butter in a mixing bowl until softened. Add 12 oz confectioner’s sugar (3 cups) and mix until combined with no lumps. Scrape the bowl and beater attachment.
- With the mixer running, toss in 8 oz cream cheese. Scrape the bowl and beater completely, add ⅛ teaspoon table salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Switch to the whisk attachment.
- Whip the mixture on medium high until light and fluffy
- Best used immediately after it’s made.
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