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A Better Cream Cheese Frosting

What can I say about Cream Cheese Frosting? Well, this recipe is a little different than most others and I like it better.

a small spatula with three piped shells of Cream Cheese Frosting. A bowl of frosting in the background

The internet is funny, isn’t it? When I google “Cream Cheese Frosting” or “Cream Cheese Icing” a million recipes come up and almost every one of them is exactly the same.

I like it this recipe better than the typical one that’s out there on the web. I perfected this recipe for my cake decorating business. You can imagine a wedding cake with a very soft filling might not be a great idea. 

Virtually all the other recipes I’ve seen have twice as much cream cheese as butter and about 3-4 cups of powdered sugar per 8 oz of cream cheese.

The procedure is also the same…you start by with creaming the butter and cream cheese together.

How to make the best Cream Cheese Frosting

  • The first difference between my recipe and the standard is that I use equal parts cream cheese and butter because more butter makes a slightly firmer frosting, especially when it’s chilled.
  • I use slightly less sugar than average and a hint of lemon juice to enhance the flavor.
  • Butter and cream cheese have different textures. Butter is more brittle, especially when it’s cool. As the butter gets warm it can become very soft and greasy, whereas cream cheese keeps a fairly consistent texture.
  • 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!

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make the best Cream Cheese Frosting with no lumps:

a mixing bowl with whipped butter
First, soften the butter. The butter should be room temperature. Pliable, but not soft and melty.
a mixing bowl with butter and powdered sugar
Add the powdered sugar to the butter.
a mixing bowl with whipped butter and sugar
Once the sugar and butter are combined toss the cream cheese in while the mixer is running.
cream cheese icing in a mixing bowl
Mix until the frosting is smooth and well combined.
whipped cream frosting on a whisk
Switch to the whisk and whip until light and aerated.

This recipe has a pronounced cream cheese flavor (thanks to the lemon juice, which accentuates the cream cheese) 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

I hope you like it!

a swirl of cream cheese frosting on a small spatula with a bowl of icing in the background

If you love classic frosting recipes like this you’ll love my new book: Easy Baking From Scratch: Quick Tutorials, Time-Saving Tips, Extraordinary Sweet and Savory Classics. The book contains over 100 recipes that have been well-tested and are presented in simple, clear language. It’s available now on Amazon.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting - Cream Cheese Icing

Yield: 4 cups icing
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

There is a better way to make cream cheese frosting. This recipe gets no lumps and doesn't become runny. It has a great cream cheese flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2.5 cups (12 oz, 345g) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 225 g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter in a mixing bowl until softened. Add confectioner's sugar and mix until combined with no lumps. Scrape the bowl and beater attachment.
  2. With the mixer running, toss in the softened cream cheese. Scrape the bowl and beater completely, add the lemon juice and vanilla. Switch to the whisk attachment.
  3. Whip the mixture on medium high until light and fluffy
  4. Best used immediately after it's made.

Notes

Makes enough to fill and frost an 8" cake.

Best if used immediately, but can be refrigerated or frozen. Return to room temperature and re-whip before using.

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Did you make this recipe?

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Jenny

Monday 4th of April 2022

Thank you for this recipe! What do you think of this sandwiched between 2 coffee cookies? I'm imagining it as tiramisu adjacent atleast. I like it in theory for sure. But does the consistency of the frosting work in a sandwich cookie?

Thank you again!

Jenny

Monday 4th of April 2022

@Eileen Gray, thank you for replying! X

Eileen Gray

Monday 4th of April 2022

Yes, this could work for a sandwich cookie. But you will need to refrigerate if they're around for more than a day since because of the cream cheese. You might just want to fill them as you serve them if they won't be eaten all at once.

Michael

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

This is my go-to cream cheese frosting because it's so stable and pipes so well. If I wanted to add some caramelized white chocolate to this, how much would you recommend using, and would you reduce the powdered sugar to compensate for the added sugar?

Eileen Gray

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

You could probably add caramelized white chocolate to this frosting. I've done it plenty of times with Italian Meringue Buttercream. Whisk some of the cream cheese frosting into the melted (but not too warm) white chocolate. Then whisk that into the whole bowl of frosting. This is "liason". This prevents the white chocolate from solidifying as soon at it hits the cream cheese. You might want to reduce the sugar a little. I can't give number since I haven't tried it. You'll have to experiment a bit.

Lindy

Thursday 9th of December 2021

Best cream cheese frosting ever! It's been my go to for a few years now. Nothing else compares. It's decadent delicious, and STABLE!

AJ

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

Hello Eileen, I would like to thank you for this WONDERFUL CREAM CHEESE RECIPE!! I tried it and I LOVE IT!! The flavor and method are now my favorites!! GOD Bless YOU!

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

You are very welcome!

Sally

Monday 29th of November 2021

I enjoy the recipes that you, all print I think that they are very useful an thank you for them.

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