45 Minutes or Less, Dessert

How to Make Cream Cheese Icing

Cream cheese icing just takes certain desserts to another level.  I love how its sweet and tangy flavor compliments a slice of moist carrot cake!  Fortunately, making this delicious treat is super simple.  Ready to get started?

How do you make a cream cheese frosting?

Measure out the ingredients: cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.

ingredients for cream cheese icing

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until they’re pale and really fluffy.

beaten butter and cream cheese for cream cheese icing

Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla.  If the icing is too thick, add some of the milk; if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency.

bowl of cream cheese icing with beater

Can cream cheese frosting be frozen?

Absolutely!  For ease, store to store it in an airtight container.

Does cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?

If you live in a cool, dry climate, the icing should be fine on the counter for a few days if it’s winter, but if you live in a hot and humid climate like I do, it will need to be refrigerated.

Pro Tips for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Use full-fat cream cheese instead of low fat; the lower fat content can make the icing runny.
  • Make sure the butter and sugar are soft, but not greasy, or the icing may be runny.
  • Taste the icing as you make it, and adjust the amount of icing sugar and vanilla as desired.
  • If your icing is too stiff, add a little milk to thin it.  If your icing is too runny, add additional icing sugar.  Be careful not to add too much sugar, or the icing will be too sweet.
  • Store leftover icing in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it in an airtight container for a few months.

Cream cheese frosting really is the “icing on the cake.”  Add it to a delicious dessert, and you’ll have a showstopper that everyone will love.  Ready to give it a try?

Your homemade cream cheese frosting will make these desserts even more tasty.

person holding a white plate with a slice of carrot cake and a fork holding a slice of hummingbird cake with fork

Did you make this cream cheese frosting recipe?  We’d love to hear how you enjoyed it!

bowl of cream cheese icing with beater

How to Make Cream Cheese Icing

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: about 35 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mixer
  • Cuisine: American


Get perfectly pipeable or spreadable icing with this easy recipe and step-by-step photos.  Your family will love this sweet and tangy icing on the world’s best carrot cake, red velvet cupcakes, or cinnamon rolls.


  • 16 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened (454g)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (230g)
  • 8 cups icing sugar (907g)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk (if needed)


  1. Place the softened cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat them together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.
  2. Gradually sift in the icing sugar, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla extract.  For a tangier icing, decrease the sugar and vanilla to taste.  If the icing is too thick, beat in a little milk until it reaches a spreadable consistency.  If the icing is too thin, add additional icing sugar.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat the icing for 30 seconds to a minute on medium-high speed to make it beautifully smooth and fluffy.


  • Make sure that the butter and cream cheese aren’t too soft and greasy, or the icing will be runny.  Overbeating the butter and cream cheese may also cause a runny icing.
  • Adding extra icing sugar will stiffen the icing and make it sweeter.

Keywords: cream cheese frosting

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