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How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

by Ünal Güler

Learn how to make an easy cream cheese frosting! In this The BakerMama basics, I show you how easy it is to get cream cheese frosting with a tangy-sweet flavor and creamy texture.

Pipe cream cheese frosting onto a cupcake resting on a wire cooling rack.

Basics by The BakerMama

Welcome to Basics from The BakerMama! I created this guide series to help beginning cooks improve their skills, make the most of their time in the kitchen, and create great family memories. I hope you like it!

Just perfect

This easy cream cheese frosting is perfect as a topping for cupcakes and cakes. With a thick, creamy texture and a sweet, slightly tart flavor, it’s super tasty and filling. It is also very easy to prepare. Let me teach you the simple steps to get the perfect cream cheese frosting every time.

A spoonful of cream cheese frosting over a glass bowl.

Frosting, Frosting, and Frosting: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between icing, frosting and frosting? It’s so easy to get confused! Because depending on where you’re from, these terms can be used interchangeably. The icing is soft and spreadable. The difference between frosting and frosting is mostly the texture and what you do with it.

But here’s a crash course on the differences between frosting, frosting, and glaze and when to use them.

  • The icing is thin and made with powdered sugar, milk, and sometimes a flavoring such as vanilla. It becomes firmer as it dries but remains supple. They drizzle the cinnamon rolls with icing and scones.
  • The glaze is also thin, but hardens almost completely as it dries. It’s usually made with powdered sugar, sometimes butter, and a liquid (like milk, water, or juice). You glaze a donut.
  • The frosting is soft, creamy and spreadable. It’s usually made with butter or cream cheese, powdered sugar, and flavorings. They frost cakes and cupcakes.

Cream Cheese vs. Buttercream Frosting

I like to use cream cheese and buttercream frosting for a variety of reasons. Buttercream frosting is very sweet and is great for kids birthday cakes and cupcakes. It takes food coloring well so the color can be easily adjusted.

For more sophisticated flavor combinations, I use this homemade cream cheese frosting recipe. Its taste is slightly spicy and not too sweet. So it goes well with recipes that are a little more subtle. I love it for carrot and zucchini pies and to balance out the sweetness of Red Velvet Cake.

A clear glass bowl with cream cheese icing sits next to a cooling rack of cupcakes.

Use this ability: Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Moist, fluffy and seasoned just right, these Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting bake full of amazing texture and flavor. The cake is loaded with shredded carrots, coconut flakes, and chopped walnuts. And it’s topped off with a decadent cream cheese frosting. Yummy!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes from The BakerMama

What do I need to make cream cheese frosting?

  • Full-fat cream cheese, soft
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • milk
  • vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar (powdered sugar)
  • Electric mixer with whisk attachment
Powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, milk and cream cheese in small glass bowls.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add vanilla extract and milk. Beat until well mixed.
  • Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until you get a thick, creamy mixture.
Steps to make cream cheese frosting.
  • Squirt or spread the frosting onto a cake or cupcake.
Three vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on a cooling rack.

More basics for better baking

  • How to prepare homemade whipped cream: Make homemade whipped cream that will save you from canned whipped cream once and for all. It’s a simple, sweet homemade twist that can’t be beat.
  • To prepare chocolate ganache: The rich and versatile chocolate ganache is a chocolate lover’s dream. Learn step by step how to make chocolate ganache perfect for spreading on cakes and cupcakes.
  • To Prepare a Graham Cracker Crust: Sweet and buttery and the perfect blend of chewy and crunchy, it’s the easiest and most delicious crust you’ll ever make!
  • To prepare cinnamon sugar: Featuring a cinnamon-to-sugar ratio that’s perfect for sprinkling, garnishing, or tossing into your favorite recipes.
  • How to brown butter: Learn simple techniques that will unlock the secret of making golden, frothy, flavorful butter. With a caramel-like aroma and a nutty, savory flavor, browned butter adds an extra layer of deliciousness to your favorite baking and cooking recipes.

How to store cream cheese frosting

You can easily keep this frosting at room temperature for 6-8 hours. After that, the cream cheese icing needs to be chilled.

Save on computer Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

The frosting is easiest to spread when it’s not too cold. If you make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, let it soak at room temperature for an hour before using. Stir gently before spraying or spreading.

Freeze Cream cheese frosting will keep in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

A clear glass bowl with cream cheese icing sits next to a cooling rack of cupcakes.

I hope you find these simple basics helpful! If you make anything using my BakerMama Basics series, be sure to snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @thebakermama so I can see it and others can be inspired! Enjoy!

xoxo,

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Description

Learn how to make an easy cream cheese frosting! In this basics from The BakerMama, I show you the easy way to get a cream cheese frosting that tastes tangy-sweet and has great texture every time.


  • 1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, soft
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 23 teaspoon of milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Add milk and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until you get a thick, creamy mixture.
  4. Squirt or spread the frosting onto a cake or cupcake.


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