Cream Cheese Frosting


Quick and easy cream cheese frosting brought to you by guest author Garrett McCord, the cupcake king. ~Elise

Cream cheese frosting is a baking basic. It’s perfect for practically any cake and any leftovers are great dolloped onto some freshly cut fruit. This is the basic recipe, you can reduce the amount of butter if you want a bit more tang, and increase or decrease the sugar according to your taste. Dress up with ginger, vanilla bean, or coconut flakes. I’ve listed some of my favorite variations at the end of the recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar (also known as confectioner's sugar), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


1 Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until completely smooth, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure that the mixture is mixed evenly.

2 Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer running, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Powdered sugar has cornstarch in it that will thicken the frosting as well as making it sweet. Keeping adding more powdered sugar to the frosting until you get your desired level of sweetness and thickness.

3 Use a blunt knife or spatula to spread the frosting, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag to decorate your cupcake or cake.

Here are some fun variations:

  • Add 1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and a pinch of salt for a chocolate cream cheese frosting
  • Mix freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut to the frosting to make a coconut frosting
  • Intensify a vanilla frosting by adding some scrapings from a fresh vanilla bean to the frosting
  • Add some blueberry syrup for blueberry cream cheese frosting
  • Add a tablespoon of Amaretto or a quarter teaspoon of almond extract for an almond flavored cream cheese frosting

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Cream Cheese Frosting


Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting here on Simply Recipes

Apple Carrot Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting here on Simply Recipes

Ginger cream cheese frosting from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

Coconut cream cheese frosting from Molly of Orangette

Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting from White on Rice Couple

Cream Cheese Frosting


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Showing 4 of 69 Comments

  • Ginny

    Can I use margarine in place of butter? And can I frost brownies using this recipe? Thanx.

  • Nhi Nguyen

    My pumpkin bread is currently baking in the oven, when should I make this cream cheese frosting to frost the bread? Would it be okay if I made it now and then use it in about an hour?

  • Donna Vendettuoli

    I would like to say that having a diabetic in the house I changed the powder sugar to 1 cup stevia and added 1/4 cup unsweeted coca to it and it turned out great thank you for posting!!!!!!!

  • King Kano

    I wish there was a way to thicken it without so much sugar…I am not a huge fan of dairy products and sugar, combo…Especially so much sugar, which is zero benefit to the body, but is so good

  • Susan K.

    I love this recipe and have had great success with it. I have a very large order of cupcakes to decorate, I plan on icing the day of the event in the AM, delivery is at 4pm, event is at 7pm. Should I refrigerate after icing before delivery? How long can they safely stay at room temp? What should I tell the customer and guests about left overs? THANK YOU!

    I say the frosting should never remain at room temp for more than 24 hours. As for the logistics, I wouldn’t stress too much as it’s just cake and frosting. After 24 hours chill it and be done. Even out longer I don’t think you’re in danger. ~Garrett

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