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cream cheese frosting in the bowl of a stand mixer

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

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  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups frosting 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Our homemade cream cheese frosting recipe is perfect for piping & decorating your favorite cakes, cupcakes, and more! (Naturally gluten-free!)



For A Single Batch:* 

  • 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick, 113 grams)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (480 grams), sifted*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Optional: pinch salt

Larger Batch (To Generously Decorate a 9-Inch or 8-Inch Layer Cake):* 

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened (2 blocks/452 grams)
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks, 170 grams)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (600 grams)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Optional: generous pinch salt


  1. Start With Softened Ingredients. Before you start the frosting, it’s important that the butter and cream cheese have both been softened so they’ll blend well. If they’re cold, you’ll end up with chunks in your frosting, which is NOT what we want. Softened, room temperature ingredients blend better!
  2. Combine Butter & Cream Cheese in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer (which I prefer). Beat butter and cream cheese 2-3 minutes with a paddle attachment or handheld mixer until fluffy, smooth, and well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add Powdered Sugar 1/2 Cup At A Time at low speed, until all of the powdered sugar has been added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and salt (if using), then mix on medium speed 1-2 minutes to make sure everything is well incorporated and smooth.
  4. Check The Texture. At this point the frosting should be smooth and soft, but not runny or gooey. If the frosting is very loose (it doesn’t hold it’s shape when you put it on a spatula and rotate the spatula), consider chilling the frosting for 5-10 minutes to help it firm up. (Adding more powdered sugar can give the frosting more structure, but it will also add more sugar, which can get too sweet.)
  5. Store. Leftover frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week.


  • A Single Batch of this frosting will make about 3 cups frosting–enough to decorate about 18 cupcakes or a 9×13 cake. It can just coat a 2-layer cake, with no extra for additional decoration.
  • The Larger Batch (1.5x the small batch recipe) makes enough to generously decorate a 2 or 3-layer cake, and generously frost 24 cupcakes. (Closer to 5 cups frosting.)
  • Sifting Powdered Sugar. For best results, sifting the powdered sugar first with a fine mesh sieve can help eliminate any extra lumps in the frosting. It’ll give your frosting the best texture possible.
  • Keep It Cold! Cream cheese frosting softens very quickly, so baked goods with cream cheese frosting should be stored in the refrigerator and not kept out at room temperature longer than about 1 hour at a time. If you’re decorating a cake and the frosting starts to get too soft, pop the frosting back in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to firm up before continuing. (It’s also best for food safety!)
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mixer
  • Cuisine: American
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