Cream Cheese Frosting is so easy with simple ingredients. Cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. This frosting is great for topping cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and cinnamon rolls.

vanilla cream cheese frosting


This homemade cream cheese frosting is an easy recipe that I have memorized. It’s my favorite frosting and the perfect complement to cinnamon rolls, graham crackers, red velvet cake, chocolate cake, sugar cookies, carrot cake … basiclally anything.

cream cheese frosting on cookies

The reason I like this cream cheese frosting it’s not super tangy. It’s more creamy than buttercream frostings. The cream cheese flavor is mild so it’s more like a cream cheese buttercream.ingredients for cream cheese frosting


There are simple ingredients in this classic cream cheese frosting.

  • UNSALTED BUTTER – I like to use unsalted butter in my frostings. Ideally you want a light colored butter if you are doing a white frosting. More expensive butters (like KerryGold) are more yellow and are fine to use if you plan on coloring the frosting. You don’t want room temperature butter. You want it to be soft but still cold.
  • CREAM CHEESE – You want your cream cheese softened but not warm so it blends well. Brands of cream cheese do matter here in my opinion. I like Philadelphia cream cheese the best. I like full fat real cream cheese not low fat.
  • POWDERED SUGAR – Some people call this confectioners’ sugar.
  • VANILLA EXTRACT – If you want a bright white frosing you can buy clear vanilla. For most cases, it won’t matter. Sometimes I add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract as well.
  • PINCH OF SALT – Just a little bit of salt helps balance the sweetness.

cream cheese frosting in a mixer


Spread – you can spread this on cakes and cookies with a rubber spatula.

Pipe – If you are fancy you can use a piping bag with a piping tip. My favorite piping tip is a #2D which is a drop flower. It’s a big pretty swirl. I am cheap and use a gallon size ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and put a piping tip in the corner then fill the bag with frosting.


  • Does Cream Cheese frosting have to be refrigerated? Yes, technically it does because it contains dairy. Personally, if I’m frosting cookies or cake I do not store them in the fridge if I’m serving them the same day. If I’m making ahead of time I store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days. When ready to use, let frosting sit at room temperature until soft enough to spread.
  • Can I freeze cream cheese frosting? Yes. I store in a ziploc bag or piping bag and freeze for up to one month. Let thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before using.
  • How much does this make? This makes enough frosting to frost a double layer cake, a 9×13 cake or 24 cupcakes.
  • Can I color this? Yes. You can add food coloring to make this any color you like.
    pink cream cheese frosting



vanilla cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 3 votes
Cream Cheese Frosting is so easy with simple ingredients. Cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. This frosting is great for topping cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and cinnamon rolls.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, (softened but still cold)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract , (and almond flavoring if making sugar cookies - see note)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • (optional) 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream, (to think out if needed)


  • In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and butter in high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract (and almond extract if using) and powdered sugar. With a stand mixer with the whisk or paddle attachment or hand mixer, mix on low speed until ingredients are combined. Bring mixture up to a higher speed and beat for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy scraping down the sides as needed with a spatula. You do not need to but you can add some milk and cream to thin it out to your desired consistency. You can add food coloring and beat in if desired.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To use, soften at room temperature until spreadable. Can be frozen in a ziploc bag/piping bag for up to one month, thawing in the fridge 24 hours before using.


I like to add 1/2 of almond flavoring to my frosting in addition to the vanilla extract when frosting sugar cookies. Also, if you need a pure white frosting, use clear vanilla and use a light colored butter.
Cuisine: American
Course: All Recipes
cream cheese frosting