Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting

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The CREAMIEST and easiest cream cheese frosting recipe! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The most common frosting used in my kitchen is cream cheese frosting. I use it on everything from spice cake to pumpkin cupcakes, carrot cake to red velvet cake, chocolate cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies, banana cake and more. This particular recipe is my favorite cream cheese frosting.

It’s pretty straightforward with only 5 ingredients required.

The best cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The CREAMIEST and easiest cream cheese frosting recipe! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The most important part? Make sure you’re using a block of cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. Cream cheese is sold in 8 ounce blocks– and you’ll need 1 block of the full-fat stuff. I’ve gotten many questions about cream cheese frosting being too runny and the #1 reason is because bakers have accidentally been using the spread instead of the block. There’s a HUGE difference!

This frosting is creamy and velvety smooth with the perfect balance of tangy and sweet. And it’s also easy to spread and pipe.

Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners' sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it).
  2. Cover and store leftover frosting for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it's creamy again.

Recipe Notes:

This recipe is enough to frost 12-18 cupcakes or one 9x13 quarter sheet cake. 1.5x the recipe for a double layer cake. (Doubling the recipe would be far too much.)

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  1. Hi Sally. Will using fat free cream cheese also make your frosting too runny? I just made some with fat-free and could not get it to a piping consistency no matter what I tried :-(.

    1. Yes. Make sure it is full-fat. Fat free cream cheese is barely cream cheese– in fact, I don’t think you can find fat free blocks of cream cheese. Just reduced fat. Did you use block cream cheese?

      1. Yes, I buy fat free cream cheese blocks all of the time. But I rarely make cream cheese frosting so it works fine in other things lol. I appreciate your response. I have definitely learned my lesson.
        Congrats on your baby :-), I have been following you for a few years and I am so happy for you. I have both of your cookbooks and look forward to the next. It has been great to see your success. I pray it continues on for many years to come!

  2. Hi Sally,

    Can I just use a regular white sugar? I dont have confectioners sugar on hand. Been wanting to try this out for my banana cake! 🙂
    Congrats on your book, I’ve already preordered!


    1. Hi Kate! Confectioners’ sugar is one of my most important ingredients and shouldn’t be subbed with coarser granulated sugar. Though you can process/pulse granulated sugar in a food processor until it turns into confectioners’ sugar! There are tutorials online if you give it a search 🙂

      1. Yes, I’ve already searched. I don’t own a food processor as well. I’d better buy a confectioners sugar then! Thanks for your reply ❤️

  3. Hi Sally, When using cream cheese frosting on cupcakes. Can they sit out at room temperature until the next day after frosting? or should they be put in fridge? I feel they would sweet after taking out of fridge. Thank you for your  help and I enjoy your page.

  4. I’m just wondering if you think this frosting would stand up well to piping? Does it hold it’s shape over time, even if the cupcakes can’t be refrigerated the entire time? Thanks in advance!

    1. If you refrigerate the frosting BEFORE piping, it holds its shape better. And, likewise, holds its shape better when kept cold.

  5. Hi Sally! Such a huge fan! Ok on to the question. What is the difference between salted butter and unsalted butter in a recipe? Could I subsitute one for the other? Thank you in advance.
    Barbara Cruz

    1. Hi Barbara, I always use unsalted butter because I like to be able to control the amount of salt in a recipe. The amount of salt in salted butter can vary between brands so you don’t know exactly how much you are adding.

    1. This recipe as written should be enough for all 68 cookies. You can 1.5x the recipe just in case, but I think the recipe as written will be plenty.

  6. Hi Sally,
    I did not have confect. sugar and I am sugar free so I ran erithotol through my coffee grinder, it looked like powder. End result frosting is grainy, and to thick.
    I am hoping if I let it sit over night the sugar will disolve. What would you add to make it a little thinner.
    Maybe a little whipping cream?

  7. Just made this and it’s fantastic – instead of the extra 1/4 cup sugar, I added 1/2 cup cocoa powder to make it chocolate cream cheese icing. So so good. Made it to go with your chocolate cupcakes that I made into the party piñata cupcakes by filling them with mini M&M’s. Love all your recipes!

    1. Ahhhh…chocolate cream cheese frosting!! If I made that I’m not sure any would end up on the cupcakes 😉

  8. Just made it and it is very tasty! Mine came out a tad bit fluffier in consistency vs. creamy. Which is great for frosting cupcakes. Thanks!

  9. How would I make banana cream cheese frosting? I am making my dad a cake for his birthday and he has requested it! Thank you!!!


  11. Hi! I love your recipes and I always use them and get compliments consistently! I’m going to be making a white wedding cake with your white cream cheese frosting for someone’s birthday. However, I know the vanilla will make the frosting the hue darker than I want. Would it taste just as good without the vanilla so that the fasting is extra white?

    1. You can use clear vanilla if you wish. I heard a tip that you can make your frosting ultra white by adding a drop of purple gel food coloring – if you research it it might help!

  12. Hi, I am having a dinner party and have finally found out the perfect dessert to make. Its your pistacio cake with the cream cheese frosting. I was wondering if I could add a little lemon zest to the icing. I think the sligt lemon flavour would be nice with the pistachio. I’d really appreciate your opinion. I am also not certain if I grind the pistachios as fine as flour for the cake or more like the what you sprinkled on the top with the berries for garnish.

    This is the first time I have read one of your recipies and I found it extremely easy to understand step by step with your very question or detail included. Everything is straightforward and easy. I am hooked.

    Thank you, Marlene

      1. Hi Sally,
        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I prepared the cake this afternoon. 3 x 9ìn pans. Usually a cake rises to the top of pan and is domed. My stayed flat and low (not all that much higher than the batter was when I put in oven. They did not really rise? Although still warm at the moment they look fluffy not like a heavy dense cake. BUT I am wondering, do you think I perhaps overbeat when adding the dry ingredients (low but probably past the just blended point). I am really wondering if this is okay (before I decide to frost and serve to guests, LOL or if things are not as they should be and I should serve something else. Please let me know your thoughts as son as possible. Thank you Marlene

  13. Hi Sally,
    I will be making your red velvet cupcakes tomorrow for my daughter’s birthday (at her request) I was wondering if I can make the cream cheese frosting today and refrigerate until tomorrow? If so, how long should it come out of the refrigerator before frosting the cupcakes? Thank you!

  14. Hey, Sally! I really want to try this recipe (and the recipe for cheesecake!), but block cream cheese isn’t available in my country. What proportion of spread cream cheese could I use?

  15. I have been beating my head against the wall over the years when my cream cheese frosting in other recipes doesn’t work. I just read this and am relieved to know that the problem isn’t me. I cannot find blocks of cream cheese. I can only find the containers of spreadable cream cheese. I live in England so not sure. Is there any suggestions you could make for me to adjust recipe so I can have a good cream cheese frosting?

  16. Hi! I see this recipe calls fir 8 oz of cream cheese but your recipe that is attached to your red velvet cake calls for 16oz. Which recipe should i follow for a 9×13 cake? Thanks!

  17. I absolutely love this recipe. I have made it as it and I’ve also double, triple, and even quadrupled (won’t do the last one again…too much for the bowl). I’ve tried lots of cream cheese frostings and Sally’s are always my favorite. Thanks for another great recipe!

  18. I Sally, love your recipes, I just started looking at them and studying your amazing techniques. Every time I try to do this type of topping it always come out really bad, am thinking its because I don’t have a true mixer just your regular handmixer. So, with this type of topping can I use just a regular mixer and if yes, should I increase the mixing or do I just following as is. By the way, Congradulation on your baby and your book, may God guide you through this amazing success. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank You
    Sylvia Ochoa

    1. Hi Sylvia, You can absolutely make frosting with a hand held electric mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer. I use mine all the time! The key to cream cheese frosting is to use a block style cream cheese and not the soft spreadable kind.

  19. Hi Sally! I’m looking to fill your cake roll (from strawberries and cream recipe) with a lemon filling. Can I flavor this cream cheese frosting lemon or should I use your lemon buttercream? I thought that may be too stiff. Oh, and I have some lemon curd in the freezer so I suppose I can use that with cream cheese frosting to fill? Your advice appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Angel! What a great idea. For clean cuts and best results with a sponge cake roll, I recommend this cream cheese frosting. Add a few big spoonfuls of the lemon curd. Thaw beforehand, of course! Let me know how it turns out.

  20. Hi Sally,
    I do not like too sweet frosting , is it possible to only add little amount of sugar? Or is there other way to make the frosting not sweet?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Gloria! Frosting will be sweet no matter what. 🙂 You can try cutting down on the sugar, but the less sugar, the thinner the consistency.

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