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Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

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Forget fancy flavorings and complicated techniques. This effortless Classic Cream Cheese Frosting comes together with just 4 pantry staples: cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. It’s the perfect complement to cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or even just a spoonful straight from the bowl.😉

small bowl of cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl with a piping bag and a grey napkin

This cream cheese frosting recipe has been handed down through my family for generations. My great grandmother used it on the wide variety of cakes she baked. My grandmother used it to frost her favorite Hummingbird Cake. And it’s the one my mom used when she started her first catering business back in 1992. Every Christmas it adorned the dozens of Red Velvet Cakes she baked for Christmas parties. It was the go-to for her most popular cake at that time, Carrot Cake, which was a staple for Easter menus. It was the preferred frosting for her Italian Cream Cake, that was the centerpiece for countless Mother’s Day celebrations. 

This smooth, creamy frosting has stood the test of time. It’s just as good today as it was all those years ago.

Reasons You Will Love This Classic Cream Cheese Frosting!

  • Perfectly balanced: The combination of sweet powdered sugar and tangy cream cheese creates a delightful counterpoint that keeps people coming back for more.
  • Creamy and smooth: The texture of classic cream cheese frosting is melt-in-your-mouth smooth, adding a luxurious feel to any dessert.
  • Pairs with many desserts: Classic cream cheese frosting works beautifully on cakes, cupcakes, cookies, carrot cake, red velvet cake, and even fruit.
  • Simple to make: With just a few ingredients and basic equipment, anyone can whip up a batch of delicious cream cheese frosting in minutes.
  • Nostalgia: Classic cream cheese frosting is reminiscent of childhood and family gatherings, evoking warm memories and comfort.
  • A baking staple: This frosting is a classic for a reason. Its time-tested recipe and consistent quality make it a reliable choice for bakers of all levels.

A Few Pantry Staples Are All That’s Required

  • Cream Cheese – No cream cheese frosting is complete without the creamy, tangy base. It’s an essential ingredient that makes the frosting truly special.
  • Salted Butter – Making this frosting spreadable is the purpose of the butter. The salt in the butter balances out some of the sweet and enhances the flavor of the cream cheese while eliminating the extra step of adding salt.
  • Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar dissolves seamlessly, blending sweetness into the frosting without any gritty bits. It creates a smooth and creamy texture that melts in your mouth.
  • Vanilla – A small amount of vanilla goes a long way, boosting the richness and depth of the other flavors without stealing the show.
ingredients for cream cheese frosting on a marble counter

How To Make This Classic Cream Cheese Frosting (Step-by-Step!)

Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth.

Add half the powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Add the other half and beat until it’s light and fluffy.

Stir in vanilla.

cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl

FAQ’s and Troubleshooting

How can I avoid a lumpy frosting?

To avoid a lumpy frosting, make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature (about 70℉).

How can I fix runny frosting/get it thick enough to pipe?

Make sure you use a full-fat cream cheese. If needed, you can add small amounts of powdered sugar (1 Tablespoon at a time) or cornstarch (1 teaspoon at a time). If all else fails, refrigerate it for an hour or so.

My frosting is too stiff. How can I thin it out?

If your frosting seems too thick to spread or pipe, you can add milk or cream, 1 teaspoon at a time.

How long will this frosting keep in the refrigerator? 

If stored in a tightly sealed container or zip top bag, this frosting should keep for up to 2 weeks. You may need to re-whip before using.

Looking for more frosting? Here are a few recipes you may like:

cream cheese frosting in a bowl with a piping bag

When you make this Classic Cream Cheese Frosting, be sure to leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

small bowl of cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl with a piping bag and a grey napkin
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Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

Lucious, creamy, silky smooth, and absolutely delicious! This classic cream cheese frosting is the perfect compliment to any dessert.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough roller blade (for Ankarsrum) or the paddle attachment (for KitchenAid or similar), or you can use a hand mixer.
  • Beat until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add half the powdered sugar.
  • Beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
  • Add the other half of the powdered sugar.
  • Beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in vanilla.

Notes + Tips!

  • You can make this recipe with a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
  • Make sure the butter is at room temperature. 
  • Sift your powdered sugar to ensure there won’t be any lumps in your frosting!
  • You can make this recipe ahead of time! Just keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • If you have left over frosting, you can store it in the freezer. Just make sure to get it out an hour or so before you need it! You will probably need to re-whip it before using.

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Serving: 1 | Calories: 1904kcal | Carbohydrates: 193g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 123g | Saturated Fat: 75g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 349mg | Sodium: 1076mg | Potassium: 321mg | Sugar: 185g | Vitamin A: 4445IU | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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