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a cupcake with cream cheese frosting piped on top

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Jenna Barnard
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: about 5 cups 1x


This is the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! It’s creamy smooth, holds its shape, and can be customized to any color or flavor. In this blog post I’ve include instructions on how to add chocolate, brown butter, fruit, spices, or food coloring. 


  • 1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 16 oz full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature (use Philadelphia cream cheese for the best results)
  • 5 cups (600g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. **See notes for frosting amounts and customizations (how to add chocolate, fruit, brown butter, spices, or color).
  2. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer.
  3. Mix on medium to medium-high speed until completely smooth. 
  4. Mix in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after the 3rd cup.
  5. After the 5th cup, scrape down the bowl again and mix in the vanilla extract until smooth.
  6. If the frosting is too thin, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to thicken. Otherwise, it’s ready to pipe or spread!


AMOUNTS PER DESSERT – This amount is perfect for a 3-layer 6, 8, or 9 inch cake. With a 6 inch, you’ll have extras left over to use as decoration on top. For the 8 or 9 inch, it should cover the entire cake with very little excess. For any other dessert, such as a dozen cupcakes, 9×13 sheet cake, or sugar cookies, you will only need half of this recipe. See blog post above for half recipe measurements. 

CUSTOMIZATION – For more details, see the blog post above. Otherwise, here’s a quick breakdown. To make a chocolate cream cheese frosting, add 3/4 cup of dark cocoa powder for every 16oz of cream cheese (or 6 tbsp for every 8oz). For brown butter, simply brown the 1 cup of butter and pour it into a shallow dish. Chill for about 1 hour to solidify. It should be firm but not hard. For fruit, you have two options. Add 1/4 cup of fresh fruit puree (blended in a food processor) for every 8oz of cream cheese and add 2 cups of powdered sugar to the recipe. This frosting will be a bit thin, so it’s best for sheet cakes. The other option is to blend freeze dried fruit into a powder and add 1/4 cup for every 8oz of cream cheese. No addition sugar is needed. This will not be thin like it is with the fresh fruit, so it can be used to pipe or layer. Lastly, use gel food coloring to add color to the frosting. Don’t use liquid food coloring as this will thin out the frosting. 

Keywords: cream cheese frosting, cream cheese frosting recipe, chocolate cream cheese frosting, brown butter cream cheese frosting, strawberry cream cheese frosting

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