Basic Cream Cheese Frosting

cream cheese frosting
Diana Rattray
  • 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 Cups (12 portions)
Ratings (67)

Whether it's atop red velvet cupcakes or a deliciously moist carrot cake, cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement. This frosting recipe yields enough to frost a 9-inch square cake or the top of a 9x13-inch cake.

This version is made with cream cheese, no butter.

Related  Caramel Cream Cheese FrostingChocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

What You'll Need

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cream (or milk, or as needed for spreading or piping)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar  (sifted, about 12 ounces)

How to Make It

  1. Beat cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of cream and the vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth. Add more cream if needed for spreading consistency. 
  3. Makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough to frost top and sides of a 9-inch square cake or top of a 13 x 9-inch cake.
  4. For a layer cake, simply double the recipe.


Peppermint: Add about 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract.

Chocolate: Replace 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar with unsweetened cocoa powder.