15-Minute Cream Cheese Glaze

Cream cheese glaze drizzled in stripes on muffins

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 2/3 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
82 Calories
5g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 82
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 48mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 30mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Whether you're glazing a red velvet cupcake or a ​pumpkin Bundt cake, there's nothing like a smooth, rich cream cheese glaze as the finishing touch. This is the perfect, essential topping to any moist or sweet dessert, and it's easily made with four ingredients in just 15 minutes.

Cream cheese is a fresh cheese, which is to say it's made from curds that haven't been aged or pressed. It has a fat content of 33 percent, which makes it quite fatty, with a moderate 7 grams of protein per 100 grams. Depending on the brand, the sodium content can vary, but its salty profile makes it ideal for sweet-and-savory dishes.

While cream cheese frosting can be too rich and thick for a particular dessert, a glaze is an excellent compromise, adding a sweet and tangy touch without overwhelming your cake. This glaze also pairs nicely with cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, doughnuts, scones, banana bread, or muffins. Check our recipe variations for different flavors.

"This is a great way to spruce up a cake or pastry without making an overly sweet or time-consuming frosting. You can add this to pumpkin muffins, lemon cake, or apple pound cake to bring it to the next level. It is simple to prepare and tastes great." —Tracy Wilk

Cream cheese glaze in a glass bowl with a spoon
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (or powdered sugar), sifted

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cream cheese glaze ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. Beat cream cheese until very smooth.

    Cream cheese beaten in a bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Beat in confectioners' sugar.

    Confectioners' sugar added to bowl of beaten cream cheese

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Stir in vanilla extract and add 3 tablespoons of milk. 

    Cream cheese glaze ingredients mixed in a bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce Eats

  5. Add more milk to get the desired consistency for drizzling.

    Cream cheese glaze dripping off a spoon in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats

  6. Try on your favorite cake or on another recipe. Enjoy.

How to Soften Cream Cheese Quickly

If you don't have enough time to let your cream cheese sit at room temperature until soft, here are a few suggestions to soften it quickly:

  • Microwave: Put an unwrapped slab of cream cheese onto a microwavable plate (if you put it into a bowl, it might be difficult to scrape off when done). Microwave it on high for 15 seconds. If it is not soft enough, microwave it in 15-second increments until it gets to the right texture. Although it might be a little cooler in the middle, the warmer sides may help it soften evenly and completely in just a few minutes. Flip the cream cheese halfway through microwaving for a more even softening.
  • Alternatively, chop the cold cream cheese slab into a few chunks and then microwave it. This ensures that your microwave can more quickly heat the individual chunks instead of the whole slab at once.

Flavored and Colored Cream Cheese Glaze

Here are some of our favorite additions:

  • Flavor your cream cheese glaze by simply adding 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or pumpkin spice, or 2 teaspoons sweetened cocoa.
  • Give some color and flavor to your glaze by adding 1 tablespoon of your favorite jam, preserve, or honey before adding the milk. Add 1 tablespoon of milk afterward and test the texture before adding more. Adding 1/2 teaspoon of citrus zest gives a beautiful zing to the glaze.
  • Add natural food coloring to give the basic recipe a pink, blue, or yellow hue. Use on berry muffins or lemon pound cake.

How to Store Cream Cheese Glaze

  • The cream cheese glaze can sit out at room temperature for about eight hours. After that, it should be refrigerated for three to four days in an airtight container, or frozen in zip-close bags for up to one month.
  • Cakes, cupcakes, or any other dessert or bread and muffins that this glaze is on should be kept refrigerated.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, "Cream Cheese." 1 January 2018.