Swirled cream cheese frosting on top of carrot cake.
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5 from 6 votes

Cream Cheese Frosting

Fluffy, sweet and velvety-smooth Cream Cheese Frosting. The perfect topping for cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, quick breads and more. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 cups approximately (see note)
Calories 161kcal
Author Allison - Celebrating Sweets


  • 12 ounces cream cheese softened to cool room temp
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to cool room temp
  • pinch salt optional
  • 4 cups powdered sugar more or less, based on preference
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract optional
  • milk, half and half or cream optional


  • Using a hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, butter and pinch of salt until smooth and combined. 
  • Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Periodically scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and beater. Add extracts and beat on high speed for at least 1-2 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken or a splash of milk to thin. See note for tips. 



  • You can easily adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken or a splash of milk/half and half/cream to thin. 
  • Depending on what you are using the frosting for, you might want it thicker or thinner than written. For example: I like the frosting a little thinner if frosting a layer cake and thicker if piping frosting on cupcakes. 
Note: This frosting is softer than a typical buttercream-like frosting. If you are having trouble getting the frosting thick enough, you can stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. If your cream cheese and butter were too warm to start with, it will be difficult to get thickened frosting without chilling. This frosting firms up beautifully when chilled. Once I have applied the frosting to cake/cupcakes/cookies etc., I like to place the items in the fridge so that the frosting can stabilize.
This recipe makes about 4 cups of frosting. It is enough to frost a layer cake or 24 cupcakes. You can easily half or double this recipe as needed. 


Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 19mg | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.1mg