Quick and Easy Cream Cheese Frosting for Cakes and Cupcakes

Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Quick and easy cream cheese frosting recipe, requiring basic ingredients. Fluffy, stable, creamy and tangy. Perfect for piping cupcakes and cake decorating.

This classic cream cheese frosting recipe is the BEST!

It has the perfect BALANCE of sweetness and tanginess.

It’s so flavorful that I can eat it by the spoonfuls.

This fluffy cream cheese frosting like bakery is:

  • Easy to make with simple ingredients
  • Stable and holds its shape
  • Not runny, not lumpy, not grainy and not too stiff
  • Perfect for cake decorating
  • Perfect for piping cupcakes
  • Rich, creamy, fluffy, sweet and tangy

I have used this simple cream cheese frosting for red velvet cake.

I have also used this cream cheese frosting for carrot cake.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe for Piping Cupcakes and Cake Decorating 2Here are some helpful TIPS for this easy frosting recipe:

  • DON’T use low fat cream cheese. It must be full fat cream cheese. This adds flavor and richness to your frosting.
  • Use cold cream cheese. It should NOT be at room temperature.
  • DON’T skip meringue powder/ cornstarch since that makes this frosting thicker and and helps stabilize it.
  • You will know your frosting is ready when you scoop frosting onto your spatula and it holds its shape without dripping.
  • This icing should be colored with gel colors. DON’T use liquid food coloring or else the consistency may change.
  • Unsalted butter must be used!
  • You can add less sugar (about 3 cups), if you don’t want the frosting to be too sweet.
  • If you like, you can make this frosting THINNER by adding more milk or heavy cream (only 1 tbsp at a time) until you reach the desired consistency.
  • To make lemon cream cheese frosting,  add 1 tbsp lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon extract in this recipe.
  • To make cream cheese lime frosting, add 1 tbsp lime zest and 1 tsp lime extract in this recipe.
  • To make cream cheese frosting to drizzle, thin out this frosting with milk or heavy cream until you have a thick syrup-like consistency. That’s the perfect cream cheese icing for cinnamon rolls… Similar to cream cheese frosting like Cinnabon.

Stable Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Here are some common questions and answers for this easy cream cheese icing:

  1. How to make cream cheese frosting from scratch?
    Start off by creaming together butter and cream cheese. Add extracts. Then, gradually add powdered sugar, cornstarch/meringue powder and whip until frosting is light and fluffy. The more you whip it, the fluffier it gets.
  2. What does cream cheese frosting take like?
    It’s silky, smooth, rich and creamy and has the perfect BALANCE of sweetness and tanginess.
  3. Cream cheese frosting vs. buttercream?
    They both have different flavors and go well with different cake flavors. Cream cheese icing has a subtle tanginess to it. Buttercream frosting has no tanginess and a strong vanilla flavor.
  4. Cream cheese frosting- butter or margarine?
    Never use margarine! It does not work well and the consistency is awful.
  5. How much cream cheese frosting for 24 cupcakes, for 9×13 cake?
    The recipe below will yield about 3 cups of frosting. That’s enough for icing 24 cupcakes or frosting a sheet cake. However, recipe can easily be doubled to frost bigger cakes or layer cakes.
  6. How to make cream cheese frosting thicker? How to stiffen cream cheese frosting?
    Adding more powdered sugar will make it thicker but it will also make the icing more sweeter. I like to add some meringue powder and/or cornstarch to thicken it.
  7. How to store cream cheese frosting? Why does it need to be refrigerated?
    It MUST be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It’s refrigerated because cream cheese is used and that can go bad at room temperature.
  8. Can you make cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar?
    Some people like to use Splenda instead of powdered sugar but I prefer the powdered sugar version better.
  9. How to make cream cheese frosting without butter?
    You can make cream cheese frosting with shortening instead of butter. However, I have noticed that cream cheese icing without butter is not as rich and creamy.
  10. How to stabilize cream cheese frosting?
    Here are some ways to make stable frosting:
    – Use a combination of shortening and butter OR just shortening in this recipe.
    – Use meringue powder/ cornstarch, which helps to keep the frosting thick.
  11. Why is my cream cheese frosting runny?
    There is too much liquid  in your recipe and not enough powdered sugar.
  12. Why is my cream cheese frosting lumpy and grainy?
    It was not mixed together properly and the ingredients were not combined smoothly. For best results, I suggest using an electric mixer.
  13. Why use cream cheese frosting?
    It’s a nice change from classic American buttercream icing and the subtle tangy but sweet flavor compliments some cakes really well.
  14. When to use cream cheese frosting? What is it good on?
    It’s great on red velvet cakes and carrot cakes but I also really like it on these chocolate cupcakes.
  15. What is crusting cream cheese frosting?
    It’s basically frosting that looks like fondant. This type of frosting is really sweet and made with a high ratio of sugar. Due to this, when it’s used to frost cakes, a light sugar crust forms on the cake. You need to use the Viva method to smooth out the frosting on the cake. It’s considered to be a decorator’s cream cheese buttercream and used when people don’t like the taste of fondant but prefer the look of fondant. My recipe below is NOT for crusting buttercream frosting.

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

If you liked this Philadelphia cream cheese frosting, be sure to check out some of these other frosting recipes:

Orange buttercream icing
Chocolate buttercream icing
Seedless strawberry frosting
Mango frosting
Flour buttercream (Ermine Frosting)
Coconut cream chocolate frosting
White chocolate buttercream frosting
American buttercream frosting
Seven minute frosting
Mocha frosting
Champagne frosting
Glace icing (dries hard- best for cookie decorating!)
Royal icing (dries hard- best for cookie decorating!)

5.0 from 3 reviews
Best Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 cups frosting
Quick and easy cream cheese frosting recipe, requiring basic ingredients. Fluffy, stable, creamy and tangy. Perfect for piping cupcakes and cake decorating.
  • 8 oz cream full fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (for stability)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add vanilla extract and mix again.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cornstarch and meringue powder.
  4. Start adding this sugar mixture (1/2 cup at a time) into the wet mixture, while continuing to mix until all the sugar is incorporated.
  5. And you are done!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftover icing can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Simple Cream Cheese Frosting For Cupcakes

Well, that’s all for today.

Until next time, tata my lovelies!


  1. Nathalie Kauefati

    March 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Doesn’t the cornstarch leave a flour taste in the buttercream?

  2. Sibyl

    March 27, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I hope u will reply to me in time – urgent question!
    I only have liquid food colour for a frosting tomo that hopefully will hold its shape on cupcakes. Can I not use a few drops in this?
    This looks perfect!
    If not, do u recommend any other stable frosting that I could use liquid food colour in?
    HELP! 🙂

    1. Abeer Rizvi

      March 28, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      If you are going to make a light pastel colored frosting, you can use a couple of drops of liquid food coloring without a problem. But, if you are making a very bright frosting, you will need a lot of liquid coloring and that will make the frosting much thinner.

  3. qBee

    March 28, 2017 at 12:21 pm


    is it essential to use bar/block cream cheese?
    can I also add strawberry puree to the frosting?

    1. Abeer Rizvi

      March 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      This is a cream cheese frosting and I highly recommend the block of cream cheese. I have not tried this recipe with strawberry puree but I think it will make the frosting thin and you will have to add a lot of powdered sugar, which will totally change the flavor.

      1. qBee

        March 29, 2017 at 9:54 am


        I live in Uk and here we donot have the block/bar formed cream cheese.
        We have Philadelphia cream cheese but not the bar form. do you reckon it would work the same way?
        I’ll still give it a go and let you know.

    2. Rachel

      April 24, 2017 at 1:09 am

      Did you end up trying the puree strawberries by any chance?

      1. Abeer Rizvi

        April 26, 2017 at 9:58 am

        I still haven’t but we are hitting strawberry season. As soon as I try it, I will update this recipe.

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