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The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This is the best cream cheese frosting recipe for cupcakes and cakes. It’s sweet, creamy, and has just enough tang. It pipes well too!

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting recipe on a metal beater

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Over the years of sharing gluten free dessert recipes, I’ve shared several versions of this cream cheese frosting recipe. Whether it was the full version when I made cream cheese frosting for carrot cake or scaled down versions for pumpkin cookies, or when I made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting in a 9×13 pan.

This recipe is the original and it’s a family favorite. I even strawberry cream cheese frosting based off of this recipe, which is fab by the way!

It’s got a secret ingredient (fresh lemon juice) that makes this frosting a bit different from the rest. Don’t worry, it doesn’t make the frosting taste like lemon at all. It helps to balance the flavor.

This truly is the best tasting cream cheese frosting!

gluten free carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting on platter


What You Need To Know About This Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:

This frosting is great for piping and for layer cakes. If you’re making a 3 layer cake or want to embellish your cake with pretty piped decorations, you may want to double the recipe or make an extra half batch.

The flavor of this cream cheese frosting is a great base for adding different flavors or spices. I already mentioned the strawberry version which I’m sure you’ll love.

I’ve also added cinnamon to make a cinnamon cream cheese frosting for pumpkin cupcakes. The possibilities are endless!

gluten free pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

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Can this be made as a dairy free / vegan cream cheese frosting?

Yes it can! To make a vegan and dairy free cream cheese frosting, use dairy free cream cheese in place of regular cream cheese. Use 1/4 cup Nutiva Shortening + 1/4 cup vegan butter in place of the regular butter. 

This isn’t sponsored, I just prefer Nutiva shortening over Crisco in terms of taste and texture, especially in recipes like frostings. The combination of shortening and vegan butter also works better than vegan butter alone.

Vegan butter would make the cream cheese frosting too soft while just using shortening isn’t ideal flavor-wise.

Dairy free cream cheese will not have the distinct tang of regular cream cheese frosting but it still tastes delicious!


Does cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?

For food safety, desserts frosted with cream cheese frosting should be refrigerated but can be left out at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

You should bring your baked goods to room temperature before serving though if you want the optimal creaminess of the frosting to come through. 

Once you cut into your cake, refrigerated gluten free cakes will dry out quickly. To maintain freshness, press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper right up against the exposed cake. Use the frosted edges to help seal off the sides. Then cover the rest as tightly as possible (without ruining the outside of the cake) before placing in the refrigerator.

This secret ingredient Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is the best one you’ll try! It’s sweet and creamy with just enough tang. This homemade buttercream frosting with cream cheese is perfect for cakes and cupcakes and it pipes great. Pair it with classics like Red Velvet Cake, Gingerbread Cake, Carrot Cake, Hummingbird Cake, Pumpkin Cake, sugar cookies and more! Recipe from @whattheforkblog - visit whattheforkfoodblog.com for more! #creamcheesefrosting #buttercream #frosting #cakedecorating

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.


Can Cream Cheese Frosting be made ahead of time?

Yes it can. Just refrigerate it after preparing it and store it in an air-tight container. Bring it to room temperature (about an hour) before using and re-whip it before adding to your cake, cupcakes, or other baked goods.


Key Ingredients for Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream Cheese – use full-fat cream cheese for the best flavor and texture. I prefer Philadelphia Cream Cheese over store-brand cream cheese.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – homemade or store-bought
  • Fresh Lemon Juice

Equipment Needed to Make Frosting from Scratch

  • Stand mixer or hand mixer.
  • Large Bowl
  • Mesh strainer or sifter – optional but if you want to ensure your sugar has no lumps, sift it before adding it to the cream cheese/butter.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Step 1. Add the cream cheese, butter, and a pinch of salt to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat together until smooth, about 1 minute. 

Step 2. Add the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed until the sugar is incorporated. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

Step 3. Frost your baked goods after they have cooled completely.

Everyone’s favorite fall dessert: Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. This cake is so light and moist and has the perfect soft crumb. This is not dense or dry at all! It’s super easy to make too since it’s a sheet cake. Recipe from @whattheforkblog | whattheforkfoodblog.com | gluten free dessert recipes | gluten free cakes | the best pumpkin cake recipe | pumpkin recipes | baking with pumpkin | Fall dessert recipes


Tips for Making Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Don’t skip the the fresh lemon juice. The acidity helps cut the sweetness and richness. It also helps bring out the tang from the cream cheese without making it taste sour or lemony. It makes a perfectly balanced frosting. 
  • Use block cream cheese. Don’t use whipped cream cheese or cream cheese in a tub. They’ll make the frosting too soft.
  • Use full-fat cream cheese. You’re making frosting for a cake or cupcakes. Don’t skimp and go with low fat cream cheese. The flavor and texture just won’t be the same.
  • Use room-temperature cream cheese and butter. If your cream cheese and butter are too cold, they won’t cream properly and you’ll end up with a lumpy frosting.
  • Don’t over-soften your butter. If your butter gets too soft, it will produce a buttercream that looks greasy, almost like your frosting doesn’t come together all the way.

Recipes that pair well with Cream Cheese Frosting:


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Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting recipe on a metal beater

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This is the best cream cheese frosting recipe for cupcakes and cakes. It’s sweet, creamy, and has just enough tang. It pipes well too!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. full-fat block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (8 Tablespoons)
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

    1. Add the cream cheese, butter, and a pinch of salt to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat together until smooth, about 1 minute.
    2. Add the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed until the sugar is incorporated. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
    3. Frost your baked goods after they have cooled completely. 

Notes

  1. I recommend sifting the powdered sugar into your bowl before mixing with the cream cheese. It will ensure you have no clumps or lumps of sugar in your frosting.
  2. To make the cream cheese frosting dairy free, use 8 oz. dairy free cream cheese, 1/4 cup shortening, and 1/4 cup vegan butter.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Gluten Free Bakers featuring The Gluten-Free Quick Breads Cookbook by Sharon Lachendro. All the baking swag you need to bake the most delicious quick breads and other gluten free treats!
2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Gluten Free Bakers
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Hannah

Wednesday 30th of December 2020

Not best for stacking & decorating a cake. Followed recipe to a T & it’s too runny. Oozing out from between my layers. Tastes great! But I may just use for a simply cake that stays in a pan next time.

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