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Cream Cheese Frosting

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1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cream, if needed

Cream Cheese Frosting

The best cream cheese frosting is easy to make; start with softened cream cheese and beat the heck out of it.

  • Serves 16
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Cream cheese frosting is pretty easy. You just beat together cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar with some vanilla. You don’t need a lot of liquid for this frosting because the cream cheese provides a lot.

But there is one secret – you have to beat the heck out of the frosting or it will be sugary and grainy. Beat it with an electric beater for much longer than you think is reasonable. And yes, it needs beating even though you use powdered sugar. That type of sugar still needs dissolving.

Well, now that I say that there are two secrets. The cream cheese MUST be soft or the frosting will never be creamy.

Use this wonderful recipe to top Carrot Cake, Chocolate Cake, or any type of cookie.

By the way, I get lots of questions about whether this frosting should be refrigerated. Technically it should because it contains a dairy product. But there’s so much sugar in the frosting that it would be difficult for any bacteria to grow. If you’re extra careful, refrigerate it.

Tips for the best Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Soften the cream cheese before you begin. You can leave it out of the fridge for a couple of hours, but I prefer to use the microwave oven. Unwrap the cream cheese, put  it into the mixing bowl, then microwave on 50% power for 1 minute. Test it. If it’s soft, it’s ready. If not, put it back in the microwave again on 50% power for 30 seconds. That should do it.
  • Beat and beat and beat the mixture until it is absolutely smooth. This will take 6 to 8 minutes using an electric mixer.

Why this recipe works:

  • Cream cheese adds fabulous tang and a super smooth texture to this easy frosting recipe.
  • The little bit of cream adds even more smoothness to the recipe.


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Beat together the cream cheese with the butter in a large bowl until completely combined. Beat in the vanilla and salt.


Then gradually add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. This should take some time.


After all the sugar is added, beat for another 5 to 6 minutes until the frosting is completely smooth. You can add more powdered sugar or some cream to get the consistency you want.


Frost the cake, cupcakes, or cookies and dig in!


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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