This homemade cream cheese frosting is silky smooth, buttery, sweet, but not too sweet and tastes like a dream. It is our favorite cream cheese frosting recipe. It is a great addition to any cakes, cupcakes and quick breads.
Cream cheese frostings like this chocolate ganache or dark chocolate cream cheese frosting is our go to for everything that needs frosting. In fact, we rarely make any other kind. We love putting it on all kinds of things like our healthy banana cake, lemon blueberry bread, orange muffins and more.
If you usually skip out on frosting because it is too sweet then you’ll love this less sweet homemade frosting, you can eat it without feeling like you have straight sugar running through your veins.
What's Cool About This Recipe
- Low sugar: Our not too sweet cream cheese frosting has about 10 grams of sugar per serving. The average cream cheese frosting has about 30 grams of sugar per serving. That’s a lot of sugar that you don’t really even need. You can actually taste the tangy cream cheese in this recipe.
- Can be used for piping: This frosting is like a cream cheese buttercream and can be piped into designs that will hold their shape.
- Only 5 simple ingredients: This cream cheese frosting is super easy to make and only uses 5 ingredients.
- Silky smooth: You will love the smooth texture of this frosting. Because it isn’t mostly sugar it won’t have that gritty texture that a lot of frostings have.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Full-fat Cream cheese: Make sure you use brick cream cheese and not the whipped stuff.
- Unsalted butter: This frosting doesn't have a lot of sugar so, salted butter will make the frosting quite salty.
- Organic powdered sugar: We prefer organic powdered or confectioners sugar.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract, if it smells good then it tastes good 😉
- Whole milk: This is optional for thinning out the frosting if it needs. You can also use heavy cream, it will make the frosting extra fluffy.
See recipe card for quantities.
Cut the butter into ½” pieces. If it is not already softened, then let it sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature, or until slightly softened.
In a medium or large mixing bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat the cold cream cheese until smooth, scrape down the sides and beat again until smooth.
Add the sifted powdered sugar and the vanilla extract.
Beat on low speed just until most of the sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed until smooth.
Add the softened butter cubes.
Beat on medium-high speed just until the butter is incorporated. If you want the frosting thinner then add the milk and beat on low speed for a few seconds, just until it is mixed in.
Now it is ready to use, refrigerate, or freeze.
Honestly, the list of things you shouldn’t put frosting on would be shorter than the things you should haha. So here goes
- Chili, but you could probably put it on the cornbread 😆
- Beef stew 🍲
- Spaghetti 🍝
- Pizza 🍕
- Ramen 🍜
Ok ok, here are a few ideas of things to put cream cheese frosting on, or in
- Carrot cake is one of the most popular
- Red velvet cake
- Banana cake
- Chocolate cake
- Yellow cake
- Cinnamon rolls
- Sugar cookies
- Pumpkin roll
- Banana bread
- Almond peach muffins
Almost any kind of cake, cupcake, cookie or quick bread would be a great candidate for cream cheese frosting.
- You can switch the vanilla to a different flavoring, or add different flavorings along with the vanilla.
- Use vanilla bean paste for a vanilla bean frosting.
- If you want extra fluffy frosting then add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream in place of the milk.
Electric hand mixer.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Let it soften slightly before using for easier spreading.
Yes, it freezes quite well. Place it in an airtight container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. If using a container, try to use a container that is just big enough for the amount of frosting so there is no excess air. If using a bag then squeeze all the air out of it for best results.
Make sure to allow enough time to thaw it in the refrigerator when you are ready to use it.
Cream cheese frosting should last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that the freshness of the ingredients you use will determine how long your frosting will last. If you use nearly outdated cream cheese for instance, it might not last as long as if you used fresher cream cheese.
Tips From Our Kitchen
- Do not overbeat once you add the butter or it will develop a slightly separated look. It will still taste good, it just won’t have that silky smooth appearance.
- Use the right type of cream cheese. Make sure to use brick or block style cream cheese. You need a firm cream cheese.
- Customize the sweetness to your liking by adding more or less sugar.
- Add a little milk to make it your desired consistency. If you want more of a cream cheese icing then add more milk. If you want a thicker frosting then skip the milk.
- You can decrease the amount of butter if you want a softer frosting.
Not Too Sweet Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 8 oz block (226 g) Cream cheese cold
- ½ cup (113 g) Unsalted butter slightly softened
- ½-¾ cup (60-90 g) Organic powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons Whole milk optional
- Cut the butter into ½” pieces. If it's not already softened, then let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until softened just enough that you can press your finger about ⅓-½ the way through a piece, you don’t want it too soft.½ cup (113 g) Unsalted butter
- In a medium or large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the cold cream cheese until smooth, scrape down the sides and beat again until smooth.1 8 oz block (226 g) Cream cheese
- Add the sifted powdered sugar and the vanilla extract, beat on low speed just until most of the sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed until smooth.½-¾ cup (60-90 g) Organic powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Add the butter cubes and beat on medium-high speed just until the butter is incorporated.½ cup (113 g) Unsalted butter
- If you want the frosting thinner, then add the milk and beat on low speed for a few seconds, just until it is mixed in.1-2 teaspoons Whole milk
We calculate these nutritional facts using an estimate and they can vary drastically between ingredients used and measuring technique. So, they are not intended for medical use.