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Cream Cheese Frosting

by Nick Makrides
Cream Cheese Frosting

Guys this is, hands down my favorite frosting. The best thing about it is that it’s not as sweet as you’d think, because the slight tanginess from the cream cheese helps to break the sweetness. It just tastes amazing, and the addition of powdered milk makes it extra creamy!

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 20

4.79 from 32 votes
Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Course: Dessert, American
Cuisine: American



  • 1 cup full-fat cream cheese block not spreadable, chilled
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar confectioners’
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered milk skim or full-fat
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract vanilla bean paste



  • Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer. Mix on low speed to begin with, to help break up the cream cheese a little, then increase the speed to high for a couple of minutes to help combine the cream cheese and butter.
  • After a couple of minutes, stop your mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula. Add the icing sugar, powdered milk and vanilla. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, then bring the speed back up to high. Continue beating on high speed until your frosting is fluffy and turns pale in colour.


It’s important to always mix this frosting on high speed. The only time you mix it on low speed is after you’ve added the dry ingredients. Mixing on high speed helps to aerate the frosting, giving it volume and making it easier to pipe.
For chocolate-flavoured frosting, add 40g (4 tbsp) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder with the icing sugar.
Frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
To freshen up this frosting simple thaw at room temperature for 1 hour and re-whip using a stand mixer and paddle attachment


Serving: 20g
Calories : 177kcal
Carbonhydrates: 16g
Protein: 3g
Fat: 12g
Saturated Fat: 7g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 0.1g
Trans Fat : 0.1g
Cholesterol: 34mg
Sodium: 37mg
Potassium : 130mg
Fiber: 0.1g
Sugar : 15g
Vitamin A: 373IU
Vitamin C: 1mg
Calcium: 90mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure

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SHABIAA KHATRI May 8, 2021 - 6:07 pm

hi nick! what if i add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder to make it chocolate cream cheese frosting ??

Nick May 16, 2021 - 10:41 pm

You can absolutely do that! 🙂 make sure you sift it though! 🙂

Dija'h Anjali September 18, 2021 - 9:26 pm

How many cups of icing does this make??

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 12:19 am

Hi Dija’h! this is enough for 24 cupcakes! N x

Christina April 11, 2022 - 7:29 am

5 stars
Hello Nick! If I use this frosting with fresh strawberries, will these two ingredients work well together? Thank you for the recipe!

Nick Makrides April 26, 2022 - 12:39 pm

Hi Christina! Unfortunately, for this frosting I wouldn’t recommend it. You could however get a great strawberry flavour by using crushed freeze dried strawberries! N x

Maria May 21, 2021 - 4:15 pm

Made it to frost a carrot cake, loved how stable and thick it was and how it was not too sweet as other cream cheese frostings! Couldn’t recommend enough.

Nick Makrides June 5, 2021 - 6:14 am

Isn’t it so good? I love this recipe! Thanks so much for visiting my website and leaving such a lovely comment!

Sophea May 27, 2021 - 2:12 pm

5 stars
Hello from Malaysia nick! If i lessen the sugar by half will it affect the frosting?Can I compensate it with more milk powder?and what milk powder did you use?? Would be happy if you will reply 🙂

Nick Makrides June 5, 2021 - 5:54 am

Hi Sophea. I wouldn’t recommend using less sugar. The sugar is just one of the ingredients that helps stabilise the frosting. Any brand of full cream or skim milk powder will work in this recipe. Hope that helps! N x

Su June 2, 2021 - 11:21 pm

Hi Nick
What do I do to make this a white chocolate cream cheese frosting?? TIA

Nick Makrides June 5, 2021 - 5:50 am

Hi Su! You could add 100g of melted and cooled white chocolate to the cream cheese frosting once it’s been made. Happy baking N x

Lucy June 7, 2021 - 7:29 pm

Hallo Nick,
I‘d like to bake a birthday cake with the frosting for my daughter. She wants a cake with tropical fruits, but I‘m not sure that they taste gut with the cream cheese frosting. Do you have any experience or may be you can suggest another frosting, wich goes very well with the fruits? I will be very happy if you answer:)

Nick Makrides June 15, 2021 - 10:56 am

Hmm…. Tropical fruits. I can’t say I’ve tried it. I think back in my bakery days we added mango to the frosting. But with cream cheese frosting you need to be really careful with adding fruit as it can cause the frosting to become runny if you add too much or it can split. I would instead recommend adding it to the cake or cupcake. Or you could core the centre of your cupcakes and add the fruit filling in that way. Hope that helps! N x

Karen Cook July 22, 2021 - 6:24 pm

I’m really interested to try this recipe. I have made cream cheese frosting for a long time and never had a problem with it. But over the last year, I have made several and the frosting was runny every time! I’m not sure why all of a sudden. Maybe the cream cheese is more watery from some sort of Covid ingredient shortage or manufacturing issue?

Anyway, I just have one question – your recipe calls for 2 tsp vanilla extract vanilla bean paste. Does that mean you can use extract or paste? Or does it need to be paste? Thanks!

Nick Makrides July 27, 2021 - 6:26 am

Hi Karen! Hoping you like this recipe. You can use both or just one. Let me know what you think! N x

Jenny August 23, 2021 - 5:08 pm

Hi nick,
I was very interested to try this recipe but I am not able to find block cream cheese or cream cheese that not spreadable is there anything else I can substitute it with or can I still use spreadable cream cheese.

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 3:05 am

Hi Jenny, you can try using the spreadable cream cheese. but it may not be as stiff a frosting as using block cream cheese. Also, keep in mind if it’s a warm day the frosting is more likely to soften quicker. Block cream cheese is best to use with this recipe. Hope that helps! N x

Jenodith Nema August 27, 2021 - 8:59 pm

5 stars
Hello nick,
Can I use the spreadable cream cream if I can’t find the block cream cheese, if not what should I use?

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 2:56 am

Hi Jenodith! For this recipe, no. It won’t result in a firm enough frosting to pipe. N x

Relina June 8, 2021 - 4:48 am

Hey Nick!
Could I reduce the amount of butter used so as to get a stronger flavour of the cream cheese? Also, would this amount of frosting be sufficient to frost a 3 layer 6” cake?

Nick Makrides June 15, 2021 - 10:54 am

You could. Just keep in mind that the butter helps make the frosting more stable. Especially if it’s a warm day. Give it a go and let me know what you thought!

Ana July 20, 2021 - 1:45 pm

Hey nick 🙂 thanks for the recipe! Cant Wait to try it!!! Could i use it as filling in cake that i will cover with fondant and will be at room temperature for about 3 Days?

Nick Makrides July 27, 2021 - 7:35 am

Hi Ana! Can’t wait to hear what you think! I’m not sure I would recommend using this frosting to go underneath fondant. Especially if it’s warm. It won’t spoil at room temperature, but the frosting isn’t as nice to eat if it’s left out that long as it develops a crust.

Gabrielle July 22, 2021 - 11:54 am

Hi, Nick could you use this frosting to pipe letters onto cakes? its going to be the first time I make a red velvet cake birthday cake so just wanted to save a little time. Thanks 🙂

Nick Makrides July 27, 2021 - 6:32 am

Hi Gabrielle! Absolutely! Just make sure that if it’s warm where you are, that you keep this frosting chilled if you need to or make it with the aircon on.

Trina Sen July 25, 2021 - 4:14 pm

Hey nick.. can i use this frosting with oreo crumbs for a cookies and cream cake? For that can i reduce the sugar?

Nick Makrides July 27, 2021 - 6:28 am

Hi Trina! Yes! this frosting would be so yum with cookie crumbs added to it. I wouldn’t recommend reducing the sugar as it’s one of the ingredients that helps stabilise the frosting, making it pipeable.

Debbie Carmichael July 26, 2021 - 7:25 pm

Hi, I’ve recently discovered your site and I am in love with it! My question is when you say 1 1/2 cups powdered milk skim or full-fat, do you mean just add it in powdered form and no water? Thanks.

Nick Makrides July 27, 2021 - 6:24 am

That’s right. Powdered form. it dissolves in the frosting as you mix it through. N x

Laura Lozada August 1, 2021 - 1:29 am

Hello! Love your videos and recipes. Trying this recipe on Wednesday. May I use heavy cream powder instead of milk powder?

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 6:04 am

Hi Laura! Unfortunately I never tested the recipe with heavy cream powder so I couldn’t say…

Barbara Beaver August 1, 2021 - 1:47 am

Hi Nick, I used to make Carrot 🥕 cake but lost my recipe. Could you send me one? Your cream cheese recipe sounds heavenly!! I’m so excited about starting back to baking again. Thank you!!!

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 6:03 am

Hi Barbara, I don’t have one handy right now but I can certainly add it to my list of recipes to make in the spring time 2022? N x

Jerry Ramírez August 5, 2021 - 4:04 pm

Hi Nick, what can I do if I want to make a caramel frosting for example, is there any way I can make this recipe less sweeter so I can add the caramel, like adding more cream cheese to de mix?

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 3:33 am

Hi Jerry! The sugar in this recipe is one of the ingredients that helps to thicken it enough for it to be pipeable. So I wouldn’t recommend using less sugar, even with the addition of caramel. Instead I would just add less frosting. Alternatively, you CAN use more butter and see how you go with that, but it will make this less cream chees-y and more buttery. It would help with the sweetness through. Hope that helps! N x

Amanda August 13, 2021 - 1:03 am

Hi Nick , I am just going to try your cream cheese frosting , I just wanted to know would it be enough for a three layer cake plus crum coat to , or should I Double it up .

Nick Makrides August 15, 2021 - 10:36 am

Hi Amanda! I would recommend doubling it N x

Becca September 2, 2021 - 7:01 am

Hi Nick, can you omit the powdered milk if adding in cocoa powder?
Thanks again for all of your recipes (Every one thinks I’m great but it’s all you)

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 2:32 am

Hi Becca! I wouldn’t advise changing this recipe. Leaving out the milk powder would result in a less firm frosting. If you do leave it out, it will still work, but it might be more of a spreadable consistency. Hope that helps! N x

Vattsala Shah September 2, 2021 - 4:21 pm

5 stars
I love baking, I came across your recipes. Thank you for sharing. I wanted a firm frosting. Will make this. I am from India. 🙏🏼

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 2:31 am

Thanks Vattsala! Hope you got to try this recipe out! N x

Vattsala Shah September 2, 2021 - 4:22 pm

The recipes look interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 2:30 am

Thanks so much! N x

Vattsala Shah September 2, 2021 - 4:23 pm

The recipes look interesting.

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 2:28 am

Thanks Vattsala! N x

Andrea September 11, 2021 - 7:01 pm

For how many cupcakes this amount of frosting would be sufficient?

Nick Makrides September 12, 2021 - 2:10 am

Hi Andrea, it depends on how high you frist the cupcakes. High frosting: 12 cupcakes. Normal low swirls: 24 cupcakes. N x

Kat October 17, 2021 - 4:30 am

5 stars
Love the is recipe! It’s my go to cream cheese frosting and it’s like eating cheesecake, with cake – what could be better?! I love how stable it is. The milk powder is a serious game changer.

Nick Makrides October 20, 2021 - 10:56 pm

Hi Kat! Wow! I’m so glad you love this recipe! I love the adition of milk powder too, so great and it makes it super creamy too! N x

Sandy October 31, 2021 - 4:02 pm

5 stars
I love this recipe. Is there a particular brand of dry poweded milk that works best? I used King Arthur’s brand because it was all I had. Just wondering if any brand from the local grocery store would be just as good. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


Nick Makrides November 7, 2021 - 9:30 pm

Hi Sandy, There’s no particular brand needed. I’ve never used King Arthur, because I don’t think we have that brand in Australia. I used the Woolworths brand milk powder. Hope that helps! N x

J0my February 20, 2022 - 11:04 am

5 stars
I made this recipe for your red velvet cake and it ended up being very stable and easy to ice with! It turned out great, perfect sweetness for me and the person it was for who dislikes overly sweet things. Thanks again, this will definitely be my go to recipe for it!

This might be a bit pedantic, but when purchasing icing sugar (the infinite names it has), you can get it either pure or soft where it has typically tapioca starch added to it. Would the icing sugar that has the starch in it also aid in making the frosting more stable or there would likely be no appreciable difference?

J0my February 20, 2022 - 11:07 am

5 stars
I forgot to mention the ingredients list does not state how much salt you used for this recipe.

Diyana April 1, 2022 - 8:07 am

5 stars
Hello Nick, i wanted to ask you whether you recommend skim or full-fat powdered milk?
I love you recipes

Nick Makrides April 27, 2022 - 1:09 am

Hi Diyanna! Either will work for this recipe 🙂 Nx


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