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Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe: The best ever I have ever tried. Easy to make and it will always work out

How to Make the Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

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Hi Bold Bakers!

My Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is truly the king of all frostings! Add a slather of Cream Cheese Frosting and I think you will agree it improves any cake or dessert.  Learning how to Make the Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting is a must for you Bold Bakers so you can spread it on classics like my Best-Ever Carrot Cake to Crazy Cupcakes, donuts and so much more.

My favorite things about my Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe are how delicious it is, and how easy it is to make. In one bowl you simply combine a little butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla. The result is rich, thick and perfectly balanced, sweetened by powdered sugar, yet light in flavor from the soft tangy cream cheese.

You will find my Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting  super easy to work with as it whips up to be light, fluffy and shiny. You can keep it in the fridge until ready to use so it is very convenient.

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I can think of endless ways to use this frosting. Make it for my 3 Layer Microwave Red Velvet Cake, spread it across a slice of my Best Ever Banana Bread, top your cupcakes and carrot cakes too. If you are like me, and the frosting is always your favorite part, you must give my Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting a go!

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3.8 from 4 reviews
Gemma's Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Frosting
  • 2½ cups (10oz/ 300g) powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 2 cups (16 oZ/ 480g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (4oz/ 120g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high cream together the cream cheese and butter
  2. Once light and fluffy add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until it is smooth and creamy.
  3. This can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.



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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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  1. Khushboo on May 17, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Hi Gemma..
    I tried this recipe but it has a bit grains of sugar in spite of using powdered sugar…
    I used your homemade cream cheese recipe and that works fine for me. What can I do to remove grittiness of sugar from this recipe…

    • Gemma Stafford on May 19, 2018 at 12:07 am


      I’m really surprised by that. I’m guessing the grainy is coming form the cream cheese and not actually the sugar. Do you think that could be it?
      Was the cream cheese really smooth?


  2. Jctwilight on May 14, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Hello Im new to baking. I was wondering what cream cheese should I buy is it just normal cream cheese.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 15, 2018 at 8:13 am


      Yes just normal cream cheese. Don’t buy a cream cheese spread, but buy a block of cream cheese.


      • Jctwilight on May 16, 2018 at 8:50 am

        Thank you I’m looking forward to trying it

      • cheryl hegarty on May 19, 2018 at 1:14 am

        Hi Gemma

        Where can we buy block cream cheese in the uk please?
        Never seen it here

        • Gemma Stafford on May 19, 2018 at 4:04 am

          Hi Cheryl,

          I’m guessing Tesco. Philadelphia make it. Just make sure its not a spread, but just the block.


  3. Mae on May 10, 2018 at 12:40 am

    How to make it chocolate?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 10, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Mae,
      I have never made a cream cheese frosting with chocolate! That does not mean it should not be done.
      Cocoa, an unsweetened cocoa, which you sieve in with the powdered sugar, will do it. For this large batch about 2 tablespoons would give a reasonably flavor. You can try it, add ore if you wish,
      Gemma 🙂

      • shade on May 11, 2018 at 7:29 am

        Hello Gemma! It’s really difficult getting full fat cream cheese here in Nigeria. Do you think I use laughing cow spreadable cheese triangles ? Thank you

        • Gemma Stafford on May 11, 2018 at 11:11 am

          This is not cream cheese, it is a processed cheese, not remotely like cream cheese, which is a fresh curd cheese.
          Instead make your own. ( Make this with full fat milk for best results. Use vinegar for a bigger curd, which is easier to cream.
          Try it, really it is not difficult, and it is cheap to make too,
          Gemma 🙂

        • Ufuoma on May 12, 2018 at 9:10 pm

          Hi Shade,
          I live in Nigeria too and it’s so true! Cream cheese is so expensive it crazy! So I have made this twice and it turned out like the real thing. I used Peak Full cream milk – not the evaporated one – the ready to drink milk that comes in juice like cartons. I get them at shoprite where I live. I also tried it with Peak Full cream powdered milk and it turned out great only tasted different. Used both for this cream cheese frosting for a carrot cake. Use white vinegar. It really is easy and way cheaper. Will be making more for cheese cakes soon. Hope this helps. Cheers!

  4. Patrick Braekevelt on May 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I think the proportions are wrong in the recipe. 300g of powdered sugar ? Should that not be 600g ?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 9, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Patrick,
      I am not sure why you think this is wrong. I do know that tubs of cream cheese tend to be soft, and may need more powdered sugar, but this one works well for me.
      Tell me why?
      Gemma 🙂

    • Tany on May 10, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Patrick, I think the amount of sugar in this recipe is just fine. You can put as much sugar as you want but to double it would insanely sweet. I just made it today and found this frosting has the right amount of sugar. Gemma this is the best cream cheese frosting recipe I have ever made. Thank you Gemma!

  5. Abinaya on May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Hi, your pink velvet cupcake recipe turned out really good. I made cream cheese frosting with homemade cream cheese. I wonder if I could cut down the quantity of sugar to half and wash out the lemon flavour in the cream cheese to make the frosting more bland? Will it work?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 4, 2018 at 5:06 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, I think you can wash out the lemon flavor, use a little milk to do it, it will work well for you.
      I am less convinced about changing the sugar, it is what binds this recipe. Perhaps reduce the overall amount of frosting to reduce the richness,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Abinaya on May 7, 2018 at 8:14 pm

        Ok. Will try it. Thank you

  6. Ufuoma on April 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I made 2 cups of your homemade cream cheese and used it for the frosting. It was perfectly smooth, not grainy at all. Saw in your response earlier that some bold bakers said it was grainy when they used your homemade cream cheese. Not my experience at all. Even frosted a carrot cake with it. I think it was not properly processed with the food processor and I even used a blender!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 29, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      I am really delighted to hear that because yes I have heard it is grainy. I suggest to people reserve some of the liquid to add back in while processing. I hope others read your comment to see that it’s possible 🙂


  7. Lola on April 27, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Hia x
    Im planning on trying this recipe soon for a red celvet cake. Do you think it would be able to ice a 3 tier / 4 tier cake? Thanks ❤️

    • Lola on April 27, 2018 at 8:55 am

      *** and a little bit of piping on top? Thanks 😚

    • Gemma Stafford on April 28, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Hum, I would say double it Lola if you want to frost that much.


  8. Anissa Dodo on April 1, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I haven’t tried it yet but will soon.

    I had a quick question. The recipe for the cream cheese; how many cupcakes is it for? Let’s say I wanted to make a dozen, will the measurements you given in the recipe be enough? Too much? Or too little? And if it is too much would you be able to give the measurements for a dozen cupcake?

    Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on April 2, 2018 at 5:12 am

      Hi there,
      This is a big recipe, really designed for a full cake. It would work well for at least 24 cupcakes.
      Cut this recipe in 1/2, that is easy for this one, write it out first to be sure you have it right.
      Gemma 🙂

  9. TARA on March 30, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Hi Gemma – THIS IS A LITTLE URGENT… thought I’d try incase you’re online soon…

    So, I’ve put too much butter in for starters, and started mixing it with the cream cheese, the butter wasn’t soft enough and not it’s chunky with bits, I started to add vanilla and a few tablespoons of icing sugar (I didn’t read the recipe before I just thought it would all mix together… OPPS). Is there any way to salvage all this?? I just left it on the counter to 1) hopefully melt the butter a little and 2) run over to google how to fix it all.

    I found a microwave solution, but I don’t have a microwave.
    VOILA. If you could help I would be so grateful.

    Thank you kindly,

    • Gemma Stafford on April 1, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Hi Tara,

      Sorry for my late reply. So the only possible solution is leaving it out at room temp for hours for the butter to soften. With a lot of baking the butter has to be at room temp and beaten until no lumps before adding in the sugar. If it’s chunky it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to get those lumps out. Same applies to cream cheese.

      I’m sure i was to late with my response but I hope this will help in the future.

  10. Jenna on March 13, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Hey everybody! Just wanted to point out that this recipe is a really good cream cheese frosting recipe. I honestly love to find the best recipes out there, and this is probably the best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever tasted in my life! Making this cream cheese frosting was really fun and the results are delicious. I really suggest this cream cheese frosting. Sometimes I look at the comment section for different cream cheese recipes and they say they’re the best , but this is honestly the best. It holds up really well if you refrigerate it for about an hour or so. Really good for cakes and cupcakes. Super delicious. Give it a try!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      Hi Jenna,

      I’m really thrilled you like this recipe. Thanks so much for your lovely comment.

      Hope you like what i have coming up the next few weeks 🙂

    • Jo on March 23, 2018 at 7:14 am

      I’ve made the red velvet microwave cake this week and used the cream cheese frosting recipe. My 7year old nephew said id win Great British Bake Off with that frosting- Bless!
      Anyway, I have quite a bit left over and wondered how long it lasts in the fridge for?

      • Gemma Stafford on March 25, 2018 at 5:56 am

        Hi Jo,
        Good, and out of the mouths of babes! lol.
        The left over frosting will hold for as long as cream cheese, so really not too long. You can however freeze it, take it back to room temperature and re-whip it, that will work well for you too.
        I hope this helps,
        Gemma 🙂

  11. Maureen on February 22, 2018 at 5:31 am

    So i just finished my cakes. . Rdy for frosting . Nd my frosting is runny ! Soft! What went wrong ? Was the mascopone wrong for this frosting ?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 23, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Hi Maureen,
      Exactly what did you use? Mascarpone can be really good, it is a rich cream cheese. What butter did you use?
      I do not have sufficient information,
      Gemma 😉

  12. Tasneem Murtaza on February 16, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I made ur red velvet changing colour to purple and it was amazing taste. But the only prb I face was the frosting which went too runny tht all was waste. I live in UK and i bougt philidephila soft cheese as we dnt get block of cream cheese in Usa and Canada and with ur video i was watching and making. Xan u pleasee help me where was my mistake please as i need a thick fluffly icing so i can later decorate my cake and cup cakes pleasee.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 17, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, I understand this problem.
      Tesco do a cream cheese, a full fat one, my mum gets it. It is in a silver tub and it is called ‘soft cheese’ this is a firm cheese and it works well in this recipe.
      The butter needs to be real butter, NOT a spreadable one, from a tub, that is too soft for a frosting.
      When you have it mixed refrigerate it to firm it slightly, that will make it easier to spread, you are right, the cream cheese is important, but so is the butter!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Tasneem Murtaza on February 19, 2018 at 2:03 am

        Can u please show me its name. Or brand or pic please and what do u mean by real butter ? The unsalted butter minimum fat of 82% will tht be ok??

        • Gemma Stafford on February 19, 2018 at 2:43 am

          Hi there,
          Yes! This is real butter. There is always a little milk residue in butter. If you melt this, and allow it to set, you will get the pure fat on top, and a milk residue underneath. The fat is then called clarified butter, and is widely used by professional chefs in cooking.
          Real butter is usually sold in a block, or in a wrapper, in quantities of 8ozs/16ozs.
          In the US it is divided down in the pack into 4oz ‘sticks’ this can be confusing for people in other parts of the world.
          So, go for it, you are on the right track,
          Gemma 🙂

  13. Firenze on February 16, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Gemma! Can I use normal butter for this or does it have to be unsalted butter specifically? Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Hi there,
      I use salted butter for everything! I grew up with it, and so for me it is normal. All will be well,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Tany on May 10, 2018 at 4:25 pm

        I use salted butter for everthing that calls for butter. It seems give the recipes no consistency. Thanks Gemma

        • Gemma Stafford on May 11, 2018 at 12:36 pm

          Hi there Tany,
          Me too! I tend to use it for everything as it is what I grew up with.
          Do you think it interferes with the consistency of the cream cheese frosting?
          Are you using a block of cream cheese? The tubs tend to be over soft, designed as they are for spreading. Am I guessing this right?
          Gemma 🙂

  14. avery on February 13, 2018 at 12:18 am

    any substitute for cream cheese

    • Gemma Stafford on February 13, 2018 at 6:25 am

      Hi Avery,
      Use another frosting!
      Really it depends on the recipe. fudge frosting is great, but it depends on the purpose.
      Buttercream frosting, and Swiss meringue frostings too, work well with lots of things. See the recipes here (
      A simple water icing glaze can be ideal for some things, so as you will see it really depends on the purpose,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. Deepti Singh on February 6, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Hey Gemma.. Im a regular follower of ur recipes,, This red velvet is a life saver.. Seriously.. Im gonna try this soon.. Just one query..Im from India.. cream cheese as in can I use mozerella cheese or any other which you can suggest.. Thank you so much..

    • Gemma Stafford on February 7, 2018 at 6:24 am

      Hi there,
      Cream cheese is a common ingredient/food in many places, but by a different name.
      Paneer, this is a regular cheese in India, and is most like our cream cheese, ours is just whipped to come together.
      Mozarella is a different thing, not for this type of recipe,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Deepti Singh on February 11, 2018 at 5:28 am

        Thanks for the reply.. Yeah paneer is a regular cheese here in India.. But It can’t be whisked for cake toppings. Can I use Philadelphia cheese.. Just wanna be sure before using..
        Thanks 😙

        • Gemma Stafford on February 11, 2018 at 1:01 pm

          Hi Deepti,

          Yes you absolutely can use philly 🙂

          • Deepti Singh on February 11, 2018 at 11:11 pm

            Thank you so much..

  16. James Litchfield on February 6, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Why do you ask for a website? Do you have a staff that answers all these questions?
    This recipe – I also use 1 TBS of real Vanilla (not extract). I cannot seem to get this recipe smaller that 1/2 size. Can you give me measurements for a single (or double) serving, like I would put on the microwave version? I usually put frozen yogurt on my microwave version but would like to try your cream cheese frosting.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 6, 2018 at 8:19 am

      Hi James,
      Do you mean why do I direct people to the website? the reason is simple really. This is where I do not miss a comment, and the thread of the comment stays here too. This is not true of YouTube, where you are not notified of responses, and I have to keep responding to the fresh ones. I also have loads of information here on the website, extras too, and it is easy to search for a recipe, or ingredient.
      The problem with your question here James is that I am not sure what you are referring to. If it is the cream cheese frosting then this is what you need to do:
      2 1/2 ozs powdered sugar
      4 oz Cream Cheese
      1 oz butter
      1 teaspoon of vanilla. (scant)
      Proceed as per the recipe.
      You can easily convert this to whatever you use as a unit of measurement, I cut it in 1/4, you can reduce it further if you wish, but it will be difficult to get it right.
      I hope this is of help, I am happy to have you with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  17. Marc on February 5, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Can i use plain Eden cheese? Im from philippibnes

    • Gemma Stafford on February 5, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Marc,

      Eden cheese is a first cheese and won’t work for this recipe unfortunately.


  18. Anu on February 5, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Hi Gemma,
    Love your recipes. A small query though- Can we use your homemade cream cheese recipe for this frosting ?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 5, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Great question Anu. I have gotten feedback from other bold bakers and they said it was a bit grainier than store bought cream cheese so I don’t recommend it for frosting.

      Hope this helps,

  19. Anna B on February 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Hey Gemma,

    This frosting looks so delicious! I was wondering if you’d happen to know how many cupcakes this recipe would frost? Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 4, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Anna,

      For sure it would frosting 16-24 cupcakes 🙂

  20. Rema on February 3, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Hello Gemma,

    I don’t have any silicone ware for the microwave and was wondering if I can make this recipe in the oven and at what temperature ?

    Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on February 3, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Hi Rema,

      Yes it can. Bake at 350oF (180oC) for roughly 35-40 minutes.


      • Rema on February 4, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        Thanks so much!

  21. GwapasiMayerr on February 3, 2018 at 6:37 am

    I would like to know after frosting my cake using this recipe can I put my frozen buttercream pattern on top of it right after frosting ?

    Please help me know I want to surprise my mother a beautiful and delicious red velvet cake
    Thank you in advance

    • Gemma Stafford on February 4, 2018 at 4:17 pm


      if i’m understanding you correctly then yes you can put it on.

      Hope your mum likes it 🙂

  22. Leilani on February 2, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Hi Gemma

    Have you tried Nothing Bundt Cake cream cheese frosting? I think it’s the best I’ve ever tried, and I’ve been trying to replicate it for some time now. While I’m sure your recipe is killer, I prefer something that isn’t very tangy and too sweet, and that’s what Nothing Bundt Cake brings to the table. The best I’ve come up with is to increase the ratio of butter to cream cheese, but if you go overboard, the frosting becomes too soft. Please share if you come up with a version like this. Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      I have tired it and yes it is super light, fluffy and delicious. Mine isn’t very similar.

      You re right in saying it all comes down to ratio for frosting.


  23. cdnrose46 on February 1, 2018 at 3:25 pm


    for this Cream Cheese frosting and the new microwave cake recipes would there be a noticeable differeee if I
    change the sugar content to 1/2 sugar & 1/2 Splenda?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 2, 2018 at 3:17 am

      Hi there,
      I really do not know! I would need to try it.
      Splenda is a great alternative to sugar, as is xylitol and stevia, but they do not caramelize, and as such give a different result in some recipes, particularly cookies.
      The cream cheese frosting will need the sugar to ‘dissolve’ in the whipped butter, so that should work for you. As the buttercream element is proportional you should be able to run a test batch.
      For the cake I think it will be perfect. I am afraid it is a matter of experimenting. This year we will be focusing more on low/no sugar baking, so stay tuned,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Christin on February 1, 2018 at 10:57 am

    I was wondering could you use regular sugar instead of powder sugar? I like sweet but powder sugar makes it to sweet for me.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 1, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Christin,

      Unfortunately for frosting you cant’. It won’t dissolves and it will be grainy. The powdered sugar is what you need for frosting.


      • Christin on February 4, 2018 at 8:50 am

        Could you maybe use something like honey instead? Even though that kinda sounds weird.

        • Gemma Stafford on February 4, 2018 at 5:21 pm

          Hi Christin,

          Unfortunately for this recipe you can’t substitute honey for the sugar.


  25. Samantha on February 1, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Hi Gemma! I love your videos on YouTube! I made this and it was the best frosting I have ever made! Also I love your recent video of you making the red velvet cake in the microwave! Im gonna have to try that once I get some silicon baking dishes! 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on February 1, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Glad you like it, Samantha. Thanks for being apart of the community.

      Gemma 🙂

  26. Ceara Sullivan on February 1, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I’d love this with lemon essence also. With a dash of salt to curb the sweetness. Unless you’re using salted butter, of course.

    I could never “afford” that much sugar in a recipe. I’d cut it with liquid sodium cyclamate (available from Canada), leaving perhaps 1/2 cup of powdered sugar for body.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 2, 2018 at 3:58 am

      Hi Ceara,
      Thank you for your input. For the benefit of other Bold Bakers, Sodium Cyclamate is an artificial sweetener, about 50 times sweeter than sugar. This is not an approved sweetener here in the US, as far as I know. Stevia is a natural sweetener from a plant source, and with this too the ‘bulk’ of the sugar needs to be replaced in a recipe, this is more difficult to do in buttercream frosting, though cornstarch.cornflour is suggested, and this makes sense, I have not tried it yet!
      I always use salted butter in buttercream frosting, delicious too, but it is not for everyone 🙂
      Thank you for this, it really is a worthwhile discussion, so many people interested in reducing their sugars!
      Gemma 🙂

  27. Ben on January 31, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Is it really 1 tbsp of vanilla? Or shouldnt be 1 tsp? Because based on your video it seems that was not a tbsp. Just want to clarify. Thanks! 😊

    • Gemma Stafford on February 1, 2018 at 2:37 am

      Hi Ben,
      I love Vanilla, and it may not be for everyone!
      I use 1 tablespoon for this, but you can use less. Remember this is the only real flavor in this!
      Gemma 🙂

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