Cream Cheese Icing

Cream Cheese Icing Yield 6cups
This recipe is enough to fill and ice one 3 layer 8″ cake or ice 24 cupcakes
Cream Cheese (room temp**see note for those NOT in the USA) 678g (3cups)
Butter (room temp) 112g (1 stick)
Confectioners Sugar 240g (2 cup)
Vanilla X clear 2teaspoon

*What I have learned from several of my friends overseas, is that cream cheese in America is not the same consistency as cream cheese in other countries.
EVEN IF IT IS THE SAME BRAND PHILADELPHIA!!!!!! I have been told that it is very loose and soft to begin with.

So, with this new knowledge we have solved the mystery!! Inferior cream cheese, or rather “different manufacturing practices” is the culprit in turning my wonderful Cream Cheese Icing recipe into Cream Cheese SOUP!
The best way to work around this nuisance is to change the mix method from how I show you on the video to
First, cream the softened room temperature butter in the mixing bowl until it is very soft and fluffy.
Add the sifted confectioners sugar and mix well.
Keep your cream cheese COLD! This way it will not get even MORE LOOSE!
Add the vanilla extract and last add the cream cheese- AS IS! Your cream cheese is most likely softened already, and why we are having this conversation in the first place!! But add it all at once, mix ON LOW SPEED JUST UNTIL IT IS INCROPORATED EVENLY DO NOT MIX ON HIGH SPEED!
You may even want to just mix it in by hand to play it safer.
Refrigerate the mix until it is firm (the butter getting cold again will firm up this mix to make it workable)
This icing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Be sure that all baked good with this icing stay refrigerated as cream cheese is highly perishable.

Mix Method:
Begin with your cream cheese and butter at room temperature.
Place butter in the bowl of the Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment and cream smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix just until combined, do not whip on high speed.
Add the sifted confectioners sugar all at once and mix just until blended.
Add the vanilla extract (clear or regular is your option).
Be sure not to overwhip this recipe or you may have a thin “soupy” icing.
This can be prevented by having your cream cheese and butter at room temperature before you begin and mixing everything just enough to combine

You may use this icing immediately, or if you find it is too soft to pipe onto cupcakes you should refrigerate for several hours to allow it to firm up.

This icing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Be sure that all baked good with this icing stay refrigerated as cream cheese is highly perishable.


  1. Nazeli says

    Hi Gretchen,

    Thanks a lot for the recipes, they always turn out great!
    I have a question regarding cream cheese frosting. Can I add also a small amount of whipped cream to this at the end or it will not work in this case?

  2. Jennifer Schmidt says


    I am making your strawberry cake tomorrow and wanted to use a strawberry flavored cream cheese icing… can I use the same puree, and if so do I need to change the formula. Help, and Thank you, and Merry Christmas


    • Gretchen Price says

      Great, just add puree to your liking, go slow though, meaning add just a few tablespoons at a time, to watch to make sure it is not going to “break” on you with the addition of that liquid ingredient

  3. Madhavi says

    Hi Gretchen

    Can I use this icing to ice the doll cake. As in is it strong enough to hold the shape of detailed work like roses, petals and all?

    Please reply

    • Gretchen Price says

      It should be fine, some have had trouble with this icing being too soft, but you can follow the instructions for how to avoid this- it is all written here

  4. Maria says

    Thank you so much for your beautiful work and for sharing your experience,your knowledge,your tricks and treats with all of us..!
    You are so sweet and kind and in my case with this recipe.. a life saver!
    The best “recipe finder” site ever!!!
    God bless you!!!
    1.000.000 thanks

  5. Chamanda says

    I wanted to ask if you don’t have a standing mixer, can you use a hand mixer instead. I was just asked to bake 2 cakes for Christmas but my mixer broke when I was moving a couple of months ago. I am going to invest in another KitchenAid soon!!

  6. Sherie says

    Hi Gretchen,
    Thank you once again for sharing the great recipe!
    May i know if i use a PADDLE or WHIP attachment(as the whole recipe is using only paddle attachment) to whip my cream cheese frosting after is kept in freezer?

  7. Carol says

    Hi Gretchen. Just now watched your video for making cream cheese frosting.

    I have been making my cream cheese frosting in my food processor (as per Joy of Cooking). I have found your recipes & techniques DO provide superior results! The thing with the food processor method is that you have the blade to clean off and the frosting that gets stuck underneath the blade, which I think is a hassle. Seems soooooo much easier the way you do it!

    I purchased a beater blade like you have some time ago and just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! With it I can mix cookie & cake batter in about HALF the time as I used to having to stop and scrape with the spatula. The next time I make cream cheese frosting I will use YOUR recipe & method.

    LOVE your recipes & videos!!!

    • Gretchen Price says

      excellent! Thanks you and I love that you found some value here! I hope you find more! Stick around and check out the 300+ posts! LOL

  8. says

    Hi Gretchen, I have already made a 9X13 italian cream cake and froze it. I would like to fill it with creamcheese icing and attempt buttercream rosettes. Can I refreeze the cake decorated with the buttercream rosettes. I was planning to do this Thursday for Thursday and freeze it as I need it for Saturday . Does the buttercream freeze well and keep its shape? Thank you so much for your help and your advice. You are the best teacher.

    • Gretchen Price says

      yes you can re-freeze, it may have some condensation on it when you thaw it though, so you can just towel it off (dab it with paper towels)

  9. Linda says

    I wanted to use this with the pumpkin roll and was wondering if i could fill the roll with the cream cheese and freeze it or will the cream cheese go bad if i freeze it???

  10. Chi says

    Hi Gretchen,

    Is this a crusting cream cheese frosting? If not, what could I do to make it a crusting frosting? Thank you for all your inspiration in the kitchen!

  11. Giovanni says

    hi Gretchen! I’m from Italy, and i want to try this recipe.
    I found, in my last trip to NYC, “Cream Cheese Emulsion”… It’s basically an extract which gives the flavour of cream cheese… Should i try it with this recipe or is the flavour already enough? Also, where else could i use it? i bought it not really knowing… haha XD

    Love you and your videos!


    • Gretchen Price says

      I think the flavor is already enough, but you can always add some in last if you feel it needs it
      I would use that in my Poured Fondant for Cinnamon Buns Icing. this way I wouldn’t have to refrigerate the buns, with REAL cream cheese icing, the extract would give the flavor YUMMY!

  12. perla says

    Hey gretchen,
    I was looking for some gluten free icings? and although it doesn’t say i was wondering if this recipe was gluten-free??

  13. Michelle says

    Hi Gretchen, thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes and videos with us. I just need a little help as i’m planning to bake a carrot cake with a fondant covering on it for a friend’s anniversary. I read somewhere (I forgot which thread) that you don’t recommend cream cheese under fondant as its going to be too slippery? Your swiss buttercream is amazing but I still prefer cream cheese on carrot cake and it’s my friend’s favorite. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Gretchen Price says

      I don’t like to use it, since it is not as stable as buttercream,. besides the coating under the fondant is just a very thin layer to help it stick
      That’s whay I FILL my carrot cake with cream cheese, and if they insist on fondant cover, then I use a thin sheer of buttercream for the glue

  14. Barbara says

    Gretchen, I love your cream cheese frosting and it came out great, however even though I swifted the powered sugar, and the cream cheese and butter were at room temperature I still had some little bumps in my frosting. How do I eliminate that problem.

    Thank you,

  15. Cyriel Hendrikx says

    I’m Dutch and i always use The Italian mascarpone creamcheese. When i’m making creamcheese frosting. But it always come’s out like butter. Even when everything is on roomtempature. It stil taste great, but it doesn’t look nice. I cream together the cheese and the butter. and then ad the powderedsuger. And everytime it come’s out lompy and graney. What am i doing wrong.

  16. Thomas G. says

    Only the original Philadelphia brand creamcheese (full-fat!!) is firm enough! Here in Germany the brand Philadelphia sells many variation – less fat, fatfree ect. Btw. many other brands will do. In Germany: Philadelphia (full-fat), Kiri-Kiri, Exquisa (not light!), Almette (original!) and last but not least LIDL Frischkäse (without herbs of course! :-). I made Gretchen´s wonderful creamchees icing many times. There were never Problems with it. Sometimes I add lemoncurd in this icing (100 gramms, slowly and shortly before the end of mixing! Delicious!

  17. Marie says

    Hi! Love your blog and your recipes! I understand that you fill your red velvet with this icing then frost with buttercream. I love your swiss meringue buttercream recipe and I was wondering is there away to add the cream cheese to it so then it has the fluffy delicious amazing buttercream with the bite of cream cheese?

  18. acr manaloto says

    hello maam gretchen, just wanna thank u ciz ive learn alot from you. i wish i cud have a copy of ur book. God Bless You More maam Gretchen.

  19. Syeda says

    I made cream cheese frosting with this recipe twice with this recipe twice before it was great both times. Today i made it again but this time it is really loose. I think i did something wrong. I can’t ice my cake with it.
    Is there any way to make loose cream cheese stiff again? Please help me as i don’t want to throw all of it in the bin.

    • Gretchen Price says

      Its very difficult to come back from a loose cream cheese icing, did you read the part about cream cheese in other parts of the world and how they are so very different? I specified a special mix method for those folks

  20. Nichola says

    I have moved from the US to Australia and I am finding that the AUS Philadelphia cream cheese is fine to use the first way. Here they have taught me to put sweet chili sauce on top the cream cheese block and have the Ritz crackers with it. It is pretty firm even after leaving it out to soften. I do prefer to cream my butter first because I personally tend to have more issues with lumps. I have been introducing family here to the American style of things (I feel they are so deprived as they had no idea what a red velvet cake was!). I only just discovered you so they better hang on to their “dax” LOL

  21. Jade says

    Hi I’m making my son a batman spice cake and im using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream and I’m wondering if the cream cheese icing will work the same way as buttercream does in making smooth sharp edges?

  22. Afeefa says

    Hi Gretchen,
    First let me tell you hats off to your patience…
    I’ve been learning cake decorating from one year now…
    I know that cream cheese icing is perishable but I really want to do this on my birthday as I love it with red velvet… My problem is that I can’t refrigerate sugar paste… How can I tackle this situation? I want to do a handbag cake…
    Really looking forward to hear from you, thanks:)

    • Gretchen Price says

      Hi! thanks! I try! LOL

      Well… kinda are answering your own question with hopes that I tell you it will be OK! LOL
      But it wont!
      Cream Cheese Icing is highly perishable!

  23. sharon says

    Hi Gretchen
    I am from South Africa, just wanted to let you know that your videos are an addiction. I can’t seem to get off your blog and videos. Thank you so much.I tried your swiss buttercream icing. It was delicious . Can’t wait to try more

  24. jennifer kelly says

    Hi gretchen, im emailing you a lot this week! I have made your cream cheese frosting many times & although I have the same problem here in Ireland with not being able 2 get the solid blocks of philly ccheese, the frosting although a bit ‘soupy’ for icing, was always fab! But now you have once again solved another problem for me & all your followers! I followed the new mix method & it worked a charm! Seriously, it was the absolute answer to this prblem, I didn’t even add the vanilla extract as just wanted 2 keep it firm once I had achieved it & il tell you it was absolutely fabalicious!! Iced my carrot cake cupcakes & although I was making them for someone else I couldn’t resist having one..ok 2!!☺ 2 fab recipes & now you have made things even better for us all with fixing the soupy consistency of the frosting! Your a star for sure & I send buckets of love & good wishes to you for continued success with woodland bakery & in everything you do! Thank you most sincerely, jen kelly

  25. Tess says

    Good Morning Gretchen

    I have a couple of questions, 1 – can you color the cream cheese frosting the same as the buttercream? 2 – can you make a transfer using the cream cheese frosting freezing the transfer in stages.
    The reason I ask is that cream cheese is so expensive in Canada I don’t want to have to remake the frosting and throw is out if I mess it up.

    Thanks in advance

  26. Vicke says

    You are amazing! Every recipe I have tried so far has been delicious and surprisingly easy (so grateful). I read above comments but am unsure if the cream cheese icing (my favorite) would be strong enough for the bottom layer of a 3 tier cake – using fondant on top tier (butter cream icing under fondant). The cake would remain refrigerated until presented at party (but may be out in warm weather a couple hours)

    • Gretchen Price says

      I have used cream cheese icing for wedding cakes, yes they are a bit more fragile (so def keep refridged until the party starts!)

  27. JackieA says

    Hi Gretchen,

    I would like to thank you for being so wonderful in LISTENING and sharing your recipes and instructions. I come from Malaysia and have been struggling with whipped cream cheese frosting that I have given up baking cakes that require this frosting! No matter what I tried, (this includes hours of researching other recipes on the internet hoping to find one that works), I always ended up with a gloopy mess of cream cheese that I could not ice a cake with. I am thankful that you were genuine enough to help others like us and figured out why cream cheese frosting did not work for some of us….. I have actually asked people who post picture perfect cheese frosted cakes on how to do it and have not gotten an answer, that is how stingy some people can be with their recipes! I have not tried your method and recipe yet but to find someone who finally understood the problem was just awesome! Words are not enough to thank you. Do keep doing what you are doing and for struggling bakers like us who love the craft but need a little helping hand….please know that you are the go-to site for tried and tested recipes. I will be purchasing your e-books soon as a show of support!

    • Gretchen Price says

      Thank you so much for this message! I am so happy you found the answer finally! (and I am too!) There is nothing more frustrating than when a recipe doesn’t work out, and you just cant figure out why, meanwhile there are tons of people who “claim” it works out fine! Makes you want to give up the pastry bag and go drive a bus! LOL!

      Keep us posted to your progress!

  28. says

    Hi Gretchen!! I live in s
    Spain, and here the summer is REALLY HOT… Around 45ºC in the summer makes every recipe I tried for Cream Cheese Frosting melt like butter in the sun.. If I would add more icing sugar, it would taste like glucose with a bit of vanilla, and If I took the extra icing sugar out.. white soup.. That’s because the cream cheese here in Spain (even the Philadelphia brand) is in plastic tubs, soft spread like. But when I used your mixing method…. HEAVEN!!! The cream cheese icing is so thick, and not very sweet at all!! Just the perfect recipe!! Thanks for your amazing creations and keep up!! <3

  29. Hibba says

    Hi Gretchen thank you very much this recipe WORKED LIKE MAGIC! I live in Oman in the middle east and I love to bake but I couldn’t make the right cream cheese frosting until I read this ! I don’t know about the consistency but the cream cheese here is somehow salty so I only used 600 g of cream cheese and it turned out to be GREAT!

  30. Orly says

    Hey Gretchen!!
    Thank you so much for the recipe! i had so many problems finding the right thing for cake frosting!
    you helped me alot!!

  31. Mayra says

    HI!!! I just made this cream cheese icing to frost my red velvet cupcakes, and let me tell you it’s the best tasting cream cheese icing I have ever tasted. Mmmmmmmm!!!!
    Not as sweet as the ones on the cupcake sold in stores. Your the best, thank you so much.

  32. Gulrukh Ammad says

    Hi gretchen
    Can I ask if I want to make a fondant covered red velvet cake a night before with this cream cheese filling can it stay out or do I have to refrigerate it I have heard you can’t refrigerate fondant covered cakes it makes the fondant sweat

    Thank you in advance

  33. says

    I have also found that adding a half-cup of hi-ratio shortening with the butter will thicken it as well without altering the flavor.

  34. A.R Amin says

    I just tried your cream cheese recipe, it is the best cheese the best cream cheese frosting ever, I can eat all day :)

  35. Sasy says

    A little note on the cream cheese in other countries. I live in Italy, and here Philadelphia cream cheese is sold in two different ways: there is a small (80g) square paper package and a big, made of plastic, oval shaped one (250g). What is curious about it is that the one sold in the square package is very stiff like the one you have in america, but the one sold in the oval package is very very soft and has some liquid floating on it, it has the consistency of greek yogurt and becomes soft very quickly if beaten with a whisk or a fork or whatever. So what I want to say is that if you, like me, don’t live in the U.S. and want to try this recipe, look for the Philadelphia cream cheese sold in the small square paper packages and not the big plastic ones. It worked for me!

  36. Ana says

    Hi Gretchen,

    Can i make this also with Mascapone? I was wondering. What u think.

    Keep up the good work and keep the recipes coming. Going to try your red velvet cake next.

    Greetings Ana

    • Gretchen Price says

      yes but beware as mascarpone is very soft and requires very little mixing, so use the method for those who are not in the USA that have had trouble with too soft cream cheese

  37. Maggie says

    Hi gretchen, normally I dont comment on websites but you are awesome, awesome cooking and awesome as a person
    Thank you for this wonderfull recipe and for puting out there this kind of thing, that even doe makes you earn money, you are giving back to people like us that want to cook at home as well
    This recipe is 100% easy and delicious

  38. alex says

    Hi Gretchen! First thank you for all of your recipes/videos and help! I am enjoying learning everything Woodland Bakery! My question is can I use this cream chees frosting on a cake that will be covered in fondant? Thanks again!

  39. Tess says

    I’m tried to post but didn’t see it post but my question was …. does this frosting spread like buttercream and can it be smoothed out with a hot spatula like buttercream?

    Thanks in advance

  40. Tess says

    Hi Gretchen

    I found the answer to one question reading various comments but not to another. Does this frosting spread the same as buttercream and can you smooth it the same way as you do buttercream?

    Thanks in advance

      • Tess says

        Sorry for the confusion. You sometimes heat your spatula with a blow torch to get a nice smooth buttercream frosted cake. Have you ever done this with your cream cheese frosting recipe to achieve the same smooth result.
        Thanks again

  41. Nicole says

    Hi Gretchen,
    For the recipe,if 2 cups is 240g, how can 3 cups be 678g?
    And can we cream butter and icing sugar together ?
    What difference will it make ?

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