This basic cream cheese frosting is my absolute favorite! It’s versatile and can be used and adapted for any recipe you need! If you need it thicker for things like my oatmeal whoopie pies (pictured) then you make it with no added milk, but if you need it more spreadable for cake, etc then you add milk. It can also be made with dairy-free options as well if needed. It’s thick, luxurious, and my favorite icing of all time. Try it yourself and let me know what you think!
What you need to make basic cream cheese frosting:
- Cream cheese- Cream cheese frosting will forever be hands down my favorite. It’s just SO GOOD. I’ve never tried substituting with dairy free cream cheese, but I’m sure it would work just fine if needed!
- Unsalted butter- You can use both unsalted or salted. Either should work fine. Make sure your butter is room temperature for the perfect creaminess.
- Powdered sugar- This is what makes frosting so delicious! I learned recently that if you don’t have powdered sugar on hand, you can blend up granulated sugar until it’s powdered. Here’s how to do it!
- Vanilla extract- This adds the perfect touch to the icing!
- Pinch of sea salt- Helps to bring out the flavor! You can omit if you do salted butter.
- Heavy cream- You can use heavy cream, milk, half and half, or anything along those lines. The liquid is totally optional and it just depends on what recipe you’re using the frosting for!
Some favorite recipes that I use this frosting in:
- Oatmeal Raisin Whoopie Pies (pictured in this blog)
- Fluffy Lemon Poppyseed Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Funfetti Snack Cake & Funfetti Cookies
- Soft Red Velvet Cookies
- Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Basic Cream Cheese Frosting
- Hand mixer
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 1-3 tbsp heavy cream, milk, or half & half optional to make less thick
- In a medium mixing bowl, add in the softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix until incorporated together.
- Add in the powdered sugar. You can do 1 cup at a time to make it a little less messy. Add in the sea salt if using.
- Mix it all up until incorporated and you have a smooth frosting. This version will be very thick! This is what I love to use to put between cookies, etc.
- Optional: if you prefer your icing a little softer, you can add the milk option. I add milk when piping to add to my cookie cake and then even more when you want to be able to spread it on an actual cake. It just depends on what you're using it for. Start with 1 tbsp and mix, and add more if needed. Use for anything, enjoy!