Crusting Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

A delicious cream cheese buttercream that is sturdy enough to pipe or frost and fill your cakes. 
↓ Recipe Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 20 mins
Serves: 3 lbs
cream cheese frosting recipe

Crusting Cream Cheese Frosting That Is Silky Smooth, Creamy And Stable Enough To Use Inside And Outside Your Cake

Crusting cream cheese frosting is made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and extract and pairs with just about any cake flavor you can imagine. Think about it. Cream cheese basically equals cheesecake. Cheesecake goes with ALL THE THINGS. Crusting cream cheese frosting is most often paired with old-fashioned red velvet cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake and even lemon cake!

cream cheese frosting recipe

Basically, you can’t go wrong with using crusting cream cheese frosting for everything including cupcakes and sugar cookies.

The best part about this cream cheese frosting is that it is a crusting recipe. That might sound a little odd to you but basically that means that the sugar content in this frosting is high enough that the granules of sugar turn into tiny little crystals and form a thin and crispy outer layer to the cake.

Crusting Cream Cheese Cake Frosting Recipe

Why is this awesome? (trust me, it’s AWESOME!)

If you’ve ever worked with cream cheese frosting before you know it has a horrible tendency to be a little wet, a little soft and a whole lot unstable in warm weather.

This crusting cream cheese frosting crusts so that it’s very stable and can be used as a filling for cakes, frosting for the outside, cupcakes and even on cookies. I would still stay away from using this frosting under fondant though, cream cheese and fondant just do not get along and you end up with a melting layer of gooey sugar under the fondant.

How To Make Crusting Cream Cheese Frosting

To actually make the crusting cream cheese frosting you can get it done in about 10 minutes flat.

  • Cream your room temperature butter with the paddle attachment until it’s nice and smooth with no lumps (on low).
  • Add in your room temperature cream cheese and cream until smooth with the butter.
  • Start adding in your powdered sugar (sifted) one cup at a time while mixing on low. Don’t add the next cup until the first is incorporated fully.
  • Once your powdered sugar is incorporated and the frosting is smooth you’re done! This is a THICK cream cheese frosting so that it is stable and won’t’ melt all over your cake.

cream cheese frosting recipe

I admit that crusting cream cheese frosting really eluded me for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved eating it on cupcakes and a nice slice of carrot cake from one of my favorite bakery but when I would try to make it myself to use with my client cakes, I never really felt it would work. It was either too soft or tasteless.

Most of the time when I see a cream cheese recipe, it has added liquid to it like milk or cream. I feel like this really causes the frosting to be too soft. Ok for cupcakes but not great for cakes. So why add it?

cream cheese frosting for cupcakes

You’ll notice that this recipe has more butter to cream cheese ratio than a typical cream cheese recipe. Butter helps with stability, flavor, and creaminess. There’s just enough cream cheese to add a nice flavor to the frosting but not so much that it breaks down the frosting and makes it too wet.

Tips For Successful Crusting Cream Cheese Frosting

cream cheese frosting recipe

  1. Did you forget to bring your cream cheese to room temperature? I’ll tell you a secret, I never ever do. I simply take the cream cheese out of the packet, cut it up into cubes and microwave for 10 seconds. By the time I get my butter and sugar measured, the cream cheese is at room temperature
  2. Speaking of butter, I usually have butter at room temperature at all times but if you have forgotten, you can microwave your butter in 10-second increments until you can press a fingerprint in the surface of the butter and the cube still holds it’s shaped. You don’t want the butter too soft or it will be hard to incorporate with the cream cheese successfully.
  3. Sift your powdered sugar for a super smooth buttercream but I admit, I hardly ever do this
  4. Need your buttercream to be whiter? Add in some white food coloring!
  5. You can switch out the vanilla extract for any extract to compliment the cake (think orange for citrus or almond for spice cake)
  6. Do you really have to use unsalted butter for cream cheese frosting? The short answer is yes. If you use salted butter you MIGHT feel like the frosting literally tastes salty. By using unsalted butter you can control the level of saltiness in your buttercream. If all you have is unsalted butter, don’t fret. Just use what you have and leave out the extra salt listed in the recipe.


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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

Cups of Frosting Needed

5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
cream cheese frosting recipe

Crusting Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

A delicious cream cheese buttercream that is sturdy enough to pipe or frost and fill your cakes. 
4.99 from 55 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Serves: 3 lbs
Calories: 1989kcal



  • 12 oz (340 g) cream cheese room temp
  • 12 oz (340 g) unsalted butter room temp
  • 48 oz (1361 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) clear vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp (1/2 tsp) salt



  • Cream the softened butter with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in your softened cream cheese and continue creaming on low until fully incorporated and smooth. 
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar one cup at a time, letting fully incorporate before adding the next cup. Add in vanilla and salt. Mix at low for 5-6 minutes until smooth.
  • For a whiter buttercream, add white food coloring. Store leftover buttercream in the fridge for up to a week or freeze up to 6 months. 


This buttercream cannot be left out for more than 4 hours.


Calories: 1989kcal (99%) | Carbohydrates: 305g (102%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 87g (134%) | Saturated Fat: 53g (265%) | Cholesterol: 245mg (82%) | Sodium: 788mg (33%) | Potassium: 122mg (3%) | Sugar: 298g (331%) | Vitamin A: 2905IU (58%) | Calcium: 92mg (9%) | Iron: 0.5mg (3%)
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Cream cheese frosting is made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and extract and pairs with just about any cake flavor you can imagine. Think about it. Cream cheese basically equals cheesecake.

77 comments on “Crusting Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  1. 5 stars
    Going to try the squid cake for my daughters 21st bday. God help me. She wanted me to challenge myself and do something new. I think chocolate modeling is the thing. Sick of fondant and gum paste

  2. 5 stars
    Love your recipes & tutorials! When you noted that this frosting cannot be out for more than 4 hrs, does that mean I need to keep the frosted cake in the fridge? I had planned on frosting the cake the day before the party.

  3. I’m worried that with 3 lbs of powdered sugar its going to be very sweet. Is it a very sweet frosting?

      1. Hi there, love the recipe!
        Have you tried making it with less sugar? Will it crust similarly or not?

      2. If you take out the sugar it won’t crust. I do have a regular cream cheese frosting recipe that is less sweet but also less stable

  4. Does the cream cheese frosting hold up if you add food colouring?

  5. Once the cake cake is frosted and assembled can it be displayed for more than 4 hrs? Or will it fall apart?

    1. It won’t fall apart but the cream cheese could go sour and make some people sick if it’s really hot in the room. Always keep cakes with perishable fillings properly refrigerated

      1. 5 stars
        So correct never leave cream cheese cakes out to long.

  6. 4 stars
    Can I use this frosting recipe on a 3 tier wedding cake? If it is out on the cake table longer than 4hrs what might happen?

    1. Yes you can, if it’s cool in the room it should be fine but if it’s very hot it could go rancid and make people sick so please take caution

    2. How many batters did you had to make for that three tier wedding cake because I have to do one to Red Velvet put the cream cheese frosting

  7. Hello, I’m not a big fan of sweet icing. Can I use less powdered sugar and the recipe still work?

  8. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I made half of the batch. To use as filling. My question is how long will it stay good in the fridge in a container?

  9. 5 stars
    Will this work well when frozen under a mirror glaze?

  10. 5 stars
    I love this!! Just what I’ve been looking for!! My question is since you mentioned it won’t do well under fondant, will it hold under ganache?? Thanks in advance!

  11. Can you tell me how much this will make? I am looking to frost 3 8” rounds. Thank you

  12. How would this hold up in the South in the dead of summer? I need a cake covered in rosettes to hold up through dinner at a restaurant.

  13. Can cocoa powder be added to make a chocolate cream cheese frosting?

  14. Can this be made in advance? I need to frost & fill a 12”, 9”, & 7”. Do you think 8 batches? Oh Lordy what did I get myself into. Lol.

  15. 5 stars
    Hi! I started to read and make your recipes yesterday and they are just perfect for me. My question: Can I color black this frosting for a cake?

    1. Yes you can but to make black you need a lot of food coloring. It’s best to add some cocoa powder first to make it dark then add black food coloring. If you add too much it will leave a bitter taste in your mouth

  16. If I wanted to use this on a cake, but have a few smaller pieces of fondant cake toppers, would this still cause a mess on the crusting cream cheese? Or could I use your standard cream cheese frosting with the few, small fondant toppers?

  17. Can I use this frosting as a base on my red velvet cake and then pipe rosettes using your Swiss meringue buttercream recipe on the cake?

  18. I want to use this to frost sugar cookies, will this recipe be enough for 2 dozen cookies?

  19. Would using lard or crisco make this better for places with high heat or humidity? I’m doing cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower, but we’re having it outside at a local park.

    1. This recipe is already very firm. I don’t think you’d need to add anything else to it. Just remember not to keep them in a hot environment for too long because of the cream cheese

      1. Well, it took me 3 tries (my fault, I hadn’t gone to bed, so I was completely scatter brained), but it turned out quite well, considering. I guess the third time really is the charm. And using coffee extract for adults’ half helped cut the sweetness, too. They did start to droop a smidge after the second hour, but that was to be expected; I may not have beaten it as long as I should have. They still said it was better than my attempt at Swiss meringue, though. I’m still not sure if I should be flattered or insulted lol!

        All in all, it was a hit! This is one recipe I’ll be hoarding in my box like a dragon! Thanks!

  20. Hi. Do you think it could tolerate some peanut butter?

  21. I have 6 dozen cupcakes to bake for a wedding, the bride is asking for red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Can I bake, decorate with the crusting cream cheese frosting and then freeze prior to the event?

  22. Does this icing hold structure well? I want to use it to pipe flowers. Thanks!

  23. 5 stars

    I have used your recipe consistently since finding your channel 6 months ago. Your work is beautiful and every recipe I’ve tried is a β€œno fail”. This frosting is a perfect example. Creamy, has that citrus bite and is perfect for piping. I look forward to making it again soon. (Great excuse to lick the beaters).

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