Foolproof Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Total time
THE foolproof method for amazing, thick Cream Cheese Frosting!
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 100g soft unsalted butter
  • 400-600g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. First, take your cream cheese and drain it. This only applies to non-Americans – in the UK (and possibly in other countries!) we have very runny cream cheese. The cream cheese I came across in America was incredibly thick – the texture of a very thick mousse with absolutely no liquid in it whatsoever.
  2. Note – I only do this when my cream cheese appears to be runny. If I’m using goldessa cream cheese from Lidl, I don’t strain it as it’s very thick, but I do pour off any extra water from on top into the sink still.
  3. In order to get really stiff frosting, the excess fluid needs to be drained out before it’s used. Otherwise it will just become incorporated in the frosting and you’ll have runny frosting.
  4. To drain, scoop out your cream cheese onto the centre of a square of muslin cloth. Gather up the cloth and twist it, like you would the top of a piping bag. Hold it over a bowl or sink, and apply pressure, and watch liquid drip out! I got about 30ml out of mine. Once it seems like no more will come out (if you squeeze too hard tiny bits of cream cheese will start to push out too!), set the ball down on some kitchen towel to allow it to dry further.
  5. In a medium-large heatproof bowl, heat your 100g of butter in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. You’re looking for it to be incredibly soft, but not completely melted so that it changes colour. It should still have some of it’s structure. Next, take a whisk and whisk the butter thoroughly – at first it will be very lumpy as there are still some bits of unmelted butter. Whisk vigorously until there’s only smooth, liquid butter.
  6. Next, unwrap the muslin and scoop your cream cheese into the butter mixture. Use the whisk to whisk the two together until completely mixed. Now, switch from the whisk to a wooden spoon.
  7. Add in the icing sugar. I don’t normally weigh it – I simply continue to add it until the frosting seems right, but it’s always within the 400g – 600g window. It also depends on how sweet you’d like it! To add the icing sugar, hold a sieve over your bowl and add 150g at a time, sieving it into the bowl.
  8. Using the wooden spoon, gently fold the icing sugar in slowly. The aim here is to keep the frosting thick – if you overbeat it by stirring it too many times, the frosting will slacken (go more runny), so just barely beat in each lot of icing sugar before adding the next 150g.
  9. You will fear that you are going to end up with runny, lumpy frosting after all! But never fear, carry on and I promise it will turn out amazing!
  10. The frosting will at this point be very thick – as you can see in the photos – it will be so stiff it won’t fall from a spoon, or even from the bowl if you hold it upside down! *Try this at your own peril! If your frosting isn’t quite so thick, you can add some more icing sugar and then pop it into the fridge to cool before piping or using to decorate.
  11. Finally, stir in the vanilla bean paste and lemon juice. Set aside, or refrigerate until 10 minutes before you’re ready to use it. It’s perfect for holding it’s shape while piping!
Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days before you need to use it, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 3906 Fat: 167g Saturated fat: 100g Unsaturated fat: 50g Trans fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 609g Sugar: 595g Sodium: 826mg Protein: 16g Cholesterol: 490mg
Recipe by Kerry Cooks at