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cream cheese frosting on carrot cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American


Five ingredients are all you need to make this smooth and silky cream cheese frosting — perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more!


  • 1 lb (2 blocks) full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • Pinch salt


  1. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Reduce speed to low; gradually spoon in powdered sugar. Once powdered sugar is just incorporated, increase speed to medium-high and mix until frosting is light and silky, about 1 minute.
  3. Reduce speed to low; add vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Return speed to medium-high until ingredients are well-combined, about 10 seconds.
  4. Use frosting on cakes, cupcakes, cookies, quick breads, etc. Store leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


  • *To sift powdered sugar, spoon and tap it through a fine-mesh strainer. If you don’t have a strainer, you can whisk the powdered sugar in a bowl until no large clumps remain.

Keywords: carrot cake frosting, red velvet cake frosting, smooth cream cheese frosting, cream cheese icing