Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Enough for 24 cupcakes if frosting is spread, 18 cupcakes if frosting is piped on tall

Prep Time: 10 min

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting recipe is perfect for piping beautiful swirls onto cakes and cupcakes...


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a medium bowl, use electric mixer to combine cream cheese and butter; beat until creamy. Mix in vanilla, then gradually add the powdered sugar. Mix until frosting ingredients are completely combined. Check the consistency at this point. If it seems too soft, go ahead and add a little more sifted powdered sugar. If it seems too thick, mix in a teaspoon or so of milk. Use the frosting to frost your cake or cupcakes immediately- either by spreading or filling a piping bag, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use (should be used to frost the same day).

Source: RecipeGirl.com

51 Responses to “Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. postedMay 31, 2011 11:24 AM

    Hi there…

    This frosting is very tasty! I love how the cream cheese flavor comes through. But, it did not work too well for me in terms of piping. I wound up doubling the amount of 10x sugar, and refrigerating it. But it was still too soft. For piping, I’m sticking with your wonderful buttercream!

    • May 31st, 2011 @ 11:35 AM

      Hi Shannon, oh bummer. I’ve been using this recipe lately for all of my cupcakes, and have been piping away! If the cream cheese is too soft, I add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar or so until the consistency is just right for piping. You’re right though, I love to use the buttercream for piping too!

  2. postedSep 9, 2011 4:39 PM

    Lori, this frosting was FANTASTIC! I’ve been cupcaking (and learning!) for a while now and haven’t found the perfectly balanced and pipeable cream cheese frosting until now. After reading the other comment, I made sure my cream cheese and butter were slightly soft but still cold. I think that made a significant difference in its ability to pipe up. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. postedMar 23, 2012 7:44 PM

    Hey I just thought I’d let you know that I just made this frosting to use on brownies. It’s the first time I’ve ever made cream cheese frosting and I’d say it tasted pretty good! :]

    I agree about the butter and cream cheese being softened but not being quite room temp. I was just being impatient, but it seemed to turn out for the better.

  4. postedJun 20, 2012 2:12 AM

    hi, wow! your Red velvet cupcakes especially the swirls look very beautiful,definitely taste very very yummy. May i know which decorating tip did u use? thanks.

    • June 20th, 2012 @ 9:21 PM

      I’m afraid I don’t remember- it was a very basic swirl though.

  5. postedAug 11, 2012 12:09 PM

    thank you for this. It turn out pretty good for cup cakes.

    We needed to add food colouring, (used gel type). This didn’t water it down, but blending it in over and over till we got the colour bright enough, I think brought it to room temp or more (23ºC?) which didn’t help.

    Had to put in fridge for a bit. found that as I piped it warmed. so i put that in the fridge a couple times too.

    We have 36 cupcakes and this managed to cover every one of them with very little left over. I would suggest a Yield of 36. with cupcakes that are Just to the rim of the paper cup. if your over the edge, like the photo here, or more, 24 would be more likely it seems.

    Used a cheap nozzle for piping. would recommend a real one rather than plastic for sharper edges.

    I added perhaps an extra 1/4 cup icing sugar. in hopes to thicken it.

    I haven’t tried it but i am thinking if i do again, i would use 1/2 cup white sugar first into the butter and cream cheese. (maybe blend it a little to make it smaller grains) Than add in icing sugar and 2 cups (+1/4 cup?) icing sugar.

    I’m thinking that might make a stiffer icing? could be wrong. this is all new to me. 😛


  6. postedNov 14, 2012 10:43 AM

    Can you use spreadable cream cheese or does it have to be the block kind?

    • November 15th, 2012 @ 5:33 AM

      Definitely block cream cheese.

  7. postedNov 14, 2012 10:44 PM

    Hi! Have not tried this recipe yet but will this be able to pipe roses? :)

    • November 15th, 2012 @ 5:30 AM

      I’ve never piped roses- not terribly experienced at cake decorating- so I’m not sure.

  8. postedNov 17, 2012 4:50 PM

    Im wanting to make this tonight, and pipe my cupcakes tonight, but they won’t be served until tomorrow afternoon, will they still taste good if I serve them at room temp? and should the piping still look the same?

    • November 18th, 2012 @ 5:11 PM

      Sorry- I am on vacation and did not see this message until now. Let me know how they turned out!

  9. postedDec 3, 2012 10:58 PM

    My experience with this recipe is that it has absolutely no hold whatsoever. This is not a thick recipe and adding more sugar will make it more runny.

    • December 4th, 2012 @ 11:48 AM

      I had success with it- on my cupcakes shown above!

  10. postedJan 2, 2013 6:39 AM


    I have tried countless cream cheese recipes but it turned out to be too soft and runny and i had to throw them away. I just don’t get how you can achieve success with this cream cheese and i can’t because i tried this method before, and the one with whipped cream in it too. I use cold cream cheese but sometimes i left it out on the counter for like 5 minutes, i use the 60% or 80% less fat as it would be really fattening if not for that. Does that make a difference? I really really want to get a pipeable cream cheese and im almost giving up. When I beat the butter and cream cheese together, it always get runny almost immediately especially when i have added the icing sugar, it doesn’t thicken up. please help. thank you

    • January 2nd, 2013 @ 11:56 AM

      I definitely wouldn’t use a lower fat cream cheese as that is always softer than regular cream cheese (not for a pipeable frosting). Have you tried refrigerating the bag of frosting for a bit before piping?

  11. postedMar 13, 2013 9:47 AM

    Was really disappointed, its really runny, I’ve added another whole cup of icing sugar and had it in the fridge for a few hours. im wondering if American cream cheese is different to British? i think im just going to have to start again as a cant see how its ever going to be pip able. a real waste of ingredients sorry!

    • March 13th, 2013 @ 8:28 PM

      I’m not familiar with British cream cheese, so I’m afraid I can’t be of any help there. Sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  12. postedMar 18, 2013 11:45 PM

    Omg to the G! These are great! I love the consistency and the taste is just right! I love the frosting too.

  13. postedApr 19, 2013 2:01 PM

    Rose and Lindsay,
    Don’t give up on Cream Cheese Frostings! Do use the full fat cream cheese. As Lori pointed out, the lower fat content cheeses do tend to be softer. I have made cream cheese frostings for years as did my mother and grandmother. It has been my experience that the measurement for the powdered sugar is usually a reference point. I start with the 21/2 cups but usually it takes more to bring the frosting to the consistency I desire for my personal taste. My grandmother said that every batch of cream cheese frosting was different because “no two cows give exactly the same milk.” She would be 94 if she was still living. Let me encourage you to experiment until you achieve the results you desire. Every cook is different and we all have our little specialties. Hang in there. It will be worth it!

  14. postedSep 1, 2013 3:17 PM

    I like that this recipe has a higher ratio of cream cheese than others I’ve seen that use more butter, as I want that flavor. I’m going to try it today even though it’s super hot here. I have faith it will work out! I would never use low fat cream cheese. I can’t help but address previous comments–full-fat content dairy products are actually healthier/more nutrient dense. Fat is not really the problem in diets that we once thought it was. Full fat butter is far healthier than canola oil.

  15. postedSep 11, 2013 9:39 PM

    This frosting was yummy, but lost its shape pretty quickly when piping. The good news is that it isn’t very sweet to begin with, so adding additional powdered sugar didn’t overwhelm it! Still, I added an additional cup to the recipe, and it is still too soft for piping onto cupcakes. I’ll be keeping this in my book for spreading onto cakes, but not for piping!

  16. postedOct 17, 2013 1:13 PM

    Is 8 ounce 1 cup? I love your recipes but im from holland and struggeling with the messuring

    • October 17th, 2013 @ 1:14 PM

      yes! Look for conversions on the internet. Just google what you need – “metric conversions” will usually give you what you need.

  17. postedNov 18, 2013 5:01 PM

    Very delicious recipe…but a runny, sloppy mess that I would have to be poured over my cake. I can’t believe this recipe could be piped.
    It’s tastey, but certainly no where near thick enough to pipe…and I followed the directions.

    • November 20th, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

      Yikes- real butter at room temp? Full fat cream cheese? How would it turn out runny?

  18. postedNov 22, 2013 10:33 AM

    Could I substitute the powdered sugar for brown sugar?

    • November 25th, 2013 @ 9:26 PM

      Definitely not!

  19. postedNov 27, 2013 6:55 PM

    This is perfect! I just used it for 4 dozen cupcakes for thanks giving.

  20. postedNov 27, 2013 6:58 PM

    I’m not quite sure as to why everyone is saying it was too soft. I just blended my butter and cream cheese straight out of the fridge and even now its still perfect. Maybe they microwaved it?

    • November 27th, 2013 @ 8:22 PM

      I’m not sure why either!

  21. postedDec 6, 2013 12:30 PM

    Worked for me! I did need to put the icing in the fridge before icing and also again about half way through to keep it cold. I added an extra half cup of sugar. Maybe the trick is keeping the icing cold until you are ready to serve the cupcakes? Thanks for posting this yummy recipie! I also used some of the icing to fill the inside of the cupcakes.

  22. postedDec 27, 2013 12:18 PM

    This frosting was honestly so bad… in order to thicken this frosting even remotely to pipe it would have to use a ridiculous amount of sugar, which would have made it so sweet. If you use the ingredients listed above, the favour is perfect just so runny.

  23. postedMar 3, 2014 11:44 AM

    i need to use 450 grams cream cheese?

    • March 8th, 2014 @ 6:32 AM

      If that equates to 16-ounces, then yes!

  24. postedMar 23, 2014 6:47 AM

    I keep reading about runny frosting. It’s because the cream cheese has been overbeaten and the solution isn’t more sugar. If you reach that doomed stage, just start over.

  25. postedApr 21, 2014 5:28 AM

    What I learned about the fickle powdered sugar is this. Adding more is wrong. Follow the recipe above and SLOWLY add in your sugar 1/2 cup at a time. The more sugar you add the runnier it will be. Don’t over mix and don’t turn your mixer on super speed. Sometimes slow is good. And as others stated if your cheese and butter are still a little cold that’s also helpful. I made 4 practice batches to get one right batch. I don’t measure anymore, I go by feel and taste.

    • April 21st, 2014 @ 6:57 AM

      Thanks for your tips- very helpful!

  26. postedJun 3, 2014 7:11 PM
    sarah lee

    I creamed the butter and cream cheese for longer and added a tiny bit less sugar. I also creamed the ingredients together for a while after they were all combined, and it came out softer but super fluffy, kind of like a meringue frosting! great recipe! Unfortunately, my entire cake was a sticky crumbling fail, so i just ate the frosting with a store bought pie! Hahaha.

  27. postedAug 25, 2014 3:18 PM

    I want to make a pipeable Raspberry Cream cheese frosting.. can you tell me how much to put in using Jam?

  28. postedFeb 20, 2015 1:47 PM

    The more you whip cream cheese the softer it gets,so make your buttercream frosting adding a little bit ofpowdered buttermilk to regular ingredients. At the last minute add cream cheese just to mix and eliminate lumps. Refrigerate then test mixture for piping.

  29. postedMar 20, 2015 2:30 PM

    I was curious, I made this recipe about a week ago and I had done exactly what the directions called for. i was not thrilled when the cream cheese and butter kept clotting up in my mixer attachment. It was the right consistency because both the cream cheese and the butter were soft enough it was like a mushy texture.  After mixing everything  together i realized the mixture was bumpy. i had a crazy idea that once i applied it to my cake that it would somehow disappear. i was wrong.  it looked completely silly. i chalked it up to that im covering it with frosting so no one will see the bumpy texture. 
    So i remade the mixture, word by word of the directions. it was now time to pipe. Once again my mixture was bumpy! So frustrated at this point that i didnt have time to look for another recipe, so i then proceeded to fill the piping bag. As I’m trying to pipe my flowers on my cake, the cream cheese kept getting clotted in the tip.  Can you please explain what i should do if i decide to give this another try? 
    i mixed it for 20-30 mins.

    • March 21st, 2015 @ 6:48 AM

      It sounds like if you did not have success with it, perhaps you should try another recipe. I’m not really sure what to suggest as it’s hard to troubleshoot when you’re not seeing it yourself. Sorry you had trouble!

  30. postedApr 3, 2015 3:29 PM

    This frosting was awesome.  I piped it on and it was perfect!  

  31. postedAug 6, 2015 6:52 AM

    It didn’t work for me: I got a runny icing. I tried to avoid over-beating, I even re-tried without a whisk (just blending in butter and cream cheese with a spatula). Even with an increased amount of icing suger, its keeps being liquid (and then it turns over-sweet). Actually it looks like the more I add sugar, the more runny it gets! Impossible to pipe it! I used philadelphia cheese (regular one, no low-fat). i wonder if the cream cheese available in Europe is the same as in the US?

    • August 11th, 2015 @ 7:52 PM

      I don’t think cream cheese in Europe is the same as US.

  32. postedAug 10, 2015 10:05 AM

    Thanks for the recipe! Ive used it twice.  In both ocassions, i left the cream cheese in the fridge. I also added 3/4 cup or so of icing sugar.  I would have added a bit more but was afraid of going too far. Tadte is excellent and i was able to pipe with it but refridgeration is a must until the last minute. :)

  33. postedAug 21, 2015 7:56 PM

    I’ve used this recipe before and it was amazing…and perfectly pipeable. I came back to get the recipe again and was shocked to see all the fails! With cream cheese, you CANNOT over beat it. Blend the cheese and butter with a paddle on a low stir just until blended, then add sugar a small amount at a time, again on your lowest setting, just until all is incorporated. Once you’ve beaten or whipped it to where it’s soft…you will NOT get it back unless you add pounds more of sugar, then you’ve essentially ruined it! Hope that helps!

    • August 22nd, 2015 @ 3:38 PM

      great advice- thank you so much for sharing your tips!

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