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This is the best Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies recipe! It is thick enough to spread, not too sweet, and hardens just enough! It is the perfect cream cheese frosting for sugar cookies, red velvet cookies and pumpkin cookies!

Cream Cheese Frosting Cookies Paddle Attachment

If we are being honest, cream cheese frosting is my favorite frosting! I have the ultimate cream cheese frosting recipe for cakes but this recipe is the best cream cheese frosting for cookies. You can use it to make frosted red velvet cookies like I did but it is also the perfect cream cheese frosting for cut out sugar cookies and chocolate sugar cookies! It is also phenomenal spread on chewy pumpkin cookies or sandwiched between two chewy chocolate chip cookies!

Icing cookies requires a thicker frosting than you would use to frost cakes. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker the cream cheese frosting, so it is a delicate balance of thickness versus sweetness. A pinch of kosher salt helps cut the sweetness and also balances the flavors.

How do you get cream cheese frosting to harden on cookies?

You can make your cream cheese frosting thicker with the addition of powdered sugar. Using more butter in proportion to cream cheese will also create a thicker frosting, especially when refrigerated.

Cream Cheese Frosting Cookies Close Up
cherry pie latticed unsliced.
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Why is my cream cheese frosting not stiff?

A cream cheese frosting can become too loose if the butter and cream cheese were too soft or over-beaten prior to mixing, if there isn’t enough powdered sugar to thicken the frosting, if light or whipped cream cheese was used, or if the frosting is too warm.

Which icing is better for cookies?

Choose an icing that is thick and spreadable for the best results when frosting cookies. This cream cheese frosting for cookies is a great choice because it is thick and not too sweet but an easy vanilla buttercream is also a good option.

Cream Cheese Frosting Cookies Dark Bowl


  • Butter: I use unsalted butter for frostings and baking in general, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. In frostings and buttercreams, the butter is there for stability. It will firm up when cold.
  • Cream Cheese: I use original Philadelphia Cream Cheese for all my baked goods including cream cheese buttercream frosting. You can use reduced fat, but don’t use whipped cream cheese because it will make the buttercream too soft and it won’t be stable.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: Confectioner’s sugar is useful for frosting because it is a fine powder, so it creates a smooth, silky buttercream without the application of heat.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Extract adds a beautiful flavor itself and together with the heavy cream is reminiscent of ice cream.
  • Heavy Cream: I like to use full fat heavy cream, which I find sometimes with the label heavy whipping cream.


  • Cream Cheese: I use full fat cream cheese in buttercreams like this cream cheese frosting for cookies. I do not recommend using light or whipped cream cheese in buttercream because it will loosen and weaken the structure. The resulting cream cheese will be loose and will not thicken when refrigerated.
  • Butter: You can absolutely substitute vegan butter or shortening for the butter in this recipe.
  • Heavy Cream: For thicker frosting, you can omit the heavy cream.
Buttercream for Cookies Blue Background

Variations on Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

  • Colored Frosting: Use a few drops of food dye to liven up the tops of any cookie, or make a few colors and swirl them!
  • Frosting Flavors: Add dehydrated strawberry powder to make the frosting naturally pink and strawberry flavor, or add cocoa powder for an easy chocolate frosting variation.
  • Pipe or Spread: This cream cheese frosting is thick enough to spread or to pipe. Grab your favorite piping tip and get creative with dots, swirls or even decorated like a St. Honoré cake!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store cream cheese frosting for cookies?

Store unused buttercream in an airtight, clean container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Buttercream can be frozen for longer storage. Once iced, cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to three days before the buttercream spoils. For longer storage, store in the refrigerator.

How long will cream cheese frosting keep?

Unused cream cheese frosting will keep for 3 hours at room temperature, 2 weeks refrigerated or 3 months frozen.

Can you freeze cream cheese frosting for cookies?

This buttercream can be frozen prior to use or you can freeze the iced cake or frosted cookies in their entirety!

How do you thaw cream cheese frosting for cookies?

Thaw frosting in the refrigerator overnight. To speed up the thawing process, you can break the blocks of buttercream into pieces with a knife and thaw on a parchment lined sheet pan at room temperature.

Can I make this frosting in a bigger batch?

You can make as large a batch of cream cheese frosting for cookies as you would like. You are only limited by the capacity of your stand mixer.

Does cream cheese frosting on cookies need to be refrigerated?

There is very minimal cream cheese in this recipe and the sugar will keep the cream cheese from spoiling for 3 days. Prior to frosting cookies, store the icing in the refrigerator. For longer storage of iced cookies, store in the refrigerator.

Buttercream for Cookies Texture
Cream Cheese Frosting Cookies Beautiful Swirl
5 from 3 ratings

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

This is the best Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies recipe! It is thick enough to spread, not too sweet, and hardens just enough! It is the perfect cream cheese frosting for sugar cookies, red velvet cookies and pumpkin cookies!
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies



  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese.
    Slowly add powdered sugar, and vanilla, until light and smooth.
  • Switch to the whisk attachment.
  • Add heavy cream, and whisk on high until light and fluffy and white. For an even thicker frosting, omit the heavy cream.



Yield: 24 cookies
You can add a pinch of salt to balance the confectioner’s sugar, depending on the sweetness of the destined cookies.


Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 8mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.01mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 90
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Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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  1. When I finished making this frosting, my daughter and I went about our merry way and decorated cookies with it. Went to clean up and saw my block of cream cheese still sitting on the counter. No where in the instructions does it say to use the cream cheese, although it is listed in the ingredients. Oops!! 🤷🏼‍♀️

    1. Whoa Tiara! You’re totally right, I’ll update that when I get back to my laptop on Tuesday. Thank you so much for commenting, and I hope you enjoyed your cookies {baking with your child is something I can’t wait to do! My little one is still so little 😆}