The Best Cream Cheese Buttercream

This is the BEST cream cheese buttercream recipe! It has all the familiar tang of cream cheese buttercream plus one secret ingredient that makes it better than all the rest!

Cream Cheese Buttercream

Plus it’s easy. We all need a dose of easy baking right about now. Just me?

Life has its ups and downs but cream cheese buttercream will always be awesome.

How many people do you know who say, “I love red velvet cake for the frosting” or “cream cheese buttercream is the best part about carrot cake”?

The thing is, I can’t disagree. How disappointing would it be to get a slice of carrot cake and dive into that first bite only to find out that it’s just regular buttercream?

Cream Cheese Buttercream

That would be like taking a bite of an oatmeal raisin cookie expecting chocolate chip. (I know you know what I’m talking about…we’ve all been onboard that disappointment train)

However, I promise you will never be disappointed by my cream cheese frosting. That is a Pastry Chef Promise, so you know it’s good.

These are the moistest, most delicious Carrot Cake Cupcakes

As per usual I have some words of advice. Sharing is caring🙆🏼‍♀️

Tips for The BEST Cream Cheese Buttercream Success:

  1. Because there are only a few ingredients, every single one counts for more in this pastry flavor equation. Your cream cheese matters. Can you use whipped? I mean, sure, if you must. But, can you use low fat? You can do anything because it’s your kitchen, but please don’t. Don’t make me beg. It is buttercream for the love of God. It’s going on cake! Therefore, just allow it this one thing: All the fat.
  2. I know this is taboo, but we are going to talk about brands. Yeah, I play favorites because they matter for consistency and flavor especially when you are making large batches. But even the smallest cake pop deserves the best, amiright? I use Philadelphia. No, they don’t sponsor me. All things considered, I just love them. The flavor, the consistency (thickness), the smoothness. It’s just a win for me. Even so, use what you think tastes best. Obviously just not low-fat. It’s upsetting.
  3. Your cream cheese and butter should be very soft: not melty but soft. I’m not talking the cold, yet pliable that I won’t shut up about for cookies and cakes. I am talking softened. If either one is too cold, then you will get lumps. Lumps of cream cheese or lumps of butter. It doesn’t matter; a lumpy frosting is a lumpy frosting.
  4. Wait! I forgot to allow time to warm up my ingredients slowly and calmly at room temperature! Now, what do I do?! Don’t worry, my loves. Do not panic. In fact, this happens to me ALL THE TIME! Or, more likely, it is winter, and I work in an unheated NYC restaurant basement where it is 10 degrees colder than it is outside. Don’t use the microwave because it heats unevenly. Use a kitchen torch! Yup, that thing that you use for crème brûlée. Warm up the butter and cream cheese separately. Start with the butter. With your mixer running, torch the outside of your bowl, constantly moving to avoid melting any pieces. When it is softened, remove it from the bowl and repeat with the cream cheese. Be extra careful with the cream cheese because it will get too soft and never recover. Anyway, once both have been softened, proceed with the recipe.
  5. Use fresh lemon juice. Please. Just do it. That juice in the bottle tastes like my tears. Do you know what they use to keep it “fresh”? Me neither. Just squeeze the damn lemon.
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Cream Cheese Buttercream

The Best Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • Author: Lindsey
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Quarts 1x


This is the BEST cream cheese buttercream recipe! It has all the familiar tang of cream cheese buttercream plus one secret ingredient that makes it better than all the rest!


  • 600g cream cheese, room temp, 21 ounces
  • 250g butter, room temp, ~18 Tablespoons
  • 220g (2 c) powdered sugar
  • 20g (2 T) lemon juice, ~ the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Cream together cream cheese, butter, and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add lemon juice and extract. If it gets too warm, chill it. Just pop the whole bowl and attachments in the fridge and give it an hour.
  3. Beat with a paddle. 🙂 Breathe. It’s just buttercream.


This is enough buttercream to frost a 6 inch, 4 layer cake or generously frost an 8-inch two-layer cake. I halved the recipe to frost this gingerbread cake

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Category: Frosting
The Best Cream Cheese Buttercream

Explore the glories of The BEST Cream Cheese Buttercream:

These are the moistest, most delicious Carrot Cake Cupcakes | A recipe I learned in culinary school that my husband said were the best ever!
Pumpkin Pecan Pie Cupcake with Bourbon Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Chandana
    March 4, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Love this idea of idea of adding some lemon juice to cut through the sweetness.

  • Doris
    September 12, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    I’m going to try this recipe this week. I like the idea to add lemon 🍋. Will see

    • Lindsey
      September 13, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Doris! Sounds tasty, enjoy! 😍


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