cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

This super easy Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is a family favorite. My boys love it so much that they use it as a dip for strawberries. I thought that was rather inventive of them, and far better than eating it straight up!

I love this lightly sweetened frosting because it’s not as sweet as other cream cheese frosting recipes, and with just 4 ingredients, it’s so easy to make.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves: 2 cups
  1. Whip heavy cream until stiff
  2. In a separate bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, then blend in maple syrup and vanilla
  3. With a rubber spatula, gently fold whip cream into cream cheese mixture

I’ve made this easy cream cheese frosting recipe many times. For the sweetener I’ve tested maple syrup, agave, and honey. The recipe is incredible with maple syrup, and worked very well with agave too. If you would like to make it with honey, the recipe will work in terms of consistency. However, we think the flavor of the honey overpowers the entire recipe and is simply too strong. When you make this easy frosting recipe, leave a comment to let us know which sweetener you used!

Here are some of my easy gluten-free dessert recipes that are just begging to be topped with this delicious Cream Cheese Frosting:


  1. Ashleigh says

    Hi Elana, I was thinking about trying this frosting on your Paleo vanilla birthday cake. Do you think that would work well together? Thank you! 🍰

  2. stephanie says

    I made this frosting with goat cheese instead of cream cheese (which bothers my stomach) and it turned out great!

  3. Jennifer says

    Hi I made the carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. I left on the counter about 4 hours and then decided to refrigerate overnight for serving the next night. Guess I should have refrigerated immediately. Is that what you recommend and do you think mine will be fine after leaving out a few hours?


  4. Hydie Balle says

    Hi Elana, thank you for the lovely recipe. I have cooked it twice now once with coconut oil and then with olive oil. Both were tasty. Thanks

  5. Anitra King Lehman says

    i love your recipes you are a real pioneer!
    I like to bake or cook and then freeze – i have a large family and this helps a lot. Can I freeze this frosting? will the cream cheese get that grainy texture?


    • CR says

      You might be able to freeze the cake, but cream cheese and whipped cream will both “break” when you freeze and thaw – freeze the cake, and when it has thawed, make the frosting for it.

  6. LISKEV says

    Late comment but I made this to frost the carrot cake recipe for Easter. Was worried about the amount of nutmeg but went with everything on recipe and frosting recipe.
    mind blown. the carrot cake was very comparable even better than a regular flour cake recipe. BUT THE FROSTING THOUGH!!! I can’t believe i never made my own whip cream and then to add cream cheese for an awesome cake frosting. I frosted night before and put in fridge overnight to set. It tasted better freshly made the night before but still was a hit the next day. I’m not sure if this would be good for sugar cookies??? I hate to make homemade buttercream frosting with all that powdered sugar and I’m not fond of royal icing either…

  7. Shirley says

    Hi, my name is Shirley and I am just getting into the paleo cooking. I love your receipes and they have tasted very good. I am reading a lot about paleo eating and it all eliminates dairy products. I read your cream cheese frosting and see you are using cream cheese. Does this make the icing non paleo? Thanks for helping me understand this point.

    • Elana says

      Hi Shirley, thanks for your great question! Dairy is not considered a Paleo food, thus this recipe is not considered paleo. I have an in depth post on the paleo diet here:

      I also have tabs at the top of my site which you might find helpful; they list which recipes are compliant with which diets.


  8. Vita says

    Hi Elana,
    I am trying to bake a cake for someone’s birthday this week. I would really love to use this recipe for my frosting, but I would just like to know if I can substitute stevia, or maple syrup for the agave nectar. Thanks!

    • CR says

      Cream cheese becomes runny when it is over-beaten. I don’t think there’s a fix for that – but it makes a yummy topping. When this happened to me, I sliced the cake, plated the servings, and then ladled the sauce over the plated cake – as if that’s how it was supposed to be. Everyone loved it.

  9. Mark says

    I made this frosting tonight for a double layer carrot cake, and will be serving this tomorrow for my son’s 2nd birthday party.

    The icing is light and sweet, but not overly so. Traditional frosting with cups of white sugar in it are way too sweet and overpower the taste the of the cake (or whatever else you’re serving it on/with).

    It goes on smooth, holds a nice just off-white color (due to the addition of the vanilla).

    I’ll report after tomorrow how it actually tasted with the cake, how it held up, and what everyone thought as a whole.

  10. Joy says

    I fairly recently have discovered that I am lactose intolerant. I really miss the cream cheese flavor. Does anyone know if there is any substitute?? I know this is a long shot, but I’m desperate! :)

    • Kim says

      My sister in law can’t have any dairy and she makes delicious cream cheese frosting with soy cream cheese. I think the brand is tofutti. It is not healthy (neither is cream cheese, but…) but tastes great, she always makes it for her cakes and cupcakes for parties and get togethers and no one can even tell the different. Just substitute the soy cream cheese for the cream cheese 1:1 and then she uses mocha mix or vanilla soy milk for the liquid but if you can get away with lactose free whole milk you could also do that. She uses powdered sugar also but you could play around with agave or honey if you wanted to go that route.
      Hope that helps!

  11. says

    We used honey instead of agave, and it seemed to be a fine alternative. You become used to the coyingly sweet flavor of the canned frostings you buy at the store, & this one tasted almost un-sweet. As we worked and played with it for frosting Christmas cookies, the flavor grew on us and it was actually nice having a frosted cookie that didn’t make you want to gag from the sugary sweetness after biting into it!

  12. Bernadette says

    I want to make this frosting to frost a double-layer cake. Do you think just doubling the recipe will be enough?

    • Rachia says


      I too am making a double layer carrot cake tonight. Did you end up doubling the cream cheese frosting recipe?

  13. says

    Well, there’s no heavy cream in the house, so I made it with half and half and that was a total bust. My fault – I should have added the whipped half and half slower to pay attention to what was happening. Tried again, with a couple tablespoons of half and half instead and it it tastes great, though I wonder if the agave is enough liquid as it is.

  14. Grace says

    Has anyone tried any of these recipes with agave necter but instead used splenda? I’m wondering if I use the same amount.

    I am insulin resistant and it was recomended to me that I do the South Beach Diet so for now I am not eating any kind of sugar. Before the diet I used agave and will use it again on phase 3 of my diet. Im miss sweets so much but don’t have the budget to mess up too much on recipes.

    any input would be greatly appreciated. thanks

    • says

      Grace, you *might* still be ok with agave. I am diabetic and it doesn’t raise my blood sugar; however, it does for my diabetic mother-in-law. I guess you just have to try to see how it affects you!

      I’m super excited to make this. I have your carrot cake recipe in the oven right now for a “test run” for my daughter’s first birthday next month. Ill report back!

  15. Dawn Lee says

    Elana, Thank you so much for your site. I just have the most basic question. Which brand of cream cheese is safe for me to use? Thank you so much for your time! Dawn

  16. Stacie says

    Hi, I tried this recipe for frosting for my little girl’s 3rd birthday. We absolutely loved it!! It is now my favorite icing recipe. I plan to make it again for my husband’s birthday this weekend. Thank you!

  17. Jenn says

    I made this tonight to put on Elana’s Carrot Cake made into cupcakes (which were fabulous!) and it turned out great! I’d suggest beating some of the honey into the cream to make sure it’s stabalized if you’re thinking about keeping it around, but it all blended well and was very tasty. It was a great cream cheese taste with the smoothness of the cream, a keeper to be sure! We actually divided this into thirds and tinted it so the kids could have colored frosting:) Thanks for much for the recipe!

    • Jenn says

      Beating honey into the cream didn’t seem to make a shelf life difference, so disregard that bit (though I did use honey instead of Avage and it worked fine). I did a test run (and ate it with a spoon, I LOVE this frosting) and waited to see how long it would last before seperating. At about 3 days it started to weep slightly. I made Elana’s carrot cake for a birthday cake, and made this the morning of to give it time to set in the fridge. The frosting held well overnight on the counter, as we had it for breakfast the next day! Maybe shouldn’t have, but we did, and it was fine.

  18. colleen says

    Hi Elana,
    You have so many great recipes.
    I’m going to make your cream cheese frosting for my son’s first birthday “banana bread” cake on Saturday. I wanted to make the frosting ahead of time, but I don’t want it to go bad, knowing there will be leftovers for a few days too eat too. How far in advance would you recommend making the frosting? on Friday? or Thurs? Wed? Thanks so much for your wonderful recipe and for your help too!

  19. Bethany says

    Hi Elana,

    I want to make a carrot cake with this frosting. Should I frost the cake and then leave it in the fridge for several hours to make it really set? Or should I ice it last minute? What do you recommend for this concoction. :)

    I love your site! It’s so refreshing to see other people out there using healthier ingredients.

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