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Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

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This rich, thick, delicious Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect consistency for creating beautiful swirls on cupcakes!

I will be honest with you… I have never been a fan of cream cheese frosting.  I know, I said it.  I’m a crazy person because everyone loves cream cheese frosting, right?

The main reason I never liked it is because every recipe I tried was too soft, messy, and I couldn’t pipe beautiful swirls with the finished frosting.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

Doing a bit of research, I found that cream cheese frosting becomes too soft with a few things are done to it.

Tips for Perfectly Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

First, when too much sugar is added, the cream cheese frosting becomes very soft.

Second, when the frosting is over-mixed the cream cheese gets soft and loses its shape and firmness.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

Third, use butter that is soft enough to cream, but that is still a bit cool and not all the way room temperature.  (Does this make sense? It needs to be soft, but still a bit cold so that the cream cheese doesn’t get too warm while mixing.)

Finally, do not add milk unless your frosting is too stiff.  And even then mix a bit more before adding milk.

With all four of those things in mind, I set off to make the perfect pipeable cream cheese frosting.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

And you know what… I think I did!

This pipeable cream cheese frosting is firm, yet still creamy and smooth and is packed full of delicious cream cheese flavor!  My daughter has never been a fan of this kind of frosting, but after having this she requested it for her next birthday!

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

Let me know how this recipe works for you!

Cupcake Liners from Sweets & Treats Boutique.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

FAQ’s for this Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

Will this recipe work to pipe flowers?
Maybe.  Depends on how hot it is where you live.  If you live in a very warm climate, you’re likely to have softer frosting that won’t hold up to piping flowers.  With that said too… if you overwork the frosting that can also make it too soft and unusable for flowers.  My suggestion:  TRY IT and see if it works.

Can I pipe on the frosting the night before?
Absolutely.  Just keep the cupcakes chilled overnight to prevent any chance of melting or getting soft.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

What is the best way to store overnight? 
Chilled!  Make sure you’re keeping this in a container with a lid in a cold place.   I find that frosting and cupcakes sweat when in a box with a sealed lid, so I suggest putting them in a bakery box or covering lightly with plastic wrap.

I don’t have a stand mixer, can I use a hand mixer?
Yes, you always can.  It may just take a bit more patience to get it all mixed together.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

Cream Cheese Frosting Trivia

Cream cheese frosting recipes became popular in the 1960s, with the increasing availability of packaged cream cheese in supermarkets.

Some eastern European cultures, have cream cheese cakes and it could well have developed from this, and a lot earlier.

Cream cheese frosting is typically described as being lighter and tangier than buttercream. Individuals who prefer cream cheese frosting over buttercream often find buttercream to be too rich and sugary, and enjoy the tangy nature of the cream cheese as a balancing contrast to the sugar.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog
Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting | The JavaCupcake Blog

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 3 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This rich, thick, delicious Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect consistency for creating beautiful swirls on cupcakes!


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature (NOT spreadable - brick only)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 TBSP heavy cream (optional)


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  2. Mix in the salt and vanilla extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  3. One cup at a time, with the mixer on low-medium speed, add the sifted powdered sugar. Scrape the bowl after each cup making sure the sugar is completely combined before adding more.
  4. Once all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer to high for 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl and mix for 5-10 more seconds.
  5. At this point, check the consistency of the frosting. If it is too stiff to pipe, add up to 1 TBSP of heavy cream and mix on medium. Add the cream in small amounts, mix and check the consistency.
  6. Do not over beat or mix the frosting - the heat of the friction and beater will soften the frosting. There's a fine balance of mixing and cream that create the perfect pipeable cream cheese frosting.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thursday 14th of February 2019

There's no recipe attached to the blog...


Saturday 17th of November 2018

Hi, I always use this recipe for my cakes and cupcakes, but now that I've revisited your site there's no recipe card for this frosting anywhere on this page! Can someone please tell me what the ingredients and measurements are?


Monday 5th of November 2018

Where is the recipe? All I see are tips.


Monday 5th of November 2018

HELP! Is the Pipeable Cream Cheese frosting the same recipe as Jenn’s JavaCupcake Honey Cream Cheese Frosting? If not, I do not see the pipeable cream cheese frosting recipe posted or a link. Can you provide link in a reply??

Ashley Bjorneby

Monday 11th of June 2018

What kind of butter do you use? I never know what kind of butter I need, i use the Crisco butter but not sure if it's the one you use.


Thursday 27th of May 2021

@Ashley Bjorneby, Crisco is not butter. It is shortening. Purchase your butter from the dairy section of your grocery store.


Thursday 7th of June 2018

Does anyone know if the icing can be made the day before and stored to frost a naked cake the next day?

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