Chocolate/Regular Cream Cheese Frosting [Sugar Free Option Available]

*Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova

Yield: ~2 cups Frosting


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1-3 cups powdered sugar (see notes section)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (if you want chocolate. Add during step 3)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • few pinches salt (optional)
  • pinch xantham gum (optional)
  • Milk (optional)

*Replacing the powdered sugar with the Swerve variant works well as a non-sugar option!


  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric whisk
  • Bowl scraper

Let’s Make It!

  1. If you haven’t already done so, ensure the butter and cream cheese is at room temperature. This can be done by putting them in the microwave under defrost/keep warm option briefly and watching it carefully.
  2. Place the butter and xanthan gum and whisk together at medium speed for around 2 minutes or until the butter reaches a thick creamy consistency.
  3. Add the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and continue to whip for 1-2 minutes until combined. Consider adding 1.5-2 cups of sugar initially and taste tasting, then adding more as needed. Scrape sides of bowl as need be.
  4. Add small amounts of milk and whisk again if you want a thinner consistency. Adding more sugar may also thicken/dry the frosting some.

Notes & Alternatives

  • Sugar effects the consistency. If you want a thick, pipeable frosting, aim for 2-3 cups of sugar. If you don’t care for that and want to cut down on sweetness, I have found that 1-1.5 cups satisfies those who aren’t fans of super sweet things, and it still works great for spreading on desserts like cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls! I have read that folks have used sour cream, whipping cream, and adjusted ratios to get that thick consistency and also cutting down on sweetness.
  • Frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for several months.
  • Different paddle attachments can be used for the frosting. I’ve had similar results using both whisk and paddle attachments.
  • If you’re using liquid food dyes, consider the possible change in consistency when you’re making the frosting.
  • I’ve personally used 1:1 ratios of butter and cream cheese (8 oz cream cheese with 8 oz butter) and have found that it still tastes great, although it has a more buttery taste. Do what you feel tastes best!
  • I have found that xanthan gum helps stabilize the consistency by keeping it both fluffy and creamy.
  • If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between cream cheese frosting and buttercream, aside from using primarily only butter in the former, one difference is that cream cheese frosting is thicker and less smooth, making it harder to spread around and thus less ideal for cakes. Aside from cake decorating however, cream cheese frosting is very versatile, you can use it for almost any baked good!


  • Cream cheese was first produced in New York by William Lawrence in 1873 by adding cream to Neufchatel.

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