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This luscious and creamy, not too sweet, whipped cream cheese frosting for piping is stable at room temperature. It holds piped decorations beautifully — or simply spread it.

chocolate cupcakes with stable whipped cream cheese frosting for piping, and frosting in a piping bag
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Why this recipe works

If you’ve been looking for the perfect cream cheese frosting for piping, this is the one. Here’s why it works:

  • Mixing the butter and powdered sugar together first coats the sugar molecules with fat. This prevents the sugar from drawing the moisture out of the cream cheese and making the frosting too loose.
  • A tiny bit of unflavored gelatin sets the frosting just enough, ensuring stability in virtually all environments.
  • Thanks to the mixing technique and the gelatin, you don’t need to add a shocking amount of powdered sugar to stiffen the frosting. This ratio tastes great — sweet but not cloying — letting all the flavors shine through.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Regular, full-fat block cream cheese creates the right texture. Quality really matters, especially to prevent clumping. I always use Philadelphia — use your favorite top-shelf brand.
  • Use unflavored powdered gelatin, such as Knox. You won’t notice its presence in the frosting other than being delighted by its cooperativeness.
  • I like to use a good quality cultured, salted butter to add the tiniest bit of additional dimension to the flavor of the frosting. It doesn’t taste salty at all — it just tempers the sweetness and heightens all the flavors.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make stable whipped cream cheese frosting for piping. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl or a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Add the butter and mix until very smooth. This takes a while — it will be crumbly for several minutes before becoming smooth.
  2. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Bloom and then heat the gelatin to boiling in the microwave (which takes only a few seconds). Let cool slightly before beating thoroughly into the frosting.
  4. Chill for two hours before piping or spreading.
chocolate cupcakes with stable whipped cream cheese frosting for piping, and frosting in a piping bag

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make a chocolate version?

Yes! Simply sift in 1/2 cup (42 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder along with the powdered sugar. No further changes necessary.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You can make this frosting up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge, or right in the piping bag. Pull it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to use it. I don’t recommend freezing it.

How to use it

This frosting is ideal for anything from cupcakes to small wedding cakes, whenever you’re looking for a stable, piping-friendly option. Try it with:

More favorite frosting recipes

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chocolate cupcakes with stable whipped cream cheese frosting for piping, and frosting in a piping bag
4.52 from 35 votes

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting for Piping

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This luscious and creamy, not too sweet frosting is stable at room temperature. It holds piped decorations beautifully — or simply spread it.
Prep: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups (227 grams) powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (112 grams) salted butter, at cool room temperature (see note 1)
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cool water

Instructions 

  • Sift the powdered sugar into a very large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle.
  • Add the butter and mix, on low at first and increasing speed as you go, until smooth and creamy. This will take several minutes at least. (It will stay crumbly for quite a while before smoothing out.)
  • Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  • Pour the water into a 1-cup glass measuring cup or similar-size microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin overtop. Stir to dissolve and then leave it alone for about a minute. It will form a cloudy, solid-looking mass.
  • Place in microwave and heat until boiling, which happens very quickly. In my strong microwave, it takes only about ten seconds.
  • Stir well and cool slightly.
  • With the mixer running, slowly stream gelatin into frosting and beat until fully incorporated. I like to use a rubber spatula for a final mix after beating, just to be sure everything is well-combined.
  • Chill for at least two hours before using.

Notes

  1. Take the butter out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to use it. It should be slightly softened but not too warm.
  2. Use a good-quality, full-fat bar cream cheese like Philadelphia. You can leave it at room temperature for an hour along with the butter or use it straight from the fridge. Lesser-quality cream cheese may clump, especially if used cold, so I don’t recommend it.
  3. For a chocolate version, simply sift in 1/2 cup (42 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder along with the powdered sugar. No further changes necessary.
  4. You can make this frosting up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge, or right in the piping bag. Pull it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to use it. I don’t recommend freezing it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 118kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 125mg, Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sweet Spreads
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.52 from 35 votes (35 ratings without comment)

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8 Comments

  1. Hello Carolyn, Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It’s sitting in the fridge as I write. I feel it needs a bit more sugar, maybe another 3/4 cups or so. Do you think it would be too dense/hard if using more sugar and the same amount of gelatine?

    1. Hi Mirna, next time I’d reduce the gelatin a bit if you’re increasing the sugar for extra sweetness. Maybe 3/4 teaspoon? But this time I think it would be okay to add more sugar — it should still be pipeable.

  2. Hi there! Great recipe definitely a keeper for me. Clarification, in your recipe card it says, 8 ounces (170 grams) cream cheese, but 8 oz equals to 254 somewhat grams and it’s a whole block?

      1. Hi! Thank you so much for catching that — I updated the metric measurement. Not sure what happened there. And yes, I’d recommend 2x-ing the gelatin for a double batch.

  3. Hi Carolyn
    Your frosting looks great, here in Ireland you cannot get block Philadelphia cheese the one in the tub had not got enough structure and I cannot get it anywhere don’t know why Kraft stoped supplying it any suggestions I would be greatful
    Greetings from dublin ireland
    Patricia obrien

    1. Hi Patricia, ugh, that’s frustrating. You’re right that the cream cheese in the tub isn’t a good choice for frosting, even with gelatin in the recipe. If you’re looking for the tanginess of a cream cheese frosting, you could experiment with incorporating some sour cream (soured cream) into a traditional buttercream frosting like this one. I’d imagine you could use about 60 grams, and omit the milk. Good luck! https://umamigirl.com/classic-buttercream-frosting-recipe/.

    2. If you look and google you can make you’re own cream cheese with a food processor if you can’t get it in your area.