Wonderfully creamy keto cream cheese frosting is quickly whipped by hand. There’s no need for powdered sugar! It’s beautifully thick and holds its shape well.
Cream cheese frosting is so delicious. I used to love it in my high-carb days, and I much prefer it to buttercream frosting. I just don’t really like butter in my frosting (but I do make an exception for chocolate frosting).
After transitioning to a low-carb diet, I wasn’t sure if you could make a keto version without powdered sugar. Happily, I discovered that you absolutely can! This frosting is thick, creamy, and delicious. 🧁
The ingredients you’ll need
This tasty frosting has only three ingredients (the exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
Cream cheese: full-fat or reduced-fat. Both work.
Vanilla extract: Try to use the real thing – pure vanilla extract – and not the artificially flavored stuff.
Sweetener: I use stevia. You can use a powdered sweetener instead if you wish.
How to make keto cream cheese frosting
The recipe card below has the complete instructions. The amounts listed make enough for six cupcakes or for a one-layer cake. For 12 cupcakes or for a two-layer cake, double the amount. Here are the basic steps:
Briefly microwave the cream cheese to soften it. Then add the sweetener and the vanilla.
Now mix! You can mix it in one bowl with a hand whisk, as long as you’re willing to whisk for a couple of minutes (hey, it’s a great workout for your arm!). Alternatively, use an electric whisk.
How to thicken frosting without powdered sugar
Traditional recipes call for lots of powdered sugar relative to the cream cheese.
This recipe, for example, from The Food Network, calls for 4 oz butter, 4 oz cream cheese, and 2 cups (!) of powdered sugar. 😮My recipe uses a quarter of this amount of sweetener, and it’s very sweet!
Sugar is very unhealthy, and it saddens me that we’ve grown accustomed to using so much of it. Before I embarked on a low-carb diet, my first step towards better eating was to cut the sugar in half in all my baked good recipes.
I was astonished to discover that these recipes were VERY sweet with just half the amount of sugar that I had previously used!
Sugar is cheap and accessible, and it gives baked goods moisture and volume, so we use it carelessly. We should really rethink this approach.
But back to the topic at hand. You don’t really need powdered sugar in this recipe. It won’t be as stiff as frostings with lots of powdered sugar, but it will be creamy and delicious and will hold its shape just fine.
I’ve been making this recipe with stevia and without powdered sugar for several years now, with absolutely no issues.
Should I add butter to keto cream cheese frosting?
Just like powdered sugar, butter is used to create a thicker, sturdier frosting. And just like powdered sugar, personally, I find it unnecessary.
If you wish, you can use my recipe with 4 oz cream cheese and 4 oz soft unsalted butter. Personally, I never use butter. I think the frosting tastes better without it. And as I said, it holds its shape very well.
Can I use reduced-fat cream cheese?
Yes. I often do. In fact, in the video below I used Neufchatel cheese, which is essentially reduced-fat cream cheese.
Keto purists will tell you that you shouldn’t use reduced-fat products in a keto recipe. But I like to keep dessert calories to a minimum so that they don’t displace more nutritious food in my diet.
So I often use reduced-fat products, as long as the fat isn’t replaced with sugar or starches.
How long can you store it?
I usually use it immediately to frost cakes or cupcakes, then store the finished product in a sealed container in the fridge. It’s been my experience that these frosted baked goods keep well when stored this way for 3-4 days.
How to use it?
Use this keto cream cheese frosting to top cakes or cupcakes. Or eat it with a spoon. 🙂
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Keto Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, cubed, soft
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoon stevia glycerite (equals 1/2 cup powdered sugar)
- If you need to soften your cream cheese, remove it from the wrap, cube it, and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 10-second sessions, until soft but not liquid.
- Add the vanilla and stevia. You can use a powdered sweetener instead of the stevia.
- Using a hand whisk, whisk vigorously, until the frosting is completely smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- If you prefer to use an electric whisk, start whisking on low speed until the mixture is uniform, then increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Spoon the frosting on top of six cupcakes and spread to frost the top, or use a piping bag. You can also use this frosting to frost a single-layer cake.