Wonderfully creamy keto cream cheese frosting is quickly whipped by hand. From start to finish, it takes about 10 minutes to make.
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, and I do like the tang that cream cheese adds (but I 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 so delicious. 🧁
This tasty frosting has only three ingredients. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Cream cheese: full-fat or reduced-fat. Both work, although full-fat tastes better.
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.
The recipe card below lists the complete instructions for making a keto cream cheese frosting. 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's an overview of the 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 a handheld electric whisk.
A granulated sweetener will have a grainy mouthfeel. It's important to use a powdered sweetener if not using stevia.
Frequently asked questions
Traditional recipes call for lots of powdered sugar relative to 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!
As a matter of fact, 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.
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.
Yes. I often do. In fact, in the video below I used Neufchatel cheese, which is essentially reduced-fat cream cheese.
The best way to vary this recipe is to use different flavor extracts. Vanilla is the classic choice, obviously. But depending on your personal preferences and on what you'll be using the frosting for, other tasty options include coconut extract, orange extract, and almond extract.
If you use an extract other than vanilla, I suggest you use just ½ teaspoon.
I usually use this frosting 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.
You can also keep the frosting itself in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Give it another good mix before using it.
I usually use this frosting to frost keto carrot cake and keto chocolate cupcakes (when I don't want the peanut butter frosting). It's also very good on top of this chocolate mug cake and these keto cupcakes.
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Easy Keto Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese cubed, soft
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon stevia glycerite (equals ½ 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 it 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.