Smooth, Lush Cream Cheese Frosting (Peanut Butter & Nutella Variations)

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Cream cheese frosting, not unlike a lot of American frostings, is made with confectioner’s sugar. Confectioner’s sugar, also knows as powdered sugar and 10x (indicating the finer crystals) usually contains a bit of cornstarch to improve the consistency and prevent caking that may occur.

IMG_9200 Cross Section Closeup

Confectioner’s sugar does not dissolve properly because of the way it is made, and thus, when used to make frosting, leaves a grainy finish, most unappealing in something that is meant to have a smooth mouthfeel. Alternatively, the European buttercreams, such as Swiss Meringue and Italian Meringue Buttercreams are made with granulated sugar that dissolves completely into the finished product. These buttercreams are amazingly smooth and lush but take quite a few steps to complete.

This cream cheese frosting is made with granulated sugar. Beating it with room temperature butter and cream cheese for about 4 minutes allows the sugar to completely dissolve leaving only the wonderful flavor and taste of cream cheese frosting – lush and satiny. It is very crucial, however to mix the sugar with room temperature ingredients to ensure the sugar dissolves properly.

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You’ll see that I’ve added confectioners sugar as an optional ingredient in this recipe to thicken the frosting to your desired consistency. It’s mixed in at the very end and the small amount compared to the amount of frosting you are adding it to makes it undetectable in the final frosting. If you want to leave out the confectioner’s sugar, altogether, just refrigerate the frosting for up to 1/2 hour to thicken it up.

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With the exception of a little bit time for beating the ingredients, this recipe is easy, quick, and the results are so much better than traditional cream cheese frosting recipes.

IMG_9168 Duo of Frostings

Peanut Butter (or Nutella) Lush Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe by: Leelabean
(Yields about 4 cups)
1 c granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, *room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, *room temperature
1/2 c peanut butter OR 1/2 c Nutella
1/2 t vanilla extract
up to 4 T confectioner’s sugar (to thicken, if necessary)

*Note: Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This is crucial for allowing the sugar to dissolve completely.

Beat the sugar and butter together until combined. Add the cream cheese. Beat this mixture for about 5 minutes until it gets fluffy and when you rub a bit of frosting between your fingers, it is nearly completely smooth, not grainy.

IMG_9160 Plain Cream Cheese Frosting

Add the vanilla extract and either the peanut butter or Nutella. Continue to beat for 1-2 more minutes or until the sugar has completely dissolved.

IMG_9163 CC Frosting with Nutella

You may add up to 4 T of confectioner’s sugar to thicken up the frosting to your desired consistency without altering the smooth quality of the frosting. Beat the confectioner’s sugar for another minute to fully incorporate it.

IMG_9161 Peanut Butter Frosting

IMG_9166 Nutella Frosting

IMG_9167 Duo of Frosting with Jars

Sweetly ♥ Yours,



  1. […] is the frosting recipe we used from We didn’t use the confectioner’s sugar because we didn’t have any. We made the […]

  2. […] then took advice from this blog on making a smooth & fluffy cream cheese frosting without using icing sugar, again with a few […]

  3. Jill Milliken says:

    This frosting is amazing!! I’ve used it twice so far and both times it came out perfect. Easy to understand and follow directions. Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Kathy says:

    I completely disagree with your thoughts on confectioner’s sugar being used for frosting. I make an excellent cream cheese frosting using it and I’m always asked for the recipe. It’s light, fluffy and never grainy. The trick is to beat a lot of air into the frosting.

  5. […] for frosting you ask? I had my heart set on a cream cheese frosting, and I followed the Lush Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from LeelaBean Bakes!, putting my own twist on it by grinding up some coffee beans and […]

  6. […] Smooth Peanut Butter Frosting from Leelabean – Leelabean Bakes […]

  7. ddiazi says:

    Thank you so much for taking your time to write this blog. My frosting came out beautifully with your easy to understand step by step directions. This is my first time making frosting and I believe I nailed it! Now to decorate the cupcakes That’s another mission.

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