Skip to Content

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting for Brownies

Are you looking for a recipe for cream cheese frosting for brownies? The smooth, creamy frosting balances the fudgy texture of chocolatey brownies. Satisfy your chocolate cravings by spreading a thick layer of the frosting onto gooey brownies for a rich and decadent dessert.

Cream cheese in a small bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Calling all chocolate lovers, whether you slather it onto cakes, cupcakes, or brownies (of course), this cream cheese frosting for brownies is my go-to! The intense chocolate and espresso combine with tangy cream cheese for a full-bodied flavor that is the perfect finishing touch for fudgy chocolate brownies. Plus, it comes together in about 5 minutes!

What is Brownie Frosting Made Of?

  • Cream Cheese: Making frosting with full-fat cream cheese produces the sweetest, most decadent topping.
  • Butter: Butter thickens the frosting to make it spreadable.
  • Powdered Sugar: Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the other ingredients to prevent lumps from forming. 
  • Cocoa Powder: For brownie frosting, use Dutch process cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Espresso Powder: Mix the espresso powder into the chocolate cream cheese frosting for brownies to enrich the chocolate flavor with a deeper, richer chocolate flavor.
  • Heavy Cream: Include heavy cream to make the frosting light and fluffy.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhance the overall flavor of the dessert topping with vanilla extract.

Cream Cheese Frosting Flavor Variations

  • Make sweet cream cheese frosting by leaving out the cocoa and espresso powder.
  • Replace the cocoa and espresso with strawberries or strawberry puree to make strawberry cream cheese frosting. Similarly, you can use peanut butter instead of cocoa and espresso to make smooth cream cheese frosting with peanut butter.

Tools Used to Make this Recipe

Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for the creamiest results. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer will do.

How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Brownies

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Combine softened cream cheese and unsalted butter in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer for 1 minute.

Cream cheese and butter in a bowl.

Step 2: Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, heavy cream, and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until it is smooth and free of lumps.

Powdered sugar, cocoa powder, espresso, and other ingredients added to the bowl.

Tips for Making the Best Cream Cheese Frosting for Brownies

  • Let the butter and cream cheese come to room temperature. It’s hard to get extra creamy cream cheese frosting when the ingredients are cold.
  • Create a creamy base for the cream cheese frosting recipe by beating the butter and cream cheese together before adding the other ingredients.
  • Sift the powdered sugar before including it in the frosting for the best results. Taking the extra step helps to prevent lumps from forming for a smoother frosting.
  • Refrigerate your brownies for one hour and chill the frosting for at least 30 minutes before using it to frost the already cool brownies.

Searching for More Like This? 

If you love this recipe, try one of these dessert favorites!  

Cream cheese frosting spread onto brownies.

What to Put Cream Cheese Frosting On? 

Pair cream cheese frosting with your go-to brownie recipe, from homemade brownies to brownie mix. It’s also a classic topping for cupcakes and pairs well with vanilla and chocolate.

For extra decadence, frost between layers of cake, or you can use it as a topping or smear for cookies, pumpkin muffins, coffee cake, or banana bread. If you have any frosting leftover from making the fudgy brownies or another dessert, spoon it into a cute, small bowl and eat it with fresh fruit like strawberries or bananas.

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Do cream cheese brownies need to be refrigerated? Because of the dairy in the frosting, you should refrigerate brownies with cream cheese frosting. Store them in an airtight container for five days.
  • Freeze – If you already cut the brownies into squares, wrap each square in plastic wrap and transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag.
  • Thaw – Defrost the brownies with frosting in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Repurpose – Crumble the leftover brownies into milkshakes or sundaes, or use them to make cake pops.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you thicken cream cheese frosting for decorating?

In the end, if the cream cheese frosting isn’t as thick as you want, consider adding more powdered sugar, about ¼ cup. Powdered sugar naturally thickens frosting, but be sure to sift it as you add it, and only add a little at a time.

Take these steps beforehand to ensure the frosting has the consistency you’re going for. First, whip the frosting at high speed using your electric mixer until the frosting has the consistency you prefer.

My second advice is to chill the frosting before using it to decorate the brownies. Let it sit in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Allowing the cream cheese to firm up helps to thicken the frosting.

Does butter thicken cream cheese frosting?

Yes, adding butter to cream cheese frosting will thicken it. The higher fat content and firm texture of butter contribute to a thicker, creamier frosting that is easy to pipe or spread.

What is the difference between cream cheese frosting and cream cheese icing?

Many use cream cheese frosting and icing interchangeably, but their consistency and purpose differ slightly. Generally, ‘frosting’ refers to a thicker, more stable mixture to spread and pipe onto cakes, cupcakes, or brownies.

On the other hand, ‘icing’ is a thinner, pourable mixture you can drizzle over cinnamon rolls or scones. However, the terminology can vary, so it’s always best to check the specific recipe for the intended texture and use.

Both cream cheese frosting and icing use the same base ingredients: cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.

Do you have a basic brownie recipe?

Ingredients:
8 oz chocolate, semi-sweet
12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish with parchment paper.
2. Chop the chocolate into chunks. Melt half the chocolate in the microwave in 20-second intervals and reserve the other half.
3. Get a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer, then beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until the mixture becomes fluffy and light in color.
4. Whisk in the melted chocolate (make sure it’s not too hot, or the eggs will start to cook), then sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
5. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Be careful not to overmix, as this will cause the brownies to have a cakey texture.
6. Fold the remaining chocolate chunks into the mixture, then transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on how fudgy you like your brownies, then cool completely.

More Dessert Recipes:

Your Feedback is Valuable

Did you try this recipe? Consider leaving a ⭐️ rating and comment below. And for more healthy international recipes for everyday cooking, sign up to have recipes emailed right to you.

Cream cheese in a small bowl.

Cream Cheese Frosting for Brownies

Tressa Jamil
Combine rich chocolate and espresso with tangy cream cheese to make a decadent cream cheese frosting for brownies.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 165 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, (half a bar), room temperature
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
 
  • Combine softened cream cheese and unsalted butter in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer for 1 minute.
  • Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, heavy cream, and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until it is smooth and free of lumps.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Use room temperature ingredients to help them combine more easily for extra creamy cream cheese frosting.
  • Create a creamy base for the cream cheese frosting recipe by beating the butter and cream cheese together before adding the other ingredients.
  • Sift the powdered sugar before including it in the frosting for the best results. Taking the extra step helps to prevent lumps from forming for a smoother frosting.
  • Refrigerate your brownies for one hour and chill the frosting for at least 30 minutes before using it to frost the already cool brownies.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 165 kcal | Carbohydrates: 23 g | Protein: 3 g | Fat: 8 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 22 mg | Sodium: 62 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 21 g | Vitamin A: 4 IU | Vitamin C: 4 mg | Calcium: 5 mg | Iron: 6 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Melissa Wagner

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

This espresso cream cheese frosting is incredible! I used it to top my homemade brownies and the combo of chocolate, coffee, and tangy cream cheese was sheer perfection. It came together so easily in just 5 minutes and made the fudgiest, most decadent brownies. I can't wait to try this on other baked goods!

Liam M

Thursday 2nd of November 2023

Wow, this topping was so easy to make and came out just right!