Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Perfectly creamy without being overly sweet, this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect for all of your fall baking needs!

angled shot of chocolate cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting with text overlay for facebook


 

I’ve decided that my favorite frosting ever is cream cheese. So it was no surprise when I decided to transform my savory pumpkin cream cheese into frosting form to use on my Pumpkin Spice Roll.

Cream Cheese Frosting vs. Buttercream Frosting

The key difference between the two is, you guessed it, cream cheese. Buttercream is what you are probably most familiar with. It has a base of butter (and sometimes shortening) and powdered sugar, and that’s what gives it it’s firm consistency.

However, when it comes to cream cheese frostings , the cream cheese because the stabilizer. Or sometimes like in this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, it uses a combination of both butter and cream cheese.

overhead shot of pumpkin cream cheese frosting piped onto chocolate cupcakes

What You’ll Need

Just a couple of ingredients are needed.

  • Unsalted Butter– Well softened! If you use a salted butter, omit the additional salt.
  • Pumpkin flavored cream cheese – This is a savory cream cheese that we are about to make sweet. I make my own from homemade pumpkin puree, but feel free to grab an artionsal brick from the grocery store.
  • Vanilla Extract– Use pure extract or vanilla paste. Both add warm richness to the sweet frosting.
  • Fine sea salt– To balance the sweet aspects. I like sea salt because it has a less salt and less metallic aftertaste than iodized or table salt.
  • Powdered sugar- To give the frosting body and help it keep it shape.
overhead shot of pumpkin cream cheese in mixing bowl

How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Making it easy! Just plan ahead to chill it a bit before using.

  1. Beat the butter until smooth. Add half of the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the rest of the cream cheese, along with vanilla and salt.
  2. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, blending until smooth. Add 2 more cups of the powdered sugar and blend until not powder remains. Check the frosting to see if it is stiff or needs more powdered sugar. Add one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.
angled shot of pumpkin cream cheese frosting on beaters

Tips for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve ever made frosting (whether buttercream or cream cheese) this recipe will be a no brainer for you. It’s as simple as combining the ingredients, but I do have a few tips to help you out.

  • Make sure that your butter is well softened! You definitely don’t want it melted, but you want it soft enough to be fully incorporated into the rest of the ingredients. No one wants big chunks of butter in their frosting! I like to let mine get to room temperature rather than microwaving (you don’t want to accidentally melt it!) but because that takes longer, you can certainly just soften in the microwave if you’re in a rush.
  • Make sure that your pumpkin cream cheese is softened as well, for the same reasons as above.
  • Make sure to refrigerate for at least an hour after making. Frosting pipes (or spreads) much better when it has a stiffer consistency.
  • After you’ve frosted or filled your cake with this pumpkin cream cheese frosting, make sure to store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. Because cream cheese is a dairy product, it needs to stay refrigerated.

Ways to Use Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Anything that you’d use regular frosting or cream cheese frosting on, can be substituted for pumpkin cream cheese frosting.

Cakes, cupcakes, breads, cookies, pies… eating it straight out of the bowl with a spoon. We won’t judge!

Here are some ideas on what to use it on:

My favorite way to use this frosting is to put it into a piping bag with a pretty tip on it. It’s an easy way to make your desserts look way fancier then they actually are!

If you don’t have the piping bags or an icing tip, you can simply cut the corner off of a ziplock bag and achieve the same end result. There are so many fun ways to frost a cake!

If you’re adding your pumpkin cream cheese frosting to a cake roll, an angled spatula or even a rubber spatula would work well, too.

Variations

There are a few ways to switch up this simple pumpkin cream cheese frosting. 

  • Extract – For a different flavor profile, try changing the extract. Almond extract is perfect if you like the flavor of nuts, or for a maple flavor, try adding maple extract.
  • Sweetness – For more sweet flavor, add a touch of honey or a bit of brown sugar.
  • Chocolate – Add texture and chocolatey flavor by folding in mini chocolate chips. Try dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or bittersweet.
  • Different textures – To create a different texture, add crushed nuts or sprinkles.
angled shot of chocolate cupcakes topped with cookie crumbles

Storage and Freezing

Make ahead: The pumpkin cream cheese frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Be sure to let the frosting come to room temperature before using.

Refrigerator: Store pumpkin cream cheese frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Freezer: Freeze frosting for up to 3 months in a resealable bag or freezer-safe container.

collage of pumpkin cream cheese frosting for pinterest

More Fall Desserts

saucepan of homemade pumpkin butter

Homemade Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter is an easy spread that can be used on everything from pancakes to dinner rolls and everything between! Make extra to give as presents, hostess gifts or party favors during the fall months.
See The Recipe!
overhead slice of pumpkin cheesecake with caramel and whipped cream

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Traditional pumpkin cheesecake topped with salty pumpkin seeds and pumpkin spiced whipped cream.
See The Recipe!
angled shot of slice taken out of pumpkin mousse pie

Pumpkin Mousse Pie Recipe

This EASY Pumpkin Mousse Pie combines a buttery graham cracker crust w/ an incredible pumpkin-infused fluffy mousse that everyone will love!
See The Recipe!
angled shot of chocolate pumpkin cupcakes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

4.93 from 13 votes
Perfectly creamy without being overly sweet, this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect for all of your fall baking needs!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 3 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Beat the butter until smooth. Add half of the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the rest of the cream cheese, along with vanilla and salt.
  • Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, blending until smooth. Add 2 more cups of the powdered sugar and blend until not powder remains. Check the frosting to see if it is stiff or needs more powdered sugar. Add one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.
  • Store any baked goods using cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!

Notes

This recipe will frost a 9×13 cake, two layer 8-inch round cake or 24 cupcakes. 
Cream cheeses and butters vary greatly between brands and this, so will the water content and amount of powdered sugar needed. Frosting will also be a little loose due to the cream cheese and/or butter being softened. Feel free to chill the frosting to set before using if it feels too thin. 

Nutrition

Calories: 1086 kcal, Carbohydrates: 163 g, Protein: 5 g, Fat: 49 g, Saturated Fat: 29 g, Cholesterol: 143 mg, Sodium: 443 mg, Potassium: 104 mg, Sugar: 159 g, Vitamin A: 1715 IU, Calcium: 81 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 1086
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cream cheese frosting, pumpkin cream cheese frosting
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
angled shot of chocolate cupcakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese frosting with text overlay for pinterest
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.93 from 13 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Jessica! Last year I made your pumpkin cream cheese frosting, but the recipe was different from this one. I was wondering if there was any way you could give me that recipe again? I want to try this new recipe as well, but I and my family absolutely loved the last one.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi CC- it is only a tad different- we changed the images for what we thought were prettier ones, but the actual recipe just has a tad more powdered sugar and salt- omit the salt and you should be back to the old one 🙂

      Happy holidays!

  2. I printed this recipe to make but wanted to know if I can substitute canned pumpkin puree and cream cheese in this recipe rather than using pumpkin cream cheese?

    1. Hi Rhonda! For sure- actually there is a recipe for pumpkin cream cheese (which is puree and cream cheese with some spices) right here 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I had no idea you could buy pumpkin flavored cream cheese ~ where has it been all my life, yum! I’m planning to whip this up to top some chocolate cupcake, I can’t wait!

  4. 5 stars
    Oh what a great idea, I can think of SO many cakes that would go with this, everything is better with pumpkin in it at this time of year! Thanks for the lovely recipe x

  5. 5 stars
    You’re so right about the butter needing to be soft before starting! I was patient and used that trick and it worked perfectly. So much easier and smoother. Thanks!