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This cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar will knock your socks off. It’s so good, so simple, and sweetened with a touch of honey (a natural sweetener).
This recipe is really very simple, and it doesn't involve dumping a bucketful (okay, not really a bucketful, but most recipes call for 2-3 cups) of powdered sugar into the mixing bowl. Instead, we use a little honey to add the perfect amount of sweetness for this frosting.
In the great debate of, “Which is better buttercream or cream cheese frosting?”, I’m on Team: Cream Cheese Frosting. All day every day, my friend.
I've spent years in my baking experiments trying to reduce the sugar in baked goods.
Before I started this blog, I would regularly halve the sugar in cookie recipes because they all just seemed over-the-top sweet.
Most frostings from the store (or on other blogs) are over-the-top sweet for me and my family. This frosting recipe is the perfect amount of sweetness.
I hope you enjoy it like we do!
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- Mixer - Stand mixer or hand mixer can do that trick.
- Rubber spatula - For mixing your ingredients and the bonus part is that they won't scratch the surfaces of bowls, dishes and pans.
- Bowl - Or use the bowl with your stand mixer if you're using it.
Ingredients Used in This recipe
- Unsalted butter - We love using grass fed butter for all things - this recipe included.
- Cream cheese - Use your favorite brand. It gives the frosting a slight tang.
- Honey - This recipe uses honey (a natural sweetener) to add sweetness to your cream cheese frosting (no powdered sugar needed).
- Vanilla extract - Enhances the flavor of your cream cheese frosting.
How to Make This Cream Cheese Frosting Without Powdered Sugar (with honey)
When making this frosting, it’s essential that the butter and the cream cheese are brought to room temperature before trying to mix them.
If they’re not, you’ll likely end up with lumps in your frosting - which are annoying when you’re trying to decorate your cake. They’re also really hard to get rid of once they’re there.
Pro tip on bringing the cream cheese and butter to room temp:
If you want to speed up the process, put a warm bowl or cup over the butter and cream cheese and set it on the counter. This will shorten your waiting time significantly.
Once your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature (this will take about an hour), you can make the frosting.
Lucky for you, this is a SUPER simple recipe.
- Mix all ingredients in your stand mixer or with a rubber spatula and a bowl
- Mix until smooth
- Frost your cake, cookies, or brownies
What's wrong with powdered sugar?
"What's the problem with powdered sugar?", you might ask...well, powdered sugar, also known as confectioner's sugar, is a finely ground sugar that is often used in baking (especially frostings).
In every frosting recipe I've seen that uses powdered sugar, a LOT of powered sugar is required. And, while I believe sugar is okay in moderation, I don't love the overly sweet flavor from frostings made with powdered sugar.
You don't have to look far to know the health problems associated with eating too much sugar. That article has a big list, and I'm sure there are more :).
FAQ & Troubleshooting Your Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll answer as soon as possible. Here are answers to common questions I've gotten.
Some websites say cream cheese frosting can be left on the counter (on a cake or off) for 8 hours before it needs to be refrigerated. Other sources say after two hours it should be put in the fridge.
We've left ours out closer to the 8 hour mark (maybe more). It's about what you're comfortable with, so make the decision based on how YOU feel about it.
This frosting will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days, or you can freeze it for 1-3 months. To freeze it, simply put it in an airtight container (we love our glass storage containers).
This recipe uses honey instead of powdered sugar. Some sources on the internet say that granulated sugar can be used in a little reduced quantity, but I wouldn't recommend it, as it will be gritty. Depending on the recipe, you may be able to use maple syrup also.
Here's a chocolate frosting recipe that also doesn't use powdered sugar.
As seen in this pictures on this page, the frosting worked really well for piping. Let me be clear that I am not a professional baker, but I like to decorate cakes and make them look pretty.
I've seen recipes that use cornstarch to thicken the frosting, if necessary, but I didn't have any trouble with it. You can also stick the frosting in the fridge for a few minutes to thicken it up.
In order to avoid the dreaded lumpy cream cheese frosting, you’ll want to make sure the cream cheese and butter are both at room temperature before mixing them together.
The gummy-ness can also be caused by over-mixing. If you end up with lumps in your frosting, don't over-mix it! Instead, let the frosting warm completely and try to mix it again. The reason the lumps are there are because it's not room temp!
If you’re looking for a yummy way to use this cream cheese frosting (other than just eating it by the spoonful :)) here are some ideas for you:
- Use it to frost cakes & cupcakes: I used it on this chocolate cake recipe, we also love it on carrot cake/cupcakes (recipe coming soon).
- Frost cookies - like these double chocolate almond cookies, or ginger chocolate chip cookies
- On brownies. Frost your brownies with this honey cream cheese frosting for a real treat. These are my favorite healthy brownies.
- And, if you want another naturally sweetened frosting recipe - you've GOT to try this chocolate frosting.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 8 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
1. Let butter and cream cheese come to room temperature before starting to mix together
2. Add all ingredients into bowl & mix with rubber spatula or into the bowl of your stand mixer
3. Mix until combined and lumps are gone
- When making this frosting, it’s essential that the butter and the cream cheese are brought to room temperature before trying to mix them. If you want to speed up the process, put a warm bowl or cup over the butter and cream cheese and set it on the counter. This will shorten your waiting time significantly.
- This frosting will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days, or you can freeze it for 1-3 months. To freeze it, simply put it in an airtight container (we love our glass storage containers).
- If you end up with lumps in your frosting, don't over-mix it! Instead, let the frosting warm completely and try to mix it again. The reason the lumps are there are because it's not room temp!