Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

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Light, fluffy and rich Healthy easy  Cream Cheese Frosting made with Greek yogurt and maple syrup. Amazing on carrot cake, banana bread, and pancakes! Can I be honest here? This cream cheese frosting tastes like straight up cheesecake. I mean, I could eat it by the spoonful. Correction—I did eat it by the spoonful.

There are great health benefits of Cream Cheese,this cheese is the combination of milk and cream, giving it a creamy texture. Mainly used as a topping on bagels, bagels with cream cheese is a popular breakfast dish.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

Would you like some Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with that frosting? Today’s frosting recipe is made with pure maple syrup rather than cups on cups of powdered sugar. We’re winning already! I’m the kind of gal who likes tangy, creamy frosting rather than the overly sweet kind that makes your teeth hurt. I think the former complements baked goods like carrot cake or pancakes so much better. I also like how this frosting turns out “whipped” and fluffy-like. Some cream cheese frostings are super thick, but I find that this recipe has just the right spreadable texture. The yogurt helps thin it out while also contributing to that beloved tanginess.

Which Cream Cheese to Use

I recommend full fat brick cream cheese all the way, baby. It offers the best smooth texture and velvety mouthfeel. You want the block of cream cheese versus kinds that are already whipped or in tubs, as those have more water.

When it comes to the yogurt, it doesn’t have to be Greek, although that’s what I used since I prefer the thicker styles. The higher the fat content, the richer the cream cheese will be. I used Fage 2% Greek yogurt.

Why is Cream Cheese Frosting Runny?

It shouldn’t be! If you use a cream cheese spread or whipped cream cheese in a tub versus brick-style, there will be more moisture and you may end up with runny frosting.

Bricks have the lowest water content for nice and thick cream cheese frosting.

How to Soften Cream Cheese

Why use room temperature cream cheese, you ask? If you beat cream cheese when it’s still cold, the frosting will have small lumps and the consistency won’t be as smooth.

1. To soften slowly: Unwrap the cream cheese from the foil. Place it on a plate and let it sit at room temperature on the counter for an hour.

2. To soften quickly: Unwrap the cream cheese, discard the foil, and set it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 20 seconds. It should not feel hot. If it’s too warm, the frosting may be runny.

Tips for Sweetener Options

I find that this is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, but you can easily make it sweeter or less sweet to suit your preferences by adding more or less sweetener.

sing sweetened versus plain yogurt will also make it sweeter.

Maple syrup: My favorite liquid sweetener of all time. I get the big jug at Costco. You can also find it locally! It brings fabulous flavor and just enough sweetness to this recipe.

Honey: You can definitely use honey here if you’d prefer. I find honey has a more distinct flavor versus just adding sweetness, though.

Agave nectar: This would work just fine here.

How to Serve Cream Cheese Frosting

1. On baked oatmeal: I first created this recipe with my Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal in mind. Divine!

2. On pancakes: I know from experience that this frosting is quite magical atop a fluffy stack on Favorite Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes, these Orange Pancakes, or these Vegan Pancakes.

3. On muffins or banana bread: I love it paired with these Fluffy Pumpkin Muffins, Banana Blueberry Muffins, and Lemon Blueberry Muffins.

4. On cookies: I even smeared some on these Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yep, I went there.

Frosting on, sweet friends!

We love this lightened up cream cheese frosting recipe so much because it’s lower in both sugar and calorie than classic cream cheese frosting, but tastes JUST as good!

This recipe is made with all-natural sugar, part Greek yogurt, and is naturally gluten-free! Keep reading to learn how to make it.

Ingredients

All you need are 4 simple ingredients to make the most delicious frosting out there!

  • Cream cheese – feel free to use nonfat for full-fat. Both work!
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt – for this recipe, we used nonfat Greek yogurt, but if you’re a full-fat kind of person feel free to use that!
  • Maple syrup – maple syrup is our favorite all-natural sweetener, especially for this recipe because it’s warm and sweet!
  • Vanilla extract – every dessert recipe deserves a splash of vanilla.

flavor tip

Want flavored frosting? Try using a flavored cream cheese such as strawberry or raspberry. Or, you can also try adding a little jam to your frosting, too.

How to Make Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting

Our healthy cream cheese frosting recipe only takes 10 minutes to put together! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Then, use your hand mixer to whip all of the ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Use immediately on your favorite cakes and breads.

Want some quick tips on how to soften cream cheese? Check out this post from our sister site, The Cheese Knees.

Want to turn your frosting into a glaze?

Looking to turn your healthy cream cheese frosting into more of a drippy glaze? Simply add a little bit more maple syrup OR almond milk/milk in order to thin it out to reach your desired consistency.

What to Use Your Frosting On

From cupcakes, to muffins, to loaves, use this healthy cream cheese frosting on anything and everything! Here are some of our fav baked goods to try it on:

  • Healthy Pumpkin Cake (pictured in the first photo!)
  • Healthy Carrot Cake
  • Iced Oatmeal Cookies
  • Apple Cake
  • Cherry Cobbler Bars
  • Fruit Pizza

Flavor Variations

This is such a great base recipe for cream cheese frosting. Here are some ideas to really take it up a notch!

  • jam/preserve
  • mini chocolate chips
  • peanut butter/nut butter
  • orange zest

Storage

Store leftover Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To use after refrigeration: bring frosting to room temperature. Then, add a little bit of milk and use your hand mixer to whip it until smooth.

Can you freeze cream cheese frosting?

We don’t recommend freezing cream cheese frosting because it is made from dairy. Often times when dairy thaws, it curdles and/or thaws with a weird texture.

Health Benefits Of Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is typically made from cream but can also be made with a combination of cream and milk

First, the cream is heat-treated by pasteurization to kill any potentially dangerous microorganisms. Then, lactic acid bacteria are introduced, making the cheese mildly acidic

From there, fat droplets from the cream are broken into smaller and more uniform drops, creating a smooth product

Additives like carob bean gum and carrageenan thicken the cheese. Finally, a clotting enzyme — derived from either a plant or animal source — is included to improve the firmness

In the United States, cream cheese must contain at least 33% fat and have less than 55% moisture by weight. However, in some countries, higher fat content may be required

SUMMARY

Cream cheese is made from cream or a combination of cream and milk. It becomes slightly acidic from the addition of lactic acid bacteria.

Nutrition

Many types of cream cheese are available for purchase, including regular, double-cream, whipped, and flavored.

Therefore, its nutritional profile depends on the specific product and brand.

In general, 1 ounce (28 grams) of regular cream cheese provides :

  • Calories: 99
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Vitamin A: 10% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 5% of the DV

Cream cheese is high in fat and contains a small amount of carbs and protein. It’s a good source of vitamin A and contributes some riboflavin (vitamin B2).

Whipped cream cheese contains less fat and fewer calories per serving

SUMMARY

Cream cheese is high in fat and a good source of vitamin A and riboflavin.

Benefits

Aside from being a tasty spread, cream cheese has some health benefits.

1. Good source of vitamin A

Cream cheese contains a significant amount of vitamin A.

Just 1 ounce (28 grams) contains 87 mg of vitamin A, which is 10% of the DV This vitamin is fat-soluble and particularly important for your vision

It also supports your immune system and helps protect the integrity of many tissues, such as your skin, lungs, and intestines

2. Supplies antioxidants

Cream cheese is a source of several antioxidants that defend your body against unstable molecules called free radicals. When levels of free radicals get too high in your body, it can lead to cellular damage.

Cream cheese contains small amounts of carotenoid antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are especially important for eye health

3. May have probiotic effects

Cream cheese is made using a starter culture from lactic acid bacteria.

Some of these strains of bacteria are probiotics, which are friendly bacteria that offer health benefits 

For example, some Lactobacillus species support your immune system by reducing inflammatory response, while other species stimulate your immune system when exposed to infection

In an 8-week study, mice that ate Lactococcus chungangensis cream cheese showed increased levels of beneficial short-chain fatty acids and an improved bacteria profile in their stools .

Short-chain fatty acids are the main energy source for colon cells. They also reduce inflammation in your body, which may benefit people with certain inflammatory disorders

These results are promising, but human studies are needed.

Since heating kills probiotics, look for cream cheese with a “live and active cultures” label, which means that the product boasts living probiotics.

4. Low in lactose

Lactose is a type of sugar found in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Yet, some people are unable to digest this sugar. This condition is called lactose intolerance, which can cause symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea

People with this condition should limit or avoid dairy products.

However, research shows that most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate small amounts of up to 12 grams of lactose per meal

As cream cheese contains less than 2 grams of lactose per ounce (28 grams), people with lactose intolerance may not have trouble with it

SUMMARY

Cream cheese is a great source of vitamin A, low in lactose, and a good source of antioxidants. It may also have probiotic effects.

Possible downsides

Despite its health benefits, cream cheese may have some downsides.

Low in protein

Cream cheese contains a small amount of protein, with a typical 1-ounce (28-gram) portion providing less than 2 grams. This is significantly less than many other forms of soft cheese, including brie and goat cheese

Protein is essential to maintaining muscle mass and strength. It also helps you feel full after meals

Thus, you should eat plenty of other good sources of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, and other dairy foods.

Short shelf-life

Cream cheese has a relatively short shelf-life.

Factors like processing, packaging, and storage affect how long it stays fresh.

Although pasteurization kills dangerous microorganisms, its high water content still poses a risk of microbial contamination

In general, cream cheese should be eaten within 2 weeks of opening and kept in the fridge .

To reduce microbial growth, spread it with a clean knife and always reseal the packaging. Cream cheese should be finished by the expiration date and discarded if you notice an unusual smell or mold

SUMMARY

Cream cheese is low in protein and must be eaten within 2 weeks after opening.

A versatile ingredient 

Cream cheese is extremely versatile.

Its creamy texture makes it a popular ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. While mainly used as a spread on bagels, crackers, and toast, it’s also added to fillings for sandwiches or baked potatoes, as well as creamy sauces

It can even be paired with smoked salmon as a scrumptious snack or starter.

What’s more, it’s popular for cheesecakes and other desserts like brownies and cookies

SUMMARY

Cream cheese is a popular spread that’s also used in baked goods, such as cheesecakes.

The bottom line

Cream cheese is a versatile dairy spread.

It’s a good source of vitamin A and doesn’t provide much lactose. However, it’s low in protein and high in fat and calories, so it’s best to use it in moderation.

Notably, versions like whipped cream cheese are lower in fat and calories.

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