How To Fix Lumpy Cream Cheese Frosting?

Even the most experienced bakers encounter problems with their recipes. Whether you are a pro or a beginner, here are some simple tips on how to fix lumpy cream cheese frosting.

Finding annoying little lumps in your frosting is not the end of the world; it can still be used, and it could even taste delicious, but when you have put so much time and effort into making a cake, then decorating it with imperfect frosting probably won’t do.

Although it is a simple recipe, just overlooking a few basic things can easily result in a failure.

cake icing fail

Once you’ve covered the basics, you can add flavors or colors, depending on what you’re creating and what you’d like it to look like!

Make sure you’re making enough frosting to cover your cake or cupcakes!

So, before we go into troubleshooting and fixes, I will give you a deliciously rich and sweet cream cheese frosting recipe that is relatively foolproof without any lumps if you just follow the instructions.

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

cupcake with cream cheese frosting on top

(For up to 12 cupcakes or one medium-size cake)


  • Icing sugar (Sieved) 2 ½ cups
  • Softened and cut butter ½ a cup
  • Block of full-fat cream cheese 8oz
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp (optional)

How To Make It

  1. In a round-bottom mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Make sure you sift the powdered confectioner’s sugar on top, then mix until smooth and well combined.
  2. Once light and fluffy, then add in any food coloring that you like or additional flavors. If the food coloring you use is in powdered form, to prevent any lumps or pieces, sift that also.
  3. Beat until smooth, roughly around 5 minutes, but any longer, and the mixture may split and no longer be useable.
  4. Apply the frosting to a cooled cake and chill in the fridge to set. 

While you can mix the ingredients by hand, using a mixer will allow a consistent beating and save you lots of energy!

Although these instructions sound simple enough, we all know that sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan. Frosting can split, become runny, curdled, or lumpy!

How To Fix Lumpy Cream Cheese Frosting?

Firstly, identify what the lumps are within your mixture. Are they butter clumps? Or icing sugar that hasn’t been sieved enough?

lumpy cream cheese frosting

If the ingredients for cream cheese frosting are too cold, it could cause the butter to become lumpy. To eliminate these lumps, treat it with a heat fix; for dry ingredients clumps, beat some more. If a few pieces remain even after thorough mixing, pick out the lumps by hand.

Sift Sugar And Other Dry Ingredients

sifting powdered sugar

Firstly, make sure your bowl is clear of icing sugar lumps, which could be creating additional lumps in your frosting. While it’s easy to ignore a recipe’s instruction to sieve the icing sugar, it makes a big difference to the smoothness of your frosting.

Mix Ingredients Thoroughly

mixing all the ingredients thoroughly

Having lumpy frosting is often a sign of the mixture not having been beaten for long enough. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are combined and not stuck to the bottom of the mixing bowl. 

Mix it once again to break up any remaining lumps and create that dreamy and velvety cream cheese frosting texture.

Give It A Quick Blast Of Heat

microwaving frosting

If you’re looking for a quick fix for lumpy icing, put the mixture in the microwave for 3-5 seconds. After a short burst of heat, mix once again. The cream cheese and butter will have softened due to the heat, allowing you to dissolve the lumps and create smoother cream cheese icing.

Lumpy Frozen Frosting Fix

If you’ve already made your frosting in advance and are using it from frozen, firstly, make sure you’re using it within three months of freezing it.

Defrost it to room temperature, and add a spoonful of fresh, sieved icing sugar to the mix before mixing to revive and refresh the mixture and get the desired consistency.

Whether it’s a smooth cream cheese frosting for a cake topping or a rainbow sprinkle icing to top a rainbow bagel with something sweet, a creamy coating for decorating is an essential element to any baker’s arsenal. Casually spoon your frosting for an informal look, or use silicone icing bags and nozzles for fancy swirl perfection. The choice is up to you! 


But most importantly, remember, if your frosting hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to, don’t panic, be sure to return the mixture to the mixer and beat further, removing any lumps and pieces.

Life is sweet, even if it’s lumpy.

Read Also: Why Is My Banana Bread Gummy And Dense? (Fixes and Troubleshooting)

5 thoughts on “How To Fix Lumpy Cream Cheese Frosting?”

  1. I was just about to toss my mashed potatoes when I saw your tip on how to salvage them. I followed your instructions, and they turned out great! Thanks for saving my dinner – and my dignity.

  2. I was making cream cheese frosting for my son’s birthday cake and was about to give up because it looked terrible. I found this article and followed the tips, and it turned out great! Thanks so much!

  3. I take the bowl of lumpy cream cheese frosting and give it a good stir. Then I add a spoonful of milk and stir again. Finally, I add a pinch of sugar, and voila! The perfect frosting for my cupcakes. But then I realize I’m out of cream cheese.

  4. My mum had been preparing an elaborate and delicious carrot cake for my birthday party. She had carefully baked the cake and was now making cream cheese frosting, except it was turning out way too lumpy. After many failed attempts trying to get the frosting smoother, she decided to just go with the lumpiness and smiled as she thought “that’s just how a homemade cake should be!” Little did my mum know that all of her guests were secretly thinking the same thing!

  5. My grandma used to fix lumpy cream cheese frosting by adding a bit of butter and blending the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. After tasting it, she would always have one piece of advice; “a bit of love and care makes all the difference.” Little did we know that her secret ingredient was actually just more butter!


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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.