5 Ingredients or Fewer

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

October 19, 2013
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes enough frosting for about a dozen cupcakes if frosted; about a half-dozen if piped.
Author Notes

Simple but unbelievably delicious, refreshing, and addicting. Lime and cream cheese were meant to go together. —Cynthia Chen McTernan

Test Kitchen Notes

This icing was worth breaking down and buying a Microplane zester for (albeit a clearance one from Target). The lime-y flavor was great but not overpowering. I essentially used the cupcakes I baked for this recipe as frosting vehicles -- arguably the best way to eat cupcakes. The recipe is very easy. I highly recommend it. —Rachel

What You'll Need
  • 4 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice, or more depending on resulting thickness of the frosting
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  1. If using an electric mixer, simply combine all the ingredients and beat until fluffy and smooth.
  2. If making by hand, cream together cream cheese and butter until very smooth. It will help greatly if the cream cheese and butter are quite soft beforehand.
  3. Add confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.
  4. Finally, add lime juice and lime zest and beat again until smooth. If the frosting is too soft, add more confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until frosting is the right stiffness. If it is too stiff, you can add more lime juice a few drops at a time.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Loretta Broce
    Loretta Broce
  • caroberts77
  • JanetFL
  • AntoniaJames
  • ChefJune

30 Reviews

Loretta B. May 3, 2020
Frosted 6 white cupcakes with this. So quick to make and the flavor was amazing!
caroberts77 August 11, 2018
Made this with just vanilla extract and put it on top of Dorie Greenspan's Carrot-Tangerine Cake from Baking Chez Moi, was a hit at the bon voyage party we attended for some friends. Will definitely use this recipe again. 😁
caroberts77 August 11, 2018
Made this with just vanilla extract and put it on top of Dorie Greenspan's Carrot-Tangerine Cake from Baking Chez Moi, was a hit at the bon voyage party we attended for some friends. Will definitely use this recipe again. 😁
Jane G. August 5, 2016
Just made my lemon cupcakes and they are cooled, so here we go! I'm using regular cream cheese, hoping that doesn't make a difference. I'm a huge fan of cream cheese frosting but never had it with lime. Can't wait!!! :)
cwya March 30, 2014
Thanks for the suggestions. i think you're right about over beating it. I'm going to try the butter suggestion too and use only zest. More will be revealed!
cwya March 27, 2014
HELP! I've tried sseveral times to make a creamcheese frosting using orange instead. It NEVER sets up no matter how long I've beaten it. I've added meringue powder, starch, twice as much sugar. Nothing works. I am at 7200 ft. Could that do it? Or the type of cream cheese. This is baffling.
Cynthia C. March 27, 2014
That's so strange, and I'm so sorry you've had so much trouble with it! Here are my thoughts off the top of my head ... I should say first that I have no experience with baking at high altitudes, so I can't speak to that, unfortunately. :( But I've read that actually the longer you beat cream cheese frosting, the more runny it gets (unlike things like Swiss meringue) so maybe beating by hand or at a lower speed might help? Second, I'm baffled that adding double the sugar didn't help. Was this after you had beaten it for some time? What if you tried something like 3 ounces cream cheese instead of 4, and 3 tbsp butter instead of 1 tbsp to compensate? Butter adds structure, so that could help, though it would reduce the cream cheese taste somewhat. Finally, have you tried refrigerating the frosting after you've beaten it? Chilling will go a long way in firming it up, as well.

I hope this helps! :( It shouldn't be the orange that's the problem -- I made an orange version a few weeks ago. Although you could try omitting the juice altogether and simply using zest, which would help firm up the consistency as well.
Chef_Karla March 23, 2014
i want to try this frosting recipe but what kind of cake flavors have you tried with it and liked? thank you!
vvvanessa March 23, 2014
It's great with coconut cupcakes! Also a lemon or orange cupcake.

I haven't tried it with a vanilla rum cake, but I would totally give that a shot.
Cynthia C. March 23, 2014
All of vvvanessa's suggestions sound amazing! My favorite pairing is a zucchini cake -- but I think any of the above would be fantastic, too.
Chef_Karla March 28, 2014
thank you!
JanetFL November 7, 2013
Tried it and knew you would be a winner!
Cynthia C. November 10, 2013
You are so kind! Yay! :)
AntoniaJames November 7, 2013
Congrats on the CP! This is so appealing. ;o)
Cynthia C. November 7, 2013
Wow, I'm so surprised and honored! Yay! :) Thank you, I really did love it (and just like that review says -- I pretty much used the cake as a vehicle for this frosting!)
ChefJune November 7, 2013
I'm not a big fan of cream cheese frosting -- too heavy, but I'll bet the lime cuts that nicely! Going to try this.
Cynthia C. November 7, 2013
I am usually the same way! Exactly -- the lime just makes it perfect. I usually use Neufchatel in this, as well, which helps.
JanetFL October 23, 2013
Love your combination - lime and cream cheese....yum!
Cynthia C. November 7, 2013
Hope you like it if you try it :)
vvvanessa October 22, 2013
That sounds super excellent!
Cynthia C. November 7, 2013
Thank you so much!
vvvanessa November 7, 2013
I loved this recipe, and it will be in frequent rotation for sure. I needed about 3 times the amount of lime juice to make the frosting come together and spread, but it was the best thing I could have put on the coconut cupcakes I made.
Cynthia C. November 10, 2013
Oh, that's so interesting to know. Isn't it funny how sometimes the same proportions just yield different consistencies? I also wonder if Neufchatel versus full fat cream cheese affects the softness of the frosting... Anyway, so glad that it still worked and sorry that my measurements weren't exact! And PS I LOVE the idea of a coconut cupcake base -- GENIUS.
Cynthia C. November 10, 2013
Edited to reflect your feedback! :)
dymnyno October 20, 2013
This sounds delicious and looks very pretty!
Cynthia C. November 7, 2013
Thank you so much!!
mrslarkin October 20, 2013
Sounds amazing!! Great flavor combination.
Cynthia C. November 7, 2013
It is one of my favorites ever :) Thanks so much!
Ashley M. October 20, 2013
This sounds delicious - can't wait to try it out!
Cynthia C. October 20, 2013
Oh, thank you! Let me know what you think if you try it! I love it over zucchini cupcakes -- or just with a spoon :) It's my favorite!