This fluffy pumpkin bread icing is made with 4 staple ingredients and comes together in 10 minutes. It turns homemade pumpkin bread into the ultimate fall treat! This cream cheese frosting for pumpkin bread is so soft and fluffy, just perfect for all your autumn baking recipes!
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Fluffy Cream Cheese Icing for Pumpkin Bread
This easy cream cheese icing is the perfect compliment to any pumpkin bread. Whether it’s 4 ingredient pumpkin bread or Downeast Maine pumpkin bread, the frosting will elevate it. The soft, creamy texture pairs so beautifully with moist, warmly spiced pumpkin bread.
I’ve been preparing this simple cream cheese icing for years. It’s made with 4 simple ingredients and whipped to the fluffiest consistency imaginable. And aside from pumpkin bread, you can spread it onto anything you want with a layer of luxurious cream cheese frosting.
I bet you have all the ingredients for this pumpkin bread icing already on hand. It’s really such an easy recipe! Scroll to the recipe card at the end of the post for the exact ingredient measurements.
- Cream cheese: You need block-style cream cheese, not the whipped variety that comes in a tub. I recommend full-fat cream cheese for the best texture and taste. Soften the cream cheese by letting it sit on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes, so it combines more easily.
- Butter: I prefer salted butter to balance all the sweetness, but unsalted butter works as well. Again, it should be softened for 15 minutes.
- Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar, this super fine sugar sweetens and stabilizes the frosting. Sifting the powdered sugar helps to remove lumps and creates an ultra-smooth frosting.
- Vanilla extract: A touch of vanilla adds depth of flavor and creates that classic cream cheese frosting aroma. Check the variations section below for ways to change up the flavor profile!
How to make pumpkin bread icing
Cream cheese icing for pumpkin bread comes together so quickly and easily! I love that I can dump the ingredients into a mixing bowl and make this fluffy icing in minutes.
#1: Combine butter + cream cheese
- Add the butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat on high until well combined and light in color, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- A hand mixer works best, but you can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
#2: Add vanilla + powdered sugar
- Next, beat in the vanilla. Turn the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.
#3: Beat fluffy
- Mix the mixture on high until light and fluffy in texture, about 3 minutes. Your icing is ready to use!
- If you find the consistency a little too soft, put the frosting in the fridge for a bit to firm up.
#4: Frost away!
- Spread the frosting onto cooled pumpkin bread.
- You can also use it to frost other treats like sweet breads, cinnamon rolls, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and bars.
Tips for the best pumpkin bread icing
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to make this frosting for pumpkin bread a success!
- Use brick-style cream cheese: Cream cheese from a tub is too soft and will not hold up well.
- Soften the butter + cream cheese: Let the ingredients sit out on the counter to soften before whipping the frosting.
- Beat it well: The first step is to aerate the butter and cream cheese, adding to the volume and soft texture. The next step dissolves the powdered sugar, making it luxuriously creamy and smooth.
- Adjust the thickness: My recipe creates a spreadable pumpkin bread frosting. If you like it a little thicker, add more powdered sugar. To thin it out, add a little milk or heavy cream.
- Double the amounts: You can easily double the recipe to frost more than one pumpkin loaf.
While this pumpkin bread icing tastes incredible as is, you got lots of fun options to mix it up and customize the flavor. Here are some ideas to try:
- Vanilla bean: Instead of vanilla extract, season the icing with vanilla bean paste or scrape the seeds from 1 vanilla pod. The little vanilla specks look lovely!
- Cinnamon is an amazing addition to this frosting and provides a wonderful warming aroma.
- Spice mix: Add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or chai spice mix. It’s perfect for all your fall bakes!
- Maple extract: To make maple cream cheese frosting, stir 1 teaspoon maple extract into the icing.
- Other extracts: Swap out vanilla for orange, almond, amaretto, butterscotch, or marshmallow flavor.
- Chocolate: For a chocolaty version, stir 2 oz melted, cooled chocolate into the icing. I love white chocolate, but milk or semi-sweet is good too.
How to use
How to spread pumpkin bread icing
The pumpkin bread cream cheese frosting is so light and fluffy, making it effortless to spread. First, you want to make sure your pumpkin bread has cooled to room temperature. It would melt on warm bread.
Then grab an offset spatula or a butter knife and slather it onto your loaf. I like to add a heaping amount in the center of the bread and bring it down to the sides.
This frosting is never going to be perfectly smooth. I say embrace it and create swirls and swooshes by wiggling the spatula around.
Alternately, pipe the frosting onto your pumpkin bread. It’s a great way to create a pretty pattern and add visual interest.
Now that you have beautifully frosted pumpkin bread, it’s time to dress it up! Try one of these pumpkin bread topping ideas – they are equally delicious and pretty!
- Sprinkle of spices like ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg
- Chopped nuts, e.g. pecans or walnuts
- Candied pecans will create a lovely contrast of textures
- Pepitas: Try these caramelized pepitas!
- Drizzle of caramel sauce
Other uses for pumpkin bread frosting
This pumpkin bread topping is so versatile, and it isn’t just for pumpkin bread! The frosting is perfect for topping all kinds of home-baked goods. It pairs well with:
- Other sweet breads such as apple bread, pistachio banana bread, or zucchini bread
- Cookies like these iced pumpkin cookies or frosted chocolate chip cookies
- Cinnamon rolls
- Muffins & cupcakes, for example, pumpkin muffins, vanilla muffins, or pistachio muffins
- Brownies & bars like our condensed milk brownies or pudding brownies
How long can I store pumpkin bread frosting?
You can make the frosting in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week. It will firm up when cold, so allow it to soften at room temperature a bit before spreading it onto your pumpkin bread. I find it tastes best when it’s perfectly creamy and not hardened in the slightest.
Can I leave pumpkin bread icing at room temperature?
Yes. While there is dairy in the recipe, it’s stabilized by a generous amount of powdered sugar. You can frost your pumpkin bread, and the icing will be good a room temperature for a couple of hours. Beyond that, refrigerate your iced pumpkin bread to ensure food safety.
Can you freeze pumpkin bread cream cheese icing?
No, I don’t recommend freezing this pumpkin bread spread. Cream cheese has a high water content, which expands when frozen. As a result, thawed cream cheese frosting will become crumbly and lose its creamy, spreadable texture.
More frosting recipes
If you love a good homemade frosting, here are a few more that you can try. These icing recipes are easy to make and are perfect for all your baking projects.