Cream Cheese Frosting with Brown Butter and Bourbon Recipe -
Cream Cheese Frosting with Brown Butter and Bourbon Recipe
  • READY IN 40 mins

Cream Cheese Frosting with Brown Butter and Bourbon

Recipe by  

"This frosting pairs perfectly with banana, carrot, and spice cakes. Browning the butter gives it a deep, nutty flavor. As with many buttercreams, you may need slightly more or less sugar to reach your desired consistency."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 batch: enough for a 2- or 3-layer cake Change Servings
  • PREP

    25 mins
  • COOK

    15 mins

    40 mins


  1. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the milk solids turn brown and give off a nutty fragrance, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the remaining 1/4 butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Pour the browned butter into the mixing bowl and set aside for about three minutes, letting the warm butter soften the cream cheese and cold butter. Scrape the black seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the bowl. Add the bourbon and mix on low speed until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and cream, alternating between the two, until the proper consistency is reached. If the frosting is too soft for decorating, refrigerate it for about half an hour before using.
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  • Cook's Notes
  • For best results, use high-quality bourbon. I use Maker's Mark®. You may substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract for the vanilla bean seeds.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Feb 14, 2011

Fantastic! One of the few recipes on here that I am not tempted to change in any way! I brown butter for my cookies, but I'd never thought of doing it for frosting and I was pleasantly surprised. I used some of my boyfriend's 18 year Elijah Craig bourbon (shhhh!!) and it was heavenly. Definitely don't use something cheap! I used this to frost a carrot cake and it was a perfect combination. Just a tip for first time butter-browners: make sure you have extra butter on hand just in case you burn the first batch!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Feb 12, 2012

i was so excited about this recipe after reading all the wonderful reviews but after going thru all the trouble of making it i was extremely disappointed. i followed the recipe exactly and it ended up tasting just like a bowl of sugar. no nutty flavor or bourbon taste at all. it was not worth all the hard work that went into it.


31 Ratings

Mar 10, 2011

Amazing! I made this as is and it was delish, but I needed more frosting, so I added another 8 oz. cream cheese and a little more burbon, and used it on the Carrot Cake III from this site. Rave reviews :) Thanks for a fabulous recipe metread!

Jun 20, 2011

Truly scrumptious! Silky texture. Beautiful color. Excellent recipe.

Apr 24, 2011

This was by far the best frosting I ever had! Finally a frosting that is not so overpoweringly sweet or greasy! I never used browned butter before and really enjoyed the flavor! I used soy cream cheese and added 1 teaspoon organic powdered vanilla beans. I subbed the heavy cream with non dairy creamer. I frosted cream cheese pound cake (from AR that I added bourbon to as well) This recipe moves right to the front of the line in my recipe box!

May 13, 2011

So good I actually posted the recipe on Facebook! I don't normally like frosting, but this has a much more complex flavor due to the brown butter--and is very creamy. I made 2 versions: Only changes I made were to use vanilla extract (1 to 1 1/2 tsp.) and slightly less bourbon (personal preference). I also omitted the heavy cream and reduced the sugar slightly--just added to taste. If you want a non-alcoholic version just omit the whiskey (add milk/cream instead) and add a couple drops of maple extract for a delicious alternative flavor. This is not a very stiff frosting, but would work well for sheet cakes or cupcakes. I will definitely be making this again!!

Feb 10, 2012

this is the best frosting i've ever had. this was absolutely perfect on a carrot cake. be sure to watch the butter closely (and have extra) because it is easy to burn. Also i've made this with brandy and it is just as good.

Oct 19, 2011

OUT OF THIS WORLD. The brown butter gave it such a heavenly flavour and the bourbon added to the exquisite oomph factor. I used this to go with 'Banana Cupcakes' recipe also from this site. What a match! Thank you metread for this recipe and for suggesting it to me yesterday on the buzz. I can't wait to try this with carrot cakes and other spiced cakes.


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  • Calories
  • 339 kcal
  • 17%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 41.6 g
  • 13%
  • Cholesterol
  • 54 mg
  • 18%
  • Fat
  • 19 g
  • 29%
  • Fiber
  • 0 g
  • 0%
  • Protein
  • 1.6 g
  • 3%
  • Sodium
  • 138 mg
  • 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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