In a large bowl using a handheld mixer, or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy.
Add in vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
Add in 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until just combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time and beat on low to medium speed until the right consistency is reached. You want the frosting to be thick, but not stiff. It should drip in a thick ribbon from the beaters when the right consistency is reached.
If you want the frosting a little thicker, add ¼ cup more powdered sugar at time. I typically find that 2 cups are perfect for frosting cookies and 2 ½ cups are best for cakes and cupcakes.
At this point ice cookies, cakes, cinnamon rolls, etc as desired.
To Ice Cookies
Dye frosting with food dye if desired. Then use an offset spatula or knife to spread icing on cookies. Alternatively, transfer icing to a piping bag fitted with a small tip to ice cookies more precisely.
Add sprinkles if desired, while the frosting is still wet.
Let cookies harden for 12-24 hours at room temperature. Once the icing has hardened to the touch, stack the cookies in an airtight container, separated by layers of parchment or wax paper.
Store iced cookies in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese and unsalted butter in this recipe.
Do not forget to sift your powdered sugar for a creamy frosting!
You can store frosting for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat again to make frosting creamy.
To freeze iced cookies, let the icing harden fully. Then place cookies on a baking sheet and place in the freezer and freeze for one hour, or until frozen solid. Then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Stack cookies between layers of parchment paper or wax paper and seal the container. Freeze for up to 1 month. Let defrost in the fridge or at room temperature.