Cinnamon Roll Icing (Without Cream Cheese)
Nov 11, 2021, Updated Nov 17, 2023
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Delicious cinnamon roll icing can be made in minutes. This icing recipe is the perfect thing to spread over a warm batch of cinnamon rolls, cakes, pastries, and more.
Warm cinnamon rolls are a staple in our house on the weekends or during the holidays. This recipe for cinnamon roll icing without cream cheese is one that we use almost on a weekly basis and have been making it for as long as I can remember.
This is my favorite recipe to spread over store bought or homemade cinnamon rolls. It’s also great to drizzle over coffee cake, muffins, or use as a dip for cinnamon twists. I have even been known to eat it on a spoon because it’s just that good!
So pop your cinnamon rolls in the oven and lets get started.
Why you will love this cinnamon roll glaze
- You only need four ingredients to make this delicious icing, and you probably already have them in your fridge and pantry! As long as you have butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract, you’re ready to go.
- A good cream cheese icing can be delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it’s much trickier to make. You have to let the cream cheese come to room temperature, otherwise your icing can end up lumpy. It’s also very easy to over whip, which leads to runny icing that won’t stick to your rolls. By eliminating the cream cheese, we avoid all these issues!
- This icing can be ready in just 5 minutes, and it all comes together in one bowl with just a little whisking. Simply add the ingredients, whisk until combined, and you’re ready to spread this quick-yet-dreamy icing over your warm cinnamon rolls!
- Despite the short ingredient list, it’s super easy to customize your icing however you like. Want it a little thicker? Use extra powdered sugar and reduce the milk. Thinner? Add a little more milk. Looking for a richer flavor? Use whole milk or half and half. Feel free to try little tweaks to find your perfect icing!
- Looking for a dairy free option? This recipe works great with plant-based milk, or you can simply use water instead.
“I made this icing for cinnamon rolls today and it turned out perfect. thank you, for the recipe.” – Julie
This super easy recipe needs just four simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.
- Powdered sugar – This can also be called icing sugar or confectioners sugar.
- Milk – Use whatever milk you have on hand like 2%, whole, or even half and half.
- Butter – Sweet cream, unsalted butter. ***I like melting my butter for this icing but you could also soften it to room temperature and use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients. This will make for a thicker frosting consistency.
- Vanilla extract – You can use pure vanilla or extract. If you want that classic, super white icing color, use clear vanilla extract.
How to make Cinnamon Roll Icing
- Melt butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds or on the stove until just melted. Make sure not to burn the butter.
- In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.
- Whisk until smooth. (You can also use an electric mixer.)
- ***Tip: Let your rolls cool 4-5 minutes before adding the icing. This will help the icing stay on top of the rolls.
Flavor: Want to change up the flavors? Try substituting milk with a flavored coffee creamer or even eggnog. Orange or lemon juice also work well for a citrus flavor.
You can also substitute the vanilla extract with almond extract or a splash of maple syrup.
Color: Add a dash of color by using a few drops of food coloring. You could also stir in some colorful sprinkles for funfetti icing.
How to store leftover icing
Store: If you have leftover frosting or want to make it ahead of time, store the cinnamon roll icing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last about 2 weeks.
Reheat: This doesn’t have to be reheated. You can leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes to make it easier to spread or if you want, microwave for about 5 seconds.
How to make icing thicker? Add a little extra powdered sugar and reduce the milk.
How to make icing thinner? Add a little extra milk to the mixture.
How to get rid of lumps? This is an optional step but to help reduce lumps, sift the powdered sugar before mixing.
For richer flavor, use whole milk or half and half.
If you want a pure white color, use clear vanilla extract.
Can you leave out the butter? Yes, you can leave out the butter. This will make it more of a cinnamon roll glaze rather than a frosting.
Can you make icing without milk? Yes, you can substitute milk with water or a dairy free option.
This recipe is enough to cover about 12 large cinnamon rolls. It’s easy to double this recipe if you have a large crowd, or even cut the recipe in half if you just want it for a few rolls.
Icing should be spread on the rolls after they have finished baking. I recommend letting the cinnamon rolls cool at least 5 minutes before putting on the icing so that it doesn’t melt and run off the rolls.
It’s best to let cinnamon rolls cool for about 5 minutes before adding icing.
Try using this cinnamon roll glaze on:
- Apricot nectar cake
- Lemon pull-apart bread
- Cinnamon pretzels
- Banana donut holes
- Cinnamon roll waffles
Be sure to let me know if you made this recipe in the comments below. Enjoy!
Cinnamon Roll Icing Recipe
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add powdered sugar, melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract to a bowl.
- Whisk together until combined. If needed, add extra powdered sugar or milk to adjust the thickness of the icing.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.