This Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Cream Cheese is made in 10 minutes and with only 5 ingredients! It's creamy and fluffy and turns ooey and gooey once topped over warm cinnamon rolls.
Whether you don't have cream cheese on hand, or you simply don't want to use it, this cinnamon roll icing without cream cheese is the perfect substitute.
It's a vanilla buttercream made with unsalted butter and powdered sugar, very similar to my carrot cake frosting without cream cheese.
And if you're searching for more recipes made without cream cheese, check out my Easy Cheesecake Without Cream Cheese.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Powdered sugar/ confectioners sugar: Make sure to use fine powdered sugar for best results.
- Unsalted butter: Use one that you like the flavor of and make sure it's at room temperature. If you forgot to take it out, you can use this quick method. You can also use vegan butter to make this recipe dairy-free.
- Vanilla extract: I recommend using clear vanilla extract to keep the color of the icing white, but if you don't mind an "off-white" color, feel free to use pure vanilla extract.
- Milk: Any milk can work here such as whole milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc.
See the recipe card below for exact measurements.
How to Make Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Cream Cheese
Then, sift the powdered sugar directly into the bowl, and add the vanilla extract, and salt.
Beat for 2-3 more minutes, while gradually adding 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
Taste and adjust the flavor if needed, adding more salt, vanilla, or milk to taste. You can add up to 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and you can also add a tablespoon of lemon juice if you want it tangy.
Finally, either frost your cinnamon rolls right away or store the frosting in the fridge for later.
- Use unsalted butter. This prevents you from oversalting your frosting. If you only have salted butter, skip the salt.
- Use room temperature ingredients. This is key when making this recipe. Using cold ingredients won't work and the icing will curdle.
- Add the milk a little bit at a time. The biggest mistake I see people make with buttercream is adding too much milk at once, this way the icing becomes too runny. Remember that you can always add more milk if needed, but you can't take it out.
- Frost your cinnamon rolls once they've cooled down a bit. If you frost them while they're still hot from the oven the icing will melt (unless that's something you'd want).
- Adjust the consistency as desired. To make your icing thicker, add less milk. To make it thinner, add more milk.
Avoid adding cold milk or any cold liquid to the creamed butter, as it may cause the frosting to curdle. It's essential to ensure that both the fat and the liquid are at room temperature when combining them.
Certainly! You can make it vegan and dairy-free by substituting traditional butter with vegan butter and using non-dairy milk.
If your frosting has a runny consistency, start by refrigerating it for at least 2 hours. If this doesn't solve the issue, you can try adding a few extra tablespoons of powdered sugar. Just be cautious not to make the frosting overly sweet. If that doesn't help either, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or cocoa powder (for chocolate frosting) and beat it with a mixer until smooth.
Yes! Place the frosting in a plastic bag or a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. After thawing, you may need to stir in a splash of milk to loosen it up.
Yes, this frosting remains fresh for up to one week when stored in the refrigerator. Before using, remove it from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
Although this cinnamon roll icing without cream cheese is delicious as is, here are some ways you can switch things up.
- Food coloring: Feel free to dye your frosting any color you want. You can also use natural food colorings such as turmeric, beet juice, pureed blueberries, etc.
- Chocolate frosting: Stir a few tablespoons of cocoa powder and a handful of mini chocolate chips.
- Sprinkles: Stir a few tablespoons of sprinkles for a funfetti cinnamon roll frosting.
- Almond extract: Switch things up by stirring 1 teaspoon of almond extract, or any other extract you like.
- Lemon or orange zest: Make it fruity by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon, lime, or orange zest.
- Peanut butter: Stir a tablespoon of peanut butter or any other nut/seed butter you like.
- Make it without milk: Use room temperature water instead of milk. Although the result won't be as rich, it will still work.
Cream Cheese Icing Alternatives
Here are some more alternatives to cream cheese icing you can use instead.
- Dusting of powdered sugar
- Whipped cream or coconut whipped cream
- Chopped nuts like roasted pecans or walnuts
- Caramel sauce
- Chocolate drizzle
- Fresh berries such as blueberries or strawberries
Transfer the frosting to a plastic bag or an airtight container. It will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge. Before using it, take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Cream Cheese
- Handheld mixer
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, room temperature (use vegan butter to make it vegan)
- 300-350g fine powdered sugar
- 5-6 tablespoons milk of choice, at room temperature (either non-dairy milk or regular)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt skip if using salted butter
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- To a large mixing bowl, add the butter. Using a handheld or a stand mixer, beat on high for 2-3 minutes, or until creamed and fluffy.1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- To a small bowl, sift the powdered sugar 1-2 times until no clumps remain. Add it to the butter, alongside the vanilla extract and salt.300-350g fine powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Beat on slow speed until it incorporates, then beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Start adding the milk gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.5-6 tablespoons milk of choice, at room temperature
- Taste and adjust the flavor, adding more salt, vanilla, or milk as needed. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Fridge: Transfer frosting to a plastic bag or an air-tight container. It will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge. Before using, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
- Freezer: Transfer the frosting into a plastic bag and freeze it for up to 3 months. Before using, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. After thawing, you may need to stir in a splash of milk to loosen it up.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with third-party calculations without including the optional ingredients.