This is the BEST cinnamon roll icing, made with only five ingredients including vanilla and cream cheese. This perfectly creamy and rich frosting is easy, ready in 10 minutes, and will turn ordinary cinnamon rolls into the ULTIMATE breakfast.
This. Is. It! Look no further! The ultimate, best-ever, perfect-in-every-way cinnamon roll icing that puts an end to all cinnamon roll icings. Step aside Cinnabon. (Yes, I’m that confident!)
While I’ve been making this scrumptious icing for a few years now, it’s only recently that I realized I never shared it on the blog! So I’m making up for that now. It’s rich, creamy, silky smooth, and just the right texture and spreadable thickness. In fact, it’s so amazing I’ve even used it for cakes, cookies, brownies and bars, and for dipping everything you can imagine.
Even though I am this icing’s number one fan, I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ve had people make cinnamon rolls and phone in a special order of this icing because they love it so much. So I’ve whipped up a batch, or even a double or triple batch, to bring with me to brunches, ready to spread on someone else’s fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls.
How do you Make Icing for Cinnamon Rolls?
The best cinnamon roll icing doesn’t need a lot of ingredients, or a lot of time. Just 10 minutes and five ingredients is all you need!
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Once the butter is completely melted, keep whisking it over medium heat until the butter starts to turn from yellow to a golden color. Once it’s golden, you can remove it from the heat entirely.
2. Next, in a medium bowl, you’ll cream together the browned butter and cream cheese for 2-3 minutes until very fluffy and creamy. From there, add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, alternating with 1-2 tablespoons of milk until both quantities are used up.
3. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, it’s time to mix in the vanilla and more milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until the icing is a smooth, spreadable consistency.
Expert Tips and Tricks
I’ve been making this cinnamon roll icing for years and had so many requests for the recipe, I know a thing or two about it. Let me teach you all of my favorite tips!
- So what makes this icing so much better than other cinnamon roll icing recipes? It’s the browned butter! All you have to do is melt the butter on the stove (a lot of recipes will call for softened butter, but I’m telling you melting the butter is key here) and after it’s melted, stir it a few extra minutes over medium heat until the color darkens from light yellow to a golden yellow.
- Don’t wait for the browned butter to congeal before mixing with the other ingredients. You want that smooth texture in the icing. It will cool off enough as you mix it with the softened cream cheese and milk.
- Keep an eye on the butter as it browns. You want to whisk frequently, and make sure it doesn’t burn. You just want a nice, dark golden color to it.
- I recommend spreading the icing immediately on cinnamon rolls while it’s still warm. If you’re taking it with you to brunch, or want to use it later, store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days before using.
- If you want to make more of a glaze rather than icing, use more milk to thin it out, then pour over the cinnamon rolls before serving.
Can you use Water instead of Milk for Cinnamon Rolls?
Yes, you can use water instead of milk if you like for these rolls. The butter and cream cheese alone might be enough dairy for you. Just swap out the water for the milk at a 1-to-1 ratio. Note that your icing may be thinner and not as creamy, so just mix thoroughly between each tablespoon of water you add to make sure you haven’t added too much. You can always add more but you can’t take it back out.
Best Cinnamon Roll Icing
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 4 ounces cream cheese - softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4-10 tablespoons milk - as needed
- Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, continue to whisk over medium heat until butter turns from yellow to a golden color. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl cream together butter, cream cheese for 2-3 minutes until very fluffy and creamy.
- Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, adding 1-2 tablespoons of milk after each addition of powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, mix in vanilla and more milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until icing is a smooth spreadable consistency.
- Spread immediately on cinnamon rolls, or store chilled in airtight container up to five days.