photo of a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting on a small white plate

About This Cream Cheese Frosting For Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Looking for a quick and easy cream cheese frosting recipe for your cinnamon rolls? This recipe is IT! The cream cheese frosting comes together in just 5 minutes, making the perfect tart and tangy cream cheese frosting for a dozen of any kind of cinnamon roll. If you’re a fan of Cinnabon’s cream cheese frosting, you’ll love this copycat Cinnabon frosting recipe—it has the same sweet yet tangy flavor, but made fresh with real ingredients!

For more fun breakfast pastry recipes, check out Hummingbird High‘s recipe collection for all things breakfast! To pair with this frosting, I recommend these Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls (which only makes 4 rolls!) and these Bakery Style Pistachio Pudding Muffins!

close-up photo of 6 cinnamon rolls about to be frosted with cream cheese frosting for cinnamon rolls

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make the cream cheese frosting, here’s everything you need for the recipe:

Shopping List For Cream Cheese Frosting For Cinnamon Rolls

And let’s talk about some key ingredients, where to find them, and any potential substitutions:

Common Substitutions And Sources For Ingredients In This Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Cream Cheese: Make sure to get the kind of cream cheese that comes in a box instead of a tub. Tubbed cream cheese usually has extra ingredients in it to make it more spreadable—these can make your baked goods come out weird!

  • Whole Milk: In a pinch, 2% or skim milk will do just fine. You can also use a plant-based milk like any kind of nut or oat milk. Just note that the frosting won’t be dairy-free/vegan since cream cheese is considered dairy!

  • Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is the best salt for baking recipes. But you can replace the kosher salt in the recipe with table salt. 
photo of two cinnamon rolls on small white plates dripping with cream cheese frosting for cinnamon rolls

How To Make The Recipe

Here are the basic steps to make the recipe from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)
    For this recipe, it’s especially important that the cream cheese and milk are at room temperature. If both are still cold from the fridge, the frosting will turn out lumpy! I like to pop both ingredients in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds before using in the recipe.

  2. Make the cream cheese frosting. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    Although I love my 5-quart KitchenAid stand mixer, this recipe is a little too small for it (learn more in the “Best Recipe Tips” section below). Instead, I recommend using a handheld electric mixer to make it.
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That’s it! Check out the photos below—they show what the frosting looks like right after it’s been made, along with some tips and tricks to get it just right.

Best Recipe Tips

  • If you have a mini stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, now’s the time to use it! The recipe only makes about 1 cup of frosting. While that’s enough to frost 12 cinnamon rolls, it’s a small volume for a regular (5 quart) stand mixer. You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a LOT.

  • I recently discovered that you don’t really need to sift confectioners’ sugar when making frosting. Because you’ll be mixing the frosting at high speed, most of the lumps in these ingredients work themselves out pretty easily! Save yourself time and energy—don’t bother sifting these ingredients.

    That being said, DON’T apply this advice to other recipes beyond American buttercream. I still encourage you to sift these ingredients (ESPECIALLY if they look really lumpy) when making baked goods with delicate crumbs like angel food cake. You’ll also need to sift confectioners’ sugar when making royal icing.

Cinnamon Roll Recipes (That Pair Perfectly With This Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe)

Get the Recipe: 5 Minute Cream Cheese Frosting For Cinnamon Rolls

This tart and tangy cream cheese frosting for cinnamon rolls comes together in just 5 minutes and tastes like the popular Cinnabon cream cheese frosting!
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  • 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces or 170 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted if necessary
  • pinch kosher salt


  • Make the cream cheese frosting. Combine the cream cheese, milk, and vanilla in a medium-large bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to beat on low until just combined. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and salt and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  • Use on cinnamon rolls. Immediately use an offset spatula to spread a generous amount of the glaze (usually around a heaping 1 Tablespoon per cinnamon roll) over the top of each cinnamon roll when fresh from the oven. The residual heat will help melt and spread the frosting.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.