There’s nothing like a luscious Cream Cheese Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls. Slathered on soft, warmly spiced rolls this fluffy, velvety frosting provides just the right amount of buttery sweet tanginess to make them complete.
It’s hard to believe that a frosting this good could be so easy to make. You’ll need just one bowl, 5 simple ingredients, a mixer and 5 minutes of your time to make this creamy frosting. Unlike other versions that are thick and very sweet, this version is fluffy and lightly sweet, the ideal finishing touch for warm cinnamon rolls.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- Cream Cheese: ideally full-fat cream cheese
- Butter: salted or unsalted - if using unsalted butter, add ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or to your taste
- Powdered Sugar: sifted
- Vanilla: ideally pure vanilla extract
- Kosher Salt: to taste
Why do cinnamon rolls need a different style of cream cheese frosting?
Many cream cheese frosting recipes are very sweet and firm enough to spread or even pipe onto cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats. But for homemade cinnamon rolls you want a light, fluffy frosting that's easy to spread and isn't overly sweet. That's exactly what you can expect from this recipe (ideal for my Brioche Cinnamon Rolls).
- For the smoothest cream cheese frosting, be sure to sift the powdered sugar before adding to the other ingredients. This step is especially important if you are using powdered sugar that you've had on hand for a while. If you're short on time, you can also whisk the powdered sugar well in a mixing bowl to break up any clumps.
- For the fluffiest frosting, use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer instead of mixing by hand.
- Make sure to let the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature (not cold or too warm) before you begin. This will make the frosting come together quickly with a texture that's perfectly light, smooth and creamy.
- For the best texture and richest flavor, use full-fat cream cheese that comes in a foil wrapped brick instead of low-fat or spreadable cream cheese that comes in a tub. The higher fat content of full-fat cream cheese not only makes it more flavorful, it helps to preserve its texture when whipped with the other ingredients. Using spreadable cream cheese could result in runny cream cheese frosting.
- If you are using unsalted butter, you will have better control over the flavor of your cream cheese frosting. I like to add ⅛ teaspoon of kosher salt when I use unsalted butter, but you can adjust the amount of salt as you see fit.
- Troubleshooting Tip: If the frosting is looser than you want, refrigerate to firm it up.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting For Cinnamon Rolls
Make this fluffy cream cheese frosting by adding cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt into a mixing bowl.
With a handheld mixer or stand mixer with a paddle or whisk attachment, combine the ingredients by mixing for 2-3 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. (Be careful not to overmix the frosting, or it will become runny and drip off the sides of the cinnamon rolls.) Slather on warm Brioche Cinnamon Rolls or your favorite recipe.
Cream Cheese Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls
- 6 ounces cream cheese room temperature (recipe note)
- 6 tablespoons butter room temperature (recipe note)
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar 168g
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch kosher salt
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the softened cream cheese and butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Spread frosting generously over warm cinnamon rolls and serve.
- You want your cream cheese and butter to be at room temperature, but not warm, which can create an overly soft texture. If your frosting is too soft, refrigerate to firm it up enough for spreading (~15 to 30 minutes should do it).