How To Make Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Powdered Sugar

It’s hard to beat a warm batch of homemade cinnamon rolls, all those delicious swirls of tantalizing sweetness make for a yummy treat that’s perfect for any occasion.

Also known as confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar is sugar that is ground finely when granulated sugar is milled into a state resembling powder. Typically, powdered sugar contains an anti-caking agent such as potato starch, corn starch, or tricalcium phosphate. These agents allow the powdered sugar to prevent clumping and absorb moisture.

Powdered sugar is usually produced in factories, but you can actually make your own powdered sugar at home using devices such as a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. However, you may want to make recipes without powdered sugar. For cinnamon rolls without powdered sugar, keep reading.

They’re great for breakfast, can be eaten for brunch, and make for a delicious moment of indulgence at snack time. There’s nothing like a warm cinnamon roll.

However, besides their fresh cinnamon-infused dough, it’s the delicious glaze drizzled across the top that keeps the rolls together and gives them that sweet taste we all love.

Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Powdered Sugar

There’s a variety of different icings you can make, and today we’re going to be showing you how to make icing that doesn’t contain any powdered sugar. I have seen some chefs use buttercream frosting (though I think the vanilla buttercream tasted best), brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, cream cheese frosting, and yes, even whipped cream on their cinnamon bun.

Whether you’ve got picky mouths to feed or you simply want to try this alternative twist on the traditional sticky frosting recipe, our recipe will ensure that you add the perfect finishing touch to your cinnamon rolls or cinnamon roll recipe.

Cinnamon rolls are a beloved treat for many, but sometimes the traditional icing made with powdered sugar may not be an option due to dietary restrictions or a simple lack of ingredients. Fear not, because making a delicious cinnamon roll icing without powdered sugar is very possible. In this article, we will explore alternative ways to create a mouthwatering icing that matches the scrumptious cinnamon rolls underneath it.

Using everyday ingredients found in most kitchens, it is easy to whip up a cinnamon roll icing that will leave your taste buds satisfied. By leveraging natural sweeteners and some clever recipe adaptations, you can create a tasty and allergy-friendly icing that everyone can enjoy.

Whether you’re serving cinnamon rolls for a weekend brunch, a holiday gathering, or a simple weekday treat, providing an icing without powdered sugar will impress your guests and keep them coming back for more. Continue reading for some excellent recipe ideas and tips to take your cinnamon rolls to the next level.

Why should you make icing without any powdered sugar?

There are a few different reasons why you may wish to make cinnamon roll icing without any powdered sugar. The two most common types of sugar used to create icing is powdered sugar and granulated sugar.

Though they’re pretty similar, it’s very easy to add too much powdered sugar to the mixture as it’s so fine, therefore making it more difficult to accurately measure.

For this reason, many beginner bakers prefer to get the hang of making roll icing with granulated sugar (the kind you stir into tea) as it’s much easier to work with.

In addition to that, powdered sugar commonly contains cornstarch in order to prevent any clumping (Try homemade powdered sugar instead).

Many people are allergic to cornstarch, which means that cinnamon roll icing made with powdered sugar will be unsuitable for those who cannot eat cornstarch or people that have a gluten intolerance.

Some other options include confectioner’s sugar, vanilla frosting, salted butter, heavy cream, confectioners sugar, chocolate, Italian buttercream, chocolate buttercream, whipped buttercream, chocolate chip and Greek yogurt. I’ve even seen people use graham cracker as a powdered sugar alternative.

How do you make cinnamon roll icing without powdered sugar?

The recipe that we’re going to be sharing with you today is easy to make and quick. It’s important to be aware that this recipe will not taste completely like the powdered sugar glaze you may be used to.

It will be a little less sweet, and you will likely be able to taste the butter more, but we think it’s delicious.

This is a recipe that will require quite a bit of stirring! In short, all you’ll need to do is cook the milk and flour together on your stove until it melts into a thick paste, and then add the buttery-sugar mixture to make the frosting.

It’s pretty simple, but access to a stove is essential to properly make the icing. The recipe is also pretty forgiving, so don’t worry about starting over if you mess up the measurements.

You’ll need to combine a cup of cold milk and flour into your saucepan and stir until it gets to a thick consistency.

Once you have a smooth ‘paste’, immediately remove your flour-milk mixture from the heat and then add some vanilla. Completely stir the vanilla into the mixture and then set aside for later.

As you’re going to be combining the mixture with butter, you’ll have to wait until the paste has cooled down.

This is because, if you add butter into the warm mixture, the butter might melt and cause separation, and you’ll have to start over from scratch.

So, while you’re waiting for your mixture to cool down, you can go ahead and thoroughly beat together your butter and sugar with a stirring spoon or whisk.

For the icing to turn out correctly, you’ll need to thoroughly beat them together until you have a fluffy consistency that is pale in color.

The pale color indicates that you have mixed them together correctly as it tells you that the sugar has effectively dissolved into the butter.

Then, you’ll need to go back and check on your flour mixture you set aside to cool down. If it’s at room temperature, you can go ahead and gradually begin to add your butter-sugar mix into it, making sure to thoroughly sir well after every addition.

If possible, we recommend using an electric mixer, as this will help to get rid of any lumps that might form at this stage.

After you have mixed them together, the icing should be fluffy, light, and ready to eat!

Carefully move your icing from the saucepan into a fridge-friendly tub and begin to spread it across the tops of your cinnamon rolls. Who knows, you may even wish to spread some icing onto cupcakes!

On the other hand, if you wish to make a thinner icing, all you’ll need to do is add extra milk by three tablespoons.

This will make your icing have a more pourable consistency, or you could simply use less flour so it will be less starchy and thick. So, how to make icing without powdered sugar:

Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Powdered Sugar: Step-by-Step


½ cup milk2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour¾ cup of sugar½ cup of soft butter1-2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Step 1: Take a saucepan and carefully whisk together both milk and flour. Place over medium heat on your stove, stirring thoroughly in a mixing bowl or baking dish until you notice it has become a thick and smooth paste.

Step 2: Add a few drops of vanilla extract into the mixture and stir into the mix while it’s still warm over the heat of the stove.

Step 3: Once you have made the thick consistency of the flour-milk mixture, immediately remove it from the heat of the stove, and set it aside so that it can cool down.

Step 4:  While waiting for the mixture to cool down, in a separate bowl, thoroughly beat together both sugar and butter until you have a creamy, ‘whipped’ consistency.

Step 5: After the flour-milk-vanilla mixture has cooled down, begin to add the sugarbutter mix, making sure to thoroughly mix together after every addition to lower the chance of any clumps. If possible, use an electric whisk or stand mixer for this part to ensure a smooth consistency.

Step 6: Spread onto cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

What’s the best way to serve cinnamon roll icing?

Though, of course, your icing will go perfectly spread across the tops of your freshly baked cinnamon rolls, you can use it for a variety of other reasons, too.

This icing recipe is super versatile, and you can spread your frosting over cookies, cakes, and even muffins. What’s more, it has a whipped, creamy consistency that we’re sure not only you’ll find delicious, but little ones, too.

If you plan on keeping leftover frosting, it’s important to be aware that it will last you around one week before it needs to be thrown away.

As soon as you have made the frosting, we recommend immediately moving it from the saucepan to a fridge-friendly container with a lid, as this will help to keep the frosting fresh for as long as possible, all the while ensuring that the texture and taste won’t change.

The best part about this recipe is that it only takes 10-15 minutes to make, and requires basic ingredients that you’ll likely already have lying around in your kitchen.

Plus, like we mentioned above, if you want thinner icing, just be sure to add more milk and less flour for a more pourable, ‘drizzly’ consistency. It’s as easy as that!

Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Powdered Sugar

Gluten-free:   No
Dairy-free:  No
Suitable for nut allergies: Yes
4.91 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Danish
Servings 8
Calories 191 kcal


  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl


  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of soft butter
  • 1-2 tbsp of vanilla extract


  • Place a saucepan on your stove at a medium heat. Put milk and flour into the saucepan and stir until the mixture becomes a paste-like consistency.
  • Add vanilla extract and stir into the mixture.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to fully cool before moving onto the next step.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Once the flour-milk-vanilla mixture has reached room temperature, add the sugar-butter mixture into the saucepan. It is best to use an electric whisk to fully combine both of these mixtures together.
  • Spread your icing onto cinnamon rolls and dig in!


Calories: 191kcal
Keyword Cinnamon Roll, Cinnamon Roll Icing, Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Powdered Sugar
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Wrapping Up

We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to make icing without any powdered sugar, just as much as we enjoyed writing it.

The recipe isn’t all that different from the traditional one that includes powdered sugar, contains fewer ingredients, and will still taste just as sugary-sweet and delicious on top of your cinnamon rolls.

Remember, you can always come back and re-read this guide if you forget a step and, most importantly, make sure you have fun!

Now, all you have to do is put on your favorite baking apron and try out our recipe in the kitchen. Take it from us, you’ll have people coming back for more – don’t say we didn’t warn you! If you’d like you can always substitute sugar free powdered sugar in your powdered sugar icing recipe. Where applicable feel free to substitute sugar free powdered sugar for powdered sugar icing coconut milk, tapioca starch, or coconut cream to suit your taste.

So now you know how to make frosting without powdered sugar. Let us know if you have any tweaks.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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