This sweet cinnamon vanilla icing is perfect to drizzle over cinnamon rolls or cinnamon twist bread and tastes great when used as a glaze for apple fritters or donuts. Using only 4 basic pantry staple ingredients and a mixing bowl, this icing comes together super quick and lasts up to a couple weeks in the fridge….if you can stay away from it for that long!
Raise your hand if you’ve got an old cinnamon spice shaker jar that now holds a premix of cinnamon sugar, at the ready for any piece of warm buttery toast that needs a little sprinkle?? I’m guilty! Cinnamon and sugar are a pair not likely to be forgotten anytime soon, and for good reason: they’re delicious together! And this cinnamon vanilla icing is basically the liquid cousin to the spice jar.
I originally made this cinnamon vanilla icing as a glaze for my gluten free apple fritters and of course made too much. (Oh darn!) The leftovers proved to be a delicious addition to a whole slew of other tasty treats including my peanut butter oat cookies, mini apple pies, and even just pie crust (we called them pie crust cookies growing up). I find it pairs best with recipes that aren’t super sweet themselves, since the icing is pretty sweet by itself. It is, after all, mostly sugar!
Tips for making cinnamon vanilla icing:
- Make sure your confectioner’s sugar is free of clumps. Feel free to bust out that sieve if necessary.
- Mixing the cinnamon into the confectioner’s sugar before adding the liquid will ensure it is evenly distributed.
- Use the best quality vanilla you can find and afford. With so few ingredients, there’s really no masking a poor quality vanilla.
- You may need to adjust the amount of milk, depending on how you are using the icing. To top cookies, you’ll want a firmer icing so use less. To glaze donuts or drizzle on cinnamon twist bread, you’ll want it to be a bit more runny, so use a little more.
- Once you start adding milk, the icing will come together quickly, so add just a tad at a time.
- To make a dairy free cinnamon vanilla icing, simply substitute your non-dairy milk of choice in place of the whole milk at the same quantity.
Is vanilla icing the same as vanilla frosting?
The short answer is no. Frosting is typically thick and fluffy, it can stand up on it’s own. Think: what you use to frost a cake. The base is usually butter or shortening or some combination of the two. Icing is way thinner and usually sweeter. The base is the powdered sugar itself with a small amount of liquid added to it. It’s great for glazing cookies, buns, or donuts as it runs over the top and gets into all the tiny pockets along the way.
Tools you need to create cinnamon vanilla icing:
- Medium size mixing bowl
- Whisk or fork
- Measuring cups and spoons
How to make cinnamon vanilla icing:
- Measure confectioner’s sugar to a medium size bowl
- Add cinnamon and whisk together
- In a separate, smaller bowl combine vanilla and 1 teaspoon milk, then add to the dry ingredients
- Whisk together, and continue adding 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached
How to make icing thicker:
If you happen to add too much liquid (don’t beat yourself up because it’s easy to do), it’s ok! Simply add more powdered sugar until you get the consistency you’d like.
How to store cinnamon vanilla icing:
If you happen to not use the full batch of icing, place the remainder in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Is icing dairy free?
As this recipe is written, no it’s not dairy free, however it’s just as tasty if you sub out the whole milk for a non-dairy milk of your choice.
Can I use this recipe to make colored icing?
Absolutely! Just add a couple drops of any color food coloring to make colored icing. The cinnamon does make the icing a little speckled, but the overall color will still change no problem.
Will icing dry at room temperature?
Yes, once mixed, try to use the icing right away, but if it sits for a bit and forms a crust on top or dries out a little, pop it in the microwave for a couple seconds, stir it up, and it will go back to a nice smooth texture.
If this icing isn’t what you’re looking for to top your tasty treats, be sure to check out my other recipes for vanilla buttercream frosting, chocolate buttercream frosting, cream cheese buttercream frosting, cinnamon vanilla buttercream frosting, or maple cream cheese topping.
If you make this recipe, I’d love if you popped back over here, hit that 5 stars button, and tag me in your photos on Instagram @leedsstreetcollective
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3-5 tablespoons whole milk (or non-dairy milk of choice for dairy free icing)
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla
- Measure confectioner’s sugar into a medium size bowl
- Add cinnamon and whisk together
- In a separate, smaller bowl combine vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk, then add to the dry ingredients
- Whisk together, and continue adding 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached
Adding too much liquid is really common and can make your icing too runny. If this happens, don't worry! Just add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.