Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Your family will love these cinnamon rolls! So soft & moist, spiraled with gooey brown sugar & warm cinnamon, and topped with a tangy cream cheese icing.
At this time of year, I am all about the cinnamon treats. Cinnamon bread, cinnamon scones, and cinnamon crumb cake are all on heavy rotation as the weather gets colder and we crave a warm, comforting start to the day.
So in this post, I am going to share one of my absolute favorite recipes ever: Cinnamon Rolls!
I have been making this recipe every Christmas for years. I make the dough and shape the rolls the day before, and on Christmas morning I take them out of the fridge first thing, and let them bake as we’re opening gifts. They’re warm and fresh just as we are starting to get hungry, and they make the most incredible treat.
I like to bake them so that they’re soft and gooey, just like Cinnabon. But if you prefer fluffy cinnamon rolls, they can totally be done that way too!
Keep reading, to learn all about how you can treat your loved ones to this same yummy tradition!
HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLL DOUGH
This cinnamon roll dough is pretty straightforward, and it’s all done in one bowl (which I love!).
Start with warm water. It should be about the temperature of a baby’s bath. If it’s too cool it won’t activate the yeast, too hot and it will kill it. So aim for that sweet spot!
Stir in the sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. After about 5 minutes, you’ll see that the yeast has dissolved and the liquid is starting to look foamy. This is how you know your yeast is working!
Add in the oil, buttermilk, and egg, and whisk everything together, then tip in about ⅔ of the flour.
Start mixing, and as you’re going along, keep adding more flour. You’ll know you’ve added enough flour when you see the dough pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, and gather itself into a ball.
Take the dough out and give the bowl a quick mist with non-stick spray. Then plop it back in, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place for about an hour.
GLUTEN-FREE CINNAMON ROLLS
For gluten-free cinnamon rolls, just substitute the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free flour blend Look for one that that swaps 1:1 for regular flour. Here are a few good options:
- King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
- Cup4Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
HOW TO FILL AND SHAPE HOMEMADE CINNAMON ROLLS
After your dough has rested and poofed up, give it a few quick kneads and then roll it out into a big rectangle. You want it to be about ⅛-inch thick. The exact dimensions aren’t critical, but when I made these, my rectangle measured about 14-inches by about 20-inches.
Spread soft butter all over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon.
To shape the rolls, start rolling up the dough at one of the long sides. You can see what this looks like in the video below.
Once you have a long, tight roll, just cut it in half, and then in quarters. Then slice each quarter into thirds. This way, you know all 12 of your cinnamon rolls are the same size!
Place them in a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap.
HOW TO BAKE OVERNIGHT CINNAMON ROLLS*
I love making these the day before, and baking them up first thing in the morning! There is nothing better than freshly baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and with this method you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make that happen!
Once your rolls are formed, just pop them into the fridge. They will keep there for up to 48 hours.
When you’re ready to bake them, take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. Then allow them to proof until they’ve doubled in size. It usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes for them to reach room temp, and another hour for them to proof.
Next just bake them in the oven!
*If you don’t want to do the overnight thing, that’s totally fine. Just skip the chill in the fridge, and go right to the proofing and baking step.
HOW TO BAKE GOOEY CINNAMON ROLLS
If you like your cinnamon rolls ooey and gooey, like Cinnabon, you will TOTALLY get that result with this recipe. This is how I personally LOVE my cinnamon rolls, and this recipe never disappoints.
Just bake them for a slightly shorter time. I find that 20 to 25 minutes works perfectly for gooey cinnamon rolls.
HOW TO BAKE SOFT, FLUFFY CINNAMON ROLLS
For soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls, extend the bake time just a bit. 25 to 35 minutes is usually just right for a really fluffy, soft result.
HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLL ICING
I am a total sucker for Cinnabon-style cinnamon rolls, so of course you KNOW that nothing but cream cheese icing will do.
You can whip up an easy topping with just a little cream cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. This frosting is a dead ringer for Cinnabon.
Smear the icing all over the cinnamon rolls while they’re still warm. It will soften and melt and sink into all the crevices… omg- HEAVEN!!
HOW TO STORE CINNAMON ROLLS
These cinnamon rolls will keep for a couple of days at room temperature. Just be sure to cover them tightly so they don’t get stale!
You can also stash them in the fridge for up to a week.
Or you can freeze them! They will keep (tightly wrapped) for about a month or two in the freezer. It’s best to freeze them without the cream cheese icing. That way, you can reheat them without the topping completely melting away.
To reheat the cinnamon rolls, allow them to thaw at room temperature and then zap them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Or, warm them gently in the oven (covered) at about 200 degrees F, for 15 minutes or so.
I hope you’ll give this recipe a try! It will really make your family’s morning. Maybe it will even become a tradition for you, just like it is for me and my family!
This post contains affiliate sales links.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
For the cinnamon roll dough
- 3/4 cup (187.5 ml) water,, warm
- 1/3 cup (66.67 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 ounce (7.09 g) active dry yeast*, (1 packet)
- 1/4 cup (56 ml) oil
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk
- 1 egg, (large)
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) kosher salt
- 4 1/2 cups (562.5 g) all-purpose flour, (you may need as much as 5 1/2 cups)
For the cinnamon filling
- 1/4 cup (56.75 g) unsalted butter , (half a stick), softened
- 1/2 cup (110 g) light brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons (3 teaspoons ) ground cinnamon
For the cream cheese icing
- 2 ounces (56.7 g) cream cheese, , softened
- 1/4 cup (56.75 g) unsalted butter,, softened
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) lemon juice, (juice of half a lemon)
- 1 1/4 cups (150 g) powdered sugar
To make the cinnamon roll dough
- Place the warm water in a large mixing bowl, and stir in the sugar.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and allow it to dissolve and become foamy.
- Whisk in the oil, buttermilk, egg, and salt until combined.
- Add about 2/3 of the flour, and mix together until combined.
- Continue adding flour a little at a time, while mixing, until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl and gathers itself into a ball.
- Remove the dough and mist the bowl with non-stick spray, then place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to proof for 1 hour.
- Knead the dough a few times, then roll it out to a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.
To fill and shape the cinnamon rolls
- Smear soft butter all over the surface of the dough.
- Stir the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then spread the mixture in an even layer over the soft butter.
- Starting with one of the longer sides of the rectangle, roll the dough up into a tight log.
- Cut the log in half, then into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 equal rolls.
- Place the rolls (cut side up) in a greased baking dish, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.**
- Remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature (about 45 minutes).
- Allow the cinnamon rolls to proof for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 20 to 25 minutes (for gooey cinnamon rolls), or 25 to 35 minutes (for fluffy cinnamon rolls).
To ice the cinnamon rolls
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
- Add the vanilla and lemon juice, and mix until incorporated.
- Add the powdered sugar, and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Spread the cream cheese icing over the warm cinnamon rolls, and serve.
Soft, succulent dough with cinnamon brown sugar filling and topped with a gooey cream cheese icing. So. Unbelievably. Delicious.
**This post originally appeared on my other blog, YinMomYangMom.com.**
These cinnamon rolls… I just… I can’t even…
They are to die for. I mean, So. Unbelievably. Delicious. And, truly, they will kill you a little bit. They will make your life a little shorter. But it will be sooooo worth it.
As with so many of my most favoritest things to make, these began with a recipe. A recipe which I made, over and over, tweaking a little bit each time, until I had THE PERFECT result. I would like to properly credit the original author, but the thing took up residence as an index card in my recipe box probably fifteen years ago. I do know this: it came from a cookbook offering make-at-home versions of favorite items from chain restaurants, such as loaded potato skins from TGIFridays, honey-whole wheat pizza dough from California Pizza Kitchen, and cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon. Hence…
However, I don’t know if it was the author of this cookbook, or the folks over at Cinnabon, but their original recipe was definitely lacking. They were holding out! The cinnamon rolls were okay, but… I’m sorry. Just not gooey enough. A bit small. And dry. Just not the same. Something was definitely missing.
So, here is what I came up with, and have completely fallen in love with, and will be serving for Mr. Allie’s birthday breakfast this weekend, as well as probably for Valentine’s Day in a few weeks. And every other occasion thereafter, that warrants homemade cinnamon rolls. (Is there really any occasion that doesn’t???)
In a recent post, we talked a little bit about baking with yeast, and how it can be intimidating. Pizza dough is a great way to ease into it, because it’s pretty low maintenance. Well, if you’ve conquered pizza dough, and are ready to step it up to a new challenge, this recipe is for you. We’ll be building on the basics, so check out the post in question if you need to brush up.
Add some yeast to warm, not hot, milk with a bit of sugar added. Let it proof.
While that is going, combine soft butter with sugar and eggs. Add the yeasty milk to the mixture, along with flour and salt. Leave it on to knead (with the dough hook attachment) for a good five or ten minutes.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and coat with soft butter. Drape the bowl with a warm, damp kitchen towel and set in a warm place for an hour or more.
It will double in size.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. You’re aiming for a rectangular shape, with a thickness of about 1/4″.
Smear the surface with another stick of soft butter.
Coat the soft butter with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Butter a nine-inch pie pan. I like to use the paper that the butter was wrapped in. It’s usually pretty slick once the butter’s been softened in it.
Roll the dough longways, and slice evenly into six rolls. Place them into a buttered baking pan.
Smear the sides with more soft butter.
Cover with a warm, damp towel, and let rise a second time, in a warm place, for an hour or more. (I like to do all this the night before.)
Bake for 10-15 minutes, at 350 degrees, or until lightly golden on the top.
Top with sweet-creamy-tangy cream cheese icing…
…your arteries may be a little ticked, but your tastebuds will thank you.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
For the Rolls
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 sticks, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup plus a pinch for the yeast granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Filling
- 1 stick, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Icing
- 1 stick, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, along with a pinch of sugar, and allow to proof.
- Combine the sugar, butter, and eggs. Add the milk and yeast.
- Add the flour to the mixture, with the dough hook attachment, and allow to knead for five minutes. Add in the salt.
- Place in a buttered bowl and allow to rise, covered, until doubled in size.
- Roll out to ¼" thickness, fill, roll, and cut into six equal portions.
- Place in a buttered 9-inch diameter pie plate and allow to rise until doubled in size.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Top with icing.
- Smear the rolled dough with soft butter.
- Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the surface.
- Whip all the icing ingredients together until fluffy.
Hi Can we replace egg with something else…
I have not tried it myself so I can’t say for sure, but perhaps a chia egg or flax egg?
This is my third time making these cinnamon rolls
And they are wonderful. This time, I experienced difficulty rolling the dough into the large rectangle. The dough was so elastic and firm and it would spring back with each roll. We had these on Christmas morning and they looked like bakery rolls., so light and fluffy …so the tough roll out did not affect the recipe. These are the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made!
Any thoughts as to what occurred this time? I Don’t recall this step being as tedious the other times I made them. Thank you for providing so many 5 star recipes that my family enjoys. Have a blessed New Year
Hey Jennie! Thank you so much for the positive review on one of my all-time favorite recipes. To answer your question, this sometimes happens when you go to roll out the dough immediately after kneading it. If you find it’s not cooperating, just give the dough a 10 to 15-minute rest (covered) and then try again. That usually helps it to relax. Hope this is helpful!
Hello! This is Elizabeth. I recently came across your site and it looks amazing! I love cooking/baking and am always looking for new recipes!:) I have a question regarding the cinnamon rolls ~ if I am making them gluten/dairy free, do you know if they can be made using the “overnight” version as well? I am making these for Thanksgiving breakfast, (original recipe), however my son’s girlfriend is gluten/dairy free so I wanted to have them for her too. Thanks in advance for your time and wonderful site!!
Hi there! I think they should work the same way regardless. Good luck!
Omg super good, I made them and my daughter loved them, now they are her favorites.