Cinnamon rolls are a warm, fluffy treat that’s both sweet and spicy, with a rich, buttery flavor.
These sweet rolls are made with a soft dough that’s filled with a generous amount of sweet cinnamon sugar, then rolled up and baked to perfection. They’re finished with a buttery cream cheese frosting for an extra layer of indulgence in every bite.
Enjoy them as a special breakfast treat or a midday pick-me-up, these cinnamon rolls are delicious. You won’t be disappointed!
Here’s Why You’ll Think These Are The Best Cinnamon Rolls:
Although they do take time, these cinnamon rolls are not difficult although they do take time. If you haven’t worked with yeast, don’t be intimidated. As long as your yeast is fresh, these should work out just fine!
- They’re soft, fluffy, and gooey throughout.
- These cinnamon rolls are easy to make, even for beginner bakers.
- They can be made with a stand mixer or kneaded by hand.
- Make them the night before and bake in the morning for a warm, delicious breakfast.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls
Yeast: This recipe uses active dry yeast mixed with sugar and warm water. The yeast should get nice and foamy, and if it doesn’t it should not be used.
Flour: All-purpose flour or bread flour can be used. I use all-purpose flour since it’s what I usually have on hand.
Butter and eggs: These should be at room temperature. The eggs add flavor and help with the rise, while the butter adds flavor and texture.
Cinnamon Sugar Filling: The filling is made of brown sugar and ground cinnamon. You can use either dark or light brown sugar, or white sugar if desired. The filling is spread on top of the dough after it has risen and been rolled into a rectangle.
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls
- Proof the yeast: Combine the yeast with warm water and sugar. The mixture should become foamy.
- Make the dough: In a separate bowl, warm the milk and butter. Add the remaining dough ingredients, including the yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Let the dough rise: Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
- Add the filling and bake: Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a flat rectangle, spread with softened butter, and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Roll the dough up and cut it into individual rolls. Place the rolls in a prepared baking dish and bake them in the oven until they are golden brown.
Enjoy! Once the rolls are done baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool before serving. Don’t forget the cream cheese frosting!
Cinnamon Roll Icing
It’s so easy to make the perfect cinnamon roll icing with just cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt. The frosting recipe below is easy to follow and is buttery perfection.
While some people use glaze on homemade cinnamon rolls, I think that a fresh cream cheese frosting tastes even better. Be sure to let the rolls cool down before adding the frosting, or the butter in the frosting may melt.
The extra wait is worth it, I promise!
Tips for Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
- Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.
- Check the expiration date on your yeast. Expired yeast can prevent the dough from rising properly. Use this yeast testing method to check your yeast.
- Allow the dough to rise in a warm place and cover it lightly with a kitchen towel.
- You can add chopped pecans, coconut, or raisins to the filling if you like.
- If the rolls are browning too quickly in the oven, cover them loosely with foil to prevent them from getting too dark.
To Prepare The Night Before
My family has dubbed this the best cinnamon roll recipe, and I love that it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight for an easy breakfast.
To prepare your cinnamon rolls in advance, follow these steps:
- Place the rolls in a greased 9×13-inch pan and cover them with plastic wrap.
- When you’re ready to bake the rolls, remove them from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. With the oven off, cover the rolls with a towel and place a bowl or pan of very hot water in the oven to allow them to rise.
- To bake, remove the rolls from the oven (leave the water in the oven) and preheat the oven to the temperature specified in the recipe.
- Place the rolls in the oven, close the door, and bake according to the recipe instructions. The hot water will help to create steam and keep the rolls soft and fluffy as they bake.
Storing Leftover Rolls
Cinnamon rolls can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Keep the frosting separate, (store it in the refrigerator) and add it to each roll as you enjoy them.
You can also freeze cinnamon rolls by wrapping them tightly or storing them in an airtight container. You can even individually freeze the rolls for quick treats. The cream cheese frosting can also be frozen, either on the buns or in a separate container.
More Overnight Breakfasts
Did you enjoy this Homemade Cinnamon Roll recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoons
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup butter
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ cups all purpose flour divided
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar or as needed
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Grease a 9×13 pan or baking dish.
- Combine the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or until it becomes foamy.
- In a saucepan, combine the milk, butter, remaining sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture to 120-130°F.
- Place 2 cups of flour in a stand mixer. Add the eggs, milk mixture, and yeast mixture and mix until combined.
- Using a dough hook, add the flour ½ cup at a time until the dough forms a soft ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes).
- Place the dough in a greased bowl in a warm place and cover it with a towel for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
- Roll the dough out into a 15" x 12" rectangle. Spread butter on the dough and top it with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll the dough up, starting on the long side. Cut it into 15 pieces and place them in the prepared pan.
- Cover rolls with a towel and allow them to rise 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Brush rolls with milk and bake 20-25 minutes.
- While the rolls are baking, combine frosting ingredients with a mixer until fluffy.
- Allow rolls to cool for about 10-15 minutes and spread frosting on warm rolls.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Recipe is slightly adapted from this copy cat version originally adapted from Allrecipes.com found here
These cinnamon rolls turned out so well! I have seriously been trying to make cinnamon rolls for years and they never seem to turn out quite right. My family eat these up right away!
absolutely perfect. taste wonderful and very easy to make. I’ll be making them again
Easy and delicious!
I have made this recipe several times over the last year. It’s a bit of work but it’s sooooo worth it! I am absolutely obsessed. This is the only cinnamon roll recipe you need ya’ll!
Hi, can I freeze these before baking?
I haven’t tried it but I think that should work just fine. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!
I am a little obsessed with this recipe. I have made four times in the last couple of months. This time, the fourth time, I feel like I am finally getting it down.
I used rapid rise yeast, instead of active dry yeast, although i proofed it just like you would active yeast. I know that’s not necessary, but that’s what I did. And it seemed to work just fine. It made a lovely dough.
These are delicious, and not all that difficult to make. I have had to brush up on my “working with yeast dough” techniques, but each time I have made these, I have ended up with yummy cinnamon rolls, even if my technique was a little rough. : )
I am so happy to hear you love this recipe Lin! Thank you for sharing your tips and learnings!
Great recipe. They turned out great!
Can I use fresh yeast or instant?
Hi DebbieDo, we have never tried using instant yeast in this recipe. But if you want to attempt it, you do not need to proof instant yeast so you can skip step 2 and add it directly into your flour mixture with the sugar and add the water with the milk mixture. You also need ⅓ less than recommended when using instant yeast as opposed to active dry yeast. Hope these tips help, let us know how it turns out!
I have made this recipe twice now. I love it. I follow recipe as directed and it makes light fluffy rolls. I have bookmarked it, and will continue to use. Thank you for sharing. I simply love it.,
Can you put the dough in the refrigerator and finish the next day.
Hi Darla, other readers have premade the dough and it has turned out great. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!
I loved this recipe… the house smells wonderful and the looks on my family’s faces are priceless!!! They are seriously good! I’m definitely going to be making these again.
Thank You for sharing this recipe with us!
Is there a way to post photos of what ours turned out looking like?
Thanks Again and Happy Cooking!!!
Hi Kimberly, I am so glad to hear this recipe was a hit! To share photos you can tag us on Instagram at @spendpennies. Look forward to seeing your creations!
ok I never leave comment’s for anything but I tried these and WOW!! They are the best! I have been baking for many years and have made all different kinds of rolls and pastries! These are easy and fun. They taste amazing soft and gooey.This will be my go to recipe from now on!
Thank you for your review Marlene! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe!
These rolls were delicious!!! Turned out nice and soft. And I am not an experienced cinnamon roll maker.
Theses are melt in your mouth good! I couldn’t stop eating them! Definitely saving this recipe, thanks for sharing!
Hi, The ‘make ahead” instructions are confusing. Under “Notes” it says to put the pan of water in the oven “with the oven off” and the other says “Preheat the oven to the temperature specified in the recipe. Place a bowl or pan of very hot water in the oven.” Can you clarify?
Sorry for the confusion Susan! I have updated the recipe to clarify this step.
First, the rolls rise with the water in the oven while it’s off; the little bit of warmth from the water helps them to rise. Remove the rolls from the oven while it preheats but leave the water in the oven. I hope that helps.
Are there any adjustments for high altitude?
I haven’t tried baking at high altitude so I can’t say for sure Karen. Maybe another reader can provide some insight.
These are Devine! I love the texture! My new go to!
Can I substitute brown sugar
I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Helen. Brown sugar does lend to a different consistency in baking so it may not turn out exactly the same. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!
I intend to make these as directed but has anyone made these with gluten free flour?