There is nothing like the smell of sweet homemade cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.
This cinnamon roll recipe makes rolls that are extra soft and fluffy with a sweet cinnamon swirl inside. Top these rolls with cream cheese icing for the perfect treat!
Why They’re The Best Cinnamon Rolls
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!
- Soft, fluffy, gooey throughout, and perfect in every way you want a cinnamon roll to be!
- While they take some time, they’re easy (and fun) to make.
- These can be made with a stand mixer or kneaded by hand.
- Make and bake or refrigerate overnight and bake in the morning!
Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls
YEAST: This cinnamon roll recipe uses active dry yeast (not instant yeast) which is mixed with a bit of sugar and warm water. The yeast should get nice and foamy and if it doesn’t, it likely is dead and shouldn’t be used.
FLOUR: I like to use all-purpose flour in baking as it’s a flour most of us have on hand. Bread flour will work in place of all-purpose flour in this recipe.
BUTTER & EGGS: Butter and eggs should be at room temperature. Eggs add a nice rich flavor and help with the rise as well as add a nice fluffy texture. Of course, butter adds flavor, much like it does in brioche bread it also helps with a lovely texture.
FILLING: Once the dough is risen and rolled into a rectangle, butter is spread on top. The cinnamon swirl in this cinnamon roll recipe is a combination of brown sugar and ground cinnamon. We prefer brown sugar because of the caramelly flavor it adds but white sugar will work. Dark or light brown sugar can be used in this recipe.
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls
- Proof Yeast: Combine the yeast with warm water and sugar (this is called proofing or blooming). The yeast should foam up (like the photo below).
- Make Dough: Warm milk and butter (the microwave makes this easy). Stir in the remaining dough ingredients in the recipe below, including the yeast mixture. I use a stand mixer but have included tips below the recipe if you don’t have a stand mixer.
- Knead: Knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth. Continue kneading until the texture is smooth and elastic.
- Rise: Let the dough rise for an hour or so until it’s doubled in size.
- Add Sugar and Roll: Roll it out flat, spread with softened butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll it up and cut.
- Rise & Bake: Place in a prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown.
Once rolled into a long log, you will want to cut your cinnamon rolls. While you can use a serrated knife, a piece of dental floss makes the task extra easy. It cut through the rolls evenly without squishing the soft dough. (Be sure it’s not flavored floss, nobody wants minty cinnamon rolls).
Cinnamon Roll Icing
I’m not going to lie, this is my favorite part. Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and a little salt in a large bowl (per recipe below).
While some cinnamon rolls use a glaze, I don’t find it adds much flavor and a real frosting really makes them next level. Ensure the rolls are cooled (or almost cooled) or the butter in the frosting will melt.
Tips for Perfection
- All ingredients should be at room temperature.
- Double check the expiry on your yeast packet or jar, especially if you don’t use it often! Expired yeast can make your rolls fall flat. If you’re unsure, use this yeast testing method to check your yeast.
- Rise the dough in a warm place, cover lightly with a kitchen towel.
- Add chopped pecans, coconut, or raisins on top of the cinnamon-sugar mixture if desired.
- If rolls begin to brown too much, cover loosely with foil.
To Make The Night Before
These cinnamon rolls can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. Once rolled, place the rolls in a greased 9×13 pan and cover with plastic wrap.
Remove the rolls from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and cover with a towel. With the oven turned off, place rolls in the oven and place a bowl or pan of very hot water in the oven next to the rolls. Allow to rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Cinnamon buns can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. If you plan to store them, keep the frosting in the refrigerator and add to each roll as you enjoy them.
- In the Freezer: Cinnamon Rolls freeze well, just make sure they are tightly wrapped, or stored in an airtight container. You can individually freeze them for quick treats if you prefer. The cream cheese Icing can also be frozen, either on the buns or in a separate container.
These Cinnamon Rolls are such a treat, they are sure to make your holidays (or even ordinary days) special!
More Breakfast Baking
- Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Blueberry Scones
- Moist Banana Bread
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- Hot Cross Buns
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 9x13 pan or baking dish.
- Combine water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Let sit 10 minutes or until foamy.
- Combine milk, butter, remaining sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat to 120-130°F.
- Place 2 cups flour in a stand mixer. Add eggs, milk mixture, and yeast mixture. Mix until combined.
- Using a dough hook, add flour, ½ cup at a time, to form a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Remove dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic (approx. 8 mins).
- Place in a greased bowl in a warm spot and cover with a towel for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Roll dough into a 15" x 12" rectangle, spread butter on the dough and top with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll dough starting on the long side. Slice into 15 pieces. Place in 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 powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt 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.)
More Breakfast Rolls
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Easy Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Baked Apple Pie Roll Ups (video)
- Orange Cinnamon Rolls