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!

a cinnamon roll with frosting on a plate

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.

Cinnamon roll ingredients in bowls on a wooden board

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls

    1. 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).
    2. 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.
    3. Knead: Knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth. Continue kneading until the texture is smooth and elastic.
    4. Rise: Let the dough rise for an hour or so until it’s doubled in size.

steps for making cinnamon rolls

    1. Add Sugar and Roll: Roll it out flat, spread with softened butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll it up and cut.
    2. Rise & Bake: Place in a prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown.

Kitchen Hack

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).

cutting cinnamon rolls with floss

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.

Homemade cinnamon rolls in a pan with cinnamon sticks on the side

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.

Storing Leftovers

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

 Did you enjoy this Homemade Cinnamon Roll recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

a cinnamon roll with frosting on a plate
4.88 from 78 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe

This recipe makes soft rolls with sticky-sweet cinnamon filling on the inside, and dripping with cream cheese icing on the outside!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 15 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients  

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoons
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • cup butter
  • cup granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ cups all purpose flour divided
  • 2 eggs room temperature

Filling

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar or as needed
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Double check the date on your yeast to ensure it has not expired.
If you do not have a stand mixer, will work but will take a little bit of work to get the dough nice and smooth. Mix in as much of the flour as you can with a spoon and then continue mixing it in by hand. Once the dough is not too sticky, place it on the counter with a little bit of flour and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. This will take about 10 minutes. 
Bread Machine This dough can be prepared in a bread machine. Combine dough ingredients in the order specified by your bread machine. Set on dough cycle. Let dough rest for 10 minutes once completed and continue with recipe as above.
Cutting the rolls: Once rolled into a long log, you will want to cut your cinnamon rolls. Rather than a knife, I use a piece of dental floss. This cuts the rolls evenly without squishing the soft dough. (Be sure it's not flavored floss, nobody wants minty cinnamon rolls).
To Make Ahead Once prepared, place rolls in a prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. 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.
4.88 from 78 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 406 | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 566IU | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American

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More Breakfast Rolls

Recipe slightly adapted from this copy cat version originally adapted from here

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. So this is my go to recipe for cinnamon rolls for years! But just a quit question…. was this recipe originally with bread flour? I swear it was but now lists AP flour and I’m wondering if there is a glitch in the matrix. Thanks!5 stars

    1. This can be made without a stand mixer but will take a little bit of work to get the dough nice and smooth. Mix in as much of the flour as you can with a spoon and then continue mixing it in by hand. Once the dough is not too sticky, place it on the counter with a little bit of flour and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. This will take about 10 minutes. Let us know how it works out for you!

  2. They look delicious and smell delicious. I can’t wait to try them. The recipe was a little confusing as it doesn’t say what to do with the milk, butter, sugar mixture. But I made due.4 stars

    1. So glad you loved them. The milk mixture is added in step 2. Hope that helps!

      2. Place 2 cups flour in a stand mixer. Add eggs, milk mixture and yeast mixture. Mix until combined.

  3. After putting the milk on the cinnamon rolls to back them I put a little but of homemade apple syrup and then back them they turned out great and added a great twist to the rolls

  4. This recipe is incredible! I just made them for the first time using the hot water/cold oven method and it was flawless. I gave it plenty of extra time to rise in the oven beyond the 45 minutes as suggested. I baked them for 25 minutes and the top was more crispy than I would have liked, next time will be no more than 20 minutes! The frosting is a must for cinnamon rolls. I ended up using coconut brown sugar for the filling very modestly and the rolls were the perfect amount of sweet for me. Highly recommend!5 stars

  5. My cinnamon rolls turned out to perfection. It’s been 20 years since I’ve made some. This recipe is awesome!!5 stars

  6. Hello, Holly! I was SO excited to try this as I have baked with yeast very little. I made them in the evening and refrigerated to prepare in the morning. My only issue is that I am not able to get them to rise again using the hot water/cold oven method. What do you recommend? I am warming my oven on the “warm” setting and trying that!5 stars

    1. Sorry to hear that K Sun! The hot water/cold oven trick has always worked for us. Maybe your water wasn’t hot enough? Was the oven door closed the entire time to let them rise? You can also turn the light on in the oven to increase the temperature slightly. Let us know how the “warm setting” works for you! Good luck :)

  7. Oh my gosh these are so good! The icing is amazing! I have wanted to make cinnamon rolls from scratch forever. Guess the boredom finally motivated me to try. I don’t have a stand mixer so was worried about that, but I just mixed the dough with a wooden spoon before turning it out to knead and it worked just fine. Thanks Holly!5 stars

    1. So glad you enjoyed these Fran! Sounds like the perfect motivation to bake :)

    1. Hi Jen, 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 in 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!

  8. I have taken up baking and cinnamon rolls were my Dad’s only request. This recipe turned out perfect. Especially the icing, I definitely licked the beaters!5 stars

  9. These turned out beautifully! I’m usually reticent to try yeast recipes just bc they seem to take me a lot longer than they should, but these were well worth the time and effort. It was a perfect recipe for a day at home! They really are gooey and I love the brown sugar/cinnamon on the inside instead of the usual granulated sugar/cinnamon- it added a lot to the gooey factor. This will absolutely be my go-to cinnamon roll recipe from here on out.5 stars

  10. Omg these are so good!!!! Made them earlier today. My only suggestion is if you want some left for breakfast and you have a house full of kids double the receipt- there that good!!!!!5 stars

  11. my wife is a diabetic and after reading the recipe I tried this but replacing ALL sugar with Splenda and Splenda brown sugar. Also, instead of the powdered sugar for the frosting I just used 3/4 cup of Splenda. Cinnabon doesn’t have anything on this AND a diabetic can eat it and enjoy something sweet and delicious.5 stars