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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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. Hi Asha, we haven’t tried doing the final knead in a mixer but it would be pretty quick. My guess would be about 2 minutes. You will want to knead it until the dough is smooth and elastic forming a ball.

  1. excellent recipe

    quick question: what is the best way to make these into jumbo rolls? can i cut them into 8 and bake as normal? thx5 stars

    1. Hi Angela, We have never tried making this recipe into Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls but would love to hear how they turn out for you. I would probably bake them for the longer end of the bake time, 25 minutes but still check them around 20 minutes to ensure they aren’t overcooked.

  2. I have tried many cinnamon roll recipes over the years and this one is my favorite by far. Fluffy with a nice balance of sweet to cinnamon to the slightly tangy icing. very consistent results regardless of season of the year, my kitchen temperature varies widely depending on outside temps and wind…5 stars

    1. Hi Vickie, 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 the recipe.

  3. 375 for 20 minutes left my cinnomon rolls golden brown and delicious! This is my second time making these and they were perfect both times. Tonight I decided to make chicken and dumplings from scratch while also trying to make these cinnamon rolls…BAD IDEA! I let my milk, sugar, and butter get way beyond the recommended temperature of 120-130 degrees and I killed the yeast. Since I was in a hurry I just kept on and much to my chagrin when I checked them after an hour they did not rise. I restarted the recipe since I promised my family this delicious treat and they turned out perfect! Following the directions to the “t”, measuring your flour the proper way, and checking the date on you yeast will give you perfect cinnamon rolls every single time! Thank you Spend with Pennies for all of your delicious recipes!5 stars

    1. Oh no, that is too bad, Marsha. But I am glad you had enough time to remake these for a yummy treat for your family!

  4. 375 for 15 minutes left mine so browned I thought I ruined them. Every recipe I’ve used says 350, prob for a reason.2 stars

    1. We’ve made these many many times and always baked them at 375F per the recipe, and they turn out perfectly. As you can see in the photos, they are not overly browned. Perhaps your oven runs a bit hot Reece. Have you checked the temperature with an oven thermometer? Was your pan in the middle of the oven, or perhaps a little too close to the top rack? If you find they are browning too much but not yet cooked, simply place a loose sheet of foil overtop.

  5. Genius! I have been experimenting and trying recipes for years trying to achieve these rolls.Maybe I got lucky, but these were the best I’ve ever made. Thank you, thank you!5 stars

  6. Made these this morning and they turned out excellent! Thank you for the recipe. Was wondering if you can bake these on parchment paper as I have a sticky messy pan.4 stars

  7. I have made a lot of Cinnamon Rolls, but I will never try another recipe. THESE ARE THE BEST EVER! The dough is easy to work with. They rise beautifully and they taste even better! I would give them a 10 if it was possible.5 stars

  8. I have never made Cinnamon Rolls before, but where I’m from there was a favorite bakery shoppe that sold very good rolls. They also added Raisins inside.
    There’s was mine and my families favorite. Can’t find them here in this state.
    I will have to try to make these. They look delicious. Thanks!!!

  9. Followed the dough recipe exactly and turned out with a crumbly mess. I kneaded the heck out of it and it still wasn’t coming together.1 star

    1. We haven’t had the same issue, so I can’t say for sure what went wrong for you. When measuring the flour, did you scoop it with the measuring cup? This can add extra flour causing a crumbly dough. We use this method to measure flour. I hope that helps!

    2. I always use this recipe but I make a few adjustments! First the flour is too much I do about 3.5 – 4 cups. I don’t even use a mixer, and I added the flour a 1/2 cup at a time when mixing. Additionally I proofed my dough over night in the fridge ! They turned out amazing. I want to try this but using cardamom, star anise, and other spices with a sweetened condensed milk glaze.4 stars

  10. I am 71 years old. Lost my grandma’s recipe a few years bac and tried a few new ones these past few years. I made this for Thanksgiving and my daughter INSISTED that I make them again at Christmas, saying…”These are the best cinnamon rolls you have EVER EVER made. So, there you go. I added chopped pecans before rolling up and that was yummy. So, thank you for an incredible recipe that outshone even grandma’s. Truly…..these are the best I have ever made.5 stars