recipe

Cinnamon Rolls: the ultimate recipe for the best homemade cinnamon rolls ever

Total time: 140 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist
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Ingredients
for the dough
warm milk
3/4 cup
Yeast
2 1/4 tsp
Granulated sugar
1/4 cup
Egg
1
egg yolk
1
unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup
bread flour, plus extra
3 cups
Salt
3/4 tsp
for the filling
Dark Brown Sugar
2/3 cup
Ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp
unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup
for the cream cheese frosting
cream cheese, softened
4 oz
unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp
Powdered sugar
3/4 cup
Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp

There's nothing like sinking your teeth into a warm cinnamon roll smothered in deliciously sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting. The good news? They're incredibly easy to make! These easy cinnamon rolls have a phenomenally soft, fluffy texture and sweet, buttery cinnamon flavor that is impossible to resist.

Homemade cinnamon rolls are a perfect baked treat to serve throughout the holidays, especially if you have family and friends staying under your roof during the Christmas season. We'll break down how to make the best cinnamon rolls step-by-step so you can make them whenever the mood strikes!

Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients

To make these easy cinnamon rolls, you'll need a variety of different ingredients.

The dough is an enriched dough as opposed to simple bread dough. To make it, you'll need eggs, butter, flour, sugar, milk, and yeast. Dry active yeast is the gold standard as fresh yeast can go off more quickly.

For the filling, you only need three ingredients: cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar. Either dark or light brown sugar will do – the choice is yours! However, we think dark brown sugar gives the best, richest flavor.

To make the glaze, you'll need powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. It's rich, creamy, and delicious!

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How to Make Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch

It's super easy to make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch. Start by gathering all of your ingredients. The first step is to make the dough, then let it rise. Here's how to do it.

Cinnamon Roll Dough

To make the cinnamon roll dough, combine the warm milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Leave it for several minutes until the yeast froths up. Next, beat in the egg, egg yolk, sugar, and butter. Finally, add in the flour and salt, combining the ingredients to form a dough.

Set your stand mixer to the medium setting, then knead the dough for several minutes, until it becomes smooth and is only slightly sticky. If it's too sticky, add in a tablespoon or two of extra flour. Once the dough has finished kneading, put it into a well-greased bowl and cover it with a damp towel.

Leave it in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size, about an hour or so. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 14×9-inch rectangle.

Cinnamon Roll Filling 

For the cinnamon sugar filling, smear the dough with the softened butter, making sure to leave some space at the edges so the filling doesn't ooze out when you're baking.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then generously dust it over the butter.

How to Roll Cinnamon Rolls

Once you've spread the cinnamon sugar filling over the dough, tightly roll the short end of the dough until it's all wrapped up, then pinch the seam and turn the long roll seam-side down. Chop off and discard the ends, then slice the rolls and put them into a greased baking dish and let them rise for another half an hour to 45 minutes.

Bake the cinnamon rolls at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they turn a lovely light golden brown. Let them cool, then make the frosting.

Cinnamon Rolls Topping

To make the frosting, combine the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Smear it over the tops of the cinnamon rolls. You can also mix things up and add some candied or toasted chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds to decorate your cinnamon rolls and add a bit of crunchy texture.

Powdered sugar is always delicious as a topping. You spoon caramel apple chunks, use buttercream instead of cream cheese frosting, or drizzle melted chocolate or toffee over the top of the rolls.

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Tips for the Best Cinnamon Rolls

Unless you have a sourdough started you can use to leaven the dough, you'll need yeast to make your cinnamon rolls.

Make sure the yeast froths up before you start adding in the rest of the ingredients. This is how you'll know whether it's active and able to leaven the dough. Make sure the dough is in a warm, draft-free place. This will help it to rise.

If your dough is very sticky, knead it longer in the stand mixer. You can also add a little bit (but not too much!) extra flour to make it less sticky. Just remember, the stickier the dough, the fluffier and softer your cinnamon rolls will be after you bake them.

If the middle pops out of your cinnamon rolls, it may be because you didn't let them rise for long enough during the second rise. It's also possible you rolled them up too tightly.

Don't have a stand mixer? You can use a bread maker to make your cinnamon rolls.

Jazz up your cinnamon rolls by mixing chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit into the dough.

It's super easy to make dairy-free cinnamon rolls. Use oil instead of butter, plant-based milk instead of regular milk, and vegan cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese. Swap the egg out for applesauce, silken tofu, or a flax egg to make vegan cinnamon rolls.

Can You Make Overnight Cinnamon Rolls?

You can totally make overnight cinnamon rolls. After slicing and placing the rolls in the baking dish, wrap them in cling film and pop them in the fridge overnight.

The next day, take them out and let them rise for 45 minutes to an hour in a warm area, then bake them as directed.

How to Store Cinnamon Rolls

Keep your cinnamon rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for two days. For longer storage, you can keep them in the fridge for up to one week.

Can You Freeze Cinnamon Rolls?

You can definitely freeze cinnamon rolls, either before or after baking. If you want to freeze them before baking, after slicing the rolls and putting them in the pan, wrap the pan and place them in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you're ready to bake them, take them out and leave them at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before baking.

To freeze the cinnamon rolls after baking them, simply wait for them to cool then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag. Freeze them for up to 3 months. Don't freeze them with the frosting as the cream cheese doesn't freeze well. Instead, when you're ready to enjoy them, reheat them at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes, then let them cool down slightly and frost them.

Instructions

Pour the warm milk into the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir in the yeast and leave until it becomes frothy.

Beat in the egg, egg yolk, sugar.

Add in the butter.

Mix.

Mix in the flour and salt.

Combine until a dough forms.

Set the stand mixer to medium and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth and slightly sticky. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover it with a damp towel or cling film.

Leave it in a warm place for an hour, or until it doubles in size.

Make sure the dough is super soft.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll it out into a 14×9-inch rectangle.

Spread the butter over the dough, leaving space around the edges.

Whisk the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. Dust the sugar over the butter.

Spread it evenly.

Working from the shorter end, tightly roll up the dough.

Place the roll seam-side down and chop off and discard the ends. Slice the roll into 1-inch pieces.

Place the rolls into a greased baking dish. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the rolls cool.

While the rolls are cooling, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth.

Spread over the tops of the cinnamon rolls and serve warm.

Notes

Use room-temperature ingredients to make your cinnamon rolls.

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