Cinnamon Rolls – These cinnamon rolls are big, bakery style rolls with a soft and fluffy dough, sticky brown sugar filling, and tangy cream cheese frosting.The dough is rich and buttery, with just a hint of sweetness and vanilla. The filling is warm and sweet, perfectly spiced with cinnamon and a bit of earthy nutmeg. The frosting is fluffy and tangy– not too sweet and with a hint of vanilla.
Not exaggerating – cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite foods. I get them every chance I get at bakeries or make them at home, I am literally always craving them. I can always guarantee they get made for breakfast on any holiday so with both Thanksgiving and Christmas, I wanted to share my favorite recipe. I included make ahead instructions down below along with instructions for if you make them without a stand mixer. Trust me, these cinnamon rolls are life-changing and so much better than the canned ones!
Common Questions About Making Cinnamon Rolls
What are cinnamon rolls?
Cinnamon rolls are a breakfast treat made by filling a yeasted dough with cinnamon sugar. Its rolled up and then sliced and baked. It is then topped with a cream cheese frosting.
How many servings does this recipe make?
This recipe makes about 12 servings.
How long do these last?
Store any leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container (or covered in plastic wrap) in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds before serving.
Alternate Directions for without a Stand Mixer
- Proceed with the recipe as directed in Steps 1-3, mixing the dough in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or dough whisk. When the dough comes together in a shaggy ball, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead by hand for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and only slightly sticky. Continue as directed.
- For the frosting, a hand mixer can be used in place of a stand mixer in Steps 17-20. You can also make the frosting in a large bowl using a sturdy whisk or rubber spatula (and a lot of muscle).
- Follow the recipe as written, but covering the dough with plastic wrap and placing it in the fridge in Step 13 rather than letting it rise a second time.
- The next day, bring the rolls to room temperature (about 30 minutes on the counter) while you preheat the oven and continue with the recipe as written.
- Milk is the base of our dough– it adds richness and moisture. We use warm milk in this recipe in order to proof the active dry yeast. I recommend whole milk, although 2% or almond milk would work as well.
- Granulated sugar adds a bit of sweetness to the dough and acts as food for the yeast.
- Yeast will help our dough rise so it becomes light and fluffy.
- If you only have instant yeast on hand, follow the recipe as written but skip the five minutes of rest in Step 1. Additionally, the dough should rise faster in Step 5 so check on the dough after 45 minutes to see if it has doubled in size.
- Eggs enrich the dough and help give it structure.
- Butter is used in both the dough and the filling. In the dough, butter adds richness. In the filling, it helps the brown sugar stick to the dough.
- Vanilla enhances the sweetness and warm spices in the cinnamon rolls.
- Flour gives the dough structure. Make sure to measure using the spoon and level method as adding too much flour can result in dry cinnamon rolls.
- Light brown sugar sweetens the filling. I love the added depth of flavor brown sugar brings to the rolls.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth and spice to really make these cinnamon rolls! If you don’t have nutmeg on hand, feel free to skip it!
- Salt helps balance out all of the sweetness in the rolls. I highly recommend kosher salt– not table salt.
- Cream cheese adds a rich tanginess to the frosting. Make sure it’s fully softened or you’ll end up with lumps in your frosting.
- Powdered sugar sweetens the frosting and gives it structure.
- Heavy cream helps thin the frosting. When whipped, the heavy cream will make the frosting light and fluffy.
Looking for more breakfast recipes? Check these out!
For the Dough
- 3/4 cup milk, warmed to 100-110F
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Dough
- Add the warm milk and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Sprinkle over the yeast and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy and fragrant.
- Add the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour. Once all of the flour is added, the dough should come together into a smooth ball around the hook. If it is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time - just until it no longer sticks to the bowl.
- Knead the dough on low speed for 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and tacky. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky to the touch.
- Lightly oil the bowl and then shape the dough into a smooth ball. Place it in the oiled bowl and cover. Set the dough in a warm place and allow it to rise until doubled in size - about 1 hour.
- When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 1/4" thick rectangle.
For the Filling
- Spread the dough with softened butter.
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the butter.
- Tightly roll the dough into a log, making sure to pinch the seam closed so the log doesn't unroll.
- Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut 1" rounds.
- Grease a 9x13" or two 8" baking dishes with butter or line them with parchment paper.
- Place the cinnamon rolls in the pan(s), making sure to place them cut side up.
- Cover the rolls again and place them in a warm place to rise while you preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake and Frost
- When the cinnamon rolls almost completely fill the pan, it's time to bake.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for 35-40 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
- Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow them to sit for 10 minutes before frosting.
- While the cinnamon rolls cool, place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy - about 2-3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar.
- When all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, slowly add the heavy cream and vanilla (with the mixer still on low speed).
- When all of the heavy cream has been incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat until the frosting becomes smooth and fluffy - about 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Spread the frosting over the cinnamon rolls and enjoy.
- Store any leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container (or covered with plastic wrap) in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds before serving.
Follow along on Pinterest for even more recipes!
Check out the web story for this recipe by clicking HERE.