**Thanks so much everyone for the great feedback for this recipe! I added some updates sporadically through the blog to explain one thing or another – so if you had questions, please look through to see if it was addressed. If not, please comment below and I’ll answer the best I can! :) **
This is it. The recipe you’ve been waiting for.. the last recipe you’ll ever need for cinnamon rolls is within this blog post. So prepare yourself.. go to the store and buy the ingredients you’ll need, then continue on with this post. Because by the end of it you’ll be wanting these cinnamon rolls and so I’m trying to do you a solid and make sure you’re ready to go! :) These will not disappoint. There is nothing more delicious, or more comforting, than a big pan of fresh out of the oven cinnamon rolls. I’ve always been intimidated by making homemade cinnamon rolls, it seemed like there were way too many steps and one wrong move and they would turned out bad. Well turns out, that isn’t the case at all.
Two years ago I attempted making my very first batch of cinnamon rolls by myself, needless to say, they didn’t turn out very well. They took what felt like forever to make and then didn’t even taste good in the end, which made me not want to make them again. And I guess it took me two years to come around to the idea of making them again. But in those two years I’ve become a much better cook and have learned a whole lot, especially about yeast and letting bread rise, etc. So this time around making the cinnamon rolls came almost naturally and well, they turned out better than expected. So good in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making these at least once a month for the rest of my life. No joke. ha
When you start the process of making these cinnamon rolls, be aware that they take 1-1/2 hours of rising time, plus about 30 minutes of baking time, plus about 15 minutes of hands on work. So don’t plan on starting these 30 minutes before you need them.
Start by making the dough. Add the warm milk to a large mixing bowl and add in the yeast. Let it sit about 5-10 minutes. The milk needs to be warm but not hot. I like to error on the side of warmer because if it’s too cool, it won’t do its job. As long as sticking your finger in isn’t too hot, then it should be warm enough. I like to let the milk and yeast set for a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients, this isn’t a necessary step though, but it “wakens” the yeast a little more.
Then add in the rest of the dough ingredients, minus the flour, and mix until combined, using the dough hook attachment. Slowly add in 2 cups of flour, then a half cup more at a time until the dough is tacky, but doesn’t stick to your fingers. The thing with making any sort of bread recipe is that the flour measurement will never be the same every single time, so feel it out with your fingers to test if you need more or less flour. Always add just a little at a time because you can always add more, but can never remove flour once it’s been added. The first time I made these I used a full 4 cups of flour, the next time, 3-1/4 cups flour was perfect.
Lightly grease a large mixing bowl and plop the dough inside. Cover with a towel and let rise 1 hour. The dough needs to rise in a warm place. As long as your yeast is fresh, it should have no problem rising, the main thing is to make sure it’s not sitting in a cool or drafty location. I usually move it to my wash machine which sits by a warm window.
After 1 hour, the dough should fill the bowl, or be double in size.
Punch it down, then plop it onto your counter top and roll into a large rectangle (or a shape that loosely resembles a rectangle). The measurements I was given were about 12″x18″ but I think I rolled it just a little bigger to make a thinner dough. This isn’t like pie dough, it won’t stick to your counter tops, but if you want to be on the safe side you can sprinkle the smallest amount of flour around before rolling the dough out.
Melt a whole stick of butter, yes, a whole stick, and just pour it right onto your dough. YES. Butter is basically my favorite. Also, this recipe makes at least 12 rolls, which means you’re getting less than 1 tablespoon of butter per roll. So basically these aren’t bad for you at all. If you rolled out a smaller rectangle then you can use less butter, start with a 1/4 cup and add more.. but I like lots of better, it bubbles in the oven and is oh so good.
Then take all the goodness that is the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix it together then pour it right over top of the butter. Spread it around with your hands to evenly coat the dough. Have I gotten your attention yet?? I never said these were diet cinnamon rolls. Make sure it’s fairly evenly spread because you don’t want one roll with globs of cinnamon and another roll with none.
Then roll the dough into a big log of goodness. You can either roll up, or roll down, either way will do the trick! Why can’t this be like chocolate chip cookie dough? I want to dig in right now, but with cinnamon rolls you actually have to wait until they’re done baking before eating!!
Take a super sharp knife and cut the dough into 1 inch rounds. I’ve made them much thicker before and they turned out just as good. I usually lop off a little from both ends to make it all even. I realized just now as I’m writing this blog that this photo is actually pretty creepy.. nothing like making my super sharp knife front and center of my photo.
Spray a baking pan, or several, and lay the rolls inside making sure they’re all evenly spaced. Don’t worry about the rolls all being perfect sizes, obviously I don’t worry about it. Now, if you made thick rolls then you may want to use a pan that’s a little larger so the rolls have more space to expand. The main difference will be in how they bake. If they’re pretty jammed together, it’ll take longer for them to bake OR you’ll end up with super doughy rolls. Now if you don’t mind that, be my guest and use a smaller pan! I’ve done both ways and they all end up delicious.
Put a towel over the pan and let the rolls rise about 30-45 minutes or until they’re fluffed up and fill the pan. And now you can hardly tell I had a few funky rolls.
Bake in a 325* preheated oven until cooked through and slightly golden brown. The recipe I adapted said these take only about 15 minutes, but mine took closer to 30. I think it all depends on how thick you cut the rolls and how close you have them together. Each time I’ve made these rolls they’ve turned out slightly different because of the thickness I cut them, the pan I use and how long I bake them. There’s not a perfect route to go. I didn’t think I would like a slightly doughy roll but I really did.
Pull them out of the oven and you’ll be singing hallelujah’s.
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make your frosting. I’ll admit I made a little too much, and then I maybe put a little too much on top of the cinnamon rolls.. but have no fear, I wiped some of it off and they were perfect!
I updated my recipe to reflect an icing that I like better.. it’s thinner and doesn’t need so many ingredients.
Ooh and aah over the cinnamon rolls that you just made by scratch in your very own kitchen. Now dive in!
These are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.. the dough was the perfect texture of soft and gooey and they were the perfect sweetness. Then the cream cheese frosting on top was quite literally the icing on the cake!
Pour yourself a big mug of coffee, cut 1 (or 2) roll(s) out of the pan and enjoy. every. last. bite.
These lasted approximately 3 days in our house.. and yes, it is only my husband and I.
Happy cinnamon roll eating!
**I haven’t tired freezing the cinnamon rolls yet so I don’t know how well they will or won’t freeze, but I hope to work on that sometime this fall and will update this post when I do**
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened (not melted)
- 1 egg
- 3-4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- In a mixing bowl, add the warm milk and add in the yeast. Let set about 5-10 minutes. Add in remaining dough ingredients except flour. Mix to combine. Add flour a little at a time until the dough gets to the right consistency. It should be tacky but not sticky. start with 2 cups of flour and go from there.
- Lightly grease another large bowl and plop the dough inside. Cover it with a towel and put it in a warm place to rise for an hour. Once it's done rising, punch the dough down and then roll it out on your counter into a large rectangle - at least 12"x18" but mine always are larger
- Brush the melted butter all over the dough then mix the brown sugar and cinnamon and pour that over the butter. Be sure to spread it all as evenly as possible so every roll is consistent.
- Roll the dough into a log lengthwise using your fingertips. Use a super sharp knife and cut 1 inch rounds - I usually cut off a little from both ends before cutting the rounds.
- Place the rolls onto a 9"x13" lightly greased pan, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until big and fluffy.
- Place into a preheated 325* oven for about 15-30 minutes. Or until they're lightly golden brown. If you want them slightly doughy inside, cook less, or if you want them cooked through cook them longer.
- While the cinnamon rolls are baking, mix up your frosting. Pour the frosting over the hot cinnamon rolls right out of the oven.
- These will stay fresh for about 4-5 days. Just be sure to cover tightly once cooled.
- Makes about 12-16 cinnamon rolls