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5 from 8 votes

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Learn how to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. They are easy to make, big, soft, so tasty, and simply the best cinnamon rolls. Rising time is just 45 minutes, and this recipe comes with freezing and overnight options. It's simply the best cinnamon rolls recipe and the only one you need.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rise45 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cinnamon rolls, homemade cinnamon rolls recipe, how to make cinnamon rolls
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 622kcal

Ingredients

Rolls

  • 1 cup warm milk (110°F / 43°C)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ oz package of active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 - 4½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

Filling

  • ¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Icing

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, stir together the milk, sugar, and yeast to combine. Then, let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the surface starts to get foamy.
  • Add the eggs, melted butter, salt, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and whisk just until combined. Then, replace the whisk attachment with a dough hook and add 1 cup (135 g) of the flour and mix on low speed until combined.
  • Gradually add 3 more cups (405 g) of the flour and knead the dough slowly and increase the speed to medium and then high after about 10 seconds on each level. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes on high speed. The dough should be slightly sticky to the touch but should start to come away from the sides of the bowl after a few minutes of kneading. If it continues to stick to the sides of the bowl after a few minutes of kneading, add 1 tablespoon (8 g) of flour at a time (up to ½ cup [67 g] in total) and mix on low speed until the dough is of the right consistency; then, turn the speed back to high. Do not add more than ½ cup (67 g) of flour, or the rolls will be dry. In the end, the dough should be smooth, soft, and lightly sticky, and the bowl should be clean without any dough on the sides.
  • Lightly spray a large, heatproof bowl with nonstick spray and transfer the dough to the bowl; lightly oil the top of the dough as well. Then cover with a clean and dry kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°F (100°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • On a very lightly floured surface (use as little flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin or surface), roll out the dough into a 20 x 18-inch (50 x 45 cm) rectangle. Spread the butter all over the rolled dough and sprinkle with the sugar mixture evenly. Starting at a long side, roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 equal-sized rolls and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Turn off the preheated oven and place the baking sheet inside, leaving the oven door ajar, for 20-30 minutes, or until the rolls are doubled in size.
  • Then, remove the baking sheet from the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. After 10-15 minutes of baking, cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent heavy browning if needed.
  • While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Therefore, in a medium mixing bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth, creamy, and no lumps remain. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Then stir in the vanilla and mix until creamy for about 1 minute.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven, let cool for 5-10 minutes. Then spoon the frosting on top of the rolls when they are still warm and spread evenly. They will stay fresh and soft in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftover rolls in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds before serving. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Video

Notes

Top tips
  1. Heat your milk to 105°F (43°C). If you don't have a thermometer to check the temperature, then dip your finger into the milk. It should feel warm, similar to a warm water bath, but not hot. If the milk is too hot, the yeast will be broken, and therefore, the rolls won't rise. If the milk is too cold, they won't rise either because the yeast won't activate.
  2. How much flour you need depends on the humidity and temperature where you live, as well as the size of the cups (not every cup is equal and as accurate as a kitchen scale). Make sure that you stay at around 4 to 4 ½ cups maximum. Start with 4 cups and gradually add 1 tablespoon of flour as needed. The kneaded dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.
  3. Use just as little flour as possible when rolling out the dough. The more flour you use, the more flour will be incorporated into the dough and make your yeast rolls dry.
  4. The butter for the filling should be soft but not liquid. If the butter is melted, it will run out of the dough's sides when you roll it into a log.
  5. Don't let them proof longer than recommended. If you let them rise more than double in size, you end up with an airy texture and could develop a strong yeasty smell.

Substitutions
  • Yeast - You can use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast if preferred. Replace it 1:1. Instant yeast lets the cinnamon rolls rise a little faster. So keep checking them when proofing that they don't rise too much.
  • Gluten-free - Substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour 1:1. Use a flour blend that has xanthan gum already mixed in.
  • Dairy-free - You can replace the milk with your favorite dairy-free or lactose-free milk 1:1.
  • Maple syrup - You can substitute it for pure vanilla extract or skip it entirely.

Variations
Mini rolls: Prepare the dough as described, roll it out, spread with butter, and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Then cut the dough along the long side in half that you end up with two 20 x 9-inch (50 x 23 cm) rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 12 equal-sized strips and roll each strip tightly. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, let proof until doubled in size, and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Giant rolls: Make the recipe as directed but roll up the dough starting at the short side closest to you and away from you. Rolling up the dough from the short instead of the long side will make the rolls bigger. Then cut into 6 equal-sized rolls, place on the baking sheet, let rise until doubled in size, and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Additional flavors: Try adding one of the following ingredients to the filling. 
  • 1 cup pecans (112g), roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raisins (80g)
  • Replace 2 teaspoon of cinnamon with pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 apple (Honeycrisp is my favorite) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Overnight rolls
You can prepare the rolls, cut them, place them on the baking sheet (or use a large baking pan - at least 9x13-inch [23x33cm] in size), cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove them from the refrigerator. If they have doubled in size overnight, let them come to room temperature for 30 minutes and then bake. If they didn't rise, then allow them to come to room temperature for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 200°F (100°C). Then let them rise in the oven as described.

Freezing before baking
Make the rolls as described, place them on parchment paper layered plates, and freeze for 1 hour. Then place them in freezer bags and freeze them for up to 2 months. To defrost, remove them from the bags, place on a baking sheet or pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Then proceed as described in the overnight rolls option above.

More questions?
Make this recipe perfect every time. So be sure to check the full post above. I included easy step-by-step photo instructions and also plenty of useful tips and info about baking with yeast.

Nutrition

Calories: 622kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 170mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 656IU | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 4mg