These homemade cinnamon rolls feature a soft and fluffy dough wrapped around a brown sugar and cinnamon filling. The rolls are baked to golden brown perfection, then finished off with cream cheese frosting. The best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had!
I love to host brunch parties, and I often serve bacon egg casserole, tropical fruit salad, and a homemade baked good like these decadent cinnamon buns. Your guests will be so impressed with your baking skills!
There’s nothing better than a fresh cinnamon roll, hot from the oven. Making cinnamon rolls can seem intimidating, but it’s actually much easier than it seems. You can have picture perfect cinnamon buns without a ton of effort, the hardest part is waiting for the dough to rise!
How do you make cinnamon rolls?
The first step in the process is to make the dough by mixing a little warm water with yeast and sugar to activate the yeast. Next, add the rest of the dough ingredients like flour, milk and eggs and mix the dough together. Knead the dough for a few minutes, cover it and let it rise. Now you are ready to stretch out the dough into a rectangle and spread the filling on it.
Make the filling by mixing butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the filling evenly across the dough and you are ready to roll up the rectangle of the dough. Slice dough into rounds and place them in a pan. Bake the rolls in the oven until hot and golden. Last, make a little frosting by mixing butter and cream cheese together and adding vanilla and powdered sugar. Once the sweet frosting is piled up on those golden rolls you are ready to serve them.
Tips for perfect sweet rolls
- Liquids like water and milk in the dough should be warm but not boiling to keep the yeast active. The liquids should be in the 90-100 degrees F range.
- If your yeast is not foamy after dissolving in the sugar and water, your rolls will not rise. Discard the yeast and try again.
- The rising times in this recipe are approximations. The dough will rise faster on a warm day versus a cold day.
- Make sure to roll your dough out thin to get more layers in your cinnamon buns.
- Frost the rolls while they’re hot so that the frosting will melt into all the nooks and crannies of the rolls.
- Cinnamon rolls can be prepared the night before, then left in the fridge to rise overnight. Simply remove the rolls from the fridge in the morning, let them come to room temperature and then bake them according to the recipe.
- For evenly sized rolls, try cutting the rolls with a piece of unflavored, unwaxed dental floss. Just place the floss under the dough log where you want to make the cut, wrap the floss around the roll and pull the floss to cut the dough.
- For rounder rolls, leave a little space between the rolls when you bake them.
How long do homemade cinnamon rolls last?
Cinnamon rolls stay fresh on the counter for about 2 days. If you put the rolls in the refrigerator, they will stay fresh 5 days. I recommend reheating your leftover rolls in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Why didn’t my rolls rise?
If your rolls don’t rise there are several reasons that might have happened.
- Hot Liquids: You may have used milk, water or melted butter that was too hot. If the liquids are too hot, they will kill the yeast before it has time to rise the dough.
- Old Yeast: If you use old yeast that has been in your cabinet a long time it may be dead.
- Cold Room: If the room where you let the dough rise is below 70 degrees F, the dough may rise slowly or not at all. Ideally, the yeast should be between 80-90 degrees F. to work. Warm liquids in the dough will help. Try keeping the dough covered to retain warmth and keep the dough in a warm location like near a sunny window. You can also turn an oven to its lowest setting for a couple of minutes and then turn it off to rise the dough in a slightly warm oven. Make sure the oven is not above 90 degrees F.
How do you know when cinnamon buns are done?
The cinnamon rolls will be done baking when the tops are a nice golden brown and the dough in the center of the pan is cooked through. You can use a knife or a skewer to check the the rolls to make sure they are done. A knife or skewer will come out of a baked cinnamon roll without gooey or liquid dough on the knife or skewer. If the knife or skewer has some filling on it, that is fine.
Can you freeze cinnamon rolls?
You can freeze cinnamon rolls for up to 3 months. Make sure to individually wrap each cinnamon roll and put the rolls in an airtight container when you freeze them.
I love to enjoy these cinnamon rolls right out of the oven. These are perfect to make for friends, family or just for any lazy weekend morning.
More breakfast recipes to try
For the dough
- 1/4 cup warm water 100-110 degrees F
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup milk room temperature
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1/2 cup +1 teaspoon granulated sugar divided use
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
- 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus more if needed
- cooking spray
For the filling
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the frosting
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
For the dough
- Place the water in the bowl of a stand mixer, along with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir to combine, then let the yeast mixture sit until foamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the milk, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, butter and flour to the bowl. Mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute, or until a dough forms.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Knead for 4-5 minutes until a smooth, soft dough forms. You may need to add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until you have a dough that's not overly sticky. The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl, but it's ok if it sticks to the bottom.
- Form the dough into a ball, then transfer to a bowl that's been coated in cooking spray. Coat the top of the dough with cooking spray, then cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place until it's doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Line a 15" x 10" jelly roll pan with parchment paper, then coat the pan with cooking spray.
- Roll the dough on a non stick surface into a 16" x 20" rectangle.
For the filling
- Place the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border on all sides.
- Start at the shorter end, and carefully roll up the dough.
- Use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut crosswise to make 12 rolls.
- Place the rolls on the prepared pan. Coat the tops of the rolls with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.
- Leave the pan of rolls in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, you can let the rolls rise overnight in the fridge. If you go this route, let the rolls come to room temperature the next day before you proceed with the rest of the recipe (this will take about 1 1/2 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Uncover the rolls, then bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
For the frosting
- While the rolls are in the oven, make the frosting.
- Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer. Beat until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract, powdered sugar and milk, then beat until creamy.
- You can add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach your desired consistency if needed.
- Remove the rolls from the oven. Spread the frosting over the cinnamon buns while they are still warm. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.