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The Best Cinnamon Rolls

Sara Allison
This is two recipes melded together, inspired by Cuisine Magazine and A Spicy Perspective. These are my go-to cinnamon rolls that I've been making for years! I recommend the cream cheese icing, but some people don't like cream cheese, so I have included a plain option that is also fantastic. Take your pick! They can also be prepared in advance and frozen!
Total Time 5 hrs 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Sweet Dough

  • cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cups 100° milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • cups all purpose flour

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 Tablespoons cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing (recommended)

  • 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Plain Icing (if you don't like cream cheese)

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • milk

Instructions
 

Making the Sweet Dough

  • Mix 3½ cups flour, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Whisk the yeast into 1¼ cups 100° milk.
  • Add the milk and yeast mixture, eggs, and melted butter to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended.
  • Add 1 cup flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the bowl.
  • Knead the dough, and while kneading slowly add the remaining ½ cup flour. To knead, fold the dough in half, give it a quarter turn, and push into the dough with the heel of your hand. Then repeat kneading process for about 8 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place (I use the proof setting on my oven) until doubled in size - about 2 hours.

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • Mix the brown sugar, soft butter and cinnamon together until soft and spreadable. (I like to use a mixer for this).
  • Sprinkle some flour on your workspace, about ¼-½ cup. Fold the dough over until it is in the shape of a rectangle. Roll out the risen sweet dough into a 16" x 20" rectangle.
  • Spread the filling on the dough using an offset spatula leaving about ½ inch border on the dough without filling.
  • Starting from the longer, 20" side, roll the dough as tightly as possible, making a swirl. Seal the roll pinching the ends with your fingers.
  • Now you are ready to cut the rolls. Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, cut the ends off that don't have filling until you can see a pretty swirl. Then use a ruler, mark, and cut every 1 ½" until you have 12 rolls.
  • Grease your pan(s) with butter. Place the rolls in round pans. (I use disposable pie plates and place four rolls in each pan. They do not take up the whole pan.) You can also make one 9" x 13" pan.
  • Cover and let double in size in a warm place (about 1 ½-2 hours).
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Cream Cheese Icing the Cinnamon Rolls

  • Combine all of the icing ingredients until smooth. I use a mixer.
  • While the rolls are hot, spread the icing liberally on each one. If desired, five minutes later, ice again.

Plain Icing the Cinnamon Rolls

  • Combine powdered sugar and butter. Whisk in 1 tablespoon milk at a time until it is the consistency of maple syrup.

Preparing in advance

  • Prepare the cinnamon rolls completely, including the icing. Let them cool to room temperature, and freeze. When you are ready for the rolls, bake the frozen rolls at 300° for 20-25 minutes until heated through.