These Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are pillowy soft, slightly gooey and dripping with decadent icing that forces you to come back for more. They are the closest thing to bakery fresh goods straight from your own oven. This recipe is where you come to make all your breakfast dreams come true.
The Heart and Soul of these Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls are a staple of the quintessential American bakery. It seems as though you can walk into almost any bakery, any day of the week, and find the warm pastries oozing with icing. But where did this pastry first come to life?
Cuisine Inspiration: Sweet Tooth Heaven
Primary Cooking Method: Baking to Golden Perfection
Dietary Info: Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Sweet, Spicy Cinnamon Bliss
Skill Level Required: Intermediate – but oh, so worth it!
- Cinnamon Explosion: Packed with a warm and spicy cinnamon flavor, these rolls are a true delight for your taste buds.
- Soft and Fluffy: The dough is heavenly, rising to perfection to create the softest, fluffiest rolls you’ve ever tasted.
- Gooey Goodness: Every bite oozes with sweet, sticky goodness, ensuring a delightful experience from start to finish.
- Perfect Glaze: The silky smooth glaze adds a layer of richness that will make your heart sing.
- Make-Ahead Magic: Prepare them the night before and bake in the morning for a stress-free, indulgent breakfast.
What Makes these Soft Cinnamon Rolls So Special?
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that is near and dear to my heart. My good friend Maria Lichty, a fellow food enthusiast, shared this recipe in her latest cookbook Two Peas & Their Pod. Her cinnamon rolls are inspired by her father who used his late-mother’s recipe to establish family traditions and create unforgettable family moments.
For the Cinnamon Rolls
- Active Dry Yeast: This little powerhouse is what makes your cinnamon rolls rise to the occasion. Make sure it’s fresh for the fluffiest results!
- Granulated Sugar: Sweetness central! A pinch to activate the yeast, and a cup to sweeten up the dough.
- Lukewarm Water: Just the right temp to wake up the yeast without giving it a hot flash.
- Shortening/Unsalted Butter: Crisco’s the way to go for the classic texture, but butter’s great for a rich twist.
- Kosher Salt: A pinch of this brings out all the sweet and spicy flavors.
- Hot Water: Combining with shortening, it adds moisture and ensures a tender dough.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: The building block of your rolls, giving structure and softness.
- Large Eggs: They bring everything together, adding richness and color.
- Nonstick Cooking Spray: Because we want rolls, not stuck-ons!
- Room Temp Butter: For spreading love and cinnamon sugar all over that dough.
- Light Brown Sugar: Bringing in the molasses vibes for a deeper sweetness.
- Raisins: Optional, but if you’re into little bursts of joy, go for it!
- Ground Cinnamon: The star spice, making your rolls unmistakably cinnamon-y.
For the Frosting:
- Room Temp Butter: It’s all about that smooth, creamy base.
- Confectioners Sugar: Sifted to perfection, ready to sweeten your world.
- Whole Milk: Adjust to get that dreamy, drizzly consistency.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: A splash of aromatic goodness to round it all off.
How to Work With Cinnamon Buns Recipe Dough
I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly enjoy having to wake up at the crack of dawn just to make sure my cinnamon rolls are done before noon.
Tip: Breaking up the work into two days can help save yourself the morning wake up call and improve your pastries. Instead, mix your dough the night before and refrigerate it overnight. Not only are you saving yourself time but the flavor of the dough will benefit from a slow rise overnight.
This is especially great for highly enriched dough, which tends not to rise as much as lean dough.
Cold enriched dough is also a lot easier to work with. If your dough is nice and cold then you can avoid a soft, soggy mess once you roll it out.
Mix up your dough, let it have its first rise, then pat it out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keep your dough rectangular and even in thickness, it’ll come in handy in the final steps of the recipe. Then cover the dough with plastic wrap and transfer it to the fridge.
By the next morning your dough will be ready for its final assembly and baking. You can roll out of bed in your favorite pajamas, get to work and still have your rolls done in time to catch Today Show. Ooey, gooey and oh-so perfectly warm cinnamon rolls are the best way to start any day. Take my word for it.
If you’ve got leftovers or you’re prepping ahead, simply place the cooled cinnamon rolls in an airtight container and keep them at room temperature; they’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days. If you want to freeze, wrap them up tightly and pop them in the freezer—they’ll keep their yumminess for up to a month. Just remember, whether you’re reheating from the fridge or defrosting from the freezer, a quick zap in the microwave or a warm oven can bring back that just-baked magic!
Other Roll and Bun Recipes to try
- Bourbon Pecan Sticky Buns
- Lemon Cinnamon Rolls
- Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
For the Cinnamon Rolls
- 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (two 1/4 ounce packages)
- 1 cup granulated sugar plus a pinch
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening or unsalted butter Crisco is preferred
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 cups hot water
- 9 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 2 large eggs beaten
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature (8 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup raisins optional
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
For the Frosting
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 4-6 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Cinnamon Rolls
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar with the lukewarm water and set aside for 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 1 cup granulated sugar, the shortening, and salt plus the hot water and beat for 30 seconds. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm temperature.
- Add 2 cups of the flour and mix until smooth. Add the yeast mixture and mix until well combined.
- Add the beaten eggs and mix once again.
- Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Continue mixing, gradually adding the remaining 7 cups flour. Mix for about 2 minutes.
- Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand, adding a light dusting of flour if the dough is still sticky, until the dough is satiny and smooth, about 1 minutes.
- Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Grease two 9×13 inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Divide the dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one portion into a rectangle, about 22×13 inches. Spread evenly with 4 tablespoons of the butter.
- Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the raisins (if using), and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon.
- Starting from one of the long sides of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log. Using a piece of unflavored dental floss or a thin piece of thread, cut the log into 1 1/2 inch thick rolls. Do this by first sliding the floss underneath the dough so you have at least a few inches on either side of the rolls.
- Pull up the ends of the floss and loop them together as though you were going to tie a knot. Tighly pull the floss until it slices through the dough. Arrange the rolls in one baking pan, swirl side up and about 1/2 inch apart.
- Repeat with the remaining portion of dough and the butter, brown sugar, raisins, and cinnamon.
- Allow the rolls to sit at room temperature until they've doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Bake the rolls for 28 to 32 minutes, until golden brown and baked through. Let the rolls cool to room temperature.
For the Frosting
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla. Generously spread over the cooled cinnamon rolls and serve.