Cinnamon Rolls will fill your house with the wonderful smell of freshly baked sweet rolls that are full of cinnamon and topped with a homemade whipped cream cheese frosting. Try my Quick Cinnamon Rolls for the same great cinnamon roll taste using store-bought rolls.
It made sense to add this classic cinnamon rolls recipe to my growing number of sweet roll recipes, including my Raspberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls, Orange Sweet Rolls, and Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls.
No matter the bakery you walk into, you are almost certainly going to find a cinnamon roll on the menu. But, you will have to travel to Sweden to find the giant cinnamon rolls that measure 12 inches in diameter or more! But don’t be intimidated, the cinnamon rolls from this recipe are pretty average in size, so you should be fine eating the entire roll.
Cinnamon Sweet Rolls Recipe
There are three main parts to this recipe–the dough, the filling, and homemade frosting.
Dough Ingredients (full recipe below)
- Whole milk
- Granulated sugar
- Active dry yeast
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Cream cheese
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Vanilla extract
Sweet Roll Dough
The base for this sweet roll dough is the same as a few of my other sweet rolls recipes. It is one of the easiest doughs to work in part due to the ingredients and in part due to the process. To make this dough, whisk together the milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and the yeast. Let that sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes. The mixture will get a little foamy. Add in eggs and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Next, move to your stand mixer. Make sure it is fitted with a dough hook. In the bowl, combine the remaining sugar, flour, and salt. Add the milk mixture and turn the mixer on low. Slowly add pads of butter, blending well between additions. Once everything is combined, turn the mixer to medium for 1 minute and then switch to medium-high to knead until the dough is soft (about 5 minutes).
Can I Make Cinnamon Rolls without a Dough Hook?
Yes. For best results, use a stand mixer with a dough hook, but if you have to knead the dough by hand, it will take about 25 minutes of gentle kneading (and some arm strength) to equal the 5 minutes using the dough hook. It can still be done, but it gets a little messy, and sometimes there is too much extra flour added to the recipe in the kneading process.
Rise and Prepare the Dough
Transfer the dough to a medium-sized buttered dish. Brush the top of the dough with melted butter and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm area until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Give the dough a good punch and turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll out a 10×15 rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick.
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls
Once your dough is rolled out the rest is easy peasy! In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the melted butter over the dough so it covers the entire surface. Then, spread the brown sugar mixture over the dough. Tightly roll the dough into a log using the bottom long edge as a starting point. Using a very sharp knife, cut the rolls into 8-12 equal pieces.
Place each roll into a greased 9×13-inch pan. Put the pan in a warm, dry place and let them rise again (about 1 hour) and then pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes. You are going for a golden-brown crust. Remove them from the oven and let them sit on the counter for about 5 minutes while you prepare the whipped cream cheese frosting.
How to Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
It only takes a few minutes to whip together this cream cheese frosting for the Cinnamon Rolls. So, while the rolls are still baking, or even cooling, put the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, start on low to get all the ingredients combined.
Then, mix on high for 4-5 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy. You can spread this all over the warm rolls that are still in the pan. Or, another option would be to flip over the rolls onto a serving plate and add the frosting then. Either way you ‘roll’ (get it?), these will be a hit!
Can I Freeze Cinnamon Rolls?
Yes! You can freeze cinnamon rolls in a few different ways.
- Before they rise and bake, cover them with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Take them out of the freezer when you are ready to bake them and let them thaw and rise before completing the rest of the steps. If you are planning to freeze the rolls longer than a couple of weeks, you will want to add a bit more yeast to the recipe (about 1 extra teaspoon).
- You can also freeze them after baking the rolls, but before adding the frosting.
- A third way to freeze the rolls would be to cook them only 10-15 minutes. Then, remove them from the oven and let the rolls cool completely. After the partially baked rolls have cooled, cover them (in the pan) with at least two layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks. When you are ready to bake them, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight before popping them in the oven for about 15 minutes. That would be the perfect time to make the frosting.
Whenever you store food in the freezer, always remember to label and date the storage containers or wrappings that the food is held. I sometimes like to add a couple of instructions to remind me how to reheat or cook the food when I am ready to do that.
Looking for More Sweet Roll Recipes?
- 2/3 cup (163g) whole milk, warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds
- 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups (344g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup (57g or 1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (188g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
In a medium bowl, combine milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.
Combine remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the milk mixture. With the mixer running, add butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions.
Knead on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until the dough is soft, about 5 minutes.
Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place the dough in the bowl. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.
Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
When you are ready, punch the dough, turn out onto a floured surface, and roll into a 10×15 rectangle (it should be about 1/4 inch thick).
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a fork.
Pour 3 tablespoons of the melted butter over the dough so that it covers the entire surface.
Spread brown sugar mixture over dough making sure it covers the entire surface.
Rolling, Cutting, and Baking
Roll up tightly starting on the long edge.
Using a very sharp knife, cut the log into 12 rolls. Place them into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
When rolls are almost done baking, put cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix on low until just combined. Once ingredients are all incorporated turn mixer on high and leave it for 4-5 minutes. Frosting should be light and fluffy.
Place cream cheese frosting on rolls right in the pan OR invert rolls onto serving plate and then top with frosting.