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Fluffy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

These Fluffy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are what comfort food dreams are made of. Moist, tender rolls filled with cinnamon brown sugar, then topped with silky cream cheese frosting.

A white baking dish filled with frosted cinnamon buns.

Today felt like a “sitting in front of the fireplace watching Elf and eating cinnamon buns” kinda day. It’s below freezing outside, and relaxing evening in front of a fire eating comfort food felt like the thing to do.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to pass up a whim like that.

Cinnamon rolls seemed like just the thing too. It doesn’t get much cozier than a fluffy homemade cinnamon bun smothered in silky cream cheese frosting!

These cinnamon rolls are very easy to make, but they do take a bit of time. So you can start these in the morning and then enjoy them in the afternoon. Or, you can assemble them the day before and bake them the following morning. I’m sharing instructions for how to do both options below!

A single frosted cinnamon bun on parchment paper with milk.

Is it Hard to Make These?

Making cinnamon buns from scratch might sound intimidating. But trust me, it’s easy! If you have patience (the dough does need to rise twice) and all the ingredients, you can make these cinnamon rolls. It’s really that simple.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is the dough. It is incredibly forgiving! On exceptionally organized weekends I will make the dough the day before I want to eat the buns, then let it do a slow rise in the fridge overnight.

On not so organized weekends, I have forgotten about the dough and let it rise too long. And on impatient weekends, I’ve rushed the dough a bit by putting it to rise in near the fireplace. (Not too close or the dough will bake, but just close enough to give the dough extra warmth.)

It comes out perfectly every time. Working with yeasted dough is not as fussy as you might think.

A white dish with homemade cinnamon buns frosted, next to cinnamon sticks.

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls

Alright so let’s get down to business. How do you make cinnamon rolls anyways? Here’s how I do it:

Cinnamon roll dough in a stand mixer with dough hook.
A ball of dough on a marble counter.

Make the Dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment combine the yeast, eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk and salt. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour ½ cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes, adding flour 1-2 tablespoons at a time to prevent the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  • When the dough is smooth and soft, but not sticky, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 1 minute longer. The dough is ready when it’s smooth and springs back after being pressed with your thumb.
Dough ready for first rise in a white bowl.
Dough after first rise in a white bowl.
  • Lightly grease a large, deep bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat both sides of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and allow the dough to rise for 2 to 2½ hours, until doubled in bulk.


Make the Filling and Assemble the Cinnamon Rolls

  • In a medium bowl combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with PAM or olive oil spray. Set aside.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle that’s about 18×12 inches. (Doesn’t have to be exact.) Brush the melted butter all over the top of the dough.
Rolled out dough with brown sugar, ready to be rolled up.
Folding over the sides of the dough helps prevent any of that yummy sugar mix from falling out.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling onto the dough, leaving a 1 inch border on all sides. Gently press the filling into the dough.
  • Fold the left and right sides of the dough in (see picture above), then roll up the dough jelly-roll style, beginning with the bottom long side of the dough. Fold the last bit of dough over the top of the jelly roll and pinch the seam into the dough to seal. Gently squeeze the dough to make an even log shape.
Rolled up cinnamon roll dough.
A sliced log of cinnamon roll dough.
  • With a serrated knife, slice the log into rolls 1½ inches wide. Place each roll into the prepared baking dish, cut side up. You will have about 12 rolls.
Sliced cinnamon rolls ready to do their second rise.

The Second Rising: You Have Options

First I just have to say: “The second rising” sounds kinda ominous doesn’t it? More like a Sci-Fi film. But it is an accurate heading so I’m going with it!

If you are doing a slow rise overnight in the fridge:

Cover the baking dish tightly with saran wrap and place in the fridge to do a slow rise overnight.

If you are baking the same day:

Cover the baking dish tightly with saran wrap and place in a warm spot. Let the buns rise for about 90 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.


Bake the Rolls

If you have done an overnight rise:

  • When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the fridge and take off the saran wrap. Place them in a cold oven along with a shallow pan filled with boiling water. (Put the rolls on the top oven rack and the pan of water on the bottom oven rack.)
  • Close the oven door and let the rolls steam for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the rolls and the pan of water from the oven. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

If you are baking the same day:

One the second rise is complete, heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls on the middle oven rack for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Baked cinnamon rolls ready to be frosted.
Cream cheese frosting in a bowl.

Make and Add the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • While the rolls are cooling, make the frosting. Combine the cream cheese, milk, confectioners sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix at low speed until the sugar has been incorporated, then increase to medium speed and continue mixing until you have a smooth frosting, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the frosting over the cinnamon buns and gently spread with a spatula. Serve immediately and enjoy!
     
Cinnamon rolls being frosted in a white baking dish on a wooden table.

How to Store Cinnamon Rolls

Since there is dairy in the frosting, I usually store these in the fridge.

Let everything come to room temperature, then cover tightly with saran wrap, bees wrap or aluminum foil and store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

When you’re ready to eat more, simply cut out the number of rolls you want. If you like them warm, you can heat each roll one at a time in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.

Can I Half This Recipe?

Yes, you can half the amounts in this recipe and make 6 cinnamon rolls. If you do this, use an 8×8 pan to bake your cinnamon rolls.

Three cinnamon rolls in front of a baking dish and a jar of milk

And that’s about it! I hope you give this cinnamon roll recipe a try! Please feel free to send questions my way as well. I’ll do my best to add answers to the bottom of this post.

Happy baking!

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Fluffy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

A white baking dish with frosted homemade cinnamon buns

These Fluffy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are what comfort food dreams are made of. Moist, tender rolls filled with cinnamon brown sugar, then topped with silky cream cheese frosting.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cinnamon buns 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

For the Dough

  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 to cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

For the Filling

  • 1⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Frosting

  • 4oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups confectioners sugar

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment combine the yeast, eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk and salt.
  • Add 1 cup of the flour and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour ½ cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes, adding flour 1-2 tablespoons at a time to prevent the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  • When the dough is smooth and soft, but not sticky, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 1 minute longer. The dough is ready when it’s smooth and springs back after being pressed with your thumb.
  • Lightly grease a large, deep bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat both sides of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and allow the dough to rise for 2 to 2½ hours, until doubled in bulk.

Make the Filling and Assemble the Cinnamon Buns

  • In a medium bowl combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with PAM or olive oil spray. Set aside.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle that’s about 18×12 inches. (Doesn’t have to be exact.) Brush the melted butter all over the top of the dough.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling onto the dough, leaving a 1 inch border on all sides. Gently press the filling into the dough. Fold the left and right sides of the dough in (see picture in blog post above), then roll up the dough jelly-roll style, beginning with the bottom long side of the dough. Fold the last bit of dough over the top of the jelly roll and pinch the seam into the dough to seal. Gently squeeze the dough to make an even log shape.
  • With a serrated knife, slice the log into rolls 1½ inches wide. Place each roll into the prepared baking dish, cut side up. You will have about 12 rolls.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with saran wrap and place in the fridge to do a slow rise overnight. Or, if you are baking the same day, cover tightly with saran wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot for about 90 minutes, until the rolls have doubled in size.

Bake the Rolls

If you did a slow rise overnight:

  • When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the fridge and take off the saran wrap. Place them in a cold oven along with a shallow pan filled with boiling water. (Put the rolls on the top oven rack and the pan of water on the bottom oven rack.)
  • Close the oven door and let the rolls steam for about 20 minutes. 
  • Remove the rolls and the pan of water from the oven. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

If you let the dough rise on the counter for same day baking:

  • Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake the rolls on the middle oven rack for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Make the Frosting

  • While the rolls are cooling, make the frosting. Combine the cream cheese, milk, confectioners sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix at low speed until the sugar has been incorporated, then increase to medium speed and continue mixing until you have a smooth frosting, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the frosting over the cinnamon buns and gently spread with a spatula. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Keywords: cinnamon buns recipe, homemade cinnamon rolls

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