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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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5 from 4 votes

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

Why You’ll Love This Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

  • Tried & True. I’ve been making this cinnamon rolls recipe for over a decade. It makes perfectly fluffy buns every time and is an incredibly flexible recipe.
  • Easy. You don’t need to be a professional baker to make bakery-quality cinnamon buns. This recipe is pretty simple! Just follow every step.
  • Flexible. You can make the dough with a stand mixer or by hand. Either way works! You can also make the dough a day in advance, or the same day. Want to make these overnight cinnamon buns? You can do that too! (Details below.)
  • Totally irresistible. I have yet to serve these cinnamon buns to someone who was not totally blown away. Usually when someone takes a bite their eyebrows go up in surprise, then the room gets really quiet while they focus on devouring every last piece of their roll. I often make these for my kiddo’s friends and they’ll devour the entire batch.

Watch How to Make Cinnamon Rolls

Want to see how to make cinnamon rolls from start to finish? Here’s a quick video showing you how to make the best cinnamon buns ever:

Is It Hard to Make Cinnamon Rolls?

Nope. In fact, making cinnamon buns from scratch is easier than you’d think. The dough comes together quickly, then is topped with brown sugar and cinnamon before being rolled up, sliced, and baked into golden buns.

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.)

If you’re a fan of cinnamon rolls and want to make an incredible batch of buns right in your own kitchen, this is the recipe for you. 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. I also shared how to make these with and without a stand mixer. 🙂

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

How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Alright so let’s get down to business. Here is a quick look at how to make cinnamon rolls from start to finish. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for a printable list of ingredients + instructions.

Make the Dough with a Stand Mixer

  • Combine the dough ingredients. 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.
  • Knead with a dough hook. 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.
  • Finish kneading by hand. 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.

Or, Make the Dough By Hand

  • Combine the dough ingredients. In a large bowl combine the yeast, eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk, and salt. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the remaining flour ½ cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Knead. On a floured surface, 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.

Let the Dough Rise

  • Place the dough in a greased 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.
  • Let it rise. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and allow the dough to rise for 2 to 2½ hours, until doubled in bulk. If you have a warmer spot in your kitchen put the bowl there. Note that the dough will rise more slowly if your kitchen is cold.

Make the Filling and Assemble the Cinnamon Rolls

  • Make the filling. In a medium bowl combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Prep your baking dish. 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 cinnamon roll dough sprinkled with sugar
  • Add the filling. 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). 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.
  • Slice. 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.

Second Rise: You Have Options

Now it’s time to let your shaped cinnamon rolls rise. There are two ways to do this:

  • 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:

  • Place buns in a cold oven with boiling water. When ready to bake, take the rolls out of the fridge and remove 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.)
  • Steam the buns. Close the oven door and let the rolls steam for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove and preheat the oven. Remove the rolls and the pan of water from the oven. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake. Place the rolls on the middle oven rack of your oven and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

If you are baking the same day:

  • Preheat the oven and bake. Once 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.

Make and Add the Cream Cheese Icing

  • 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.
  • Add to buns. Pour the frosting over the cinnamon buns and gently spread with a spatula. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Freshly baked cinnamon rolls being frosted.

Tips for Success

  • Watch them in the oven. Baking time can vary according to your oven’s settings so keep an eye on your cinnamon rolls as they bake. They are done when they are golden brown.
  • Cool before frosting. Make sure you let them cool before adding the frosting. If you try to frost them while they are still hot the frosting will melt into the rolls.

How to Store Cinnamon Rolls

  • Store in the fridge: 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.
  • To warm up a cinnamon roll: 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 You Freeze Cinnamon Rolls?

Yes, you can freeze these cinnamon rolls. I recommend cutting them into individual servings, then placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze them until solid, then wrap each roll in saran wrap and place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container. They will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw them overnight in the fridge before eating.

Can I Halve 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. You will need to decrease the baking time by about 5 minutes to prevent the buns from over-baking.

More Desserts to Try

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

5 from 4 votes
These 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.
Prep Time5 hours
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time5 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 12 cinnamon buns

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2 ¼ 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
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 to 4½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

For the Filling

  • 1 ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese , at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • Combine wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment combine the yeast, eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk and salt.*
  • Begin adding flour. 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.
  • Knead with dough hook. 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.
  • Finish kneading by hand. 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.
  • Let the dough rise. 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.

Assemble the Cinnamon Buns

  • Make the filling. In a medium bowl combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Prep the baking dish. 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.
  • Add the filling & roll up 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.
  • Let the rolls rise. 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 Cinnamon Rolls (Slow Rise Overnight)

  • Place in a cold oven with boiling water. 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.)
  • Steam the buns. Close the oven door and let the rolls steam for about 20 minutes. 
  • Empty the oven. Remove the rolls and the pan of water from the oven.
  • Prep the oven. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake. Place the rolls on the middle oven rack and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Bake the Cinnamon Rolls (Same Day Baking)

  • Prep the oven. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake. Place 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.
  • Frost the cinnamon rolls. Pour the frosting over the cinnamon buns and gently spread with a spatula. Enjoy!
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Notes

*See my post for instructions on how to make these cinnamon rolls without a stand mixer.

Nutrition

Calories: 505kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 363mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 567IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. My favorite cinnamon bun recipe! I have to make sure I reserve a couple for myself or my family eats them all before I get some. 🙂5 stars

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      So happy you like this recipe! Thank you for letting me know and yes, def make sure you snag a few for yourself!

  2. I made this cinnamon rolls this weekend and they were ahmaaazing. Love this recipe. Thank you!5 stars