Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Whether you're a sweet or savory breakfast person, we can all agree that cinnamon rolls are a great way to start the morning — especially on the weekends. Sure, you can go to the store and get a can of pre-made rolls that you just have to pop into the oven, but they aren't nearly as good as ones that are made from scratch. This recipe includes instructions for homemade dough, homemade filling, and even homemade glaze, which undoubtedly yields much tastier — and fresher — rolls.

Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate Meals came up with this delicious recipe that's great for brunch with friends or family. "I love how dependable this cinnamon roll recipe is! It turns out great every time," she raves. Another plus? It's suitable for a beginner, so there's really no excuse not to take a crack at it. "This is a great recipe if you are just learning yeast breads," Rapone confirms. Keep reading to find out how to make these yummy cinnamon rolls. 

Gather the ingredients for these cinnamon rolls

Start by making your grocery list before you head to the store. For this recipe, you will need whole milk, unsalted butter, dry instant yeast, granulated sugar, kosher salt, all-purpose flour, large eggs, canola oil, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.

Begin by making the dough

The first step is to make the dough. Take out a small saucepan and place it on your stove. Turn the heat to low and add 1 cup of milk and 5 tablespoons of butter. Heat the butter and milk until the butter melts and the mixture reaches a temperature of 105 F to 115 F. You should use a thermometer to check precisely. 

Then, pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Do not stir the yeast into the dough yet, just let it sit on top. 

Let the mixture rest then continue to add ingredients

Let the mixture sit for about 8 to 10 minutes until it begins to foam. Then, use a wooden spoon to stir in the granulated sugar and salt. Make sure your stand mixer is fitted with the dough hook attachment, then add 2 ½ cups of flour. Turn the mixer on low and beat for about 30 seconds, until combined.

Add the eggs and remaining flour

Now, add the eggs to the bowl and turn the mixer on at a low speed. Continue beating the ingredients until incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat the dough for about 30 seconds on low, then crank the speed to medium-high for about 2 to 3 minutes until a smooth batter forms.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the remaining 2 ¼ cups of flour. Stir it well for 3 to 4 minutes until it forms a tacky ball.

Knead the dough

Clean a large surface on your counter and sprinkle it with flour. Knead the dough ball until the consistency is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too wet and you need to add a little more flour, do so bit by bit.

"When kneading the dough, try to use as little flour as possible," Rapone suggests. "The dough may feel sticky, but as long as it isn't actually sticking, you're in good shape." 

Let the dough rise

Wipe the mixing bowl clean and coat it with a thin layer of canola oil. Plop the dough ball into the bowl and make sure to turn it once to grease the surface. Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it somewhere warm. Allow the dough about 50 minutes to an hour to rise enough so it doubles in size.

"Make sure to be patient with the dough rising — go by the size of the rise, not the amount of time it takes," Rapone says. 

Prepare the cinnamon filling

While you wait for the dough to rise, take out a medium-sized bowl and start to make the cinnamon filling. First, add 8 tablespoons of softened butter, 1 ½ cups of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir until the mixture forms a granular paste.

Grease a pan and roll out the dough

To cook the cinnamon rolls, you will need a 9x13-inch pan. Grease it well with butter to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom.

By now, the dough should be done rising, which means it's ready to roll. Place it on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 12x18-inch rectangle. The dough should be about ¼-inch thick. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.

Form the cinnamon rolls

To shape the dough, start at the long end and roll it into a log. Pinch the seal on the long seam and transfer the log to your lightly floured surface with the seam facing down.

Grab a sharp, serrated knife and slice the dough into ½-inch thick pieces, keeping in mind that this recipe yields 14 rolls. Place the sliced rolls into the prepared baking pan with the cut side up.

Let the dough rise some more before baking

Loosely cover the cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap and place them in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise for another 20 to 25 minutes until they get nice and puffy.

If you don't want to bake these right away, you can pop the dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Just be sure to remove the pan from the refrigerator to let the dough rise for an hour before you continue.

When you are ready to bake, set your oven temperature to 375 F. Once it finishes preheating, remove the plastic wrap and place the baking dish on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes.

Prepare the glaze

What good is a cinnamon roll without the glaze? While you wait for the rolls to bake, take out a small saucepan and add ⅔ cup of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter, and ½ cup of whole milk. Turn the heat to medium and continuously whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, until the butter melts and the sugars dissolve.

Once melted, remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Then, set it to the side and let it cool.

Let the cinnamon rolls cool, glaze, and serve

Once your timer goes off and the rolls are a nice, golden brown color, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Then, drizzle the glaze over the top and let the rolls cool for another 20 minutes before serving. "I love these cinnamon rolls with a cup of fresh coffee," Rapone suggests. 

So what's the deal on leftovers? "These are best enjoyed fresh. You can store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to three days, but I recommend reheating them, just in the microwave, before enjoying," Rapone shares. 

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
5 from 59 ratings
Wrapped in cinnamon and brown sugar then topped with a buttery glaze, this is the only cinnamon roll recipe you will ever need.
Prep Time
2
hours
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
14
rolls
cinnamon rolls in tray
Total time: 2.33 hours
Ingredients
  • Dough
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (1 packet) dry instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading and rolling
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon canola oil
  • Filling
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Glaze
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm 1 cup of milk and 5 tablespoons of butter until the butter has melted and the temperature reaches 105 F to 115 F on a thermometer.
  2. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top without stirring it in.
  3. Let it sit until it foams for 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the sugar and salt.
  5. Add 2 ½ cups of flour and using a dough hook attachment, mix on low until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the eggs and mix on low until completely incorporated for another 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed.
  7. Then, beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until a smooth batter forms.
  8. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and stir in the remaining 2 ¼ cups of flour, mixing for 3 to 4 minutes until the dough comes together and forms a tacky ball.
  9. Transfer the dough ball to a floured surface and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes until it is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed if the dough is wet.
  10. Wipe the mixing bowl clean then coat it with the canola oil.
  11. Add the dough ball, turning it once to grease the surface of the dough.
  12. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 50 minutes to 1 hour until it doubles in size.
  13. While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a medium bowl, stir together 8 tablespoons of softened butter, 1 ½ cups of light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, forming a granular paste. Set it aside.
  14. Grease a 9x13-inch pan with butter and set it aside.
  15. When the dough is ready, roll it out onto a floured surface into a 12x18-inch rectangle that is ¼-inch thick.
  16. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.
  17. Starting at one long end, roll the dough into a log.
  18. Pinch to seal the long seam and place the log onto a lightly floured surface, seam-side down.
  19. Using a large serrated knife, cut the log into 14 pieces, each about 1 ½-inches thick, and place them in the prepared pan, cut side up.
  20. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for a second rise until the rolls are puffy or around 20 to 25 minutes.
  21. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375 F.
  22. After the second rise, remove the plastic and bake the rolls for 18 to 22 minutes until golden brown.
  23. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine ⅔ cup of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter, and ⅓ cup of whole milk, and place it over medium heat.
  24. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly until the butter has melted and the sugars have dissolved.
  25. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven when they are done and let them cool for 10 minutes.
  26. Drizzle the glaze over top.
  27. Let the rolls cool for at least 20 minutes before eating.
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