Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Big, soft, homemade Cinnamon Rolls with the best cream cheese icing. You’ll love how quick and easy it is to make cinnamon rolls from scratch and these always disappear fast.
The sweet smell of homebaked treats like Apple Pie and Banana Bread floating through your kitchen is completely irresistible. A casserole of homebaked cinnamon rolls is quite a treat. These are amazing served warm from the oven with some of the glaze melting between each sweet bun.
Why we love this Cinnamon Roll Recipe:
Homemade cinnamon rolls are melt-in-your-mouth soft and the icing is irresistible. As my sister puts it, they are “better than Cinnabon!” and way better than Pillsbury or anything you’d get out of a can. They also reheat really well. A re-heated cinnamon roll is just as enjoyable as a fresh one and I’d argue the glaze gets even better!
These easy cinnamon rolls take just 2 hours to make and most of that is rising time. If you’re new to working with yeast doughs, see our tips below and you will be a pro in no time!
Cinnamon Roll Icing Recipe:
The fluffy cream cheese frosting is so simple with just 4 ingredients and it comes together in 1 mixing bowl: cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. This icing is my favorite the next day when you reheat a cinnamon roll and it gets all melty.
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls:
Homemade cinnamon rolls are easier than you think. In fact, there is very little active time – most of the time required is in letting the dough rise and puff up.
- Make the Dough – combine and knead the dough for 3 min, cover and rise 30 min in a warm spot
- Roll the dough into a 10×17 rectangle and spread with softened butter
- Sprinkle on cinnamon sugar and roll tightly into a log
- Shape Rolls – Cut into 12 pieces, transfer to a buttered casserole, cover, and proof 20-30 min in a warm place
- Bake the rolls – Brush tops with melted butter and bake
- Frost rolls– Make the icing and spread it onto warm rolls.
How Do I Know When I’ve Added Enough Flour?
The right dough consistency is key with cinnamon rolls. If you add too much flour, they won’t rise as well. First, be sure to Measure Correctly.
You’ll know you have added enough flour when the dough still feels lightly tacky/sticky to the touch while kneading, but won’t stick to clean and dry fingertips. I knead with one hand and keep the other clean to test and make sure I have added enough flour.
Can I use less butter for low-fat cinnamon rolls?
Butter plays a crucial role in how moist the cinnamon rolls are. Unless you want a dry cinnamon roll, don’t skimp on the butter. In fact, you can throw all modesty out the window and use even more inside the rolls and brush the tops with double the butter!
Can I make Cinnamon Rolls ahead?
If you’re wanting to prep cinnamon rolls the day before and enjoy freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the morning for the holidays or a special occasion, check out our Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe.
How do I reheat cinnamon rolls?
You can quickly warm refrigerated rolls in the microwave for 18-20 seconds. The dough becomes soft and the frosting softens and melts like a thick glaze over the cinnamon roll.
What kind of flour should I use for cinnamon rolls?
Basic all-purpose flour works best for cinnamon rolls. It has the perfect amount of gluten for super soft and fluffy rolls.
Why are my cinnamon rolls dry?
Avoid over-proofing your dough. If you let it rise for too long, you will exhaust the yeast and the rolls can fall flat or seem dry when baked. Also, avoid adding too much flour and over-baking.
Tips for Working with Yeast:
Be sure to use Instant or Rapid Rise Yeast which is a fast-acting and quick-rising yeast. It speeds up the process. We use the Red Star Brand Rapid Rise Yeast and you can also use their Platinum Instant Yeast.
Heat Kills Yeast and stops the rising process. Never overheat the liquids (they should be 110˚ to 115˚F) and keep the oven under 110˚F if proofing in the oven. I double-check temperatures with an instant-read thermometer.
Pro Tip: “Rapid Rise Yeast” and “Instant Yeast” are used interchangeably and they are not the same as “Active Dry Yeast” which requires additional activating and proofing.
How to proof yeast dough:
Yeast doughs require rising times. In most cases, you can cut the rising time by proofing in a warm place around 100˚F to 110˚F.
- Oven Proofing: If you don’t have a low heat proofing setting, you can warm your oven to the lowest heat setting for 2 minutes and turn it OFF. Set the dough bowl over a towel in the oven to prove, just don’t forget the towel in the oven.
- Microwave Proofing: Place a damp kitchen towel in the microwave and heat on high for 1 minute. Cover dough with plastic wrap, place in the warm microwave, and let rise in the warm microwave with the door closed.
Why Isn’t My Yeast Dough Rising?
If your dough is not rising and puffing up as expected, these are the common reasons:
- Too cold – set the dough in a warmer place (100-110˚F oven).
- Too hot – if the oven or milk is too hot, it can kill the yeast
- Old or expired yeast – start over with new yeast.
- Too much flour – a dense dough won’t rise properly
These cinnamon rolls and whipped cream cheese frosting remind me of my favorite bakery rolls and you really can’t beat a freshly baked, homemade roll.
Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Big, soft, homemade Cinnamon Rolls have the best cream cheese icing and they always disappear fast! They are incredible warm from the oven with some of the glaze melting between each sweet bun.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls:
- 1 cup warm milk (110-115˚F), not hot
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (rapid rise)
- 1 large egg room temp
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted, divided
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 to 4 Tbsp (and more to dust)
For the Cinnamon Roll Filling:
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter softened, plus more to for grease pan
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
For the Cream Cheese Icing:
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls:
In a large mixing bowl (or using a stand mixer), add 1 cup warm milk (110-115˚F) and sprinkle with 1 packet of instant yeast. Whisk in 1 egg, 4 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and 1/2 tsp salt.
Add 3 cups flour (measured correctly*) and stir in with a firm spatula or wooden spoon. Add more flour 1 Tbsp at a time just until dough is no longer sticking to fingertips or the walls of the bowl. It should still feel slightly sticky but won’t stick to clean/dry fingertips. Knead dough by hand for 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm 100˚F oven for 30 minutes (or at room temp 1 hour), until doubled in size.
Generously dust a clean work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and roll into an even 17″x10″ rectangle, squaring off the sides. Dot the surface of dough with 6 Tbsp softened butter and spread it out evenly all the way to the edges.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp cinnamon and sprinkle ALL OF IT evenly over buttered dough. Roll the dough up starting with one of the longer sides and work in a typewriter motion, keeping a tight roll. Once it's rolled up, push ends in slightly to make them a little more uniform then slice into 12 equal-sized rolls.
Butter sides and bottom of a 9×13 baking pan with 1 Tbsp butter and arrange cinnamon rolls, evenly spaced with the cut-side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm 100˚F oven 20-30 minutes, (or room temp 50-60 min), until puffed. Do not proof too long.
Brush tops with 1 Tbsp melted butter and bake at 350˚F for 22-24 mins or until tops are lightly golden. Let cool in pan 15 minutes then frost warm buns generously with the cream cheese glaze (instructions below).
How to Make Cinnamon Roll Icing:
In a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream together 4 Tbsp softened butter and 4 oz cream cheese. Beat in 1/2 Tbsp vanilla then add 1 cup powdered sugar and continue mixing on high speed until fluffy (3-4 min), scraping down the bowl as needed.
*On Measuring Flour: Fluff up flour then spoon into a dry measuring cup. Level off the top.
**Liquid should not be hotter than 115˚F and oven no hotter than 100˚F or you will cook and ruin the yeast.