Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (with cream cheese frosting)

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are extra soft with a sweet cinnamon swirl inside. Top these rolls with cream cheese icing for the perfect treat!

Cinnamon rolls are easy to make but they do take a little bit of time, I can assure you it’s worth it!

a cinnamon roll with frosting on a plate

These cinnamon rolls are not difficult although they do take time. If you haven’t worked with yeast, don’t be intimidated. As long as your yeast is fresh, these should work out just fine!

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Combine the yeast with warm water and sugar (this is called proofing or blooming). The yeast should foam up (like the photo below).

Check Your Yeast!

Double check the expiry on your yeast packet or jar, especially if you don’t use it often! Expired yeast can make your rolls fall flat. If you’re unsure, use this yeast testing method to check your yeast.

Cinnamon roll ingredients in bowls on a wooden board

  1. Warm the milk and butter and make the dough using flour and the other ingredients in the recipe below, including the yeast mixture. I use a stand mixer but have included tips below the recipe if you don’t have a stand mixer.
  2. Knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth. You’ll know it’s kneaded enough when the dough takes on a smooth and elastic texture.

Dough for cinnamon rolls in a glass bowl

  1. Let the dough rise for an hour or so until it’s doubled in size.
  2. Roll it out flat, top with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Roll it up and cut!

Steps to show how to roll and cut cinnamon rolls

Kitchen Hack

Once rolled into a long log, you will want to cut your cinnamon rolls. Rather than a knife, I use a piece of dental floss. This cuts the rolls evenly without squishing the soft dough. (Be sure it’s not flavored floss, nobody wants minty cinnamon rolls).

Icing for Cinnamon Rolls

I’m not going to lie, this is my favorite part. Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and a little salt in a large bowl (per recipe below).

You can use any kind of icing or even create a glaze for these if you’d like. You’ll want to ensure the rolls are fairly cooled or the butter in the icing will melt.

Homemade cinnamon rolls in a pan with cinnamon sticks on the side

To Make Ahead of Time

These cinnamon rolls can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. Once rolled, place the rolls in a greased 9×13 pan and cover with plastic wrap.

Remove the rolls from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and cover with a towel. With the oven turned off, place rolls in the oven and place a bowl or pan of very hot water in the oven next to the rolls. Allow to rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Storing Leftovers

Cinnamon buns can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. If you plan to store them, keep the frosting in the refrigerator and add to each roll as you enjoy them.

  • In the Freezer: Cinnamon Rolls freeze well, just make sure they are tightly wrapped, or stored in an airtight container. You can individually freeze them for quick treats if you prefer. The cream cheese Icing can also be frozen, either on the buns or in a separate container.

These Cinnamon Rolls are such a treat, they are sure to make your holidays (or even ordinary days) special!

More Sweet Breakfast Treats

Cinnamon roll on a white plate with a cinnamon stick and icing on top

Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe makes soft rolls with sticky-sweet cinnamon filling on the inside, and dripping with cream cheese icing on the outside!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 15 cinnamon rolls
Calories 406
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ cups all purpose flour divided
  • 1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoon
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup milk
  • cup butter
  • cup granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs room temperature

Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter softened

Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar or as needed
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Grease a 9×13 pan.
  • Combine water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Let sit 10 minutes or until foamy.
  • Combine milk, butter, remaining sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat to 120-130°F.
  • Place 2 cups flour in a stand mixer. Add eggs, milk mixture and yeast mixture. Mix until combined.
  • Using a dough hook, add flour, ½ cup at a time to form a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Remove dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic (approx. 8 mins).
  • Place in a greased bowl in a warm spot and cover with a towel for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • Roll dough into a 15" x 12" rectangle, spread butter on the dough and top with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Roll dough starting on the long side. Slice into 15 pieces. Place in prepared pan.
  • Cover rolls with a towel and allow them to rise 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Brush dough with milk and bake 20-25 minutes.
  • While the rolls are baking, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt with a mixer until fluffy.
  • Allow rolls to cool for about 10-15 minutes and spread frosting on warms rolls.

Video

Notes

Double check the date on your yeast to ensure it has not expired.

If you do not have a stand mixer, will work but will take a little bit of work to get the dough nice and smooth. Mix in as much of the flour as you can with a spoon and then continue mixing it in by hand. Once the dough is not too sticky, place it on the counter with a little bit of flour and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. This will take about 10 minutes. 

Bread Machine This dough can be prepared in a bread machine. Combine dough ingredients in the order specified by your bread machine. Set on dough cycle. Let dough rest for 10 minutes once completed and continue with recipe as above.

Cutting the rolls: Once rolled into a long log, you will want to cut your cinnamon rolls. Rather than a knife, I use a piece of dental floss. This cuts the rolls evenly without squishing the soft dough. (Be sure it’s not flavored floss, nobody wants minty cinnamon rolls).

To Make Ahead Once prepared, place rolls in a prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. With the oven turned off, place rolls in the oven and place a bowl or pan of very hot water in the oven next to the rolls. Allow to rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Nutrition

Calories: 406 | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 566IU | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg

More Breakfast Rolls

Recipe slightly adapted from this copy cat version originally adapted from here

Homemade cinnamon rolls in a pan with a title
Cinnamon rolls being cut with dental floss on a wooden board and a cinnamon roll on a white plate with a title

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