There's no better treat than these Homemade Classic Cinnamon Rolls! Perfectly thick, fluffy, and brioche-like with a velvety cream cheese frosting. This is the cinnamon roll of your dreams!
Homemade Classic Cinnamon Rolls
This is the only recipe for Homemade Classic Cinnamon Rolls you need! These big, fluffy rolls are made with an airy homemade dough stuffed with gooey-sweet cinnamon filling and topped with a light, yet creamy homemade cream cheese frosting. Gluten-Free and Vegan options available.
Have you ever wondered how to make the perfect cinnamon rolls? It turns out you don’t have to be a professional baker to make sticky, gooey, frosted homemade pastries! All you need is this recipe. The results are incredibly light, airy, and fluffy, with a sticky-sweet glaze that’s smeared on top for sweetness in every bite.
Why You’ll Love These Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls are an American pastry staple. Many breakfast restaurants and diners across the country make them, and they make them BIG! It’s funny how cinnamon rolls are associated with breakfast when they are as sweet as a dessert, but they work for either meal. Or both meals!
I’ve always had a fascination and love for cinnamon rolls. You can roll up pretty much anything into a fluffy homemade dough and it would be delicious, hence why I have so many types of cinnamon rolls on my site!
This recipe is for diner-style cinnamon rolls that you can really sink your teeth into. The glaze is super simple and ties everything together. You really can’t go wrong!
Ingredients for Classic Cinnamon Rolls
Here’s what you need for the fluffy brioche-style dough:
All-purpose flour. I use organic flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
Bread flour. You can find this from King Author or Bob’s Red Mill.
Brown sugar. You could also use coconut sugar.
Instant yeast. Also called Rapid Rise Yeast.
Spices. Cinnamon and allspice for cinnamon rolls, of course!
Eggs. These should be at room temperature for easy blending.
Almond milk. You can use regular milk, or any dairy-free milk you like.
Butter. Use warm, unslated melted butter.
Vanillaextract. The pure vanilla is the best flavor.
Cinnamon Roll Filling
Here’s what you need to make the spiced filling for your cinnamon rolls:
Butter. Again, unsalted butter. Soften the butter to room temperature.
Spices. The filling is flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
Cinnamon Roll Glaze
Top your pastries with a white glaze made with:
Cream cheese. Soften this to room temperature for a fluffy texture.
Powderedsugar. If you use granulated sugar, your frosting will have a gritty texture, so I highly recommend powdered sugar.
Heavy cream. You could substitute this with vegan milk if you prefer dairy-free.
Cinnamon. For a bit more spiced flavor.
Tips and Tricks for Making Cinnamon Rolls
Due to many delicious attempts at perfecting this recipe, I have come across some very helpful tips that will ensure a perfectly baked cinnamon roll.
Never overheat the milk!
It is so important that your milk is warm, but NOT hot! It should be warm to the touch. If you find that your milk has overheated, allow it to cool before adding the yeast. Milk that is too hot will kill the yeast and you won’t get the big, fluffy rise in the dough. We want these rolls super fluffy, and that’s only possible when the yeast is bloomed properly.
Use very soft butter at room temperature
Like in most baking, room temperature ingredients mix better than cold ingredients. Beat in your butter while it is completely room temperature for a seamless, tender texture.
Do not worry about over-mixing
I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. With cakes and cookies, you never want to overwork a dough because working develops the gluten in the flour. Gluten development leads to a chewy, unpleasant texture in cakes and cookies, making them dense and heavy. Because cinnamon rolls use a yeast dough, it is required to develop the gluten in the dough. The yeast brings elasticity that lightens and fluffs the dough, much like bread dough. When making these rolls, keep on mixing even after you think you’ve mixed enough!
Rise the dough overnight
While I developed this recipe as a quick-bake cinnamon roll, more flavor develops in the dough if you allow it to rise overnight. The dough has more time to rise, leading to a more developed, yeast-bread flavor. This yeast flavor is a perfect pairing with the sweet filling and frosting.
Use a bread flour mix
After much trial and tribulation, I have found that a mix of bread flour and all-purpose flour is the perfect combination for cinnamon rolls. The bread flour gives a tender, thick, brioche-like texture that I think is perfect for this dish.
Roll them up tight!
A loose roll will fall apart upon slicing and bake unevenly. Instead, begin with a very tight roll and keep that momentum throughout the roll. The dough is sturdy and can handle being rolled tightly due to its elasticity.
Can I Make Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls?
Yes! To make fluffy classic cinnamon rolls gluten-free, substitute both the all-purpose and bread flour with Bob’s RedMill1:1 baking flour. Reduce the amount by 1 cup and add more if necessary if the dough is too sticky.
How to Make Delicious Homemade Classic Cinnamon Rolls
Start by making the dough:
Start by combining the yeast and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Then slowly pour in the warm water, stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. This allows the yeast to activate (it’ll become foamy when done right!).
Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk together over the stovetop on low to medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter has fully melted.
NOTE: You don’t want the mixture to get too hot or boil! Set aside and let it cool until WARM.
Add the lukewarm butter-milk mixture to yeast and mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing at low speed until well combined.
Next, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, sea salt, and cinnamon to the wet ingredients and mix at low speed until well combined.
Change “mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes on medium-high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers.
NOTE: If the dough is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until texture is achieved!
Once the dough ball is perfectly kneaded, add it to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour to an hour + 15 minutes.
In the meantime, you can work on the filling!
For the Filling:
Add the softened the butter (best if done at room temp. so that it’s more “paste-like” in texture once smeared) in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and brown sugar, mixing them together. Set aside.
Once the hour has gone by and your dough has risen (about double its original size), preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, flour a flat surface and place the dough on it, and using a rolling pin, roll it out to a rectangle (approximately 9×14), trimming the edges if needed.
NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!
Then, generously add 3/4 of the softened butter atop dough (spreading it our evenly with a spoon or knife), followed by the brown sugar-spice mixture, ensuring that the top is coated evenly. NOTE: I also use a ‘pastry brush’ to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!
Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5-inch rolls, placing each roll into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper).
Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls and let them rise again for another 20 minutes.
Once the rolls have doubled in size (once again!) or have gotten significantly larger, smear the tops of the rolls with a little more softened butter and then bake them for approximately 25 minutes in a preheated oven.
Look at how gorgeous they are as they come out of the oven! Drool-worthy.
Storing Leftover Cinnamon Rolls
Store leftover rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for one to two days. For longer storage, keep in the freezer for up to six months. Defrost the rolls for a few hours on the counter before storing.
1 1/4cupsAlmond milk, room temp. (You can also use regular dairy milk, if preferred!)
1/4cupWARM water (See Notes!)
6Tbspsunsalted butter, melted(Make sure that it's WARM, not hot!)
1/2cuporganic brown sugar
1/2cupunsalted butter, softened at room temp.
Pinch ofground allspice
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
4oz.organic cream cheese, at room temp.(That's 1/2 a pack!)
4-5cupsorganic powdered sugar, sifted
1-2Tbspsorganic heavy cream or plant-based milk
Pinch ofground cinnamon
1Tbspunsalted butter, melted(For brushing the tops)
FOR THE DOUGH:
Combine yeast and 1 Tbsp brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and slowly pour in warm water while stirring frequently. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and for the yeast to activate.
Add in the room temperature milk and warm butter to the yeast mixture and whisk until well combined. Add in the eggs (one at a time) and vanilla, whisking to incorporate.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and sea salt and add them to the wet ingredients and mix on low-speed until well combined and everything begins to form into a dough-like consistency, about 2-3 minutes.
Change “Mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed together with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is still too sticky, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until texture is achieved!
Lightly grease a large bowl with a small amount of olive oil and place the dough ball in the bowl, tossing it around until coated. Cover with plastic wrap (or a towel) and let sit for 1 hour, allowing the dough to rise and double in size.
In the meantime, you can work on the filling!
FOR THE FILLING:
Add the softened the butter (best if done at room temp. so that it's more "paste-like" in texture once smeared) in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and brown sugar, mixing them together. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen fully, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang from the sides.
Add a bit of flour to a surface and place the dough onto it, lightly adding a bit of flour to the top. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape (approximately 9″x14 and 1/2-inch thick), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!
Then, generously add 3/4 of the softened butter atop dough (spreading it out evenly with a spoon or knife), followed by the brown sugar-spice mixture, ensuring that the top is coated evenly. NOTE: I also use a 'pastry brush' to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!
Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5" rolls, placing each roll (cut side down) into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper!).
Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls, smear the tops with remaining softened butter and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).
Once the rolls have doubled in size (once again!) or have gotten significantly larger, bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.
While all the baking magic is happening, make the Cream Cheese Glaze.
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
In a large bowl, beat (using a hand-mixer) the softened cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and heavy cream/milk, beating everything together until the glaze becomes smooth and velvety. NOTE: Add additional heavy cream (1 Tbsp at a time) if the glaze is too thick or powdered sugar (1 Tbsp at a time) if too thin.
Remove the rolls from oven and wait 25-30 minutes or until it completely cools, before spreading the frosting/glaze atop the rolls using a rubber spatula evenly until fully covered.
To serve, cut out each roll desired and enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
TO STORE: Cinnamon Rolls can be kept fresh at room temperature when tightly wrapped or sealed for up to 3 days. Fresh for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months.
RAPID (INSTANT) RISE YEAST VS. ACTIVE DRY YEAST: If you’re not using the Rapid Rise Yeast for this recipe, please know that the rise time will be twice as long (about 3 hours) since regular Active Yeast doesn’t work as quickly.
FLOUR: If you don’t have bread flour, you can always just use all-purpose flour entirely instead.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: If you're looking to make these GF, I recommend substituting both flours with Bob's 1:1 Baking flour and slightly reducing the amount by 1 cup, slowing adding more if the dough is too sticky.
OVERNIGHT OPTION: If you don’t want to make your Cinnamon Rolls on the same day, you can simply follow all steps (including the initial 1+ hour rise) and after cutting rolls and placing them into your baking pan, just cover them tightly (using foil paper of plastic wrap) and refrigerate them overnight or for 8-12 hours instead. The following day, remove from refrigerator and keeping them covered, let cinnamon rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
VEGAN OPTION: To make these classic cinnamon rolls vegan, simply omit the eggs and substitute with 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar. Also, substitute the butter with vegan butter and omit the cream cheese and add 1/4 cup of softened vegan butter instead.