SHARE

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

December 23, 2021
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you. Please read my policy page!

Indulge in the pinnacle of Christmas indulgence with this homemade Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll recipe. Filled with sweet sugar, festive spices, and a creamy eggnog glaze, it's the perfect treat to bring comfort and joy to your Christmas mornings!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Ready in under an hour these ultra-soft + fluffy homemade Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are a festive twist on a classic favorite. Swirled with a heavenly blend of warming spices—they're a comforting delight! But here's the real star: The decadent Eggnog Cream Cheese frosting that crowns each roll, adding a rich and creamy touch that perfectly complements the spiced goodness within. And, beginner bakers, have no fear, because this holiday recipe is easy, easy, easy! Gluten-Free, Air-frying + Overnight Option.

Fork with a piece of a Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Hosting a Christmas brunch? These Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are a great addition! If you've been an avid reader of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you'll know that cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite sweet treats to make! The dough is a combination of all your favorite spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves + allspice. Add to that some brown sugar and a little molasses, and it’s pretty much the perfect holiday recipe.

I baste the dough with softened butter and sprinkle it with more sugar + spice. Are you drooling yet? Because we haven’t even talked about the rich, velvety eggnog cream cheese glaze. The creamy + sweet vanilla, cinnamon, and eggnog flavors come together so perfectly, and once you spread this glaze over the top of those homemade cinnamon rolls, you will have one of the most amazing Christmas breakfast recipes ever. Plus, what’s better than the smell of warm, freshly baked gingerbread filling your home? 

If you are a big cinnamon roll lover, you must try my Homemade Classic Cinnamon Rolls too! They're perfectly thick, fluffy, and brioche-like, generously topped with a velvety cream cheese frosting—the stuff of cinnamon roll dreams! Discover even more delightful recipes like Homemade Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls, Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls, and Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls by simply searching 'cinnamon rolls' in the search bar.

Jump to:

Why You'll Love These Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

OK, so if you’re still not entirely sold on these homemade gingerbread cinnamon rolls, then let me tell you what’s so great about them.

  • They are SOFT, FLUFFY, + BRIOCHE-LIKE in texture
  • phenomenal make-ahead breakfast
  • Fun to eat! Pillow-y spirals of buttery dough filled with hypnotic swirls!
  • Mouthwatering, fluffy gingerbread spiced goodness.
  • Freezes beautifully for convenience.
  • Perfect kid-friendly + lunchbox-friendly treat!
  • Warm, gooey, and utterly delightful.
  • They're super easy to make.
  • Bake time is under 1 hour.
Risen Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll in a bowl

How to Make Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Start by making the cinnamon roll dough and adding all of the gingerbread flavors for a great flavorful, fluffy texture. It needs to rise for at least 1 hour in a warm place for it to be super soft. Then make the filling and assemble and bake your rolls. Finally, pour the molasses mixture atop the rolls and bake. Lastly, add the Eggnog Cream Cheese glaze, and dig in!

Ingredients for Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Here's what you need for the fluffy gingerbread-infused brioche-style dough:

  • All-purpose flour. I use organic flour from Bob's Red Mill.
  • Bread flour. You can find this from King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill.
  • Almond milk. Choose unsweetened. Feel free to use a different plant-based milk if you like. I recommend making easy homemade almond milk (my recipe doesn’t require soaking!)
  • Gingerbread spices. This adds a warming spice profile to these cinnamon rolls. You'll need ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
  • Brown sugar. I like to use organic! You could also use brown sugar or coconut sugar.
  • Eggs. These should be at room temperature for easy blending.
  • Instant yeast. Also called Rapid Rise Yeast.
  • Molasses. I like to use a premium molasses.
  • Butter. You'll need unsalted butter that's melted and cooled to WARM.
  • WARM water. This is important to help activate the yeast at the beginning.
  • Vanilla extract. The pure vanilla is the best flavor. 

Cinnamon Roll Filling

Here's what you need to make the spiced filling for your cinnamon rolls:

  • Brown sugar.
  • Butter. Again, unsalted butter. Soften the butter to room temperature.
  • Spices. The filling is flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Egg Nog Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • Cream cheese. Softened
  • High-quality egg nog. Brings creaminess + richness. I like using a lactose-free eggnog like lactaid so it's a little easier to digest but use whatever brand you prefer!
  • Organic powdered sugar. For sweetness.
  • Vanilla extract. For that delicious vanilla flavor.
  • Ground cinnamon. Just a pinch for some added warm flavor.

Simply beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth, then add the other ingredients until well incorporated. Wait until the rolls are cooled before adding the glaze - About 25-30 minutes.

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR BAKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THESE CINNAMON ROLLS!

Here, I’ve curated a list of baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods, especially with these cinnamon rolls. Everything from my fave loaf pan, wooden spoons, parchment paper, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Hand punching down risen Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll dough

Tips For Making The Perfect Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Due to many delicious attempts at perfecting this cinnamon roll 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 at 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 the 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.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls in a baking pan

What Is The Best Way To Cut Cinnamon Rolls?

Ready to ditch the traditional knife and embrace a quirky method for cutting cinnamon rolls? It's time to bring out the dental floss. Yes, you read that right! Unflavored dental floss is the secret weapon for perfectly sliced cinnamon rolls.

Why? Because it slices from the inside out, avoiding any squishing mishaps that can happen with a regular knife. Simply run it along the bottom of the rolls, and cross the two ends over each other. Give it a pull, and voila! Your perfectly sliced gingerbread cinnamon rolls are ready to bake. But if you're using a knife, remember to channel your inner lumberjack and saw gently back and forth without squishing the rolls.

Can I Air-Fry Cinnamon Rolls?

YES! Basically, you would preheat your air fryer as you would your oven---somewhere around 360 degrees or so. Prepare your air fryer basket with non-stick oil spray and then doing all of the steps in making the cinnamon rolls. Once rolls are created, you'll add each roll to the prepared basket, leaving a bit of space in between and cook them in the air fryer for 8 minutes to start. They should be full cooked through, but you can add additional minutes for an outside crisp of the rolls. Remove them and then frost them warm! Enjoy!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting in a baking pan

How to Make Store-Bought Rolls Taste Homemade

When it comes to these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls, one of my fave parts is just how delicious they are homemade despite the process! However, in case you aren't a fan of making them from scratch or you find yourself stumped for time, I have a few tricks + hacks to making store-bought rolls taste more cozy and homemade like this recipe. Here's what you need to do:

  • Use a high-quality organic store-bought version of cinnamon rolls to start! I love using Annies Homegrown or Immaculate Baking Co.
  • Add about 1 cup of WARM milk + 6 Tbsps molasses + ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice (whisked together) and pour them over rolls once in baking dish. This helps to make them “gingerbread flavored” + gives them a nice soft, fluffy texture while baking.
  • Never use the icing! Once baked, top your cinnamon rolls with homemade icing like my Eggnog Cream Cheese frosting (within this recipe). 
  • Always add icing to WARM rolls so that it semi-melts and adds further moisture to baked rolls and becomes perfectly “whipped”. Wallah! Slice + enjoy! 

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you because these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls just taste like Christmas! 

Closeup of Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Regular Molasses vs. Blackstrap Molasses for Baking

Molasses comes in a few varieties. For a really in-depth look at the different types of molasses out there, this article from Spruce Eats is a great reference. 

For this recipe, I recommend using Blackstrap molasses, because Blackstrap molasses has the lowest sugar content. Because we’re already adding sugar to the dough, the filling, and the frosting, controlling the places we chose to add sugar to our recipe is important.

Of course we want these delicious cinnamon rolls to be a roll of warm sweet goodness, but we want to make sure that these flavors are nice and balanced!

Best Substitutes for Molasses?

OK, so if you're not a fan of using molasses, then I completely understand. While molasses usually plays the most important role for the beautiful brown color in anything Gingerbread, there are definitely other options!

  • Dark Maple Syrup (Just be sure to reduce other liquids slightly to avoid an overly wet dough)
  • Dark Corn Syrup
  • DIY Mix: ½ honey + ½ brown sugar or ½ dark corn syrup + ½ maple syrup
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting in a baking pan surrounded by Christmas decorations

How to Prevent Dry Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls 

OK, honestly, the biggest challenge with these cinnamon rolls is balancing the molasses. When used incorrectly, molasses can create a dry-ish cinnamon roll dough. In most cases, recipe developers avoid adding it to the dough, but I just LOVE the way the brown color of these rolls looks just like gingerbread! So, I found a solution!

To prevent dry cinnamon rolls, I’ve reduced the amount of molasses typically used, and substituted part of the flour in the recipe with bread flour. Viola! Soft and moist homemade cinnamon rolls!

The key is to create a balance between molasses in both the dough + the centers.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting in a baking dish surrounded by Christmas decorations and two forks

Can I Knead By Hand Instead of Using a Mixer?

Absolutely! Usually, I make my dough via my electric stand-mixer which has the appropriate attachments for the kneading process, however, with these cinnamon rolls, I have had the pleasure of doing this all by hand and it wasn't difficult. 

It just requires a bit more arm work, that's all! Plus, there’s nothing that a light drizzle of flour can’t help, right?! You'll basically follow all steps for making the dough in a large bowl and once it begins to come together and can form a ball, then you'll begin working the dough in a front-to-back and folding motion a few times until you begin to feel the dough "soften" and become elastic-like. It took me about 5-6 minutes or so total. Not bad!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting on two small, stacked plates

How to Serve Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Need ideas on what to serve with made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls? I have two words for you: Holiday brunch. Theserolls will, hand’s down, steal the show at your next holiday brunch. Because one batch of this easy cinnamon roll recipe makes a pan of 12 utterly delicious rolls, it’s great for feeding a crowd. 

But holiday brunches aren’t the only occasion to whip up this festive recipe. If you want a super special Christmas morning breakfast, the warming spice of Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect solution.

And, if you want to double down on all things gingerbread, you can also try my special Vegan Gingerbread Cake with Chai Buttercream or these Vegan Gingerbread Donuts with a sweet Chai Glaze!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls Q + A's

How 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.

Can I Make Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls?

Yes! To make these rolls gluten-free, substitute both the all-purpose and bread flour with Bob's RedMill 1:1 baking flour. Reduce the amount by 1 cup and add more if necessary if the dough is too sticky. 

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.

How To Make without Yeast

OK, so you might think it's possible, but you can totally make cinnamon rolls, including these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls without yeast, if you ever needed to! Just know that the texture wouldn't be as brioche-like or fluffy, and they'll be more dense, but still good.
Instead of yeast, you'll just need to substitute with 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder to allow some level of rise to occur.

How to make these rolls ahead of time?

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 ½ hours.

Fork digging into a Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

More Must-Try Cinnamon Roll Recipes

If sweet rolls are your weakness, you absolutely have to give these fluffy rolls a try next!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this festive Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea!

Closeup of Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

December 23, 2021
5 from 8 votes
Get ready to indulge in the ultimate holiday treat! These ultra-soft + fluffy Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are a festive twist on a classic favorite. Swirled with a heavenly blend of warming spices—they're a comforting delight! But here's the real star: The decadent Eggnog Cream Cheese frosting that crowns each roll, adding a rich and creamy touch that perfectly complements the spiced goodness within. And, beginner bakers, have no fear, because this holiday recipe is easy, easy, easy! Gluten-Free + Overnight Option.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 12 servings

Ingredients

DOUGH:

  • 3 cups organic All-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Artisan Bread flour
  • 1 packet Rapid Rise Yeast  (That's 2 ¼ tsps!)
  • ½ cup organic brown sugar + 1 Tbsp
  • 2 tsps ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cup Almond milk, room temp. (You can use your fave plant-based or whole milk!)
  • 2 large organic eggs, room temp.
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ¼ cup WARM water
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted + cooled to WARM

MOLASSES MIXTURE:

  • 4 Tbsps molasses (See Notes)
  • ½ cup WARM Almond milk (You can use your fave plant-based or whole milk!)

FILLING:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
  • ½ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

EGGNOG CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:

  • 4-5 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 8 oz. organic cream cheese, softened at room temp.
  • 2-3 Tbsps high-quality eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Instructions

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • Combine yeast and 1 tablespoon 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 vanilla and molasses, whisking to incorporate.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, 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 tablespoon 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. 

FOR THE MOLASSES MIXTURE:

  • In a bowl, add together the warm milk and molasses, whisking until combined and smooth.
  • In the meantime, you can work on the filling!

FOR THE FILLING:

  • Add the softened butter in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the spices and brown sugar, mixing them together.
  • 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 ½-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 smear the softened butter evenly atop dough, followed by the brown sugar-spice mixture, ensuring that the top is coated evenly.
  • 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 and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).

BAKE TIME:

  • Once the rolls have doubled in size (once again!) or have gotten significantly larger, evenly pour the molasses mixture atop all rolls and then bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven or until the centers come out "clean" when tested.
  • While all the baking magic is happening, make the Eggnog Cream Cheese Glaze.

FOR THE EGGNOG 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 eggnog, beating everything together until the glaze becomes smooth and velvety. NOTE: Add additional eggnog (1 tablespoon at a time) if the glaze is too thick or powdered sugar (1 tablespoon 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. NOTE: To add additional moisture and for an ultra velvety experience, add half of the glaze atop WARM cinnamon rolls so that it "seeps" through. and then add remaining after a few minutes.
  • To serve, cut out each roll desired and enjoy.
  • Bon Appetit!

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.
  • 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 ½ hours.
  • 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.
  • MOLASSES: If using regular molasses, you can use the recommended amount as listed in the recipe. If using Blackstrap Molasses, simply use 1 less tablespoon than the amount listed to ensure that the batter isn’t too bitter.
  • GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make fluffy Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls gluten-free, substitute both the all-purpose and bread flour with Bob's RedMill 1:1 baking flour. Reduce the amount by 1 cup and add more if necessary if the dough is too sticky. 

Nutrition

Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 2mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

Love this Post? SHARE!

LOVE THIS RECIPE?
LET US KNOW!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Love this Recipe?




  1. Wow Shanika!! I want o grab that fork and dig into these things!! So many holiday flavors. My grand-girl and I made little plain cinnamon rolls with frozen brad dough last night-- they didn't hold a candle to yours!! Hope all's going well for getting ready for Christmas!! Does it every snow there in December?? hugs hugs from here.

    • Thanks so much Rhonda! I really love cinnamon rolls and it's so awesome that you and your granddaughter made some recently! It's such a fun thing to do with kids!It actually snowed here on Saturday, which was pretty nice, but it's going to be super cold these next few days. I hope that the weather is nice on your end! I'm definitely in the Christmas spirit and trying to get all the shopping done for my little guy! I hope that all is going well for you for getting ready for Christmas as well. Hugs and more hugs! 🙂

  2. Oh my word these look amazing! Your vegan dessert recipes are my favorite!
    I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a guest-post or collab. You have really supported and inspired me through my blogging journey. If you're interested, just let me know and we can work something out.
    Thanks girl!
    Emerald @ Little Things and Sunshine

jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $('.clicked-1').addClass('showme'); $('.clicky-1').addClass('shown'); $('.click-1').addClass('active'); });