Joel and I have been making this cinnamon roll recipe since our first year of marriage in our first apartment. We have perfected it over time, making it better and better over the years.
We have finally hit just the right cinnamon roll recipe for our taste.
These cinnamon rolls are fluffy with lots of brown sugar, cinnamon flavor, and icing that has just the right amount of sweetness. We add a dash of heavy cream to each roll before baking for the cinnamon rolls to soak up while baking. It provides a tasty flavor and keeps the dough moist and chewy. I made this tutorial for a quick overview of the process, but it really is QUICK. It takes a 3-hour process and condenses it into 30 seconds, but most of the time is a waiting process for the cinnamon roll dough to rise.
There are a few tools that you will need to make this cinnamon roll recipe. Then there are a few tools that make it easier to make, but not required. I am listing the recommended tools with the optional ones noted below.
You Will Need:
Stand Mixer with paddle + hook attachment
Pie dish or a dish with edges
Dough slicer or knife
Pastry Slab or Silicone baking mat (optional)
ROLLING PIN – You can use a wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin on hand, but you will need a solid round surface to properly roll out the dough.
FOOD THERMOMETER – You can’t get away with this recipe without one. It will save a lot of time testing the temperature of the yeast which is essential to activate it.
STAND MIXER – If you want to hand whisk and knead the dough, you can do that. It takes longer and having a stand mixer takes out some of the guesswork, wondering if the dough is ready for baking. A stand mixer makes the kneading process easier, getting it just right every time. You will need the paddle attachment for mixing and the dough hook for kneading if using a stand mixer.
SPATULA – As with most baking recipes, you will need a spatula for getting the dough out of the bowl and for working with the frosting later in the recipe. If you have a frosting spatula like the one I linked in this post, even better.
PIE DISH OR DISH WITH EDGES – You will need a dish with edges since we work with heavy cream in some of the baking stages of this recipe. I like to bake my rolls close together to give them a pull-apart feel.
DOUGH SLICER – You can use a knife, but a dough slicer is much easier to work with and not expensive.
PASTRY SLAB OR MAT – IF you have one of these, it makes rolling your dough and cleaning up after much easier. I typically roll my dough to the width of the slab. A silicone baking mat provides measurements for a more accurate roll when rolling out your dough. If you don’t have either, just use your counter!
- Dough -
- 1 cup warm regular milk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/3 cup unsalted European butter (melted)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup
- 1/4 cup warmed heavy cream
- 1/2 cup unsalted European butter (almost melted)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted European butter (room temp)
- 1/4 cup cream cheese (room temp)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of heavy cream
- Activate the yeast. To activate the yeast, you will warm the milk in a saucepan on the stove over LOW heat. You do not want the milk to be too warm. The milk should warm up in about 3-4 minutes. Remove it from the heat and pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer. Allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes. Using your thermometer, check the temp. If it's under 110 degrees F, the milk is too cold. If it's over 120 degrees F, the milk is too hot. This is the most important step in the entire process because your yeast is alive and too cold of milk won't activate it while too hot of milk will kill it. Your sweet spot for temperature is between 110-120 degrees.
- Once your milk has come to the perfect temperature, add your yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. The sugar gives the yeast something to feed on while activating. Slowly swirl the mixture to allow the yeast to fully combine with the milk or give it a gentle whisk.
- Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes for the yeast to rise. You will know the yeast is active of the top of the mixture has doubled in size and looks foamy. If the top does not look foamy or puffy, DO NOT CONTINUE. If you bake with yeast that is not active or died in the first step, your rolls will bake with a doughy inside and not the right kind of gooey.
- Once your yeast has activated, add your eggs one at a time, mixing with the paddle attachment between each.
- Add your butter, salt, and sugar and mix with the paddle attachment.
- Slowly add your flour 1 cup at a time, mixing in between each, and on the last cup, mix until just combined without overmixing.
- Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.
- Remove the paddle and attach the dough hook.
- Beat the dough for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is smooth. It should be tacky, with a smooth appeal.
- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.
- Oil a large bowl with olive or coconut oil and place the dough in the bowl.
- Turn your oven off, cover the dough in the bowl with a towel, and place it in the warm oven to rise for 1 hour.
- Once your dough has finished its rising process, sprinkle a flat surface with a generous amount of flour. Place the dough down on the surface and flour your rolling pin.
- Roll your dough into a 14x20 inch rectangle/circle.
- Prepare your filling in a small bowl, whisking it together until fully combined.
- Smooth the filling over the dough leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges.
- Roll the dough and cut it into 12 pieces - the ends will be your last 2 pieces, but the middle 10 are the best parts of the roll.
- Place pieces in a 9 x 9‘ greased pan - I like to use a pie dish.
- Cover with a towel and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Warm the heavy cream just enough to take the chill off, then pour over the rolls to soak the rolls.
- Bake the rolls for 12-16 minutes or until the rolls are lightly golden brown on top.
- Let the rolls sit for another 12-16 minutes before frosting.
- Make the frosting while the rolls are baking by beating the butter and cream cheese until whipped and fluffy about 5-7 minutes in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Once the rolls are done baking, pull them from the oven and immediately add a thin layer of frosting to each roll and spoon it around to melt. The frosting will melt in to the roll and make them even softer. You can add more once they have cooled if desired.
Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, followed by the remaining ingredients.
*The nutrition information provided is a rough estimate that is calculated based on the measurements and ingredients suggested in the Ingredients List. Exact calories and measurements may vary.