Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

Make cinnamon rolls from scratch with this easy recipe that’s perfect for beginners! They’re soft, gooey, and made with bread flour, which gives them the perfect fluffy texture. Overnight instructions included.

I have a couple of vegan cinnamon roll recipes on the blog, but I thought it was time to share a real deal cinnamon roll recipe. And let me tell ya, these are the best cinnamon rolls (aka cinnamon buns) – even better than Cinnabon cinnamon rolls if I do say so myself! They are so gooey and soft and absolutely delicious especially when topped with cream cheese frosting. I’m drooling just thinking about them!

12 cinnamon rolls that have been iced, placed in a baking pan.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • These are the real deal cinnamon rolls!
  • They can easily be made in advance.
  • Perfect for a weekend brunch or holiday meal.
  • This recipe is pretty straight forward and easy to follow – don’t let the yeast dough intimidate you.
Ingredients measured out to make cinnamon rolls: cream cheese, warm milk, Greek yogurt, butter, egg, sea salt. cinnamon, brown sugar, bread flour, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup and yeast.

Here’s What You Need

  • active dry yeast – I used Fleischmann’s Original ActiveDry Yeast, but any brand of active dry yeast will work! Just make sure it’s active dry yeast instead of instant yeast.
  • milk – we’re mixing the yeast into warm milk until it dissolves. You want to make sure your milk is warm, but not hot (around 105°–115°F) otherwise it could kill off the yeast! I like using almond milk, but whole milk and 2% milk will also work.
  • bread flour – I love using bread flour for a light, fluffy texture, but all-purpose flour will work as a substitute if that’s all you have on hand.
  • granulated sugar – just 2 Tablespoons that’s mixed into the dough. This helps to activate the yeast. Cane sugar will also work here.
  • salt – to bring all the flavors together.
  • butter – for the dough and cinnamon sugar filling. I used unsalted butter, but salted butter will work as well!
  • egg – helps the dough rise. Make sure you’re using a room temperature egg!
  • brown sugar – we’re mixing this with cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar filling.
  • ground cinnamon – can’t have cinnamon rolls without lots of cinnamon!
  • cream cheese frosting – we’re using a healthier cream cheese frosting for this recipe made with 4 simple ingredients: cream cheese, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
Collage of four photos, cinnamon roll dough in a mixing bowl, the dough rolled out and topped with softened butter, and then cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top of that. The rolls are cut into cinnamon rolls.

How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

While these cinnamon rolls aren’t hard to make, they do take a little bit of attention and time, so just make sure you have enough time set aside for this process! But don’t be intimidated, once you have the steps down cinnamon rolls are actually quite simple to make!

Combine yeast and milk: Stir yeast into warm milk until dissolved. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Make dough: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, salt and sugar. Mix to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add melted butter and yeast mixture. Increase speed to medium-low, and mix 2 minutes until dough starts to form.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough in the stand mixer at medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Increase speed to medium and mix for about 2 minutes. Kneading is done when dough makes a slapping sound as it hits the side of the bowl. Dough temperature should be close to 90°F. Your dough shouldn’t be sticky, but if it is add a little more flour, starting with 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Let dough rise: Once combined, place dough in an oiled large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise 1-2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Time will depend on how warm your house is.

Make filling and prepare pan: While dough is rising, make cinnamon sugar filling by stirring together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan or round 9.5-inch pie pan with butter.

Roll out dough: After your dough has doubled in size, it’s time to roll it out! Add dough to a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out dough into 14 x 12-inch rectangle.

Spread cinnamon sugar mixture: Spread softened butter on the dough with fingers or a knife then sprinkle brown sugar mixture over butter. Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you into a large log, moving back and forth down the line of dough (in a “typewriter” motion) and always rolling toward you. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls will be nice and neat.

Cut rolls: When it’s all rolled, pinch the seam closed and turn the cinnamon roll dough over so that the seam is facing down. Using a serrated knife cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick slices and place in prepared baking dish.

Let rolls rise: Cover, and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Bake: Once rolls have doubled in size bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven, or until golden brown and cooked through. I pulled mine at the 22-minute mark!

Make frosting: While cinnamon rolls are cooling, make cream cheese frosting by adding cream cheese, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, whip all the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer.

Serve: Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls and serve.

An overhead photo looking at an iced cinnamon roll. Other cinnamon rolls are around the center roll.

Tips for Success

  • You want your milk to be warm to the touch, but not hot. It should be around 105°–115°F. If it’s not warm enough the yeast might not activate and if it’s too hot it could kill off the yeast! If it gets too hot you can let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to cool down.
  • When activating the yeast in the warm milk make sure it bubbles up a little otherwise your yeast might be old and you might need to start over.
  • For the filling, make sure you’re using softened butter and not melted butter otherwise the cinnamon sugar filling might leak out and get messy before baking! If your butter is too hard you can soften it in 5 second increments in the microwave. Just make sure to not melt it fully!
  • Make sure you’re using a room temperature egg. If it’s too cold it could affect the butter or yeast!
  • Make sure to grease the bowl and pan that you are letting your cinnamon rolls rise in. As the dough rises, it could stick to the dish and tear instead of rising.
  • Use a serrated knife when cutting the rolls. It makes all the difference, trust me! You can also use use plain dental floss to cut the rolls.
A cinnamon roll on a plate. A fork has a piece of the cinnamon roll on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use instant yeast?

Instant yeast should work just fine in this recipe, but I haven’t tested it. It won’t need to be dissolved in the warm milk (or “proofed”) and can be mixed directly into your dry ingredients. That said, I prefer to activate my yeast first to make sure it’s good and not old, which could affect the rolls rising.

How can I make these vegan?

If you’re looking for a vegan cinnamon roll recipe, I recommend making my vegan cinnamon rolls recipe instead. I also have a vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe if you’re looking to switch things up with a pumpkin version.

Can I use all-purpose flour?

You can use all-purpose flour, but I prefer to use bread flour because it helps to make these cinnamon rolls extra soft and fluffy!

Can I make these cinnamon rolls gluten-free?

I haven’t tried it, but I would imagine using a gluten-free all-purpose flour would work just fine! If you try it, let me know in the comments below!

Can I use a different frosting?

Yes! Totally! I like using my healthy cream cheese frosting on these rolls, but feel free to change up the glaze/frosting if you prefer! I also like making a glaze by whisking together 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 Tablespoons almond milk.

How can I make my dough rise faster?

First, make sure you’re letting your dough rise in a warm location in your house. But if you’re in a rush and want your dough to rise faster there are a few things you can do to try and speed up the process. If you have a bread proofing option on your oven you can turn that on and place your dough in the oven covered. Another option is to wet a kitchen towel with hot water, ring it out and then place it over the plastic wrap. This will add more warmth to the dough and help it to rise faster.

Why did my rolls not rise?

There are many reasons why your rolls might not have risen! Your yeast could be older, the milk could have been too hot, killing off the yeast or it might not have been warm enough, causing the yeast to not activate. Also, if your house is cooler, the rolls might need more time to rise. Make sure you’re letting the cinnamon rolls rise in a warm place.

What if I don’t have a stand mixer?

If you don’t have a standing mixer, you can knead the dough by hand. Whisk the mixture until it gets too thick then switch to mixing with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. Once the dough is ready and not too sticky, pour it onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth ball forms. Then rise as directed.

Iced cinnamon rolls on a sheet of parchment paper.

How to Prep Cinnamon Rolls in Advance (Overnight Method)

If you want to prep these cinnamon rolls the night before, follow the instructions through step 8 (placing the cinnamon rolls into the prepared baking dish), then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning pull the pan from the fridge and let the rolls rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours or until the rolls have doubled in size, then bake as directed.

How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls

Before Baking

If you want to freeze these cinnamon rolls before baking, follow the instructions through step 8 (placing the cinnamon rolls into the prepared baking dish), then cover well and place in the freezer. When ready to bake, pull the cinnamon rolls from the freezer to thaw in the fridge overnight. The next morning let the rolls rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours or until the rolls have doubled in size, then bake as directed.

After Baking

After baking, allow the cinnamon rolls to cool completely, cover the pan and place in the freezer. You can also freeze the individual cinnamon rolls. Just make sure they’re stored in a freezer-safe container and covered tightly. I’ve found it’s best to freeze them without the frosting and add that once you’ve reheated them. When ready to enjoy, thaw the cinnamon rolls and heat in the microwave or toaster oven until warm.

Be sure to check out all the breakfast recipes on EBF!

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

5 from 11 votes
Make cinnamon rolls from scratch with this easy recipe that's perfect for beginners! They're soft, gooey, and made with bread flour, which gives them the perfect fluffy texture. Overnight instructions included.
12 cinnamon rolls that have been iced, placed in a baking pan.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 0.25 oz. pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk, around 105°–115°F
  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted , plus more for greasing
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, full fat, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (I used plain full fat)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Heat milk in a saucepan or in the microwave (about 40-50 seconds) until warm, but not hot. Around (105°–115°F). Stir yeast into warm almond milk until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes.
    Adding yeast to warmed milk in a measuring glass.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, salt and sugar. Mix to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add melted butter, egg and yeast mixture. Increase speed to medium-low, and mix 2 minutes until dough starts to form.
    Melted butter, egg and yeast mixture added to flour mixture in mixing bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough in the stand mixer at medium-low speed for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Increase speed to medium and mix 2 minutes. Kneading is done when dough makes a slapping sound as it hits the side of the bowl. Dough temperature should be close to 90°F. If dough is too sticky add a little more flour.
    Cinnamon roll dough mixed together in a mixing bowl.
  • Once combined, place dough in oiled mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Let rise 1-2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Time will depend on how warm your house is.
    Ball of dough for cinnamon rolls in a mixing bowl.
  • While dough is rising, make cinnamon sugar filling by stirring together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan or round 9.5-inch pie pan with butter.
  • Once dough has doubled in size, sprinkle extra flour on your surface and rolling pin and roll dough into 14 x 12-inch rectangle.
    Cinnamon roll dough rolled out into a 14x12 rectangle.
  • Spread softened butter onto dough with your fingers or a knife then sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over butter.
    Cinnamon sugar mixture being spread across the top of the rectangle of dough.
  • Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you into a large log, moving back and forth down the line of dough (in a “typewriter” motion) and always rolling toward you. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls will be nice and neat. When it’s all rolled, pinch the seam closed and turn the roll over so that the seam is facing down. Cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick pieces and place on prepared baking pan.
    12 cinnamon rolls after being rolled up and cut.
  • Cover, and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
    Close up of 12 cinnamon rolls placed on a baking pan lined in parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, cooked through and no longer doughy. I baked mine for 22 minutes.
  • While cinnamon rolls are cooling, make cream cheese frosting by adding cream cheese, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, whip all the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer.
    Icing mixed together in a mixing bowl.
  • Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Overnight method: If you want to prep these cinnamon rolls the night before, follow the instructions through step 8 (placing the cinnamon rolls into the prepared baking dish), then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning pull the pan from the fridge and let the rolls rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours or until the rolls have doubled in size, then bake as directed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll Calories: 269kcal Carbohydrates: 37g Protein: 6g Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 6g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 43mg Sodium: 252mg Potassium: 49mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 14g
Course: Breakast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cinnamon rolls

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please leave a comment and star rating on this post and share on social media using the hashtag #eatingbirdfood. I love seeing your recipe shares!
This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




    20 comments
    1. alexis
      May 8, 2022 AT 7:18 pm

      Happy Mothers Day by the way

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 9, 2022 AT 7:51 am

        Aw, thank you!!

    2. Toni Jackson
      April 29, 2022 AT 4:44 pm

      Cinnamon rolls are so good! I made these last night. I have also tried the pumpkin cinnamon rolls because my mom is vegan, such a easy recipe. Enjoy making all your recipes!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 2, 2022 AT 7:39 am

        Yay! So glad these were a hit, Toni! Thanks for sharing your review 🙂

    3. Marcella
      April 21, 2022 AT 3:27 pm

      5 stars
      Very delicious and easy. The smell was amazing!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 22, 2022 AT 7:48 am

        Woo! So happy to hear that, Marcella! Thanks for sharing your review!

    4. KarlaSaffle
      April 17, 2022 AT 10:39 am

      Made these last night and baked this morning, My family loved them! 5 stars!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 18, 2022 AT 7:19 am

        Woo! So happy to hear that, Karla. Thank you for leaving a review, it means so much to me!

    5. قیمت سیم کارت همراه اول
      April 10, 2022 AT 9:02 am

      The recipe was excellent

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 11, 2022 AT 8:49 am

        Yay! So glad this recipe was a success for you!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

5 SECRETS TO
HEALTHY SNACKING

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

GET A 3 DAY CLEAN EATING MEAL PLAN

Subscribe to our list and get your free printable PDF of the 3 Day Clean Eating Meal Plan and Shopping List!

X