The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are better than any bakery, soft, fluffy and loaded with so much flavor. There is no better way to wake up with the smell in your kitchen, the warm cinnamon sugar filling and smooth cream cheese frosting.
Why This Is The Perfect Recipe For You
There is truly nothing better than waking up on Saturday morning to fresh baked cinnamon rolls that warm the house with the intense cinnamon filling and the cozy smell of a yeast dough.
Baking with yeast can seem complicated or intimidating, but once you try it for the first time you will be hooked. Whether you are baking Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, my favorite Almond Cinnamon Knots or adding a fruit flavor with a cranberry orange cinnamon roll; it is worth learning and the patience to wait for them to get out of the oven.
Made with a soft, fluffy and chewy dough rolled tightly to secure the sweet and buttery cinnamon sugar filling. If it could get any better than that, smooth and decadent cream cheese frosting swirls the top of each roll while they are warm to create the perfect glaze.
Milk- I highly recommend using whole milk and be sure to warm the milk to 105-110 degrees F. Do not overheat the milk or it will kill the yeast
Active Dry Yeast - Yeast helps leaven bread but there are several varieties you can choose from. Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in warm water or milk to activate it and takes a little bit longer to proof but creates a deeper flavor. Instant yeast or Rapid Rise Yeast can be mixed right into the flour mixture and does not need to be activated in a warm liquid. This yeast creates a faster rise and makes for a much faster baking process.
Bread Flour -The key to making cinnamon rolls extra fluffy and tender is from using Bread Flour. This type of flour has more protein than all purpose flour which produces more gluten giving them the perfect chewy texture. Learn more about the difference in bread flour and all purpose flour here.
Cream Cheese, Softened- For a creamy frosting make I prefer to use full fat cream cheese and use it at room temperature
Proof the Yeast
Warm the milk to 105-110 degrees F in a microwave safe bowl
Place the milk in a bowl of an electric mixer attached with dough hook and sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk; allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes foamy
Prepare the Dough
Add the light brown sugar, melted butter and eggs to the yeast mixture and mix until fully combined
Add the flour and salt and using a dough hook knead the dough for 5 minutes on medium speed. The dough will come together and forms a ball (add flour if it is still very sticky), it will still be slightly sticky to the touch but will come together easily
Remove the dough from the bowl and gently knead on the counter to form a smooth ball
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it proof (rise) until it is double the size; approximately 1-1 ½ hours
Prepare The Filling
While the dough is proofing, mix together the light brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon to form a paste; set aside
Shape The Dough
Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface
Roll the dough out to 9x15 inch rectangle
Spread the cinnamon sugar filling to cover the entire rectangle
Roll the dough into a log starting on the 9 inch side and trim the edges
Cut, Rise and Bake
Using a serrated knife or unscented dental floss to cut the cinnamon rolls into 1 inch pieces (9 pieces total)
Place the rolls into a buttered baking dish or pie plate, cover with plastic wrap and allow them to proof for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while the cinnamon rolls are proofing
Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-22 minutes or until they start to turn a light golden color
Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes
Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting
In a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy; set aside until ready to use
Once the cinnamon rolls are out of the oven and have cooled for 5 minutes, spread the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cinnamon rolls
Yeast- For a faster rise, choose Rapid Rise Yeast or Instant Yeast
Add Chocolate- Make these even more decadent by sprinkling chocolate chips over the cinnamon sugar filling
Make Them Nutty-Add chocolate pecans to the filling for an extra crunch and nutty flavor
Expert Tips on Baking with Yeast
Active Dry Yeast is a yeast that is dissolved (or Activated) in a warm liquid (105-110 degrees) before it is added to the dry ingredients. This will activate the yeast and will allow it to start the proofing process. Although Active Dry Yeast takes longer to proof, the flavor of the yeast dough is much more developed. Make sure to check the expiration date and do not warm the liquid over 115 degrees F or you will kill the yeast.
Instant Yeast does not need to be activated by a warm liquid and instead can be added directly to the dry ingredients. This type of yeast less fickle and will guarantee great results.
Rapid Rise Yeast, also known as fast acting yeast, does not need to be added to a liquid either. This type of yeast can be added directly to the flour and will result in a much faster rising and baking time. If you are wanting to make your cinnamon roll dough the night before and allow it to do the second rise in the morning, do not use this yeast.
Cinnamon Rolls are best enjoyed freshly baked. Prep the cinnamon rolls up to the rolling and cutting phase and then place them on a baking sheet, wrap the tray with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Once you are ready to bake, take them out and let them proof (rise) for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Using bread flour is very important for the texture of the cinnamon rolls but if you don't have bread flour you can use all purpose flour.
Yes! Using cold ingredients could affect the yeast and will not allow the dough to rise.
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The Best Homemade Cinnamon Roll
Prepare The Dough
- ¾ Cup Whole Milk Warmed (110 degrees F)
- 2 ¼ Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- ⅓ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter Melted
- 3-3 ½ Cups Bread Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 6 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter Melted
- 2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 Ounces Cream Cheese Softened
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Softened
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Prepare The Dough
- Warm the milk to 105-110 degrees F in a microwave safe bowl
- Place the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer, attached with a dough hook, sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk; allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes or until it becomes foamy
- Add the light brown sugar, melted butter and eggs to the yeast mixture and mix until fully combined
- Add the flour and salt and knead the dough together using the dough hook attachment for 5 minute on medium speed. The dough will come together and form a ball but will still be slightly sticky to the touch. (If the dough is to sticky and won't shape into a ball, add more flour).
- Remove the dough from the bowl and gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface½ to form a smooth ball
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it proof (rise) for approximately 1-1 ½ hours
Prepare The Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- While the dough is proofing, mix together the light brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon to form a paste; set aside
Shape The Cinnamon Rolls and Bake
- Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough from the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface
- Roll the dough out to 9x15 inch rectangle and spread the cinnamon sugar filling to cover the entire rectangle of dough
- Roll the dough into a log, starting on the 9 inch side, and trim the edges
- Using a serrated knife or unscented dental floss, cut the cinnamon rolls into 1 inch pieces (9 total)
- Place the rolls into a buttered baking dish or pie plate, cover with plastic wrap and allow them to proof for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while the cinnamon rolls are proofing
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-22 minutes or until they start to turn a light golden color
- Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes
- Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cinnamon rolls while they are still warm
- Serve immediately and Enjoy!
Prepare The Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy; set aside until read to use or refrigerate to save for another day.