Freshly baked cinnamon rolls made from scratch. The perfect balance between delicate, fluffy dough and a sweet cinnamon filling, these tasty rolls will fill your house with an amazingly delightful smell as they bake.
Cinnamon is one of my all-time favorite spices to bake with. It’s so versatile and pairs well with so many ingredients. And let me start by saying that cinnamon rolls are a complete weakness of mine. Ooey gooey and soft, they taste amazing. And just like cinnamon babka, cinnamon rolls take some time to make – but they really aren’t as hard as you may think. Most of the prep time is actually spent waiting for the dough to rise. I promise you – it’s worth the wait!
These cinnamon rolls are everything a cinnamon roll should be. Soft and fluffy with crunchy tops and sweet, cinnamon swirl filling. I prefer using light brown sugar for a more caramel flavor. Topped with a light vanilla glaze, these cinnamon rolls are the perfect breakfast or brunch pastry. Or let’s be honest: they’re also the perfect midday snack, after-dinner dessert, or late-night sugar binge.
If you’re a fan of cinnamon rolls, I highly recommend checking out my cinnamon roll cookie recipe – just like classic rolls but in crunchy cookie form!
Let’s see how we make these babies, shall we?
How to make perfect cinnamon rolls
Here’s a breakdown of the process.
- Make the dough. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, it will do most of the work for you. If not, don’t worry, you can make and knead the dough by hand.
- Let it rise! Let the sweet roll dough rest for an hour in a warm environment until it doubles in size (I have a trick for you that will work like a charm).
- Roll it out. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle. Spread melted butter and cinnamon-sugar onto the dough, and roll it into a log shape. Cut the log into individual rolls and place them in a pan.
- Second rise. Let the cinnamon rolls rest in the pan for 30-45 minutes until they double in size. The second time, it’s even easier!
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. You won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until they’re out of the oven.
- Glaze. Drizzle glaze over warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into each individual step.
Step 1: Making the dough
Start by sprinkling the dry yeast over lukewarm liquid (i.e. milk/water), which should be around 110°F/45°C. If the liquid is too hot (over 130°F), the yeast will die, so you don’t want it to be too hot — it should feel like warm bath water. After you have verified that the liquid is the right temperature, sprinkle the yeast on top of the lukewarm milk-water mixture. Let it sit for 10 minutes. The yeast will start to look foamy.
In the meantime, in a separate bowl (or a mixer bowl) mix all the other ingredients together, except for the flour. Add the yeast mixture and mix just until combined. This can be done by hand or with the mixer on low speed. Add 3 cups of the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon or using the mixer on low speed using the dough hook.
Mix until the dough starts to come together. You’ll probably need to add more flour at this point – 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. For my dough I used exactly 450 grams flour – about 3¼ – 3½ cups. Do not use more than 3½ cups.
After you add all the flour and the dough has come together, keep kneading the dough on low speed in the mixer for 5 minutes, or by hand on a floured surface for 7-8 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, just slightly sticky and easy to handle.
Step 2: Let the dough rise
Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap. It will need to double in size, and the best way to do this is to keep it in a warm spot. While you can leave it on the counter to rise, this will take a bit longer. To speed up the process, put an oven rack in the middle of your oven. Fill a pan or a bowl with hot water and place it on the bottom of the oven. Then, let the dough rest on the oven rack in the middle. Close the oven door and let the dough rest for 45 minutes-an hour.
Steps 3 + 4: Roll out the dough and allow cinnamon rolls to rise again
One your dough has doubled in size, roll it on a floured surface into a 14×10-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. If the rectangle is a bit bigger or smaller, that’s fine. Using a pastry brush or knife, spread soft butter over the rolled out dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border unbuttered. Then
Sprinkle the butter with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a small border around the edges of the dough. Press the sugar mixture gently into the dough so it sticks to the butter.
Starting with one of the longer edges of the rectangle, curl the dough on top of itself to start rolling it up. Continue to roll the dough until you a have full log. Cut off the edges with a serrated bread knife and then cut the log into even pieces, about 12 rolls.
Place them facing up in a buttered 9×13-inch pan or a 9-inch round pan, leaving gaps between the rolls because they will expand during the next rise. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and let them rise for 30-45 minutes, until doubled in size. You can also use the oven trick I mentioned previously to speed up the process, or simply let them rise on the counter.
Note: At this point you can refrigerate the rolls for a few hours or overnight covered with plastic wrap and then bake them straight from the fridge. This rolls will still rise in the fridge – just slower because of the cold.
Steps 5 + 6: Bake and glaze
Brush your cinnamon rolls with heavy/light cream or milk, which helps develop nice caramelized crunchy tops. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25-30 minutes. When they are ready, a toothpick inserted into the rolls should come out clean.
Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool slightly before glazing, or else the glaze will absorb into the cinnamon rolls completely. Drizzle glaze on warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!
Tips for making perfect cinnamon rolls
- Don’t kill the yeast. To prevent the yeast from dying, I highly recommend using a thermometer to test the temperature of the liquid before adding the yeast to it. It should be around 110°F/45°C. If it’s hotter than 130°F, the yeast will die.
- Bring your ingredients to room temperature. Because yeast thrives in warm environments, you don’t want your dough to become cold. Before making your dough, let the butter and egg come to room temperature. It will then warm up eve more when you add the warm liquid-yeast mixture.
- Don’t add too much flour. We don’t want dry or tough cinnamon rolls. Therefore, when mixing your dough, pay close attention to not add too much extra flour. The dough should be slightly sticky but workable when you touch it.
- Let your dough rise in a warm environment. This will help the yeast activate and the dough to rise so it can double in size faster.
- Flour your surface before rolling out your dough. This is a sticky dough, so flouring your surface is crucial to prevent it from sticking to it.
- Roll your cinnamon roll dough up tightly. This will help the rolls maintain their shape so you can cut them more easily and bake into beautiful rolls.
- Let the rolls cool before icing. Otherwise, the glaze will absorb and melt. Only glaze once they are warm, not hot. Then, indulge!
- Freeze an extra batch. This recipe is a great make-ahead dessert! The best point for freezing is after you’ve sliced the rolled up log of cinnamon roll goodness. You can place the cinnamon rolls directly on a pan wrapped in plastic wrap or in a freezer-safe container (not stacked) for up to 2 months. To thaw and rise, place the frozen rolls directly in the fridge overnight. By the morning, they’ll be ready for baking.
Want to try some more of my favorite sticky roll recipes? Check out my orange chocolate rolls and caramel apple rolls!
More delicious cinnamon treats
- Cinnamon blondies: Cinnamon and chocolate mixed with moist, chewy blondies.
- Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread: Delicious sweet bread swirled with cinnamon and raisins.
- Nutella Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins: Sweet and fluffy mini-muffins filled with creamy Nutella.
- Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake: Tender, delicates our cream cake swirled with cinnamon crumbs!
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (7g) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup (55g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted or at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream (or whole milk)
In a small saucepan, heat water and milk until lukewarm (110°F-115°F). Sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm milk mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes.
In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the butter, egg, sugar and salt and mix. Add the milk mixture and mix until combined. Add flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft, smooth, elastic and just slightly sticky. Once it has reached this consistency, keep kneading on low speed in the mixer for 5 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for about one hour until doubles in size.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it to remove air. Then, roll it into a 14×10 inch rectangle. Leaving small border around the edges, spread the dough with butter, then with sugar mixture and press gently. Roll up dough to form a log, starting with the longer edge, and pinch to seam seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in a greased 9-inch round pan or 9*13-inch pan. Cover and let rest to rise for about 30-45 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C. Bake cinnamon rolls in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the tops have browned and a skewer inserted into the rolls comes out clean. If the rolls brown too fast, cover them loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to cool on a wire rack before glazing.
To make the glaze, mix all ingredients together, adding little cream at a time until the desired consistency. Drizzle over the rolls. Serve rolls warm or reheat before serving.
reneApril 9, 2014 at 11:45 am
ShiranApril 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm
Thanks Rene! 🙂
WinnieApril 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm
שירן זה לא פייייר
אני חולת קינמון ומכינה המון בצקי שמרים (אני מתמחה בבצקי חלות) ורק לראות את התמונות אני חצי בעילפון!
אם יכולתי הייתי רצה למטבח להכין, אבל המטבח כבר עבר למטבח פסח
אני רק יכולה לדמיין זוללת חצי תבנית עכשיו.
בנתיים אני מאחלת לך פסח נהדרררררררררר
ושוב – זה נראה משגע!!
ShiranApril 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm
לא נורא וויני, ככה יהיה למה לצפות לאחר החג 🙂 ואם את מומחית לחלות, תפני אותי לאחד המתכונים הטובים שלך בבקשה ואכין בהקדם!
Nicole ~ Cooking for KeepsApril 9, 2014 at 7:06 pm
I like your conclusion! More cinnamon = better. These look great!
ShiranApril 9, 2014 at 7:57 pm
Hahaha… I know 🙂 I can’t get enough of these rolls!
DorApril 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm
wow it looks insane!!!
ShiranApril 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm
Thanks Dor 🙂
Ashley @ Wishes & DishesApril 10, 2014 at 3:41 am
There’s nothing better than homemade cinnamon rolls. Yours look amazing!
ShiranApril 10, 2014 at 7:05 am
Thank you Ashley 🙂 There really isn’t nothing better than homemade cinnamon rolls!
Angie (@angiesrecipess)April 10, 2014 at 6:06 pm
Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls! I could have finished the whole bunch! These look fantastic.
ShiranApril 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm
Thank you Angie 🙂
Cindy @ Pick Fresh FoodsApril 11, 2014 at 3:17 am
I just love love cinnamon rolls. One of my all time favorite treats. These look so good. I can just imagine how wonderful they smell baking. Pinning!!
ShiranApril 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm
Thank you Cindy 🙂 They are one of my favorite treats too!
CindyApril 12, 2014 at 11:01 am
These look phenomenal! Question for you…If I were to start the process the night before, would I place the cut rolls in the fridge before or after the second rise? Or maybe it’s best to bake them and then reheat and drizzle in the morning. Have you ever tried that?
ShiranApril 12, 2014 at 6:42 pm
Hi Cindy! I always make rolls ahead of time, and they are best the day they are made 🙂 After you shape the dough into rolls, arrange them in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge (before the rise). The next morning, remove them from the fridge and leave them on the counter to rise for about an hour.
They are so good 🙂
Ilona @ Ilona's PassionApril 12, 2014 at 11:35 pm
Lovely blog, I like your recipes. Beautiful theme, I adore Bluchic. I noticed that on your home page you have small pictures with posts, but when I click on the post, nice large picture is shown. Can I ask you how did you do it? Or Bluchic purchased theme allows it? I am just using their free Adelle for now. I will appreciate any answer, Thank you
ShiranApril 13, 2014 at 7:53 am
Thank you Ilona! I emailed you 🙂
MattiSeptember 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm
Do these freeze well??
ShiranSeptember 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm
Hi Matti! You can read the above comment I wrote to Cindy about making the rolls ahead of time. But, if you want to bake the rolls, then freeze them it’s also possible. Thaw the rolls a few hours before using them, then warm them briefly in the oven before serving.
BunnyNovember 7, 2014 at 11:24 pm
I made these last night and they were SOOOOO freaking good. Way better than anything store bought. And you’re right, the house smells amazing while they bake. Thanks for posting this. It will be my go-to recipe for cinnamon rolls from now on!
ShiranNovember 9, 2014 at 7:45 am
It makes me so happy! Thank you for taking the time to share with me how much you loved them! They are my go-to recipe, too!
jodiApril 12, 2015 at 3:36 am
Looking for a cinn roll thats fluffy and not hard…..thanks. any tips would be great
ShiranApril 14, 2015 at 7:36 am
Hi Jodi! This recipe for cinnamon rolls is super fluffy and soft! Did you try making it?
DarsanApril 19, 2015 at 10:37 pm
Thanks for the great recipe. Just made these and they turned out absolutely fantastically! Have tried to make these before a recipe on another site and they were quite dry and tough. These on the other hand are light, fluffy and just the right amount of sweetness! Will be using your site in future to bake other desserts as well 🙂
ShiranApril 20, 2015 at 7:07 am
Hi Darsan! I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you 🙂 I have a few recipes for cinnamon rolls but I really like this one, it’s so fluffy, soft and full of flavor!
Rayna RamirezApril 27, 2015 at 5:29 pm
Can you use instant yeast for this recipe ?
ShiranApril 28, 2015 at 1:22 pm
Hi Rayna, yes you can, use 2 teaspoons of instant yeast instead. Also, skip the part of “proofing” the yeast (the part when you sprinkle the yeast over the milk), and just add it along with the flour.
KsenyaJanuary 19, 2018 at 5:54 pm
היי שירן! האם אפשר להשתמש בשמרים טריים (קוביה) ואם כן, מה הכמות? אני נמצאת במקום שבו קשה למצוא שמרים יבשים לצערי..
ShiranJanuary 22, 2018 at 4:16 am
Yes you can! Here’s a good guide on how to convert between them.
KatarinaFebruary 17, 2016 at 4:51 am
First of all I really like your blog 🙂 I have found it a week ago and I have already tried your cheescake brownie recipe. Brownies were fantastic, definetely the best I have ever baked and I have tried quite a few recepies. So thank you for that.
Fr cinnamon rolls: I have a question. In my country (Slovenia, you probably never heard of because it’s a really small country in Europe … but never mind) yeast can be bought in these blocks… I don’t know how to call it… on the internet it was called “a block of compressed fresh yest”. How much should I use? Thank you for answer.
Have a lovely day 🙂
ShiranFebruary 18, 2016 at 11:32 am
Hi Katarina! Thank you so much (and of course I’ve heard of Slovenia) 🙂
If using fresh yeast, you’ll need to use about 20 grams – the rule of thumb is multiplying the weight of dry yeast by 3. You should read the label to understand how to use it/add it to the flour.
I hope this helps! Have a lovely day, too 🙂
KatarinaFebruary 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm
Just letting you know that I have just made these and they are delicious! I made them for my older sister’s birthday (she is 19) and she loved it. Maybe I did roll the dough too thin… I don’t know. But anyway, they were great. And for the glaze I used vanilla pod, because I really like those tiny black dots in a frosting or cream or glaze or whatever 😀 The glaze is also great.
And thank you for your soon answer about yeast.
Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes! I’m thinking of cinnamon roll cake… 😉
ShiranFebruary 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm
Happy birthday to your sister, Katarina! I’m glad to hear it worked out for you with the fresh yeast. Can’t wait for you to try more recipes! 🙂
SandiOctober 25, 2019 at 4:44 am
I definitely cried after tasting these! I’ve been missing good cinnamon rolls while living in England. Thanks so much for new Christmas morning recipe!! **And my new favourite place for baking recipes.
HannahMarch 20, 2016 at 7:21 am
Shiran gotta try ths recipe 2day…. hope this turns out welll…
ShiranMarch 22, 2016 at 6:43 am
Let me know how it turns out!
zubaidaNovember 7, 2016 at 9:22 am
Tried your cinnamon roll today. Tured out super fluffy n soft . Thanks a lot
ShiranNovember 9, 2016 at 6:58 am
Thank you for your comment!
Jennifer DavisFebruary 3, 2018 at 11:02 pm
Wow !I followed your instructions , and they were fabulous!!!
Brenda TDecember 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm
I actually wanted to do a taste test with my family. I made your recipe and a different one that said they were the best cinnamon rolls ever. ( I made them the same day, just to have a fair comparison). Your recipe won out! . Even reheating them the next day, yours just tasted better! I did double the icing recipe, just because I love icing. Funny thing I tasted it without icing and they were still very tasty and so soft. Delicious! This is now my only cinnamon roll recipe. : ) Thank you for sharing!
SaganaApril 21, 2019 at 12:29 am
It was absolutely gorgeous! I made them last night and my family loved it! thankyou Shiran! 🙂
adeenaMay 31, 2019 at 9:17 am
hey shiran! this is my first time using this recipe, and for the filling, I accidentally added the butter in with the sugar and cinnamon. is that okay? also, when I cut my rolls they always turn out kind of flat, squashed, and ugly (it might be because I rolled the dough starting from the short side). any tips?
Lana GreenAugust 17, 2019 at 2:38 pm
Can I use any other type of sugar for the glaze, or must it be powdered? Otherwise, the rolls turned out great!
ShiranAugust 18, 2019 at 7:07 am
Hi Lana. Only powdered sugar will work.
MichellaAugust 7, 2020 at 1:24 am
We recently came upon your blog and needless to say, we are now hooked. We made these cinnamon rolls to break the fast last week and they were phenomenal. The only thing that dissappointed me was that they dried out within a few hours. Do you have an idea what I can do differently to keep the dough moist over time aside from making sure they are well covered as they were. Thank you
ShiranAugust 20, 2020 at 5:43 am
Thank you, Michella 🙂 Make sure not to overbake them. You can try adding a little bit of sugar syrup like in this babka recipe. I usually leave a few pieces for the same day and freeze the rest.
KirstenFebruary 7, 2021 at 9:33 am
They are amazing! Just made them and certainly will be making them again. So soft and fluffy! 😀
Lael EngstromNovember 24, 2021 at 10:32 am
Would you freeze before the final rise or after they are baked?
Kaylee PuterbaughFebruary 11, 2023 at 9:55 pm
Omg, this recipe is perfect!!! I just used this recipe for the third time and it works so well! They were delicious and I got a lot of compliments, so thank you for the awesome recipe!😁