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The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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These homemade cinnamon rolls are a special breakfast treat perfect for weekends and holidays. Warm rolls filled with cinnamon and sugar and are topped with a sweet glaze. This just might become your favorite homemade cinnamon roll recipe. 

Cinnamon roll topped with icing on a green and white checkered plate.

Don’t let the idea of making cinnamon rolls from scratch scare you. They really are not that difficult. With a little patience and practice, you will get the hang of it and will be making homemade cinnamon rolls.

Ingredients

This recipe for cinnamon rolls uses a milk bread starter which is somewhat similar to a sponge. You may have heard of the starter by other names such as tangzhong.

For this recipe, you need the following ingredients:

Milk Bread Starter

  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup bread flour
  • ½ cup milk

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • ¼ cup butter (softened)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Sweetened Sour Cream Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Making a Milk Bread Starter

Pour one-half cup of water into a small saucepan. Add in ⅓ cup flour and whisk.

Next, add in ½ cup milk and whisk until smooth with no lumps. Heat over medium heat until smooth and thickened like a slurry.

Mixing powdered sugar and sour cream in a pan to make icing ].

Remove the milk mixture from heat and cover with plastic wrap to cool. Press wrap against the mixture to prevent scum (a film) from forming.

Cinnamon Roll Dough and Filling

Place ½ cup warm milk in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the milk and stir. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and stir until dissolved. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 15 minutes to allow the yeast to activate (bloom). The mixture will be bubbly when it is ready.

Milk Bread Starter in a bowl.

Once the yeast mixture is ready, add the starter to it along with the remainder of the sugar, egg, flour, salt, and softened butter. Mix by hand until combined.

Using a dough hook, knead the dough for about 5-minutes at a low speed in an electric mixer. Turn the speed to medium and knead for about five more minutes. The dough should come together and begin to form a ball.

Place dough ball in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1-1½ hours). Roll the dough into a large rectangle.

Spread softened butter over the surface of the rectangle.

Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the buttered dough.

Starting at one long end, roll up into a log, gently pulling backward during the process to help the roll to stay tight. Pinch the seam together to seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 2-inch slices and place in a greased 9×13 baking pan. (Some people like to use dental floss to get clean cuts instead of a knife.) Repeat the process with the second half of the dough. Let the rolls rise until doubled in a warm place (about 1 hour).

Cinnamon rolls with brown sugar filling in a 9x13 baking dish before rising.

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

Heat ½ cup heavy whipping cream in the microwave on HIGH for 20 seconds. Stir the half and half and then spoon it over the cinnamon rolls. It’s okay for it to seep into the nooks and crannies.

Baking Time

Place the unbaked cinnamon rolls in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until they are golden brown. Cool in pan for 5 – 10 minutes.

Un-iced baked cinnamon rolls in a baking dish.

Let the cinnamon rolls cool for 20 minutes before icing.

Maple icing is drizzled on top of a cinnamon roll.

Sweetened Sour Cream Icing

Combine powdered sugar, sour cream, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and mix until smooth.

This sweetened icing will have a bit of a “wang” or “twang” to it thanks to the sour cream. After the second bite, you will probably love it. If you don’t then feel free to use a different icing, like the cream cheese icing listed below in the recipe for making cinnamon rolls in a bread machine.

What is the best way to store cinnamon rolls?

My first thought is – in my belly. But really, once the warm rolls have cooled completely, place them in an airtight container and store at room temperature. They should last for 3-4 days, unless you have teenagers at home.

Can cinnamon rolls be frozen?

If you plan on freezing rolls, bake them as directed but do not ice them. Let the rolls cool completely, remove from the pan, and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 weeks. 

To reheat, allow the rolls to thaw in the refrigerator over night. Reheat the rolls in the microwave on HIGH in 30-second increments until desired temperature or in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Top with icing.

homemade cinnamon roll

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Wake up to a batch of delicious homemade cinnamon rolls. They are perfect for savoring along with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.
4.20 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breads, Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting and Rising: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 large cinnamon rolls
Calories: 429kcal

Equipment

  • Mixer, Baking Pan

Ingredients

Milk Bread Starter

  • ½ cup water
  • cup bread flour
  • ½ cup milk

Dough

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • ¼ cup sugar + 1 teaspoon for proofing yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup butter softened

Filling

  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Secret Ingredient

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Milk Bread Starter

  • Pour ½ cup water into a small saucepan. Add ⅓ cup flour and whisk. Add ½ cup milk and whisk until smooth with no lumps.
    Heat over medium heat until smooth and thickened like a slurry.
    Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap to cool. Press wrap against the mixture to prevent scum from forming.

Dough

  • Place ½ cup warm milk in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the milk and stir. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and stir until dissolved. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 15 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. The mixture will be bubbly when it is ready.
  • Once the yeast mixture is ready, add the milk bread starter to it along with the remainder of the sugar, egg, flour, salt, and butter. Mix by hand until combined.
  • Using a dough hook, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes at LOW speed. Turn the speed to medium and knead until the dough forms a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough in a greased/oiled bowl, turning once oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled, approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread rectangle with softened butter.
  • Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the buttered rectangle.
  • Starting at the long end, roll each rectangle into a log, gently pulling backward during the process to help the roll stay tight. Pinch the seams together to seal. Cut into twelve slices and place in a 9×13 baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
    Cover the pan and let rise until doubled in a warm place, about an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Microwave heavy whipping cream on HIGH for 20 seconds. Stir and then spoon cream on top of cinnamon rolls.
  • Bake rolls on the center rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
  • Spoon or pour icing over the tops of the rolls while still slightly warm.

Glaze/Icing

  • Combine the powdered sugar, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
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Bread Machine Cinnamon Roll Dough

If you have a bread machine, it’s even easier to make cinnamon rolls. Here’s a quick look at how to make them using the DOUGH cycle.

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk heated in the microwave on HIGH for 40 seconds
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 large egg

Filling Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp butter softened
  • Cinnamon sugar

Icing Ingredients

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 block), softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

To make them, place the ingredients for the dough in the bread machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (For my machine, I place the ingredients in this order: milk, butter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. I add the egg after the paddle has spun around once.) Set dough cycle.

Remove the dough from the bread machine and divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a rectangle approximately 16 x 8 inches. Spread each half with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

Roll each half and cut into 12 pieces. (I cut it in half, then each half in half, and then those into thirds.)

Place in pans sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spray tops of cinnamon rolls with non-stick cooking spray and place in a warm oven. (I usually let my oven get to mid 100’s and turn it off.)

Allow them to rise for 45 minutes.

Turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the icing, combine ingredients and whisk well. Spread or drizzle over cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon rolls in a round pan baking in an oven.

Adapted from My Adventures in the Country’s Delicious Country Rolls.


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23 Comments

  1. These look amazing. I would like to try them but do not have a bread machine. Could you please tell me how you recommend making the dough without a bread machine?
    🙂
    Thank you~

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