These homemade cinnamon rolls rival Cinnabon. Tender, flaky layers rolled up with buttery cinnamon and brown sugar, baked until large and soft, with an ooey gooey center, and then slathered with whipped cream cheese frosting.
The best cinnamon rolls, are warm, soft and have a center that you don’t want to share. They are covered in thick, whipped cream cheese frosting and they just make you feel good inside.
how do you make cinnamon rolls from scratch?
The key to making delicious homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch, is to let the dough rest. If you can let it do this overnight in the refrigerator, even better. At minimum, it needs to be left alone to rise. This can be done on the counter, for anywhere from 30-90 minutes, or as I mentioned before, in the refrigerator overnight. Letting it rise in the refrigerator will slow the rise, but allow more flavor to develop. If you let it rise on the counter, make sure to do so in a warm, non drafty area.
how to roll cinnamon rolls
Once the dough has risen either in the refrigerator overnight, or on the counter, until doubled in size, place it onto a floured surface to prevent sticking. Start by flattening the dough with your finger tips, and stretching it with your palms. Eventually use a rolling pin to make a rectangle of about 18×25 inches, give or take.
cinnamon roll filling
Use a fork or pastry cutter to combine the softened butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar until crumbly. Use your finger tips to spread the mixture evenly over the rectangle.
roll up the cinnamon rolls
Carefully begin to roll up the cinnamon roll dough into a log, working one roll at a time. Don’t roll it too tight; give it a little room to rise and puff up again.
Once you’ve rolled it into a log, pinch the seam together and roll that side seam down on the counter, so that it is underneath. Using the sharpest knife you have, cut into six even sections (for jumbo rolls; for smaller, cut into 12). For six large rolls, slice the log in the middle first. This helps you eyeball the two halves into thirds, creating 6 even rolls.
the second rise
Place the six rolls into a greased, or parchment lined pan. Use a 10×6 inch pan, or something close to it, or a round cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again, until doubled in size, 30-90 minutes.
bake the rolls
Once the rolls have risen again in the pan, and are doubled in size, bake them for roughly 20-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them, and take them out when they are just barely done. Over browning them can cause them to lose some gooey-ness.
for the cream cheese frosting
Use completely softened cream cheese that has been softened at room temperature. Whip the frosting ingredients together until fluffy. Spread them on the rolls and enjoy warm!
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting (Copycat Cinnabon)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk can sub regular milk
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 large eggs + one egg yolk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 stick salted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 stick softened butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Combine the 1/2 cups each of buttermilk and water, 2 large eggs plus one yolk, the 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 stick softened butter, tsp salt, 4 1/3 cups all purpose flour, and 2 1/2 cups instant yeast. Knead by hand or in standing mixer for 5-10 minutes until smooth. If the dough seems sticky, add another tablespoon of flour, but wait until 5 minutes of kneading has passed, as the dough will form a smooth ball eventually.
- Grease a 10x6 inch baking dish, or similar size, or 9 inch round cake pan (or line with parchment paper).
- On a large, floured work space, roll dough out into a large 18 inch by 14 inch rectangle.
- Combine the stick of softened butter, with the 3/4 cup brown sugar, the 2 tablespoons flour, and the tablespoon of cinnamon in a bowl with a fork until crumbly.
- Sprinkle mixture evenly over dough.
- Starting at edges and working way to middle, roll the dough up 1/2 inch at a time, until completely rolled up. Using a very sharp knife, cut the log in half, and then those two halves into thirds, yielding 6 equal rolls.
- Place rolls evenly spaced apart in the baking dish, cover lightly with saran wrap, and let rise again, until doubled in size (30-90 min). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until just barely golden brown.
- Beat the 16 oz softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, teaspoon vanilla, and cup of powdered sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Spread over cinnamon rolls while slightly warm.
- if using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, dissolve it into the 1/2 cup lukewarm water first for 5-10 minutes before adding to mix to "activate" it. Instant yeast can be added as is.
- You can substitute regular milk for butter milk, or make "faux" buttermilk by adding a teaspoon lemon juice to the milk and letting it stand for 5 minutes.
- Soften cream cheese and butter completely at room temperature before incorporating.