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These easy homemade cinnamon rolls are the best I’ve ever tasted! They are soft and delicious with a classic cinnamon swirl and topped with cream cheese frosting! This cinnamon roll recipe includes options for making ahead and baking fresh the next morning and freezing them for later!

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This classic, homemade cinnamon roll recipe is a definite family favorite! It is my husband Bart’s recipe. He took his mother’s prized cinnamon roll recipe and tweaked it to make the perfect cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted. They are made from scratch, soft, fluffy, and tender, and they have the perfect ratio of cinnamon with just the right amount of frosting on top!

Here’s Why You’ll Love These Easy Cinnamon Rolls

  • Easy recipe for beginners. This easy recipe is perfect for beginning bakers with my step-by-step photographs and success tips!
  • Traditional, classic cinnamon rolls. Everyone loves these tender, soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls with their classic gooey cinnamon swirl and creamy frosting!
  • Great make-ahead, freezer-friendly recipe. Perfect for making ahead and baking the next day or freezing to reheat and serve later! So many options!

How to Make the Best Cinnamon Rolls

Every time Bart made his cinnamon rolls and shared them with family and friends, he would always get requests for the recipe or for him to start selling them! ♥️ Bart shared his recipe when I first started this website way back in 2010, and it has been loved by many ever since! We’ve updated the photographs, included a video, and added some success tips to help you as you make them as well!

Key Ingredients to Use for the Dough

The most important tip for successful cinnamon rolls: The Yeast!

So many people have written to say that they have been intimidated by working with yeast. There are a few tips to remove any fear you may have.

  • Type of yeast. You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast in this recipe. Active dry yeast requires proofing and may take slightly longer to rise than instant yeast. Instant yeast has smaller particles, and it doesn’t require proofing. It can be mixed directly into dry ingredients as well.
  • Freshness. You’ll want fresh yeast for the best rise in your cinnamon rolls. Check the expiration date on your yeast container or packet to make sure that it is in date. I generally like to purchase fresh yeast right before the holiday season to know my yeast is as fresh as possible before our Christmas baking begins! 🙂
  • Temperature. We sprinkle our yeast, along with a little sugar to feed the yeast, over milk that has been heated to 110º F. We like to check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer to make sure that it is at that temperature before adding our yeast. A temperature of more than 110º F will kill the yeast.
  • Proof. If using active dry yeast, you’ll proof your yeast. If using instant yeast, skip this step. Once your active dry yeast and sugar are added to the warmed milk, it will begin to bubble and froth. This is proof that your yeast is active and will cause the dough to rise when baked.

Other Ingredients Needed for the Dough:

Milk: I recommend using whole milk for the best cinnamon rolls. You can also use half and half, buttermilk, non-dairy milk, and 2% milk. Remember that your milk must be heated to the proper temperature to encourage and not kill your yeast.

Sugar: Granulated sugar is needed to feed the yeast in the dough and also lends flavor and structure to the recipe.

Butter:  You can use salted or unsalted butter. I tend to keep salted butter on hand more than unsalted and use it with great success.

Salt: The salt enhances the flavor in the dough.

Eggs: This recipe uses two large eggs. I recommend having them at room temperature for easier mixing into the dough.

Flour: Flour provides the structure for the dough. We use all-purpose flour for this dough. If you use a whole-wheat or other flour combination, the baked cinnamon rolls may be a bit denser or chewier and not as tender as with all-purpose flour.

The recipe calls for 4 ½ cups of flour, but you should note that the amount of flour in any yeast dough recipe may need to be adjusted slightly depending on the weather, humidity, etc. We generally use 4 ½ cups of all-purpose flour but may need to add a bit more, a tablespoon at a time, for the dough to form the perfect yeast dough ball. The dough should be tender, smooth, and resilient.

Mixing the Yeast Dough

This recipe does not require a stand mixer to make delicious cinnamon rolls, although you certainly can use one if you prefer. You can easily mix the yeast dough by hand or with a stand mixer. Either method works well.

To mix by hand: This is the method we show in our tutorial video below.

Add the yeast and sugar to warm milk in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine and allow the yeast to foam to proof. Once the yeast has proofed, stir in melted butter, salt, eggs, and flour into yeast mixture. Gently mix until well combined.

To use a stand mixer: Add the yeast and sugar to warm milk in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine and allow the yeast to foam to proof. Once the yeast has proofed, fit the mixer with a dough hook to mix the melted butter, salt, eggs, and flour well combined, forming a soft and sticky dough ball in about 6 – 8 minutes.

Then, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until the dough is soft, tender, and resilient.

Form the dough into a ball and place it into a buttered glass or metal bowl. Cover lightly with a clean kitchen or tea towel and store in a warm place free from draft to allow it to double in size.

Rolling the Dough

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into a rectangle until it is about 1/4-inch thick.

To make it easier to handle the dough, you can also divide the dough in half and repeat the steps for each half of the dough.

3-Ingredient Cinnamon Roll Filling

The delicious filling is the hallmark of a perfect cinnamon roll! It gives it all of the flavor! So, don’t skimp on the filling! For the cinnamon roll filling, you’ll need just three ingredients:

Butter: Use very soft butter that is at room temperature is perfect for the filling. It will easily spread onto your cinnamon roll dough without pulling the dough. This is one of the most important steps to the BEST cinnamon rolls, I think. If you need it, you can use my How to Soften Butter tips!

Brown Sugar: We love to use dark brown sugar for the filling for the classic cinnamon roll flavor and the additional richness it gives these rolls! You can use light or dark brown sugar based on your personal preference.

Cinnamon: Fresh ground cinnamon adds so much flavor to this recipe. Make sure yours is fresh and fragrant! It is the signature flavor of these rolls!

Cut Cinnamon Roll Dough

Roll the dough and then cut it into 1-inch slices. We use about a foot of non-coated, non-flavored dental floss to cut our dough easily. Slide the floss or thread under one end of your rolled dough and quickly pull the two ends of the floss together to cut the dough. If you do not have it, you can also use a very sharp knife to slice your dough.

Place into a buttered, rimmed baking sheet or two buttered 9×13 baking dishes.

Cover with a kitchen or tea towel and let rise for the second rise, about 30 minutes.

Bake and Frost the Cinnamon Rolls

Bake the rolls: Once the dough has risen, bake the cinnamon rolls. Bake until they are slightly golden brown while still soft and tender, about 15-20 minutes. Take care not to overbake your rolls.

While they are baking, prepare your frosting.

For the frosting: We prefer to use our favorite cream cheese frosting. To make it, you’ll need softened butter, confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix all together until creamy, light, and fluffy. Spread on top of the slightly warm cinnamon rolls with the frosting. The frosting will seep into the warm rolls to make them even more scrumptious!

Make Ahead Cinnamon Rolls

I love make ahead cinnamon rolls! While they aren’t challenging to make, it is wonderful to have the make-ahead option during the busy holiday season or even for a simple weekend breakfast or brunch!

Baked Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls: These cinnamon rolls keep well on the counter for up to 3 days. Simply cover them and keep them in a cool, dry place.

Unbaked Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls: I am often asked if you can keep the unbaked cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator overnight and then bake them the following day. Yes! You sure can! We love to prepare them on Christmas Eve and then bake them fresh on Christmas morning!

To do this, simply skip the second rise of the dough, cover them tightly and refrigerate. Then bake them fresh when you plan to serve them. They will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days but are best cooked within 48 hours.

When ready to bake, remove them from the refrigerator as your oven is preheating, and then bake, frost, and serve!

How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls freeze perfectly in a couple of different ways.

To freeze unbaked cinnamon rolls. Place the cut rolls into buttered, freezer-safe pans and cover tightly with plastic wrap followed by foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw. Once defrosted, bake as directed and frost.

To freeze baked cinnamon rolls, frosted or unfrosted. Bake as directed. Let them cool completely and store a freezer-safe container or bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator. Heat the rolls in a 300º F oven or microwave until warmed as desired.

Variations

Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins – Raisins are optional for the filling. If you are dividing the dough, it is excellent to make some with raisins and some without depending on personal preference.

Here’s Bart’s Cinnamon Roll Recipe. I think you are going to love them!

4.90 from 126 votes

Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Dessert 1 hr 45 mins

Photograph of cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting on a white plate with the inside with gooey cinnamon roll filling showing.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Servings 24
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
The Best Cinnamon Rolls Recipe – These easy cinnamon rolls are so soft and with a delicious cinnamon swirl and cream cheese frosting!

Ingredients  

Cinnamon Roll Dough:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 yeast packet)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + a little for handling adjust flour as needed for humidity by adding 1 tablespoon at a time as needed for the dough to be soft, tender, and resilient.

Cinnamon Roll Filling:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter

Cinnamon Roll Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt

Instructions 

Cinnamon Roll Dough:

  • Add yeast and sugar to warm milk in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine and allow the yeast to foam to proof. Once the yeast has proofed, stir in melted butter, salt, eggs, and flour into yeast mixture. Gently mix until well-combined.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes. Form the dough into a large ball and place into a large buttered glass bowl. Cover lightly with plastic or with a tea towel and place in a warm location free of any drafts. Allow to rise so that the dough is doubled in size.

Cinnamon Roll Filling:

  • Place dough on a large lightly floured surface and roll to a ¼ inch thickness. Spread softened butter over the top of the dough.
  • Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle generously all over the buttered dough.
  • Tightly roll the dough, beginning at the long edge, until a log of dough has been formed.
  • Cut the dough into 3/4-inch to 1-inch slices and place onto a lightly buttered baking sheet pan or into two buttered 9×13 baking dishes.

Baking and Icing:

  • Preheat oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
  • Allow rolls to rise for 30 minutes.
  • Place rolls into oven and allow to cook until lightly browned and cooked through, but not overcooked, about 15-20 minutes.
  • While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare cream cheese frosting by creaming together butter, confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and salt.
  • Remove cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Spread frosting generously over rolls while they are warm.

Video

Notes

Stand Mixer Instructions: Use your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook once the yeast has proofed. Stir in melted butter, salt, eggs, and flour. Gently mix until well-combined. Continue using the dough hook to knead dough in mixer for 6-8 minutes. Continue on with the recipe as instructed.

Make Ahead Cinnamon Rolls

I love make ahead cinnamon rolls! While they aren’t challenging to make, it is wonderful to have the make-ahead option during the busy holiday season or even for a simple weekend breakfast or brunch!
Baked Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls: These cinnamon rolls keep well on the counter for up to 3 days. Simply cover them and keep them in a cool, dry place.
Unbaked Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls: I am often asked if you can keep the unbaked cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator overnight and then bake them the following day. Yes! You sure can! We love to prepare them on Christmas Eve and then bake them fresh on Christmas morning!
To do this, simply skip the second rise of the dough, cover them tightly and refrigerate. Then bake them fresh when you plan to serve them. They will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days but are best cooked within 48 hours.
When ready to bake, remove them from the refrigerator as your oven is preheating, and then bake, frost, and serve!

How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls freeze perfectly in a couple of different ways.
To freeze unbaked cinnamon rolls. Place the cut rolls into buttered, freezer-safe pans and cover tightly with plastic wrap followed by foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw. Once defrosted, bake as directed and frost.
To freeze baked cinnamon rolls, frosted or unfrosted. Bake as directed. Let them cool completely and store a freezer-safe container or bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator. Heat the rolls in a 300º F oven or microwave until warmed as desired.

Variations

Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins – Raisins are optional for the filling. If you are dividing the dough, it is excellent to make some with raisins and some without depending on personal preference.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 318mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 428IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

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Robyn xo

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2010.

Christmas Recipes

Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Comments

  1. I can’t wait to make these for Christmas morning. But we will be gone all day Christmas Eve so I will have to prep up to baking on the 23rd. Would you recommend keeping in the refrigerator for 36hrs or freezing that night and leaving out overnight Christmas Eve?

    1. Jen, to keep in the refrigerator unbaked, simply skip the second rise of the dough, cover them tightly and refrigerate. Then bake them fresh when you plan to serve them. They will last in the refrigerator up to 3 days but are best cooked within 48 hours. When ready to bake, simply remove from the refrigerator as your oven is preheating and then bake, frost and serve!

      You can freeze unbaked cinnamon rolls. Place the cut rolls into buttered, freezer-safe pans and cover tightly with plastic wrap followed by foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw. Once defrosted, bake as directed and frost.

      You can also freeze baked cinnamon rolls, frosted or unfrosted. Bake as directed. Let them cool completely and store a freezer-safe container or bags. Freeze up to 3 months. To serve, allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Heat the rolls in a 300º F oven or microwave until warmed as desired.

      Either way you decide to make these ahead should work fine. Hope you enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    What’s the best breakfast when you’re snowed in and craving something sweet?! Cinnamon rolls, of course! My husband took two huge bites before saying, “These are phenomenal!” Ten stars!!!

  3. 5 stars
    I didn’t have high expectations for this recipe initially, but I was shocked at how well they turned out. The kids loved them so much that they ask me to make them almost every weekend. These are truly the best ever cinnamon rolls!

    1. Thanks, Karen. We love these cinnamon rolls at our house and am so glad your kids love them, too.

  4. 5 stars
    I have been using this recipe for more than 5 years now. I have baked them in high altitude and low altitude, with a stand mixer, hand mixer and kneeding by hand. Each of these factors changes the texture of the cinnamon rolls a little bit. But, no matter what I do, these are the best cinnamon rolls and everyone I have served them to has told me they are the best they have ever had.

    1. Thanks so much, Sharon. I agree the way you mix and knead them does make a slight difference in the texture but they are delicious either way you make them.

  5. Is there a difference in baking time or temperature if I use a metal baking pan vs. glass? Also, if I use a baking sheet is there a danger of the rolls “falling over” as they rise?

    1. Rich, if you bake the cinnamon rolls in a glass dish, reduce the temperature by 25ºF. I use a rimmed baking sheet but I have never had a problem with the rolls falling over on the pan as they rise. You may want to watch the video of my husband making the cinnamon rolls. Hope you enjoy.

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