I have been meaning to share this amazing recipe with you all for months, but I have a confession to share. Each time I make cinnamon rolls and plan to take pictures, something bad happens: all the rolls disappear before I can get a picture! It’s true, these rolls are so delicious that I forget to take a picture of the finished product before diving in, face first, to a heavenly plate of warm cinnamon dough and cream cheese frosting goodness.
So, forgive me for not adding a final picture, I will eventually get one. Just know that these are so incredible, you too may have a hard time focusing on anything else when you make them! The Perfect Cinnamon Roll recipe is the perfect base for creating customized flavors, like Salted Caramel Pecan Rolls, Strawberry Rolls, and Pumpkin Spice Rolls (recipes to come!), and can be easily made in under an hour following my technique to Bake Yeast Rolls in Half the Time.
This recipe is super easy to follow. Don’t be intimidated by all the steps. I really broke down the recipe to make it easy to see each step. The only hard part is deciding what kind of rolls you want to make!
The Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
Yield: 12-15 rolls, depending on thickness
Active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Rise Time: 1 ½ – 2 hours
Baking Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
½ Cup Butter or Lard*
½ Cup + 1 tsp. Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Real Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk or Plain Milk Kefir**
3 Large Eggs, at room temp.
1 pkg. (2 ¼ tsp.) yeast
¼ Cup. Warm Water (110°)
5-6 Cups All Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Butter, salted or unsalted is fine
1/3 Sugar + 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon (I love Cinnamon and don’t skimp on it!)
- Combine butter/lard, ½ Cup. sugar, salt and buttermilk in a large bowl. Microwave until butter/lard is melted. Alternatively, you can warm on stovetop and then pour into a large bowl. 2. Set aside until lukewarm. (Temperature must be less than 115° or the yeast won’t rise properly.)
- Meanwhile, dissolve the yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in warm water. Allow the yeast mixture to sit until it becomes frothy.
- Add eggs and yeast mixture to the large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or mixer with paddle attachment until incorporated.
- Add 2 cups of flour and mix well. Continue adding flour, 1 cup at a time, and mixing to incorporate. You may not need all 6 cups. Once the dough loosely holds a shape and becomes shaggy and slightly sticky turn it out onto a floured pastry board and knead until soft and smooth. Dough should be slightly sticky but manageable, and not dry.
- Place dough into a greased bowl and cover. Allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Roll out dough on a floured pastry board to ½ inch thick rectangle, with a long side parallel to you. If using a Bethany Houseware board, I cover the entire board with dough, then gently pull on the dough to form a rectangle. Some of the dough will hang off the sides. Allow the dough to rest for 3 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- Using a pastry brush, cover the dough with melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough.
- Starting with the long side closest to you, gently and tightly roll the dough away from you. Place seam side down. At this point you may find it easier to lay the roll flat on the counter and remove the pastry board.
- Using a piece of dental floss or thread, lift the roll and use the floss to cut the rolls into 2-inch-thick pieces. I usually get about 14 rolls.
- Place the rolls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Rolls should not be touching.
- Cover with a towel, or place in a warm oven that is off, and allow the rolls to rise 30-60 minutes, or until doubled in size. *Tip: Preheat the oven to 200°, then turn off before you place the rolls inside to rise. It cuts the rise time in half. When ready to bake, leave the rolls in the oven and turn the oven to the desired baking temp. Start the bake time when you turn the oven on.
- Bake the rolls at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before frosting.
The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting
1 block Regular Cream Cheese, room temp
¼ Cup Butter, room temp
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons milk or cream, if needed to thin out the frosting.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the milk, if needed. Turn the mixer on high and whip the frosting for 2 minutes until fluffy.
Store covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
Store unfrosted rolls covered at room temp for up to 5 days. Frosted rolls can be covered and refrigerated for 5 days.
To make ahead of time, follow the directions to form cinnamon rolls. Once cut, place on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper and freeze until firm. Transfer to a zip top bag or airtight container and freeze up to 3 months. To bake: place on a baking sheet to thaw and rise until doubled. Bake as indicated in the recipe.
*Butter produces a better flavor, but lard produces an incredibly soft and fluffy dough. It is up to your preference which to use. For the perfect balance of flavor and texture, try ¼ of each!
**Although regular milk can be used, buttermilk or kefir produces a softer dough. Don’t have any buttermilk on hand? Just add 1 tablespoon vinegar to a measuring cup and fill with milk to the one cup line. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then add to your recipes.