How to Make the Best Cinnamon Rolls

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Made with tender sweet yeast dough, the Best Cinnamon Rolls are filled with spirals of sweet cinnamon sugar and topped with a rich cream cheese glaze.

Today I’m giving you all the tips and tricks on how to make homemade cinnamon rolls that turn out perfectly every time.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

The recipe starts with the basic sweet yeast dough recipe that I posted yesterday. It’s a simple recipe, with only 7 ingredients, but is a rich dough full of eggs and butter that makes a perfect base for these cinnamon rolls.

It’s not a hard dough to make, but check out the full post for all of the details on how to make a perfect dough.

Divide the dough recipe in half. One half of the dough will make about 8-9 cinnamon rolls which can be baked in a pie plate or 8 x 8 inch baking dish. I prefer to roll out half the dough at a time.

If you want to make the entire batch of dough, they should fit in a 9 x 13 inch pan. You might have a few extra to bake in a loaf pan, depending on how thick you cut them.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Once you have the dough ready, the cinnamon rolls are simple to make. Don’t be intimidated, they really are not complicated to make, especially if you have made the dough ahead of time and have it in the freezer or fridge. (Instructions for that are in the yeast dough post.)

Enough background information, let’s make cinnamon rolls!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Once you have the dough prepped through the first rise, begin by kneading the dough a few times and letting it rest for about 5 minutes.

Resting the dough will allow it to relax a bit, making it easier to roll out.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Roll out the dough into a 18 x 12 inch rectangle. As you can see in the picture, the dough should be very thin, no more than 1/4 inch thick.

Rolling the dough this thin will give us a perfect, neat spiral for our cinnamon rolls and make sure there is the most cinnamon sugar layer swirled throughout.

Be patient in getting the dough to this point and try and keep it as square as possible.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Next, spread a nice layer of softened butter over the sheet of dough. Spread it clear to the edge on all sides except for one of the shorts sides.

Leave an inch of space on one of the short sides so you can seal it up after you roll it.

I use brown sugar and cinnamon to spread on top for the best flavor.

We’re not going for low calorie here, this post is on how to make the best cinnamon rolls ever!

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Roll them up tightly starting at the short end (the 12 inch side). Starting at the short side will make the giant, perfect spiral.

If you want smaller cinnamon rolls, feel free to roll them up from the long side. I make them both ways depending on whether I’m in the mood for giant cinnamon rolls or smaller ones. Seal up the roll by pinching the end tightly.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

How To Slice Cinnamon Rolls

Now here is a trick to cutting the cinnamon rolls that everyone might not know about. Use a piece of thread or dental floss to cut each cinnamon roll.

Slide the thread under the cinnamon roll log, cross the ends of the thread and pull the ends tightly in opposite directions to smoothly cut through the roll.

No more squishing the rolls with a knife when you’re trying to cut them. This trick will deliver perfectly cut cinnamon rolls every time. I recommend cutting the rolls about 1 – 1.5 inches thick.

A quick tip for cutting perfect cinnamon rolls. Check out the post for more tips and tricks to make the perfect cinnamon rolls. #cinnamonrolls

Place them in a greased pan. I like glass pans the best as they don’t brown them too quickly, but metal or foil will work too. 7 large rolls will fit in a standard pie plate.

Side note: Pie plates are my favorite size for gifting! 12 – 15 rolls will fit in a 9 x 13 inch pan, depending on how big you cut them.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Cover them with a clean towel and let them rise until double. The warmth of your house will influence how fast they rise. Because we rolled them so thin, they won’t take too long to rise 20-30 minutes.

Don’t let them get too big, because if they rise too much, they will deflate and the spirals will separate after they bake.

Compare the picture above with the one right below it for an idea of how much they will rise.

The photo above shows them before they rise, the photo below shows them right before they go into the oven. They will rise a bit more in the oven, so keep that in mind.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

After they are risen, put them into the oven, uncovered. They don’t take too long 15 minutes max, so while they are in the oven, make the frosting.

You want the frosting to be ready as soon as they come out of the oven. It is simple to make butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar are the main ingredients.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

They will be just slightly browned when they come of the oven, wait about 5 minutes for them to cool and then spread on the frosting.

Spread the frosting on while it is warm so it melts halfway and coats the inside of your cinnamon roll for extra gooey goodness. The top will still have a nice thick layer of frosting and the inside will basically be frosted as well!

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

They are best served warm from the oven, but if you offered me a roll hours later, I would still gladly eat it.

You can use the dough to make them the night before, and then, in the morning, bake them for fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning, without getting up at 6.

To do that, make them as normal and place them in the baking pan, but do not allow them to rise, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. They will rise slowly overnight and be ready to bake by morning.

Take them out of the fridge when you start preheating the oven and bake as normal. It may take a minute or two longer since they were cold.

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. I want you all to enjoy the Best Cinnamon Rolls with me!

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

The Best Cinnamon Rolls

5 from 7 votes
Made with a tender sweet yeast dough, these rolls are filled with spirals of sweet cinnamon sugar and topped with a rich cream cheese glaze.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Additional Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 35 mins
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 small rolls

Ingredients 

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • ***If you haven't yet, be sure to read the full blog post for lots of extra tips and tricks to making these the best cinnamon rolls ever!***
  • Make the sweet yeast dough as directed in the recipe through the first rise.
  • After the first rise, knead the dough several times and let rest on the counter for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Divide the dough in half and work with one half of the dough at a time. Roll the dough into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Be patient with the dough.
  • Spread 1/2 of the butter (1/4 cup) on the rectangle. Spread it to the edges, leaving 1 inch section bare on one of the 12 inch sides. Sprinkle 1/2 of the brown sugar filling on top.
  • Roll up tightly starting with the 12 inch side. Cut into 1-1.5 inch sections with dental floss or a very sharp knife. Place 3/4 inch apart in a greased baking dish. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.
  • Cover and let rise until double, 20-30 minutes. Time will vary based on how warm the room is. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the rolls for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
  • While the rolls are baking, make the frosting, beat together the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, salt and enough of the milk to make a spreadable consistency.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Frost the rolls while they are still warm so the frosting will melt a bit.
  • They are best served warm, but will keep a couple of days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll · Calories: 170kcal · Carbohydrates: 35g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 3g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 5mg · Sodium: 130mg · Potassium: 57mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 24g · Vitamin A: 67IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 40mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

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{originally published 4/17/18 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/5/21}

If you’re looking for another sweet to make, try my Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns.

Or how about a raspberry cream cheese sweet roll version!

Here are some other flavors of sweet rolls from other bloggers I would love to try!

Chocolate Hazelnut Sweet Rolls from Picky Palate

Swedish Cardamom Buns by The View from Great Island

How to make the best cinnamon rolls ever with cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and taste just like Cinnabon. Perfect Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls. #cinnamonrolls #cinnamon

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  1. Lorna King says

    5 stars
    I made the Cinnamon Buns for a Family and Friends Camping Trip. They turned out excellent and everyone enjoyed waking up to them on a cool morning. It made them all toasty! Easy Recipe. Simple to follow. I doubled up the Cream Cheese icing because the family likes them smothered in it. I had a bit left over and used it on some chocolate cupcakes and they were really good too!

  2. Stacy VanHouten says

    5 stars
    I made these today, they are amazing!!! Do they need to be refrigerated after baking if not eaten right away since the frosting has cream cheese in it?

  3. Rosalie says

    This is something looking so yummy & lovely. Can’t wait to taste this & try this out. Keep this up. Thanks for sharing.

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