These are hands down the best Cinnamon Rolls I've ever had! They're incredibly soft, fluffy, warm and gooey. Smothered in a silky smooth Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing, this will undoubtedly be your new favourite cinnamon roll recipe!
Who doesn't love Cinnamon Rolls? A soft and fluffy dough with layers of ooey gooey brown sugar/cinnamon filling and a creamy, smooth, mouth-watering cream cheese icing that melts in between each crevice. I think I may pass out just thinking about it!
The local mall in my area has a Cinnabon store right at the entrance. This means that every time I enter, I get the pleasure of being hit in the face with the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls! Unfortunately, it costs about $5 for just ONE cinnamon roll and even more for a package. Luckily, these perfect Cinnamon Rolls taste exactly like the beloved Cinnabon, and you get a lot more for less.
Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls
These Cinnamon Rolls are a dream come true. I can't even begin to explain how excited I am at how perfect these rolls came out! I've always been intimidated by the idea of making cinnamon rolls from scratch. I've only attempted making homemade cinnamon rolls twice before. The first time ended up being too tough and burnt , and the second time was overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside.
I also had trouble with my dough being too sticky because I didn't know how to measure flour correctly. Those were the amateur baking days, back when I didn't have a clue about what I was doing. Now that my skills have improved, so have my rolls! Can't say the same for the ones on my body, sadly.
Anyways, how does one make the perfect cinnamon roll, you ask?
These cinnamon rolls start off with a soft and fluffy sweet dough that I'm officially obsessed with. Out of all the yeast doughs I've made in my years, THIS is my favourite! I know yeast doughs can be pretty intimidating, but as long as your packet of yeast is still fresh and your milk is the right temperature, everything else should be a walk in the park.
Proofing the Yeast
Start by warming up your milk. The milk should be around 110-115˚F, but you don't really need a thermometer to tell when the temperature is right. I just microwaved my milk in 30 second intervals and stuck a clean finger in it as a test. You don't want the milk to be too hot or too cold, it should be warm enough for you to comfortably keep your finger in. However, if the milk is too hot, you can easily let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to cool down.
Pour warm milk into a medium bowl, or keep it in your liquid measuring cup, then sprinkle the yeast on top along with ½ teaspoon of sugar. The sugar is food for they yeast and helps it foam up. Don't stir the mixture, just allow it to sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to wake the yeast up. If it doesn't, your milk is too hot or your yeast is dead. Either way, this means you'll have to dump it out and waste another cup of milk. At this point, you should melt the butter so it can cool down while the yeast is proofing.
Once the yeast has foamed, whisk in the melted butter (margarine is perfectly fine), vanilla (flavour!), and eggs.
Mixing the Dough
Now we move on to the dry ingredients.
Measuring the flour
It is super, super important that your flour is measured CORRECTLY! As I mentioned above, this was one of the main reasons my past attempts at cinnamon rolls (and other doughs) failed. You don't want to scoop out the flour with your measuring cup. Instead, use a flour scoop or spoon to scoop and sprinkle the flour into your measuring cup. Fill the flour over the top of the measuring cup, then use the back of a butter knife to scrape off the excess flour.
Combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a mixer bowl. The nutmeg is optional and is there to enhance the flavour of the dough, but it isn't too overpowering.
Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with the dough hook attachment until everything is combined. Once combined, increase the speed to medium low and allow the mixer to knead the dough for 7-10 minutes. You can also do this without a mixer. Just combine everything in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, then knead it on a floured surface for 7-10 minutes. The dough will be sticky, so you'll need to add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time. It took an extra 5-6 tablespoons for my dough to form a smooth, slightly sticky ball.
Once you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough, place it into a separate large greased bowl in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1-1 and ½ hours. Since the weather is pretty chilly, there's not a lot of warm spots in my house. For my warm spot, I just preheat my oven to 200 degrees F, turn it off for a few minutes, then place the bowl inside.
The easiest part of this recipe. To make the filling, simply toss together the dark brown sugar and a load of cinnamon. You can use a mixture of dark brown sugar and granulated sugar, but I prefer all brown sugar in my filling. For the butter, I melted about ¼ cup of margarine. Melted butter is 1000 times easier to spread over the dough than regular softened butter.
Rolling the Dough/ Cutting your rolls
When the dough is finished rising, gently punch it down and turn it out onto a well floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large, ½" thick rectangle. I use the term "rectangle" loosely, because I could never roll out the perfect rectangle.
Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter on top of the dough. Now go crazy and sprinkle that gorgeous cinnamon sugar filling evenly over the surface and gently press it into the dough. Make sure to leave about 1-1 and ½" inches clear so the filling won't spill out when you roll your log.
Roll the dough tightly into a log. I've made the mistake of rolling my cinnamon rolls to loosely in the past and it was a disaster. Pinch the seam to seal the edges, then using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut out your rolls. I love extra big cinnamon rolls, so I cut mine into 8 large portions. You can cut yours into 12 smaller rolls or even 6 jumbo ones. Don't worry about them all being the exact same size or a little misshapen, they're all going to taste equally amazing no matter what.
Place the rolls in a greased 9x13 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with a damp kitchen towel and place them in a warm spot to rise for another hour. You can also cover the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate them overnight, then allow them to come to room temperature for about 1 hour the next day. Bake the rolls for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. I like to move the rolls to the top rack for the last 5 minutes to really brown that top.
Dude, the smell of cinnamon rolls in the oven is absolutely heavenly! Remember what I said about being hit in the face with the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls every time I passed by Cinnabon? Well that's exactly what your house will smell like. Not just your kitchen, your entire house!! And the best part about it is that you don't have to speed walk past that smell to avoid spending all your money on them. Once they come out the oven, you're free to eat as many as you want without forking up a ton of cash.
Best Ever Cream Cheese Icing
But before you go devouring these fluffy cinnamon babies, we need to make the incredibly silky Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing! In a medium mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. I only added ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, but found that was plenty. Feel free to add about ½ teaspoon if you want a stronger cinnamon flavour.
Now here's a little trick I learned, as soon as the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, generously lather them with half of the cream cheese icing. Allow the rolls to cool for about 15 minutes, then smother them in the remaining half of icing.
The hot cinnamon rolls allows the cream cheese icing to melt into every inch of the roll which makes them extra sinful! I actually had to scrape off some of the icing to make the rolls look a bit neater for the photographs, but once I turned the camera off, these rolls were DROWNED in cinnamon/cream cheese goodness.
You may have a lot of frosting leftover so my solutions are:
- Eat it with a spoon
- Make another batch of cinnamon rolls!
I personally prefer solution #2 because the ingredients for the cinnamon rolls are so simple and basic, you'll probably have enough to make another batch!
There you have it! The softest, fluffiest, best ever cinnamon rolls loaded with the creamiest cream cheese cinnamon glaze that melts in your mouth with every bite. Eat them for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dessert!
Store the remaining rolls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days (as if they'd last that long). Reheat them in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds and they'll be as warm and gooey as they were on day 1!
I was only able to enjoy 5 rolls by myself, mainly because some people in the house had the nerve to take some for themselves without asking.
How dare they.
>>PIN ME FOR LATER<<
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Let's get baking!
- 1 cup warm milk (110-115˚F)
- 1 package (2 and ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
- ½ cup + ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 - 4 and ½ cups All purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup margarine, melted
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
For the Dough:
- In a medium heat-proof bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until warm, about 50-60 seconds. It should be around 110-115˚F. If you don't have a thermometer, test it out by sticking your finger inside. The milk should be warm enough for you to hold your finger inside comfortably. It should not be too hot, if it is, let it sit for 5 minutes to cool.
- Sprinkle the yeast and ½ teaspoon of sugar into the warmed milk, do not stir. Allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes or until frothy. If yeast doesn't foam up, your yeast is either dead or the milk is too hot, which means you have to start over.
- Add melted butter, vanilla and eggs to the milk and yeast mixture and whisk to combine.
- In a stand mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment, add 4 cups of flour, remaining ½ cup sugar, salt and nutmeg. Mix on low to combine. Alternatively: add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour in liquid mixture and mix on low until just combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-low "2 on a kitchenaid mixer" and knead dough until it's smooth, elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 7-10 minutes. Or you can mix the dough with a wooden spoon, then transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 7 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth. If the dough is too sticky after 5 minutes, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth.
- Lightly oil a separate large bowl with olive oil or cooking spray, place dough inside and turn to cover both sides. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for 1 to 1 and ½ hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
For the Filling:
- In a small heat-proof bowl, microwave the butter in 30 second intervals, stirring after each until melted and smooth. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add brown sugar and cinnamon and stir with a fork to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
- Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray or softened butter and place a piece of parchment on the bottom. Set aside.
- Once dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down and turn onto a floured work surface.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out dough into a 9x13 inch rectangle. Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top, leaving about 1 and ½ inches of the border uncovered. Lightly press mixture into the dough.
- Starting on the long side, roll the dough into a tight log and pinch the seams to seal. Slice the log into either 6 jumbo rolls, 8 medium rolls, or 12 small rolls and place in prepared baking dish.
- Lightly cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Once rolls have doubled in size, bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Meanwhile, prepare the icing.
For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing:
- In a medium mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
- Add powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Add vanilla, cinnamon and salt and beat until combined and smooth.
- Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately spread half of the creamy icing on top so the glaze can melt into the rolls. Allow rolls to cool for about 10-15 minutes, then spread remaining icing on top. Serve warm.
- It is super important that your flour is measured CORRECTLY! You don't want to scoop out the flour with your measuring cup. Instead, use a flour scoop or spoon to scoop and sprinkle the flour into your measuring cup. Fill the flour over the top of the measuring cup, then use the back of a butter knife to scrape off the excess flour.
- For my warm spot, I just preheat my oven to 200 degrees F, turn it off for a few minutes, then place the bowl inside.
- I only added ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to the cream cheese icing, and found that was plenty. Feel free to add about ½ teaspoon if you want a stronger cinnamon flavour.
- The frosting recipe makes a lot, so it can easily be halved if you want less.
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Love, Dedra ❤️
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