Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

I’m pretty sure we’ve all had one of “those” weeks. This particular week wasn’t really anything horrible, but it involved a sick kid, a sick dog, a messy house, perpetual exhaustion, behindness on laundry, trying to get ahead on blogging, the last few days of school, and general overall chaos. I had something patriotic and fun planned for tomorrow, but today, I needed cinnamon and sugar and bread. And I figured if I needed cinnamon and sugar and bread today, I can’t possibly be the only one, so congratulations. Today is your day. I’m here for you.

I was inspired by Joy the Baker who adapted her recipe from Hungry Girl por Vida (although I’m not using this dough). If you’ve ever made our King Cake, that’s the dough I’m using. It’s The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll dough and it’s not only light and flaky and fabulous, but I swear to you, it’s foolproof. I’m kind of fiercely loyal to and protective of that recipe–we have a special relationship.

To make the dough, you’ll need whole milk, oil, sugar, salt, yeast, baking soda, baking powder, and flour.

Place the milk, sugar, and oil in a large pot and heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and allow it to cool to 105-115 degrees (about the temperature of a hot, but not uncomfortable, shower). Add the yeast and let it stand for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of flour, stir it up (it will be easy to mix even though you’re doing it by hand). Cover and allow it to rise for an hour. Add another 1/2 cup of flour, the baking soda, baking powder, and salt, stir it up again, and then cover it and let it hang out until you’re ready to use it. If you want to use it semi-immediately, you can either use it right away or let it rise, covered, for another 30 minutes or so. Or you can cover it with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge for up to 24 hours or so.

Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set it aside.

When you’re ready to use the dough, turn it onto a lightly floured surface.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 18 inches wide by 9 inches tall.

Melt or soften 6 tablespoons of butter. It doesn’t really matter. We’re talking about butter and carbs here; there’s no need to be picky. In fact, because I’m so generous when it comes to butter and carbs, I did both–my butter was kind of half-melted, half-softened. And then I spread it all over the dough.

Then I sprinkled it with about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar…

and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon…

If you look closely, you’ll notice that I scored the dough on where I was going to cut it. You’ll want to make 6 3″-wide strips.

And then you’ll notice that when I actually cut the strips, I didn’t follow the score marks at all. This is why I don’t sew.


Carefully stack the the strips so you have two stacks of three strips. Does that make sense? This is also why I don’t sew–I need lots of pictures and when people describe things like that to me, my eyes glaze over and I sew a sleeve on backwards and with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. Luckily, I have a picture for you.

Using a pizza wheel, cut each stack into 3 3″ squares. Pop each stack of squares into the greased pan.

Be careful not to stuff the dough into the pan. If you’re running out of room, you can use the rest of it to fill a mini loaf pan or make a few individual pull-apart rolls in a muffin tin. If it gets too tight in the pan, the insides will still be doughy and you will be sad and I don’t want either one of those things for you.

Now…because we’re being naughty here, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter from that stick of butter you used to get melty/softened butter earlier. Drizzle it over the top of the loaf and then sprinkle with a little more cinnamon and sugar. Don’t worry. It’s okay. It’s Friday. It’s a 3-day weekend. You need something magical for breakfast on Memorial Day morning. Cinnamon and butter bring people happiness. Feeling better? Yeah, I thought so.

Cover the pan and let it rise for another 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350. When the dough is done rising and the oven’s done preheating, pop the pan into the oven. If you’re not up for the fun of your fire alarm going off, I’d recommend sliding a baking sheet on the rack underneath the bread pan so it can collect any sugary butter drippings. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until baked through and golden brown on top. If the top is getting too brown before the insides are done, cover the bread lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely.

Now…because we’re really living on the edge here, we’re gonna ice this bad boy. You don’t have to, but seriously…if you like sweet melty icing on your cinnamon rolls, you really should drizzle this buttery, almond-vanilla glaze on top of the bread.

You’ll need 8 ounces sifted powdered sugar (by weight…seriously, if you haven’t already, go buy a $6 kitchen scale. It will change your life.), 4 tablespoons of melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, and enough milk to make the icing the consistency you want it. Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and then pour it into a heavy-duty Ziploc bag. Snip a corner off the bag and drizzle it over the cooled bread. You can either wait until the glaze firms up or start pulling the bread apart. If you are indeed human, I might lose a little respect for you if you wait. Just sayin’.


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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I saw something about your Glow in the Dark drinks and Jello stars (?) in the “”. I couldn’t get those recipes to pull up. They sound like such great ideas for the kids Fall Festival at church. Can you tell me how to get those recipes?

  2. I just got back from my favorite store and I saw something similar in the bakery. I used my best will power to say no, I can resist. Then I log into facebook when I get home and this recipe is in my newsfeed! Argh! I may not be able resist this time!

  3. Kate!!! You are my new bestie! I have totally had the same week, but with me being the sick one. Not sick enough that it justifies me laying in bed all day, but just enough that it is lingering and I wish I could lay in bed all day. I was wanting some cinnamin-y bread and then I remembered you promised something naughty today. So glad I looked. Also you inspired me to hop on Amazon to get that big silpat and a new scale that got lost somewhere along the way. That will make up for feeling so lousy! Thanks again!

  4. I love you! You have made the last day of school a much better day! I might have to make them every morning to get through summer:) And the kids aren’t going to complain about eating this for breakfast!

  5. I usually make big, gooey, round cinnamon rolls. I love the way this recipe fills the pan with flat slices of dough. Perfect for that extra cinnamon craving. A great treat for this weekend. Thanks!

  6. This looks so yummy; I’m going to try making it very soon! Should the bread be taken out of the pan before glazing? Or should it just be left in the pan for glazing and serving? (I wasn’t sure if maybe you left it in the pan for your photo because it looks great that way, or if it’s actually best to do it that way.)

    1. You can do it either way. I’d actually probably take it out of the loaf to glaze it, but it’s fallen apart on me before and I wanted to make sure I had a whole, pretty loaf for the picture. 🙂

  7. Actually I have a kitchen scale and do use it when I have to, but couldn’t you pretty please just tell us in cups how much powdered sugar to use? I mean, for those who don’t have one and would rather not guess? Love your blog by the way, you both write well and the recipes you make honestly turn out the way you say they will. Three cheers for that!

    1. I honestly don’t know and I’m out of powdered sugar (not sure how THAT happened since I went through a phase where I was always scared I was going to run out, so I picked up a bag every time I was at the store). I know they give approximate measurements on the bag for how many cups are in the bag, so it shouldn’t be too tricky to deduce how many cups 8 ounces is. 🙂

  8. I love how you write these posts 🙂 This month has gone down in the books as “meltdown May,” so we’re more than ready for a recipe like this – thank you! PS: I think we blog followers would understand if you miss a few posts…Don’t fret too much about “getting ahead!” 🙂

  9. This may be a silly question, but how much yeast is in a ‘package’? I’m in the UK so not sure how big the US yeast packages are… 🙂


    1. Not silly at all! In fact, I meat to include the measurement, so thanks for reminding me. 🙂 It’s 2 1/4 teaspoon.

    1. I’m not sure about soy milk because I’ve never baked with it. Lowfat milk is okay, especially in a pinch, but it just might not come out as light and airy.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

      1. I have found soy milk does not bake well. If it’s a lactose issue I replace all milks with Lactaid, which bakes fantastically but you will get a skin on it when you scald the milk. Yuck!

  10. Ok, I definitely need this today. I am in mourning over our family car – cinnamon and sugar are definitely a necessity! That being said, I could totally see this being a super yummy teacher gift made in little mini-loaf giveaway pans and wrapped in pretty cellophane bags! I mean, really, who doesn’t LOVE cinnamon and sugar!

  11. YUM! I just got married and didn’t get any bread pans at my shower. That is first on my to-do list (to buy bread pans)and second is to make this bread. I laughed out loud with the scoring/sewing bit.

  12. That looks awesome! It might put us into a sugar coma, but it would be totally worth it! Also, my husband got me a couple of USA bread pans for mother’s day and I am officially in love. I can’t remember when you talked about them but they are my new favorite kitchen item.

  13. Oh. my. goodness.

    I have never made anything with yeast and I can’t sew! Do you think this recipe would be a good starter for me (to bake with yeast, I don’t think I’ll ever sew!)?

    1. This dough would be perfect to start with! The good thing is that it also has baking powder and baking soda in it, so it helps you out if you get in trouble. 🙂

      And you and I can just not sew. Ever. 🙂

  14. That looks heavenly! *swoon* I, too, need pictures to figure out what someone is talking about. So thank you for that. 🙂

  15. Number one…this recipe looks FANTASTIC! I’ve been meaning to try the PW cinnamon roll recipe, but never got around to it. Now that I know it’s been officially endorsed by OBB, I’m all over it. Number two…I love reading the stuff you write. Just the right amount of wit and sarcasm. I think some people have a hard time writing things so that they sound just the way you would say them in person without it sounding like a bunch of random jibberish, but you do it perfectly. I don’t usually write weird comments like that, but I thought I should let you know.

  16. I’ve been meaning to try this for some time. It looks so awesome!

  17. That looks amazing! I might have to try it this weekend. I wonder how many Weight Watchers points it is? Hahahaha!

  18. This looks wonderful and I’m definitely going to make it! I looked through the entire recipe but couldn’t find out how to serve… guess it’s going to be a sticky, delicious mess!

  19. This looks amazing. I always feel like I just could’t be bothered with such time consuming recipes on early weekend mornings, but, for this bread I will make an exception. Cannot. Wait. 🙂

  20. Yum – delicious – and I’ve just eaten breakfast. Now I want some cinnamon bread… 🙂