When it comes to cinnamon rolls and other breads, it seems like everyone has their favorite recipe, but I think part of the reason they taste so good is that when people have a favorite, they know exactly how the dough should look and feel so they come out perfect every time. I’m going to share a few of my little tricks for this recipe in hopes that it will turn out perfect for you too. When I was a teenager, I tried cinnamon rolls over and over and they were always dense and dry. It wasn’t until my Mom’s friend LeeAnn (who’s also my friend), a cinnamon roll master, made them with me side-by-side that I saw I was adding waaaaay too much flour! When she showed me how the dough should look and feel, it made all the difference.
How to Make Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls
The first thing you’ll do is melt some milk, butter and sugar in the microwave. You don’t want this boiling- I know mine is perfect when I can still see a pat of butter in there. It will continue melting after it comes out of the microwave.
Then add your dry ingredients to your mixing bowl, only part of our flour is going in at this point. You’ll see there’s yeast in there- there’s no need to proof your yeast in this recipe! You really do just toss everything in a bowl and it all works out. Make sure you’re using “Quick Rise Yeast” in this recipe.
Now add the milk mixture and you’ll also add an egg in there and mix it up. It will be a thick mixture, but a runny batter.
At this point it’s time to add the rest of the flour. Do not add too much flour! It took me a long time to figure this out and it’s still one of the biggest mistakes people make. Cinnamon roll dough should’t look like play-dough. It should seem like it would even be too soft to roll out, but when you gently dump it on a well floured surface it works just fine. Remember that a soft tender dough results in soft tender rolls. Too much flour and your rolls will be dense and dry. As you’re beating with a dough hook, it should come away from the sides of the bowl and not totally stick to your hands when you touch it, but it will be quite soft.
For the filling I mix everything together and spread it on in one step, If you want, you could spread on butter, then sugar, then cinnamon.
I roll out my dough and just spread on my cinnamon blob.
I’ve told you this before, but one thing I always keep in the kitchen is dental floss. It’s the best way to cut bread dough. Using a knife often ends up smashing it. And yes, that’s mint flavored- don’t worry, it won’t flavor your dough!
Use the piece of floss to score the roll of dough into 12 pieces. Tip: If you want even sized rolls start from the middle. So for 12 rolls, divide evenly in the middle and then divide each of the halves into thirds, and then into thirds again. After the dough is evenly scored, slip the floss underneath, then cross over top and just pull to slice. Use this same method to cut these Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls (have you guys all tried those? They’re amazing.)
You’ll place the rolls in your pan and then let them rise until they’re about double. My favorite place to proof rolls is in the oven or microwave (while it’s turned OFF). Tip: Heat a small bowl of water in the microwave until it boils. Open the door, quickly move the bowl aside and set the pan of rolls in and shut the door. Just let them sit in there to rise. The hot water will warm up the temp, and also keep the dough moist.
Bake the rolls until they’re golden on top. I think of those centers as built-in timers. Most of the time, when the middle pops up, they’re done!
Honestly I’ve never measured icing before, ever. I just grab some powdered sugar, add some vanilla and melted butter and then add milk until it’s the consistency I like. I put it on warm so it melts in all the cracks. You could also use this cream cheese frosting if you prefer cream cheese icing on your rolls.
And of course, you MUST eat cinnamon rolls while they’re warm. Must. I definitely recommend you try this recipe if you’re looking for quick and easy every day cinnamon rolls!
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbs milk
Dough: Place milk and 4 Tbs butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted. Stir and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 C flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while the beater (paddle attachment for those using a stand mixer) is running. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute. (Switch to the dough hook now) Add remaining flour only until dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. Continue to let the dough knead for 5 minutes. If you are not using a stand mixer, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes while you make the filling.Filling: make sure butter is softened well. Mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Assembly: Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches. Spread brown sugar mixture (it will be slightly thick, you might have to “crumble” it) over the surface and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently spread around. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls. Place in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. In the mean time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When rolls have finished rising bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. If desired spread with icing while still warm. Makes 12 rolls.