Everyday Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls are one of life’s most essential comfort foods.  Big, soft, pillowy dough- swirled with oozing gooey cinnamon-sugar filling and topped off with creamy frosting.  It can seem daunting to make the best homemade cinnamon rolls at home, but I assure you this is the easiest recipe for homemade Cinnamon Rolls!  I call this recipe my “every day” cinnamon roll because while we have multiple recipes for cinnamon rolls on Our Best Bites, this is the most basic and simple and it’s so quick!  It requires basic pantry ingredients, no proofing of yeast, and can be made start to finish before a movie is over.  One batch just makes 1 9×13 pan of small-medium sized rolls so it’s perfect for most families.  Want big giant cinnamon rolls?  Simply double this recipe and bake on a standard, rimmed baking sheet.  Want to make these a day ahead?  Instructions included.  Want to know if you can freeze them pre-baking?  That’s covered, too.  NOTE:  There are LOTS of tips outlined and described past the recipe card below.  Keep scrolling to read them! 

Cinnamon Rolls in Pan

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Cinnamon Roll on a plate

Everyday Cinnamon Rolls


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4.9 from 7 reviews

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Description

Soft fluffy cinnamon rolls, made with basic pantry ingredients and in record time!  See Notes section for instructions on making ahead, doubling the recipe, and freezing.


Ingredients

Dough

1 cup milk
4 Tbs butter, cut into chunks
3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 (.25 ounce) package instant or ‘rapid rise’ yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Filling
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

Icing
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
12 Tbs milk


Instructions

Dough: Place milk and 4 tablespoons butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for about 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be mostly melted, but do not boil. 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 a dough hook if you have one and ad 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: It helps to have butter super soft.  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.

Notes

Tip for quick rising: 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.  You can do this same thing in your oven with it turned OFF.  Place your rolls in there and add pan to the rack right below it.  Fill the empty pan with boiling water and then quickly shut the oven door to lock it all in there.

For Large Cinnamon Rolls:  Double recipe and proceed as written.  Line a standard rimmed baking sheet (like a rimmed cookie sheet) with enough heavy duty foil that there is some overhang.  Pull sides of foil up to “hold rolls in”.  You can also use any other baking dish you like that fits your dough nicely.

To Freeze: After rolls are sliced and before they rise, immediately place in/on a parchment-lined pan in the freezer.  When they are frozen, remove them from the parchment and place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag for easier storage.

To cook from frozen:  Bring to room temperature and then allow to rise as normal. You can transfer them to the fridge to thaw overnight, and then place them on the counter in the morning to plump and rise, or you can place your frozen rolls at room temperature and wait for them to thaw and then rise (just like you would Rhodes Rolls). The total time for both of these really depends on the temperature of your home and other factors.

To Make the day before: If you’d like fresh rolls in the morning, you can save yourself some time and prepare these pre-baked the day before.  Simply follow the instructions as written, but after rolls have been placed in the pan, immediately cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge.  The next morning, put them out and let them rise as room temp and continue as instructions describe.

 

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.

Scalded Milk and Butter in Glass Cup

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.

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

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 dough.

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.  You can see how mine is holding together in a solid blob, but also kind of gently falling off the dough hook and that’s what you want.

Cinnamon Roll Dough in Bowl

For the filling I mix everything together and spread it on in one step, If you want, you could spread on butter, then sprinkle on sugar, then cinnamon.

Cinnamon Roll Blessing

I roll out my dough and just spread on my cinnamon blob.

Spreading Cinnamon Roll Filling On

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!

How to cut cinnamon roll dough with dental flosss

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.) . Then pop them in your pan to rise!

Cinnamon Rolls in pan

How to Freeze the Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

If you’d like to freeze your cinnamon rolls pre-baking, this is the point to do it!  You’ll want to freeze them BEFORE they rise.  Place your rolls in/on a parchment-lined pan and pop them in the freezer.  When they are frozen, you can then remove them from the parchment and place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag for easier storage. Or you can simply freeze your prepared pan like in the photo above.

To Cook Homemade Cinnamon Rolls from Frozen

When you are ready to eat your cinnamon rolls, they’ll need to be placed in a baking pan and both thaw to room temperature, and then rise as normal.  You can transfer them to the fridge to thaw overnight, and then place them on the counter in the morning to plump and rise, or you can place your frozen rolls at room temperature and wait for them to thaw and then rise (just like you would Rhodes Rolls). The total time for both of these really depends on the temperature of your home and other factors.

Baking The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Your rolls are ready to bake when they’re plump and puffed!  They’ll rise faster in a warm, steamy environment.

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.  You can do this same thing in your oven with it turned OFF.  Place your rolls in there and add pan to the rack right below it.  Fill the empty pan with boiling water and then quickly shut the oven door to lock it all in there.

Plump Cinnamon Rolls in pan

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!

Baked Cinnamon Rolls

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.

Cinnamon Roll on a plate

 

How do I make Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls?

This recipe makes just one pan of small-medium cinnamon rolls.  If you want JUMBO cinnamon rolls, then just double this recipe and they fit perfectly on a standard rimmed baking sheet (like a cookie sheet). I like to line my pan with foil and pull the overhanging foil up to mimic a taller pan.  It helps keep them nice and shaped.

cinnamon rolls in pan

I suggest putting the icing on when they are just warm.  If they’re too hot the icing will melt all over, too cool and it will be harder to spread.  Just warm is perfect.

The best cinnamon Rolls with frosting in pan

Enjoy these easy to make, every day cinnamon rolls!

Sara Wells
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 have tried this recipe last Friday and my family have loved it, i have done the cinnamon rolls three times after Friday, I have a question the last time I used almost half wheat and the other half i used regular flour, the rolls did not turn as good as when I used only flour they were dry, I like to use the wheat and I want to try again and you give me any tips for cooking with wheat.

    1. Lucy, my advice is to not use whole wheat flour 🙂 Sorry I don’t have a better answer for ya, but whole wheat tends to weight down and dry out light and tender things like this. For best results stick to all purpose flour.

  2. I just tried this recipe today with my brother. We ROCKED it!. They came out wonderfully–so gooey and moist, buttery and delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  3. I just made these for breakfast… and they were the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had. I know why too, it’s your tip about the flour. I didn’t know that, but it makes complete sense. I’m in heaven (and these are dangerous.) Doesn’t help that I’m pregnant, right? Thank you!!!

  4. These look super delicious and I’m debating whether or not I should make them right now…For those having trouble with the rising, my grandma swears by putting all her rolls and breads on top of the dryer, while it runs, with a damp towel over the top. I haven’t tried it with these yet, but it has worked great for all my other bread making ventures. Plus, you can just correlate making these with laundry day. Maybe a fresh baked cinnamon role can be your reward for getting some laundry done. 😉

  5. oh gosh these were AMAZING! Why didn’t you say they are just as good as cinnabon! I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, these were simple, quick, and really fun to make! Thanks!

  6. Do you have any suggestions for the different types of flours? I use bread flour in every recipe that I have that calls for flour. Mostly because I buy it in bulk at Sam’s Club and I LOVE to bake. I don’t think it is making much of a difference in my recipes, but, I saw that you use All-Purpose in this recipe. Does it make a difference? Thanks!

  7. Dumb question: is the yeast used in this recipe the same as in the overnight recipe? I’m a yeast dummy.

    1. Not a dumb question! This one uses the “Rapid Rise” yeast, which helps it rise really fast. I wouldn’t use this Rapid Rise yeast in the overnight rolls because you want a nice slow rise for those. The cold temperature of the fridge is what will mostly cause the slow rise with the other rolls, but I would still just use regular yeast in those. Hope that helps!

  8. I had never made cinnamon rolls before, but I tried these this morning before church (at 1:00) and they turned out great! I’ve always been scared of cinnamon rolls because they take so much time. Thanks for so many great recipes!!!!!!

  9. HA! The bread machine worked like a charm. Had to let it run about 10 minutes though. Rolls are rising at the moment, got 15 minutes left until I can bake them. This recipe is so easy it should be outlawed! By the way, I had NO clue that the brown sugar mixture would taste so darn good. My 20 month old and 4 year old were all over it, I was beginning to doubt that it would even make it on to the dough!!

  10. I think I’ll take a whack at these today. Although, I’m with Carly on not having a stand mixer, BUT I do have a bread machine. I suppose I could dump everything in there and put it on the dough setting.. Seems like a good enough plan to me. I’ve got two crabby little kids that could help out with this, and since it’s a rainy day I’m feeling like breakfast-for-supper today.

  11. I’ve dying to attempt making cinnamon rolls but don’t have a stand mixer. Can it be done with a hand mixer? Please, say yes…..

  12. I’ve made this recipe for the first time today and finally I’ve found something my husband thinks it’s worth eating the whole batch!!!!
    He’s not really into sweet things (unless it’s candy) and normally he’s saying my bakings tastes ok after just one bite. This time he ate the whole thing and even took another one.
    So thank you for all these recipes!!!! I’ve just discovered your site 2 weeks ago and sometimes I have to play a little with the ingredients (not everything is available in the Netherlands) But you even got a page to help me with this problem.
    I’ve been searching for a good recipe site for a long time! I’ll definetely try a lot more from your site!

  13. Just made my first batch of homemade cinnamon rolls thanks to you. They turned out amazing!! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  14. These turned out great. The rolls were soft and buttery/sugary. Yummmm. And I really like that they only make enough for one pan, just perfect for us. Thanks for another great recipe!

  15. It is spring break for my kids and I want something more then the norm for breakfast, so we are going to try these yummy sounding cinnamon rolls. But I noticed in one of your pictures you were using a Silpat to roll out your dough. Have you ever used any other Demarle products? Like the Roul Pat. Also my husband is the Brazilian Cheese Roll guy. We used a Demarle mini muffin pan for those. The rolls were a hit with my brother-in-law that served a mission in Brazil. Thanks for all your great recipes.

  16. Thank you! I just made some cinnamon rolls with a recipe I’ve decided has gotten too many chances- it just doesn’t turn out like I wish it would! I am excited to try this recipe- it sounds much easier!

  17. I had never made cinnamon rolls previous to finding this site. I just want to say thank you for giving such clear instructions (and need I mention how helpful the photos are). However the thing I want to thank you the most for is a recipe that I can make for my son that has severe food allergies to many foods. With slight tweaking-he can actually eat these. I’ve made these rolls four times in two weeks!

  18. I had the same problem as ‘annika’. I followed the instructions exactly and my dough came out incredibly sticky. I couldn’t even work with it to roll it up, it just ended up in a big blog in the pan. In fact, I tried adding MORE flour to it to make it less sticky but it didn’t work. Any ideas what went wrong?

  19. for some reason my dough always come out waaaay too sticky and its almost impossible to roll it and cut so it. they ended up being cinnamon blobs instead of rolls. Any reasons as to why it would be like that?

  20. These are great, just made them and ate them! They are RICH! I am going to send them to work with my husband so that I don’t finish the pan off!

  21. I tried these over the weekend and they were SOOO good I had to make another batch to share with a friend! LOVE THEM! I have looked quite a while for a good cinnamon roll recipe and these were awesome!!

  22. I LOVE these cinnamon rolls! I've made them three times. However, all three times the proofing has taken 1-3 hours. I have no problem with this, but it makes morning baking problematic. I have found, though, that they can be made the day before, put into the fridge overnight (after proofing) and baked the next morning with the exact same results. GREAT recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.

  23. Sally- good eye! Generally instant yeast works best (I like "Rapid Rise") but I actually use that active dry yeast quite often (because I keep it in bulk and sometimes forget to buy the other) and it has worked fine in there too- even without being dissolved.

  24. Made these this AM and they were delicious!! I've never had much luck making cinnamon rolls from scratch but I've been working on my bread making and all of your little tips were especially helpful!! The dental floss tip, is great, so easy!!

  25. Quick question: Your recipe says Instant Yeast but your picture shows Active Dry Yeast and you said that no proofing is required. Does it matter what type of yeast you use?

  26. I made these New Year's Day and they were a big hit. The next day we reheated them for 20 sec in the microwave and they were just as delicious. I like this recipe since it only makes 12, this dough was even better than the overnight rolls. A definite keeper!!

  27. Made these for breakfast New Years' Day. Unanimous vote…"Best Cinnamon Rolls EVER!". Even from my husband who isn't a big sweets fan. He was oohing and ahhing. Thank you!