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

Cinnamon Roll on a plate

Everyday Cinnamon Rolls

4.86 from 7 votes
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
  • 1-2 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.
 
Author: Sara Wells
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!

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!

woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
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.

Read More

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions & Reviews

  1. Awesome! Thanks, Sara!!!!! Any particular cheese suggestions? I am making lasagna this weekend so these will be perfect.

  2. I just made these. They are absolutely fantastic! Light, fluffy. Filling amount is perfect. I’m wondering if you could alter the filling and make them into a savory dinner roll? I think “yes.” I’m going to try it for our girls’ night potluck Saturday. Of course, I’ve been making my way through lots of cinnamon rolls lately so I need an AP flour restock first. Your Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are rising right now (my first attempt.) Hoping they’re as perfect as these!

    1. I actually like these much better than the Almost Famous recipe from foodnetwork and I’ve made those several times. Thank you!

    2. Yep, you can definitely use the dough for a savory roll. Fill it with cheese and Italian seasoning- it’s out of this world!

  3. I love love love this recipe! I love the fact that I can make these in an hour or so for breakfast. So many recipes require several hours of prep. This is our new favorite cinnamon bun recipe!

  4. can I make these the night before and keep in fridge? take out an hour or two before baking? how does that work?

    1. These are formulated as written. If you want to steer away from the recipe you’d just have to experiment 🙂

  5. Just made these for the first time. New to baking and these came out great! My friends are raving! Thank you!!

  6. I made these cinnamon rolls twice and they turned out great!!!
    Thank you so much for such an easy and tasty recipe!
    I used salted butter and fat free milk. It was perfect.
    I was curious which size pan would you recommend? I tried 9×13.

  7. I made these last night and they were SO incredibly delicious! Definitely using this recipe whenever I make cinnamon rolls! Thank you!

  8. Several people made comments that their microwave is too small, etc. You can also put the water dish and rolls in the oven (while it’s off) for the same effect. Just remember to take them out before you preheat if you don’t have a double oven. Also, an empty roaster works as well. Anything enclosed will work as long as it’s clean. These are on my Saturday experiment list tomorrow! My kids will be super excited!

  9. Planning to make these tomorrow!!! Which milk do I use?? Can I use fat free? What did you use?

        1. I used 2% and it turned out great. I used salted butter in the icing and unsalted in rolls and I liked it…kind of balances out sweetness a bit. I’m sure it would be great either way.

  10. Made these this am after opening up Christmas presents. I was so worried to mess up, but they turned out PERFECT! Fast, simple and delicious! Y’all seriously are the BEST. Cheers & Happy New Years!

  11. I have never had luck with cinnamon rolls, and your recipe turned out waayyyy too Good. I may eat the whole pan tonight.

  12. This is the best recipe I have ever found!!!! I was making these weekly for my kids and myself until I set the printed version down and lost it!!! EEEEK!!! I have been searching for over 7 days on a million sites to try and find it (and I never did bookmark it the first time) with no luck until tonight. I am so glad that I found it again that I have bookmarked it as well as sent it to my e-mail to make sure I never lose it again!!! Thank you for the delicious cinnamon rolls and there aren’t any other recipes that come close!!!

  13. I made these this morning and they were just as wonderful as my old recipe that took forever to rise! Plus, I learned that I have been too heavy-handed with the flour. Who knew sticky was good? I really like the trick with the scalded milk to help it get back to room temperature. Yay! I do have the OCD needed for baking, but am sometimes lacking in patience (and brevity!). Kudos!
    Adrienne

  14. Have you ever tried freezing these before baking? I’m doing some freezer cooking and thought about trying it…

  15. LOVED these:). Made them for football halftime yesterday and they were ooohhh so good!
    These will be my “go to”! I thought all the ingredients were perfect including the butter for the filling, no problemos. Just an FYI, I only keep dry active yeast on hand. I just activated it with a 1/4 cup warm water and a tsp of sugar. Then I added it with the milk and egg. Turned out amazing:)

  16. For the filling, I think 1/2 cup of butter was too much. It was so runny, not at all crumbly like the pictures. And then trying to roll it up was a nightmare.

    1. Caitlin, if it didn’t look like the photos, then there’s a chance you may have mis-measured somewhere. But feel free to experiment with less butter next time if you’d like.

  17. Do you know if it would it work to half the recipe? I really want to make these but I don’t know if 12 cinnamon rolls would be wise for just my husband and me… I know sometimes halving/doubling baked goods doesn’t just straight up work. Or maybe it wouldn’t be worth it to make it for only 6 rolls and I should just make the whole batch anyway? Any advice would be great! Thank you!

    1. Honestly, I would just make the whole batch, then you don’t have to worry about using a half and egg. You can always share with a neighbor! If you want to try it out though, you can always beat the egg and measure out 2 Tablespoons to use in 1/2 batch of cinnamon rolls. It should work just fine!

      1. Thanks for answering my silly question! I didn’t realize when I posted it that there is only 1 egg… I went ahead and made the whole batch yesterday for a General Conference treat, and they are so completely amazing! They came out perfect! I’ve been wanting to come up with some kind of Conference food tradition, and I think this is it. Thanks for the recipe and the tutorial/tips – I’m sure I wouldn’t have made successful cinnamon rolls (on my first try ever) without them!

  18. Sara,
    When I made these before, they were amazing. I loved them and couldn’t wait to try again. however, when I did, they didn’t cook right. Even after twenty extra minutes, they were still raw in the inside. I decided to try again and use my bread machine. Any tips? Thanks!!

    1. Debra, if they turned out perfect the first time and had problems the second time my guess is that you had a error in preparation the second time. Perhaps a mis-measurement of some sort? Third time is the charm! 😉

  19. I have baked quite a few cinnamon roll recipes in the past and this is my favorite so far! I love how easy the dough is to work with, and how quickly the recipe comes together!

  20. I absolutely love these cinnamon rolls! I have tried about 3 other recipes and none compare to this one! They are perfect, I usually make them when we have company and everyone loves them!!! Thank you for the fantastic recipe! When I make them, I usually do a cream cheese frosting, to take the sweetness down a notch. And the last time I made them, when they were done and had cooled a bit, I turned the pan over and dumped my cinnamon rolls upside down. I read from another site to do that so the gooey ness was on top… And it really does work! Thank you so much!!! I will continue to make this recipe for years to come!!

  21. I have a weird question…? I think I might be blind, but what temperature do I bake these at? I have everything ready but don’t know what to bake them at!

  22. Ever since my school closed up for the summer I’ve been looking for yummy recipes to try out and experiment with, this one is the best I’ve done so far my mum and dad spent the rest of the evening with big smiles on their faces after tasting on of these. Btw thanks For the floss idea defiantly something i found interesting 🙂

  23. These things are the best and totally worth splurging for. In case anyone is doing Weight Watchers, it’s 12 pp+ per roll if you make a dozen. If you make 24 smaller ones, they are 5 pp+ each. I say use your extra weekly points, eat a big one and enjoy!!! (Fair warning, you’ll probably want to go back for at least one more!)

  24. Post Note: I took these cinnamon rolls to our Easter brunch and they were described as the best cinnamon rolls ever eaten. The dough was soft and full of flavor. Will make these again (and again). Thank you for such a great roll recipe.

  25. I have always had my favorite cinnamon roll recipe but only made it for holiday breakfast because it took HOURS to make. This recipe is now a new favorite. No sacrifice on flavor or texture and I love that I can make these in the morning without getting up four hours before everyone else.

    The tip about the flour is great.

  26. This is my go to recipe and has been for several years! My only sub is I make real cream cheese icing. Yesterday I made them lemon rolls and they turned out great. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  27. Ok, gals, I need help with this. I am a terrible baker, but I love sweets. I followed the recipe, but the dough was so soft and sticky that it was sticking to my hands and my countertop. My jelly roll looked nothing like the beautiful picture. I let it rest for 10 minutes and floured my hands, rolling pin and countertop. Just a mess. Please give me some tips for those of you who have been successful with these because these are a lot easier than the ones I usually make.

    1. No big problem….you just needed a bit more flour when you mixed it. 🙂 It should pull away from the bowl. Just don’t add so much that it’s really stiff.

  28. I’ve made these several times, and we love them. I got the dough started this morning, then realized that I didn’t have any brown sugar. I decided to do a variation and added some toasted shredded coconut and chocolate chips to the white sugar (which I substituted for brown) and butter filling. About to pop them into the oven . . . We’ll see how it comes out!

  29. 1/4 tsp of maple flavoring (or a squirt of store bought maple syrup) added to the frosting recipe for these cinnamon rolls sounds like a small tweak, but it’s the perfect compliment to this recipe.

  30. My husband bought me the cookbook for Christmas so i made orange rolls for breakfast that morning. We’ve been married for 4 years and his family tradition includes having orange rolls for breakfast. I’ve never been able to pull it off until today when I used your recipe. My orange rolls were fabulous and he loves it and I love it! The dough was soft and the sauce was perfect and I can keep the orange roll tradition alive. Thank you!!!