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’m a self-proclaimed, extremely picky, cinnamon roll fanatic. So caramel-y on the bottom you can’t hardly chew them? Um, no. Cinnamon rolls that just taste like dinner rolls with sugar? No thank you. THESE cinnamon rolls? Straight from heaven. Work perfectly every. time. These cinnamon rolls laugh at The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls. The only recipe I’ll ever use. *chef’s kiss*






  2. These are the greatest cinnamon rolls ever! They are a family favorite and they are asked for often!

  3. Thank you for this recipe! I have tried several cinnamon roll recipes and have never been successful. I was beginning to feel discouraged until I found this. They were a hit with the family!






  4. This recipe is perfect. The dough is soft and cooks up beautifully. My oven requred a bit longer til light golden brown but the end result was so good. Also added raisins to the filling because that’s what my gram used to do. ❤️






  5. I’ve been making these cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning for the past few years and figured I should finally leave a review. I haven’t tried the overnight ones, but most of the times I’ve made these we’ve actually made them overnight and they’ve turned out great. This time, some of the butter/sugar somehow got on the pan wall and made for a delicious crunch! They’re soft and goey and decadent and sweet… love them. We always freeze a few (after baking) and those are great too.






  6. This is the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever made! I share the recipe with everyone and they feel the same. So easy, so good! I add about 3 ounces of room temp cream cheese to the icing. I know you’ve probably answered this but the people who live in high elevation have a problem with the rise. Can you guess how much extra flour they need to add? Sorry to ask! This is the best recipe! Thank you!






  7. I was a cinnabon roll girl only, until these! I followed to a t and WOW! I also froze them before the first rise (2nd time I’d made them), let them sit in the fridge overnight to thaw a bit, thawed them in a warm spot then let them rise in the oven with the pan of just boiled water underneath. Half hour, rose beautifully. I ALWAYS over bake my cinnamon rolls, this time I only baked for 20 minutes…perfect, so much better.
    *I added the warm milk and butter when it was 110*
    *rapid rise great for this recipe
    *the filling is very unusual, gloppy, that’s how it should have always been. It melts a bit when baking… heaven!
    *the icing measurements are perfect, don’t wait too long to ice.
    My new go to cinnamon roll recipe!






  8. I’ve never posted a review before but felt I had to. These were AMAZING! I’ve made many cinnamon rolls before, even Clone of a Cinnabon on Allrecipes. This recipe is the best of the best! So soft and fluffy, no need for the icing even, that’s how good they are. I make the dough in my bread machine for 10 minutes. I really think the best tips were not too much flour and steaming bowl of water in the oven to rise, it must add so much moisture. The floss tip is a must. Perfect recipe and done in less than an hour and a half from start to finish!!!

  9. Pregnant and craving. Thanks for the quickest pull together of cinnamon rolls I’ve ever found. My kids are happy too!

  10. These are simply amazing!! I have tried SO many different, way more complicated, recipes and I am so so happy to have sound a simple to follow recipe that produced incredible results!

  11. So I hate making bread stuff – it all seems so intimidating and time-consuming! But I decided to try these this week (with a twist), and I LOVED them! I will (unfortunately for my diet) be making these often!

    So, about my twist – I had leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving in my freezer (OBB recipe). I pulled that out and let it thaw, then used it, and white chocolate chips, for my filling instead of the cinnamon/sugar filling. I also did a cream cheese/butter frosting on top. They were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! My family couldn’t get enough of them, and my friends raved about them also!!! Thanks again for the quick and easy recipe for the rolls – next time I’m making the cinnamon variety!

    1. Too bad it’s not appropriate to talk about MOST of the things I know you are a guru in…. haha

  12. I don’t have a stand mixer and I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before. Is it too hard to mix by hand? Should I use a wooden spoon? And when kneading by hand is it easy to over-flour the dough? I’m so lost! haha

    1. Haha. Yes, you’ll definitely want to use a wooden spoon and don’t add too much flour when kneading by hand. You can do it!

  13. Wow! Saw y’all shared this on Facebook the other day so I gave it a try this weekend. Hands down the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever been able to make. Your tips, especially on the soft dough, made it really come together! So tasty! Thanks

  14. I made these yesterday morning, as I had planned to do a different overnight version the night before but failed to notice the amount of time needed before putting them in the fridge for the night. I had never made cinnamon rolls and was worried they wouldn’t rise or they would take too long or they’d be dry or I’d undercook them. But they turned out pretty awesome!!! I was very happy with the results… moist, sweet, delicate, cinnamon-ny, not at all tough, cooked perfectly… I also replaced half the milk with buttermilk (I had bought it specifically for the other recipe and didn’t want to waste it) and that didn’t seem to mess it up. I think I will play with the sugar in the future, as I use brown sugar that is much “browner” and with bigger crystals than is standard, and they didn’t melt (still delicious). I also think I might try slightly less sugar next time, as I topped them with plenty of frosting (did not follow the directions on that part). Thank you so much for the quick and easy day-of cinnamon roll recipe!

  15. Just had to say thank you for this recipe. I have had so-so to down right dreadful experiences making yeast sweet breads (cinnamon rolls/donuts/etc). I’m a pretty good cook so it’s bugged me that I couldn’t get cinnamon rolls right. Well. I made these this last weekend for conference and they turned out fabulous. Thanks to your explanation, I figured out I had been using too much flour and that made a world of difference. Thanks ladies for helping me finally figure it out!

  16. This is my “GO TO” recipe. They always turn out and they never last long.

    I was just asked to a couple dozen bring cinnamon rolls to Church on Sunday, could I double the batch??? Also, how long can you keep them in your fridge before baking? I was hoping to make them tonight and save them to bake until Sunday morning?

  17. I grew up eating the best cinnamon buns from a bakery in Atlanta — but they had raisins in them too. If I wanted to add those, would I just dump some straight from the box into the cinnamon filling mix? Or think I would need to soak them beforehand? Can’t wait to try!

  18. Just made these and I love them! Can I freeze this dough and pull it out later to thaw and rise?

  19. i am just now getting to this recipe like 4 years after the original post. i made 4 batches yesterday. these taste just as good as any roll that takes way more time with a double rise. the dough is so easy to work with and they are done in no time! i am using this recipe from now on. thank you for your awesomeness!

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

  21. 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!

  22. 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!