This is a fantastic recipe for buttermilk cinnamon rolls! In fact, it is my go-to cinnamon roll recipe. The dough is tender and flavorful. The giant cinnamon roll is a fun twist on the classic. Add in a subtle orange flavor and it is perfect for Christmas Day!
Even more perfect for the holidays, you can make the cinnamon rolls in advance! You can make the rolls the day before and refrigerate them or even freeze them for up to a month or two.
If you don’t want the orange-infused roll, just omit the orange zest in the filling and use a cream cheese glaze or frosting instead of the orange glaze.
For the dough, warm the buttermilk in a large glass measuring cup in the microwave on half power for about 1 minute. Whisk the warmed buttermilk and butter together in the measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt together in a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase the mixer to medium speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (knead for 15-18 minutes by hand). If after 5 minutes of kneading, the dough is still overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but has a slight tacky feel when pressed between your fingertips.
Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover the top tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, around 2 to 2 ½ hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in a small bowl until well mixed and set aside. Spray 2 round 8-inch baking pans with cooking spray and set aside.
When the dough has risen, gently punch down and roll into a 16X12-inch rectangle. Spread evenly with the softened butter. Top with the cinnamon sugar mixture, pressing the cinnamon/sugar gently into the butter. Starting with one of the long edges, roll the dough tightly into classic cinnamon roll form, pinching the edge to seal.
Using a serrated knife, slice the dough in half lengthwise. Gently take one length of dough and coil it around in one of the prepared baking pans. It is okay if the layers start to come apart. Repeat with remaining length of dough, placing it inside the other prepared pan.
Lightly cover the cinnamon rolls with greased plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake the rolls for 18-22 minutes, until lightly golden on top and cooked through. While the rolls are baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and using a spatula, nudge them out of the pan onto a cooling rack set over waxed or parchment paper or onto a serving plate. Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls. Slice the cinnamon rolls into pie-shaped wedges and serve warm.
Shape them in the pan, cover with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or add a layer of foil on top and freeze them for up to 2 months). If refrigerated, remove from fridge 3-4 hours before baking. If frozen, let sit at room temperature for 9-11 hours. Bake as directed once doubled in size.
I have used one 8-inch pan and a 9-inch pan. Either size works, but the 8-inch is definitely a better fit for a nice shape with straight sides. I’m actually purchasing one more 8-inch just for the sake of this recipe, and I’m sure it will come in handy for other baking adventures too. 😉
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