The Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe

5 / 5 (1 review)

One of my favorite holiday recipes – the best cinnamon rolls!

Seriously. These may be the best cinnamon rolls that I have ever tasted. Even if cinnamon rolls aren’t a part of your usual holiday recipes, you’ll still want to save this recipe!

These cinnamon rolls are tender and soft with a gooey filling and thick cream cheese glaze. Mmm. The rolls are so good that they are worth getting excited about – they are worth the time it takes to make them too. Bonus: You can make the rolls ahead of time and freeze them for later.

There are a lot of factors that affect how much flour you need in a yeast dough – humidity, temperature, altitude and more. Rather than follow a yeast dough recipe exactly, it is best to observe the texture, look and feel of the dough to know if you need to add more flour or not. The dough in this recipe is ready to go when it is mostly pulled away from the sides of the bowl, it is soft, smooth, and slightly sticky or tacky. (In the photo above, the dough is ready to knead.)

If you don’t have buttermilk available, you can choose one of the three buttermilk substitutions below…

Buttermilk Substitutions

  • 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon cream of tartar and 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Choose one option and stir the two ingredients together, then let sit for 5 minutes before adding to the dough.

After the first rise of the dough, it is time to roll it out and spread on the delicious filling. Shout out to my angled spatula – thanks for making the spreading almost effortless! Then roll it all up so you can start cutting the dough before it starts the second rise.

How I Cut Cinnamon Roll Dough

My favorite way to cut this type of roll is with dental floss. The dough doesn’t get squished and it is a clean cut! Slide a piece of floss under the log of dough, cross the ends of the floss over top of the dough, then pull to cut.

The ends of the dough log usually end up being smaller sized rolls, so I put them in the center of the pan and keep the biggest rolls along the edges to help them all cook more evenly. You can try tucking the tail of each roll under the roll or kind of pin it in place with the side of the pan.

After the second rise, the rolls start to fill the pan a bit better. I actually let them rise a little too long in these photos, because they kind of exploded when I baked them. Oops. Gives you a good guideline though – don’t let them get quite that puffy during the second rise. 😉

There they are – slightly exploded, but still amazingly delicious. I like to make sure my cinnamon rolls are not overcooked and have a soft gooey center, so I take them out of the oven when the tops of the rolls are just beginning to turn golden brown.

If you double the recipe: You will want to split the dough in half and work with one batch at a time. Place all of the rolls on a large rimmed baking sheet (half sheet size) for baking.

Interested a quicker cinnamon roll dough recipe? You can try this recipe for the dough with this cinnamon roll filling and glaze. The dough is still really yummy, just a little less tender and flavorful than this buttermilk one.

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The Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe

5 / 5 (1 review)
Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes | Cook Time: 22-25 minutes
Yield: 9x13 pan | Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Filling

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Glaze

  • 2 to 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Warm the buttermilk in a large glass measuring cup in the microwave on 50% power for about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk and melted butter to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. With the mixer running, add the eggs, sugar, yeast, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Continue adding flour just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be very soft and slightly sticky, but not so sticky that it gets stuck to your fingers. Knead for about 1-2 minutes, until dough forms a soft, tacky ball.
  3. Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (You can speed it up by placing the covered bowl of dough in a very lightly warmed oven.)
  4. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
  5. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly greased surface. Press and roll it into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the top and bottom edges. Sprinkle all of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over top, then gently press it into the butter.
  6. Lift the longest edge nearest you and begin rolling the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and roll the log so it is seam side down. Gently stretch the log of dough to be about 15 inches long with an even diameter throughout. Pat the ends to even them up.
  7. Slide a piece of floss under the dough, cross the ends of the floss over the dough, then pull to cut (or use a serrated knife). Cut the dough into 12 equal rolls. Arrange the rolls cut side down in the prepared baking dish and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes, until the rolls are beginning to lightly brown on top.
  9. Mix the softened cream cheese and buttermilk together until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix. Then whisk in the powdered sugar. Add additional buttermilk or milk one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. It should be thick, yet pour-able. Drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls. Serve warm.

Notes

To make ahead, once the rolls are formed and placed in the baking pan, immediately cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap and refrigerate them; do not let them rise. Refrigerate for up to 16 hours. Then let the rolls sit at room temperature, covered, until they have doubled in size, about 2-4 hours, then uncover and bake as usual. To freeze, form and cover the rolls as above, but add a layer of foil over top, then freeze. Let sit at room temperature for 9-11 hours to thaw and rise before baking as usual.

Recipe Adapted From: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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