Huge, fluffy and unbelievably soft Cinnamon rolls, smothered with deliciously tangy cream cheese frosting. These Cinnamon Rolls literally melt in your mouth - they are SO GOOD!
Making Cinnamon Rolls completely from scratch is really easy. They require an initial prove of 1 hour and then a second prove for 30 minutes after the rolls have been shaped, which means you can be eating them within a matter of a couple of hours.
Cinnamon Rolls are also brilliant to bake ahead (hello, Christmas morning) or you can freeze them to pop in the oven at any time. You can basically have freshly baked Cinnamon Rolls whenever you please!
Easy and quick
Please do not be worried about working with yeasted bread. My recipe is honestly so easy and the end result is well worth it. Just a few simple steps and you're on your way to warm Cinnamon Roll heaven!
It's as easy as this:
- Make the dough, knead it then leave it to prove for an hour.
- Knock the air out and roll into a rectangle. Add butter and Cinnamon sugar.
- Roll it into a sausage shape and divide into 12 equal pieces.
- Prove for 30 minutes then bake for 22 minutes. Cover with cream cheese frosting while still warm.
- Scoff and enjoy!
Special occasion breakfast
This is going to be the recipe you come back to time and time again when you want to bake something for a special occasion. These rolls are a massive hit on Christmas morning and we have them every year. In fact, I think there would be uproar if we didn't!
Read on to find out how you can prep this recipe the night before.
Tips for making the best Cinnamon Rolls
- Make sure your milk isn't too hot or it will kill the yeast. To check it, stick your finger in - it should feel like a warm bath and you should be able to leave your finger in the milk without it scalding you.
- Use a room temperature egg.
- Bread flour is best because the extra gluten yields the softest texture.
- Ensure you flour your work surface every time you turn the dough out on to it and use clean, dry hands when handling the dough.
- This is a sticky dough so don't be tempted to add lots of extra flour. It will feel tacky to the touch when you knead it. The dough is ready when it doesn't stick to your clean, dry finger.
- Butter, butter and more butter, it is a lot but the butter makes the Cinnamon Rolls unbelievably soft. No, it's not healthy but you're not eating Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast every day, are you?!
- Speaking of butter, make sure you use very soft butter when you fill the rolls this will give you a much better result than if you used melted butter. Melting the butter actually makes the Cinnamon Rolls hard.
- Spread the Cinnamon Rolls with the cream cheese frosting when they are still warm from the oven. The frosting will seep into every nook and cranny giving you extra deliciousness in every single bite.
How to make Cinnamon Rolls: step by step
Step One: Heat the milk in the microwave until it's warm. It should feel the same temperature as a warm bath and when you put your finger in you should be able to keep it in the milk without it scolding you. Next, melt the butter in the microwave.
Pour the warm milk into a mixing bowl followed by the yeast, egg, sugar, melted butter and salt. Whisk together until well combined then tip in the flour and mix until a dough forms and comes away from the edges of the bowl.
Use a clean dry finger to test the dough, it will feel tacky but if it sticks to your finger then add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough no longer sticks to your clean, dry finger.
Note: The dough will feel tacky when you touch it but it shouldn't stick to your fingers. Resist adding too much flour otherwise, your Cinnamon Rolls will become dense and won't rise.
Step Two: Flour a work surface and turn the dough out on to it. Knead the dough for 5 minutes then transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the dough to prove for an hour, it will rise to double the size (see notes on proving)
Step Three: Meanwhile make the cinnamon sugar by thoroughly combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Prepare the baking dish by greasing it with butter.
Step Four: Punch the dough down to knock the air out then turn it out onto a floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 15" by 10" rectangle.
Step Five: Spread the rectangle of dough with the soft butter. Sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar and press it in lightly with the palms of your hands. Starting with the long edge facing towards you, roll the dough up into a tight sausage shape. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and place them cut side down into the buttered baking dish. Cover with clingfilm and prove for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC Fan/Gas 4/ 350ºF
Step Six: Melt the butter. When the Cinnamon Rolls have puffed up in size, brush them with the melted butter.
Bake uncovered in the centre of the preheated oven for 22-24 minutes until the tops are lightly golden. Let them cool in the baking dish for 15 minutes while you make the cream cheese frosting. (see below)
Cream cheese frosting
In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, softened butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract. You don't need an electric whisk to do this as it can all be mixed with a fork or handheld whisk.
The frosting will be runnier than the frosting you are used to using for cupcakes. It is the perfect consistency for seeping into every nook and cranny of the warm Cinnamon rolls and tastes amazing.
I put the Cinnamon Rolls to rise in my oven proving drawer. Built-in proving drawers operate at very low heat, usually around 40ºC which is the optimum condition for yeast activity.
No proving drawer? No problem, you can prove the dough in your oven instead. Turn your oven on at the lowest temperature (usually 80ºC) allow it to come up to temperature then turn it off and put the Cinnamon Rolls in to prove for the required time.
Cinnamon Rolls are excellent to make ahead. Make the dough according to the instructions and follow the steps up to slicing the dough into individual pieces. At this point, place them into a baking dish, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate.
When you're ready to bake the Cinnamon Rolls, remove them from the fridge and leave them to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Then bake and frost as directed.
To freeze before baking: make the dough according to the instructions and follow the steps up to slicing the dough into individual pieces. At this point, place them into a baking dish, cover with clingfilm and a layer of tin foil and put them in the freezer.
Allow the Cinnamon Rolls to thaw out in the fridge overnight, remove them from the fridge and leave them to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Then bake and frost as directed.
To freeze after baking: Leave the Cinnamon Rolls to completely cool then wrap the dish in cling film and a layer of tin foil. Place in the freezer. When you're ready to eat them, remove from the freezer and heat them in the oven for 5-10 minutes or the microwave for a minute it two.
Cinnamon Rolls can be reheated for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. This softens the dough and the frosting will melt slightly but they will still taste amazing.
Cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge. Follow the instructions above for reheating. They will keep for 2-3 days.
Strong white bread flour is best for this recipe because it has a higher protein content and the extra gluten yield a more elastic and soft structure. You can substitute the strong white bread flour for plain flour and will still get good results. Do not use self-rasing flour.
Instant yeast acts faster than active yeast which makes it better for this recipe as it has a relatively short proving time. You can substitute it with active yeast, however, you will need to increase the proving time.
I used a Le Creuset 32cm rectangular stoneware dish.
You might have used inactive yeast or your milk could have been too hot and killed the yeast.
15 minutes after they come out of the oven while they are still warm.
Yes, you can. Roll the dough up as tightly as you can and cut it into 24 equal pieces.
More bread and dough recipes you will love
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I would really appreciate it if you could rate the recipe below and leave me a comment. Thank you so much x
Unbelievably Soft Cinnamon Rolls
- 300 ml whole milk
- 7 g packet of instant yeast (2.25 tsps)
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 40 g unsalted butter melted
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 500 g strong white bread flour plus extra if the dough is too sticky
- 1 tbsp butter (for greasing)
- 85 g butter softened
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 1.5 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter (for brushing the rolls) melted
Cream cheese frosting
- 115 g cream cheese
- 80 g unsalted butter softened
- 120 g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
To make the dough
- In a large mixing bowl, add the warm milk (300ml), sprinkle over the yeast (7g) and add the egg, sugar (50g), melted butter (40g) and salt (0.5 tsp). Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Add the flour (500g) and mix with a Danish whisk or spatula. Touch the dough with a clean, dry finger - if it sticks to your finger and more flour a tablespoon at a time. The dough is ready when it still feels tacky to the touch but does not stick to a clean, dry finger.
- Flour a work surface and turn the dough out on to it. Knead for 5 minutes (this can also be done for 3 minutes in a stand mixer using a dough hook on the lowest speed setting) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to rise in a warm place, proving drawer or warmed oven for 1 hour.
To shape and fill the dough
- When the dough has risen, punch the air out of it and turn it out on to a floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a rectangle measuring 15" x 10".
- Spread the softened butter (85g) over the entire surface of the dough making sure you get right to the edges.
- Make the filling by mixing the sugar (50g) with the cinnamon (1.5 tbsp) then sprinkle it on top of the buttered dough. Press it into the dough lightly using your palms. With the longest edge facing you, roll up the dough into a tight sausage shape. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
- Grease your baking dish with butter (1 tbsp) and arrange the Cinnamon Rolls in the dish, cut side down with some space in between them. Leave the rolls to rise in a warm place, proving drawer or warmed oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC Fan/Gas 4/ 350ºF.
- Melt the butter (2tbsp). When the Cinnamon Rolls have puffed up in size, brush them with the melted butter and bake uncovered in the centre of the preheated oven for 22-24 minutes until the tops are lightly golden. Let them cool in the baking dish for 15 minutes while you make the cream cheese frosting.
To make the cream cheese frosting
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the cream cheese (115g), butter (80g), icing sugar (120g) and vanilla extract (0.5 tsp).
- Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the Cinnamon Rolls while they are still warm from the oven.