This cinnamon rolls recipe with cream cheese frosting is absolutely delicious and beginner-friendly! These homemade cinnamon rolls have a soft and fluffy texture with a buttery cinnamon filling and a creamy sweet vanilla frosting that is utterly irresistible after every bite.
⭐ Why this cinnamon rolls recipe is the best
Nothing beats the smell of homemade cinnamon rolls being baked. The warm, sweet aromas of cinnamon and yeast during baking bring everyone to the kitchen for a taste of these gooey magic rolls of heaven.
It's by far one of the easiest cinnamon roll recipes I have made and perfect for beginner bakers and home cooks.
The recipe involves a simple dough mixture that needs an hour to rise before rolling out and spreading the delicious cinnamon sugar over before being baked to perfection and topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting.
The result is a soft, fluffy texture with a warm, sweet cinnamon filling combined with a silky, smooth vanilla frosting that melts in your mouth.
It's the best cinnamon roll recipe you will ever make and one that your family will thank you for after tasting them. You can even get the kids involved because it's fun and a great way to get them into the kitchen to help out. For more ideas check out my collection of best cinnamon toast crunch recipes.
Although the recipe ingredients seem extensive, don't let that put you off because the procedure is straightforward, and the final result of the time and effort is totally worth it.
🍽 Key Ingredients
The best homemade cinnamon rolls always require the best ingredients and your valuable time and effort. Most of the ingredients found in cinnamon rolls are staple pantry ingredients.
Milk - Whole warm milk is used to help the dough rise and make it soft.
Flour - All-purpose flour is the flour of choice to give the rolls a chewy, fluffy texture.
Sugar - We're using 3 types of sugar for this recipe. White sugar for the dough and the cinnamon filling, dark brown sugar for the filling, and powdered sugar for the frosting.
Dairy products - Unsalted butter is melted and spread over the rolled-out dough with the cinnamon sugar and softened with the cream cheese for the frosting.
Leavening agents - Active dry yeast, baking powder, and baking soda will help the dough rise and become light and fluffy during baking.
Flavorings - Powdered cinnamon and vanilla extract
You could use bread flour as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour. The end will result will be fluffier and softer with slightly less texture.
🔪 How to make
Cinnamon rolls are easy to make once the dough has risen and the fun starts, and you can learn how to make this incredible recipe with my step-by-step instructions and helpful cooking tips. Or watch my Cinnamon Rolls Video below.
Making the dough
In a small microwave safe bowl stir milk and oil and warm in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds (check with fingers until warm not too hot)
- Too hot, let cool for 1 min and check again.
- Too cold, heat for another 30 seconds.
Add in sugar and combine, Add yeast and combine, and let it sit to activate for 5 minutes until the top becomes foamy.
What if my yeast doesn't foam?
If your yeast didn't foam, it didn't activate, and your Cinnamon rolls won't rise. The most common reasons include:
expired yeast - the shelf life of dry-yeast is around 3 months
temperature - below 105 and above 110°F yeast may not activate
Best to repeat this step before making an entire batch of Cinnamon rolls. If in doubt, use a thermometer to check the temperature.
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the center, then pour in the milk/yeast mixture and stir until just combined, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm, draft-free place, for about an hour.
After an hour, remove the towel and stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt.
Tip: you can use the cinnamon roll dough immediately, or keep it refrigerated for up to 3 days, punching it down if it rises over the top of the bowl - it is easier to work with chilled.
Making the filling
In a medium bowl add melted butter plus brown sugar and cinnamon. Combine well until you achieve a creamy mixture. Set aside.
Making the rolls
Sprinkle a large work surface with extra flour for dusting. Gently press the gas out of the dough and roll it into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick.
Spread cinammon roll cream mixture onto the dough evenly.
Using both hands, begin rolling the dough tightly, when you reach the end, pinch the seam together tightly, and flip the roll so the seam is on the bottom.
Use a sharp knife and slice the roll into 2" (5 cm) pieces.
Tip: you can also use a piece of dental floss, slide it under the roll and cross it over the top, then pull quickly and tightly, and the floss will make a clean cut.
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and place the sliced rolls in your prepared baking dishes (I used a 9.4 x 9.4 x 2 inches dish to fit 9 rolls each), being careful to leave quite a bit of space between them, as they will spread out a lot when baking.
Tip: while the oven is heating, cover the pans with towels, and leave them on the counter to rise for at least 20 minutes.
Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes, or until golden brown, being careful not to let them brown too much.
To make the icing:
Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt together with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the icing evenly over the cinnamon rolls.
💭 Cooking tips
Don't overheat the milk.
Make sure the milk isn't too hot when mixing with the yeast. The perfect temperature is between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit, and anything over that will kill the yeast.
Use room temperature dairy products for the frosting
Creaming the butter and cream cheese is easier when they are at room temperature (slightly softened) than straight from the fridge.
Chill the dough before rolling it out
If you want tighter, more uniform cinnamon rolls, It's best to let the dough chill in the fridge before rolling it out.
Let the cinnamon rolls cool before pouring the frosting
Allot the delicious cinnamon rolls to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before pouring the vanilla frosting over so that it sits on top rather than dribbles over the side and sits on the bottom, which happens when the rolls are still hot.
📖 Recipe Variations
Three delicious variations of cinnamon rolls using the same recipe.
Caramel cinnamon buns
If you love caramel, then this variation is for you. Instead of a creamed cheese frosting, make a caramel sauce and pour it into your baking dish, placing the cinnamon rolls on top before baking them.
Once baked, turn the baking dish upside down, and the caramel will be covered on top for a delicious sweet roll recipe.
Apple pie cinnamon rolls
These rolls are perfect for the festive season with a combination of apple and cinnamon. Finely chop two apples and cook them in a saucepan until soft, then spread the apple over the shaped dough with the cinnamon butter.
Pumpkin cinnamon rolls
Adding one can of pumpkin puree to the dough mixture and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice gives cinnamon rolls a wonderful aroma and keeps them moist for longer. Add the pumpkin simultaneously as combining the milk, yeast, and flour.
🥗 What to serve with
These easy cinnamon rolls are perfect served for breakfast and lunch with eggs, bacon, fruit salads, and other tasty dishes.
I personally love eating my cinnamon rolls with a nice, fruity milkshake. Milkshakes are easy to prepare and a good way to use up ripe fruit like strawberries, blueberries, or bananas. All you need is milk and your choice of fruit to make a milkshake.
Other quick and easy recipes I love to make to pair with the best homemade cinnamon rolls is my reese's pie recipe when I have a bigger crowd- and healthy avocados baked with egg or bacon and egg cups.
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
Can you let cinnamon roll dough sit overnight?
Yes, overnight cinnamon rolls are even softer as the dough slowly rises in the fridge. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours before the first rise or after it has been shaped.
Why did my cinnamon rolls turn out dry?
If your cinnamon rolls aren't soft and fluffy, this could be because the dough was overworked either by hand or the bread machine, which causes it to become tough - or too much flour was incorporated, which makes the baked rolls hard and the dough dried out.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ Reheating
Cinnamon rolls are easy to store once cooled.
Room temperature - Tightly cover the cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap and place them in a bread bin or cupboard away from direct sunlight for up to 2 days.
Fridge - Transfer the rolls to an airtight container and place them in the fridge for up to one week.
Freezer - You can freeze cinnamon rolls for up to 2 months stored in freezer bags or an airtight freezer container.
Reheating - If you want to reheat your cinnamon rolls, the best way to do so while keeping them soft and moist is to microwave them for 15 -20 seconds on half power.
Note that the frosting may melt during heating.
🍳 Related Baking Recipes
If you love my ultimate cinnamon rolls. Try one of these fantastic baking recipes for your next breakfast.
👪 Serving Size
This cinnamon roll recipe will yield 36 rolls. If you don't want to make as many as that at once, you could either half the recipe amount or bake one batch of rolls the following day.
One of the best things about cinnamon rolls is that they stay soft and delicious for the rest of the week, meaning that you can enjoy them every day and give some to your friends and neighbors to enjoy.
Also check out my fluffy and easy sour cream pancakes with homemade blueberry sauce!
🎥 Watch how to make it
Love this breakfast recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Try one of my comfort breakfast recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
The Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls
for the dough:
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast - instant yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour - for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
for the filling:
- 1 ½ cups butter - room temperature melted
- 2 cups brown sugar - packed
- 4 tablespoon cinnamon - Vietnamese/Saigon Cinnamon
for the icing:
- 4 ounces cream cheese - softened
- 4 tablespoon butter - softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoon milk
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Making the Dough
- In a small microwave safe bowl stir milk and oil and warm in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds - Note 1
- Add in sugar and combine, Add yeast and combine, and let it sit to activate for 5 minutes until the top becomes foamy.
- Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the center, then pour in the milk/yeast mixture and stir until just combined, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm, draft-free place, for about 40 minutes to an hour.
- After an hour, remove the towel and stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt.
Making the Filling
- In a medium bowl add melted butter plus brown sugar and cinnamon. Combine well until you achieve a creamy mixture. Set aside.
Making the Rolls
- Sprinkle a large work surface with extra flour for dusting.
- Gently press the gas out of the dough and roll it into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick.
- Spread cream mixture onto the dough evenly.
- Using both hands, begin rolling the dough tightly - when you reach the end, pinch the seam together tightly, and flip the roll so the seam is on the bottom.
- Use a sharp knife and slice the roll into 2" (5 cm) pieces. (you can also use a piece of dental floss, slide it under the roll and cross it over the top, then pull quickly and tightly and the floss will make a clean cut)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 F (190 C). (while the oven is heating, cover the pans with towels and leave on counter to rise for at least 20 minutes)
- Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes, or until golden brown, being careful not to let them brown too much.
Making the icing:
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Spread the icing evenly over the cinnamon rolls.
- Too hot, let cool for 1 min and check again
- Too cold, heat for another 30 seconds