Quick-and-easy cinnamon rolls are so chock full of gooey cinnamon goodness you’ll never question what to make for breakfast again. These homemade cinnamon rolls only take about an hour to make — which makes them easier to have again and again!
This year has been something else hasn’t it? Now, I’d always loved to cook and bake – homemade cinnamon rolls or anything else fresh from the oven – and when I was feeling blue baking especially helped me to get out of whatever funk I was in. The act of accomplishing something coupled with the smells coming from the oven added to the smiles on everyone’s faces when they realized that not only had I baked but I was actually going to share it, too? Well, that always turned my frown upside down.
And, while this year has certainly had me stress baking more often than not, making these tasty cinnamon rolls has certainly played a small part in helping us all get through it for sure!
Why This Recipe Works
Rapid rise yeast — I’d like to say I have the time to make everything solely from scratch, and either use my own starter or wait hours and hours for yeast to do it’s thing. But I don’t, so that’s where rapid rise yeast comes in so handy. The “quick” part of these homemade cinnamon rolls is all thanks to a couple packages of this little helper.
Butter – I’ll just say it. BUTTER. Real butter. These are cinnamon rolls folks, indulge a little! I butter the baking dish instead of greasing with nonstick spray and I swear it is the key to rich and fluffy cinnamon rolls! I also use plenty of butter for the filling portion of the recipe and It really makes for a truly gooey-licious cinnamon roll center.
Cream cheese — I just love, love, love cream cheese icing. The slight tartness of it balances out the sweetness of the rolls and just makes them taste perfect.
Leftovers — Unless you have guests or a lot of people in your family, you will probably have enough leftover rolls for breakfast tomorrow, or dessert tonight! Win-win!
Here’s How You Make It
Preparing the dough
- First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then butter a 9×13-inch baking pan or dish of equivalent size.
- Take out a large bowl (or use a stand mixer bowl) and stir together 2 cups of flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt.
- Then, in a glass or liquid measuring cup, combine the milk with the butter and microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each increment, until the butter is mostly melted and the milk is very warm. (See note.) Add milk mixture and the egg to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Mix in the remaining flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, until a shaggy dough forms.
- Knead the dough (using a dough hook attachment for your stand mixer OR by hand on a lightly floured surface) for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a lightly greased bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Making the cinnamon rolls
- Roll the prepared dough into a large rectangle (measuring about 15×12 inches) and then rub softened butter all over the top of the dough.
- Next, stir together the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the butter, making sure to leave about 1/2 inch around the edges bare.
- Now, tightly (but gently) roll the dough from one long side toward the other, then pinch the seam to seal off the length of the dough.
- Using a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss, cut the log into 12 equal-size pieces. Place each piece cut-side down into the prepared baking pan.
- Cover the pan tightly and let the dough rise again in a warm, dry place for 30 minutes.
- Once the rolls have risen, take the cover off and bake the rolls on the center rack for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on the top. Allow to cool slightly before frosting.
Making the Icing
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once it has melted, continue to stir it for 2-3 minutes longer, so that the color changes from pale yellow to deep golden, then remove it from the heat.
- In another large bowl, cream together the browned butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.
- Alternate mixing in 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk until icing is smooth and fluffy. Mix in a pinch of salt for added richness, then spread all over the tasty cinnamon rolls.
- Serve the rolls immediately or cover them tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat individual rolls in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
- Use your fingers or a small spatula, rub 1-2 tablespoons softened butter all over the inside of the pan before adding the rolls. You can use nonstick spray instead to grease the pan, but I highly recommend the buttering technique for the richest, fluffiest cinnamon rolls!
- After microwaving, the milk should be very warm to the touch. It should be uncomfortably hot, but not so hot that you have to pull your finger out. If it gets too hot, let it cool for a few minutes before adding to the dough.
- This makes a large batch of icing for those of us who like our cinnamon rolls piled high with rich, fluffy goodness. If you prefer less frosting you can half the icing recipe!
- To make a glaze instead of a frosting, simply simply half the icing recipe, then heat the icing in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, stir, and pour over these easy cinnamon rolls.
More Tasty Breakfast Recipes
- Apple Cinnamon French Toast
- Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
- Eggnog Pancakes
- Pumpkin French Toast
- Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole
Did you try this Cinnamon Roll recipe?? YAY! Please rate the recipe below!
Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough
- 5-6 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 2 packets rapid rise yeast/instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 6 tablespoons butter chilled, cut into tablespoons
- 1 large egg
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons butter softened
For the Icing
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 4-6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream, as needed
- pinch of salt
Prepare the dough
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9x13 inch baking pan. (see note)
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) stir together 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
- In a glass/liquid measuring cup combine milk and butter and microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each, until butter is mostly melted and milk is very warm. (see note) Add milk mixture and egg to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Mix in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a shaggy dough forms.
- Knead for 5 minutes, then transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for 10 minutes.
Make the Cinnamon Rolls
- Roll dough into a large rectangle (about 15x12 inches) and rub softened butter all over the top of the dough.
- Stir together sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over butter, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges bare.
- Tightly (but gently) roll the dough from one long side toward the other. Pinch the seam to seal off the length of the dough.
- Use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut into 12 equal-size pieces. Place each cut-side down in your prepared baking pan.
- Cover tightly and let rise in a warm dry place for 30 minutes.
- Uncover, bake on center rack for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on the top. Allow to cool slightly before frosting.
Prepare the Icing
- In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, continue to stir for 2-3 minutes longer until color changes from pale yellow to deep golden. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl cream together the browned butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.
- Alternate mixing in 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk until icing is smooth and fluffy. Mix in a pinch of salt for added richness, then spread over cinnamon rolls.
- Serve immediately or cover tightly and store at room temperature up to three days. Reheat individual rolls in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.