This Fluffy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls recipe is so thick and soft, and they are topped with a cream cheese glaze. This is one cinnamon roll recipe you don’t want to miss, as it’s perfect for lazy weekend mornings, holidays brunches and even weekday mornings if you make these ahead of time!
My favorite cinnamon roll recipe ever! These are such soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls, and the filling to roll ratio is perfect!
(Long post alert! I want to make sure these are perfect cinnamon rolls for you every single time so there are lots of tips and tricks below.)
When I was younger, I’d have said with absolute conviction that fall was my favorite season.
I used to love the cooler weather (well, relative cooler weather…I do live in sunny southern California where fall and winter are more like states of mind), and I used to love how early the evenings would come (aka, daylight savings time).
Looking back, I think I loved the fall because it represented the upcoming holiday season. It was the less the season itself and the fact it fell near Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As an adult, as much as I still love the holidays, fall and winter (and the sun setting at 4 pm) have got nothing on the spring season.
It’s the combination of warm weather and sunny skies and the gorgeous flowers and greenery. It’s the fresh berries and long afternoons that turn into relaxing evenings. It’s weekends spent outdoors and working on DIY projects.
It’s how the season as a whole makes me feel—and it makes me feel productive, happy and hopeful.
And you know what else makes me extremely happy? Gooey, fluffy homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing. Whether you eat these as a breakfast roll, as an afternoon snack or a brunchy dessert, you are going to L-O-V-E these soft, gooey cinnamon rolls.
I’m a cinnamon roll snob and extremely particular about what makes a perfect cinnamon roll recipe.
It’s taken me years to share with you a cinnamon roll recipe I’m proud of—one that is the combination of amazing taste and texture, yet still relatively simple to make.
I don’t take shortcuts with this recipe, because I do think shortcuts can sacrifice too much in terms of both the flavor and texture. However, I’ve worked really hard to create a cinnamon roll recipe from scratch that comes out perfectly every single time without being too intimidating or time consuming.
I promise you this: these are soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls filled with a gooey cinnamon and sugar filling. They do have a few steps that you do need to follow, but they are not too labor intensive.
To me, these are perfect.
Let’s begin by talking about from scratch cinnamon roll ingredients:
- whole milk and heavy cream
- granulated sugar
- all purpose flour
- vanilla extract
- instant yeast
Ingredients for cinnamon roll filling:
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- heavy cream
Now, let’s talk about why these ingredients for cinnamon rolls.
- When it comes to making the cinnamon roll dough, whole milk and heavy cream create a very rich cinnamon roll dough that has incredibly flavor and texture. If in a pinch, you could use all milk or you could use all half & half. Combine that with the eggs and melted butter, and you have got a very rich bread roll dough that is the base for these super soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls.
- The honey is purely for flavor, as I love the subtle sweetness honey imparts into doughs. In fact, I use honey in almost any yeasted dough recipe.
- The key to this cinnamon roll dough is instant yeast (also known as rapid rise yeast). In my experience, it’s a lot less temperamental than active dry yeast, and making cinnamon rolls with instant yeast does cut the proofing time down in half.
- In terms of the gooey cinnamon roll filling, I use a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar. In my experience, I have found that using only one or the other doesn’t create the gooey filling I’m looking for in homemade cinnamon rolls.
- And, I as I heard once, if you think you’ve put enough filling in your cinnamon rolls, add more. You’d be surprised how much filling you need to have the perfect ratio of gooey cinnamon roll to dough.
Do I have to knead cinnamon roll dough by hand?
- No. The standing mixer with the dough hook does the kneading for you (it’s pretty much amazing). You let the dough knead in the mixer for about 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and tacky (not sticky).
- Once the dough is done in the standing mixer, I do like to knead the dough by hand just a couple of times. It’s not necessary, but I do it just for good measure before I shape the dough into a ball.
How do I get my cinnamon roll dough to rise?
- Because yeasted dough can be fickle and temperamental, I have found that the best way to ensure the dough is in a warm environment is to preheat my oven to it’s lowest temperature (that’s 170 degrees F for my oven), turn the oven off and place the dough inside covered with a damp towel.
How do I cut cinnamon rolls into equal pieces?
- A lot of people use unflavored dental floss to cut cinnamon rolls, but I have found that a sharp serrated knife is all I need.
- Once you have your dough rolled into a log, cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Then, cut each of those 3 pieces into 4 equal pieces.
Are these make ahead cinnamon rolls?
- Yes, they can be! While you can make them right away, you can also refrigerate them overnight and bake them in the morning. I like to refrigerate them in their baking pan loosely covered with plastic wrap.
- The rolls will have to come to room temperature (and proof) before you can bake them, however.
- How long they proof depends on how much they proofed in the fridge overnight. Basically, you want the rolls to have nearly doubled in size. Again, I like to stick them in a warm oven covered with a damp towel to proof.
- Additionally, you could bake the rolls the day/night before, refrigerate them (unfrosted), then warm them up in the oven the next morning. When ready to serve, slather with the homemade cream cheese icing.
How do I freeze baked/unbaked cinnamon rolls?
- If you want to freeze unbaked cinnamon rolls instead of refrigerate them, you can (make sure they are well sealed, however). Defrost them overnight in the fridge, and allow them to proof (double in size) before baking.
- You can also freeze baked cinnamon rolls, with or without the cream cheese icing (it doesn’t matter). You flash freeze the baked cinnamon rolls, then freeze them entirely in a freezer safe storage container. You can either defrost them in the fridge or pop them in the microwave.
Learn How to Make the Best Fluffy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls:
- From start to finish, including proofing, these rolls will take about 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours. It could possibly take as little as 2 hours, if you were working quickly.
- Right before baking the cinnamon rolls, pour 1/2 Tbsp of heavy cream over each roll. This makes the rolls and the filling ultra rich and gooey. (I saw this on one of the baking championships on Food Network and it seriously makes the best cinnamon rolls ever!).
- I love a classic cinnamon roll recipe, and to me a classic cinnamon roll is frosted with a cream cheese icing/frosting. You can make a vanilla icing or vanilla buttercream, or even an orange glaze, if you aren’t a huge fan of cream cheese icing (cream cheese icing is slightly thinner than cream cheese frosting).
- I wanted this recipe to make both soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls and easy cinnamon rolls. Using the right ingredients that yield both flavor and texture, I truly believe you’ll find these cinnamon rolls incredibly tasty and fairly simple to make.
Cheers to the best fluffy cinnamon rolls around!
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (aka rapid rise yeast)
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 6 Tbsp butter, softened
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp butter (softened to room temperature)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Warm milk, heavy cream, butter and honey until lukewarm, about 100 degrees to 114 degrees (this can be done over the stove or in the microwave).
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Sprinkle yeast and granulated sugar over the mixture and allow to sit 5 minutes.
- Mix in eggs, vanilla extract and salt.
- Remove the paddle attachment and attach the dough hook.
- Add in 4 cups of flour and mix (with the dough hook) for about 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and tacky, but not sticky. If the dough is still sticky, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour (I like to add in only 1/4 cup at a time, because you don’t want the dough to be too dry).
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball (you can knead the dough a couple of times by hand, if desired).
- Place dough in an oiled bowl (I use baking spray to coat a glass bowl) and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise (proof) in a warm place for about 30-45 minutes, or until it has about doubled in size.*
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle (about 20x15).
- With a knife or rubber spatula, spread butter over the dough, leaving a border of about 1/4” unbuttered.
- Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon together. Generously sprinkle the mixture over the butter.
- Roll the dough into the shape of a log, pinching the seams together (you roll the long side of the rectangle). Place the seam side down.
- With a sharp serrated knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. (You can trim the edges of the dough first, if desired).
- Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper and place the cinnamon rolls in the baking dish, spaced apart evenly.*
- Cover the unbaked cinnamon rolls with a damp towel and allow to rise 20-30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Before baking the rolls, drizzle 1/3 cup of heavy cream over the cinnamon rolls (about 1/2 Tbsp per roll).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cinnamon rolls are lightly golden brown. Allow them to cool about 4-5 minutes before icing.
- With a mixer (standing or hand mixer), mix cream cheese and butter together. Once combined, mix powdered sugar, salt and vanilla together until smooth.
Spread cream cheese icing over the warm cinnamon rolls.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
*I like to preheat my oven to about 170 degrees, turn it off, and let the dough rise inside.
*If making these ahead of time, you can cover the baking dish loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and double in size. More instructions in the post if needed.
Here are some other cinnamon recipes you might love: