Cinnamon rolls are one of the most classic sweet baked treats you can make during the autumn and winter months. They are deliciously sweet, creamy, and packed with flavor!
While these baked goods do take a while to make, they are well worth every second! My recipe will give you an in-depth guide for making these buns. It will help you get the best possible texture and flavor, just like authentic cinnamon rolls should have.
What Makes A High-Quality Cinnamon Roll?
Cinnamon rolls are relatively new creations in the world of pastry dishes. They originated in Sweden but quickly took the world by storm. Today, there are thousands of bakeries, restaurants, and stores worldwide that make these buns.
Traditionally, you make cinnamon rolls with a yeast-dough and sweet butter filling. Once the rolls are made, sliced, and baked, they get frosted with a cream cheese vanilla frosting.
The perfect cinnamon roll has a firm texture but is not squishy. It is moist without being soggy. These buns are fluffy and very soft with a spongy mouthfeel. They should have more of a bread-like rather than a cake-like texture.
Cinnamon buns also have a very rich flavor profile. It is a very sweet bun due to the filling and frosting. Obviously, depending on the spices and flavorings you use, the exact amount of sweetness will vary.
The color of your cinnamon buns has to be a beautiful golden brown. The frosting does hide the color for the most part, but the caramelized flavors will still be there.
Variations On This Classic Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Even though the recipe I am making today is classic, it doesn’t mean that there is no room for variations. My recipe will allow you to be as creative as you want.
You can play around with different flavors and textures using this single recipe.
I also like to use additional autumn flavors such as allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and ginger. Remember to use ground spices and never whole ones.
If you like nuts, the best way to incorporate them is after you spread the butter filling over the dough. Then, evenly spread the chopped nuts over the butter filling before rolling the sheet into a log.
Use toasted chopped almunds, walnuts, or pecan nuts for the best flavor.
Another fun way to make your cinnamon rolls different is by adding some melted chocolate to the filling. You can also make a chocolate cream cheese frosting instead.
Tips And Tricks
- Do not overheat your milk. You should heat the milk until it reaches 105ºF (40.5ºC).
- The other ingredients should generally be at room temperature. If they are too hard, they won’t incorporate nicely. For the filling and frosting, they won’t create uniform mixtures that spread easily.
- After you have shaped the cinnamon log and sliced it, the portions should be left to rise for 20 minutes. If after 20 minutes they have risen too much, you can gently press them down before baking them. If they are very high, they may topple over. I haven’t personally experienced this issue, but many people often do.
Can you freeze cinnamon rolls?
You can freeze your cinnamon rolls for up to 6 months. If you can, freeze them before they get the cream cheese frosting. Otherwise, the cream cheese topping will melt away when the buns thaw.
How long can I keep them in the fridge?
If you made fresh cinnamon rolls, they can be kept inside the fridge for up to a week. You can also keep these rolls at room temperature for a day.
Are cinnamon rolls suitable for vegans?
Cinnamon rolls are not naturally vegan. They contain yeast, butter, milk, eggs, and cream cheese. You can, however, substitute them with vegan alternatives.
Can you make cinnamon rolls in the air fryer?
Yes, one thing I would be mindful of is that they could become a little bit too dry. If you still want to make them this way, preheat the air fryer to 350°F (170°C). Bake the cinnamon rolls for 8-10 minutes or until they are done. They will bake much quicker because the air fryer distributes the heat much better.
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How To Make Cinnamon Rolls – An In-Depth Guide
For the dough
- 1 cup whole milk, lukewarm warmed
- 2 ½ tsp instant dry yeast
- 2 large beaten eggs, room temperature
- 6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
- 4 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp fine salt
For the filling
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
For the frosting
- ½ pound cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 5 tbsp salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Make The Dough
- To start, line a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick baking paper. You can also spray the sides with non-stick cooking spray. Set it aside.
- To start your cinnamon roll dough, add the lukewarm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Then, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and allow it to stand for 5 minutes. You will see bubbles start forming, which indicates the yeast is activating.
- Once the yeast is activated, add the eggs and cooled melted butter. Mix the ingredients gently.
- Next, attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Then, add the flour, sugar, and salt to the wet ingredient mixture. Mix the ingredients together at low-medium speed until they come together. Keep mixing until your dough is smooth and uniform in texture. If your dough is still very sticky, add more flour until it pulls away from the sides. It should only be moist, not wet.
- Once your dough is finished, place it into a large greased mixing bowl. Then, cover it with a kitchen towel and allow it to proof for at least 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Make The Filling
- While the dough is proofing, make the cinnamon bun filling. Just mix together all of the filling ingredients until you have a uniform mixture. Set it aside at room temperature.
Assemble the cinnamon rolls
- Once your dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Then, roll it into a large rectangle that measures around 24-inches by 15-inches. The dough should be 1/4 of an inch thick.
- Then, spread the filling over the dough using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Make sure to cover the entire surface in an even layer.
- Next, start rolling the dough into a log (like a Swiss roll). Start at the longest side. Make sure that you roll the dough tightly.
- Then, slice the long cinnamon log into 12 equal portions. Gently cut the dough with a serrated knife to avoid crushing the dough.
- Place each portion flat on a lined baking pan. Then, cover it gently with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for another 20 minutes.
Bake the cinnamon rolls
- While they rest, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Then, bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until they become beautifully golden brown.
Make the frosting
- While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make your cream cheese frosting. Cream together the softened cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl.
- Then, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat the ingredients until they become light and fluffy.
Finish off the cinnamon rolls
- Once your cinnamon rolls have finished baking, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool slightly at room temperature inside their baking tray.
- After about 15 minutes, spread the cream cheese frosting over the top of your rolls.
- You can wait for the rolls to cool completely before serving them. Alternatively, I like to serve them while they are still warm and the frosting is still melted.