Cinnamon Rolls {Better Than Cinnabon!}

December 6, 2019  ·  Published December 23, 2017

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These homemade Cinnamon Rolls are my all time favorite (yes, they’re better than Cinnabon)! They are truly the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had, and I think it’s even safe to say you’ll never need another cinnamon roll recipe. This. Is. It!

They’re super soft and fluffy, perfectly chewy with a hint of gooey, they’re jam packed with cinnamon flavor and they’re covered in a luscious cream cheese cinnamon roll icing. You’ll be hanging onto this recipe for life!

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

The Best Cinnamon Rolls Recipe!

These cinnamon rolls have the perfect amount of butter (no oil or margarine because why? Butter is always better!) They are unbelievably soft – especially when you eat one warm from the oven. Really these little pillows of deliciousness just melt in your mouth.

They have the perfect amount of sweet between each the dough, the filling and the icing. Then the buttermilk in the dough and the cream cheese in the frosting perfectly compliments the sweetness.

And the abundance of cinnamon is a must. I highly recommend Saigon cinnamon if you can afford it (if you have a Costco membership I buy it cheap there), it really is the best. If you are going to add this much cinnamon to something and it’s the main flavor you may as well go for it.

Better than what you’ll get from the bakery!

This cinnamon bun breakfast treat really is a dream come true! I’ve made them time and time again. It’s a serious love affair! Trust me you’ll love them too!

Better Than Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Watch the Cinnamon Rolls Video:

 

What Ingredients go into Homemade Cinnamon Rolls:

  • Warm water
  • Active dry yeast
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon (preferably Saigon)
  • Cream cheese

How to Make the Best Cinnamon Rolls:

It may be a process but I promise it’s worth it! After you’ve made them a few times they become easy to make!

  • Proof yeast: Pour water in a the bowl of an electric stand mixer, pour in yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar and whisk well. Let rest 5 – 10 minutes to bubble up.
  • Mix in remaining wet ingredients: Add in buttermilk, eggs, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, salt, vanilla and 6 Tbsp melted butter. Fit mixer with whisk attachment and blend mixture until combined.
  • Add flour in increments, knead in mixer: Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the flour and mix until well combined. Switch to a hook attachment then add another 1 cup flour. Knead mixture until combined.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic: Continue to knead on moderately low speed about 5 – 6 minutes while adding a little more flour as needed to reach a soft and moist dough.
  • Let rise: Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Prepare baking sheet: Butter a rimmed 15 by 10-inch jelly roll pan then line with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and set aside.
  • Flatten dough, roll out: Punch dough down. Dust a working surface lightly with flour and turn dough out onto surface. Sprinkle top of dough with a little flour then roll dough out into an 20 by 18-inch rectangle.

Better Than Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

  • Spread with butter and cinnamon sugar: Spread 6 Tbsp butter evenly over entire surface. In a small mixing bowl whisk together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle and spread brown sugar mixture evenly over butter layer.
  • Roll into a log: Beginning on an 18-inch side tightly roll dough into a cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal.

Better Than Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

  • Slice, place on baking sheet: Cut into 12 equal portions using a large sharp knife. Arrange rolls, spacing evenly apart on prepared baking sheet.
  • Rise again, preheat oven: Cover with plastic wrap.Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees near the last 20 minutes of rolls rising.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

  • Bake: Bake rolls in preheated oven until centers are no longer doughy, about 18 – 22 minutes (center should be 185 degrees on an instant read thermometer). If needed during the last 5 minutes of baking you can tent with foil to prevent excess browning, all ovens vary.
  • Frost rolls: Spread icing over hot from the oven rolls.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

How to Make Cinnamon Roll Icing:

Some cinnamon roll recipes call for a plain icing but why not go with a rich cream cheese frosting instead. A cinnamon roll wouldn’t be the same without it.

It’s so easy to make! You only need 4 ingredients for the icing – butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. And your just a good mixing away to that heavenly stuff.

To Make It:

  • In a medium mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer whip together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add in vanilla and powdered sugar and whip until light and fluffy. Super easy!

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Possible Variations:

  • Try adding other spices like pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg.
  • Add seeds of a vanilla bean in addition to the vanilla extract for extra vanilla flavor (half of it in rolls half in frosting).
  • Add in raisins over the brown sugar filling.
  • Sprinkle tops with chopped pecans.
  • Use a vanilla frosting instead of cream cheese if preferred.
  •  Decorate with holiday sprinkles or rainbow sprinkles for a birthday.

Best Cinnamon Rolls

Can I Make Them in Advance and Let Rest Overnight?

I did also list a method for overnight cinnamon rolls in the recipe. Really the only changes are refrigerating immediately after you transfer them to the pan (rather than proceeding with the second rise).

Then you chill overnight and remove and finish that second rise the following day (which will likely take about 60 – 90 minutes longer than the original method since they are cold).

Better Than Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

How to Store and Reheat Cinnamon Rolls:

  • Store them in an airtight container in a single layer, at room temperature if serving the same day, if serving the following day store in the fridge. I highly recommend trying them warm from the oven though too, best way to eat them hands down!
  • Reheat individually on a plate in the microwave in 10 second increments until heated through.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls Copycat

Tips for Perfect Cinnamon Rolls:

  • Use a thermometer to take the temperature of the water. If it’s too hot it can kill the yeast, if it’s too cool it won’t activate it – each of these will leave you with flat cinnamon rolls.
  • Use bread flour. It gives them a tender chewy texture.
  • Stick with Saigon cinnamon. It’s a splurge but it really does taste better. Kroger stores sell a cheaper version than many other brands.
  • Add lots of butter. Skip the vegetable oil, shortening or margarine. No flavor. Butter is rich and delicious.
  • Use eggs in the dough. Some recipes skip them but I say they’re a must. They assist in rising and give a softer dough. They also add flavor (not eggy, think like brioche).
  • Create a thinner rolled dough. It leaves more room for the filling to be spread out into every bite. Plus it’s so fun unwrapping those thinner layers.
  • Pull out those corners of the dough and work to keep them even as well so the end cinnamon rolls aren’t tiny.
  • Use a ruler or measuring tape. This way you’ll end up with the proper size rolls, nothing wrong with being precise here.
  • Cooking on a baking sheet not the big standard size cookie sheet though, note this is a 15 by 10. The baking sheet allows more space for them to spread and bake evenly rather than overcrowding in a 13 by 9-inch pan.
  • Adding the frosting while they’re still warm. That way it starts to melt over the top and run down the nooks and crannies, and drip down the sides. Drool.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

More Recipes To Try:

5 from 77 votes

Cinnamon Rolls {Better than Cinnabon!}

My all time favorite cinnamon rolls! So soft and fluffy, and perfectly chewy with a hint of gooey. Their sweetness is perfectly paired with a hint of buttermilk flavor and a cream cheese icing. And they are jam packed with the best cinnamon flavor! A recipe you won't want to lose.
Servings: 12
Prep45 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 3 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients

Roll Dough

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water, 110 - 120 degrees
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature**
  • 1/2 cup (100g) + 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces and melted
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups (17.5 oz - 20 oz) bread flour (I recommend King Arthur)

Cinnamon Filling

  • 6 Tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, well softened
  • 1 cup (210g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (13g) Saigon cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Pour water in a the bowl of an electric stand mixer, pour in yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar and whisk well. Let rest 5 - 10 minutes to proof (if it doesn't puff up your water was either too hot or the yeast is bad and the rolls won't rise).   
  • Add in buttermilk, eggs, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, salt, vanilla and 6 Tbsp melted butter. Fit mixer with whisk attachment and blend mixture until combined. 
  • Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the flour and mix until well combined. Switch to a hook attachment then add another 1 cup flour. Knead mixture until combined. 
  • Continue to knead on moderately low speed about 5 - 6 minutes while adding a little more flour as needed to reach a soft and moist dough (Dough shouldn't stick to the sides of the bowl but does stick to the bottom. I ended with 3 3/4 cups or 18.75 oz, but I am in a fairly dry climate so in a humid climate you may need a little more. Also note I use the scoop and level method when measuring in cups).
  • Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours. 
  • Butter a rimmed 15 by 10-inch jelly roll pan (not a standard size cookie sheet!) then line with parchment paper***. Butter parchment paper and set aside.
  • Punch dough down. Dust a working surface lightly with flour and turn dough out onto surface. Sprinkle top of dough with a little flour then roll dough out into an 20 by 18-inch rectangle.
  • Spread 6 Tbsp butter evenly over entire surface (just use your hands). In a small mixing bowl whisk together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle and spread brown sugar mixture evenly over butter layer (try to leave about 1/2-inch border uncovered along all edges). 
  • Beginning on an 18-inch side tightly roll dough into a cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal (brushing a little egg white underneath helps if needed). 
  • Cut into 12 equal portions using a large sharp knife (they should be 1 1/2-inch each). Arrange rolls, spacing evenly apart on prepared baking sheet. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap (leave plastic it a little loose but be sure it fully encloses to keep air out. Also see notes for overnight method as this would be the point to chill****).
  • Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees near the last 20 minutes of rolls rising. 
  • Bake rolls in preheated oven until centers are no longer doughy, about 18 - 22 minutes (center should be 185 degrees on an instant read thermometer). If needed during the last 5 minutes of baking you can tent with foil to prevent excess browning, all ovens vary. 
  • While rolls are baking in a medium mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer whip together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add in vanilla and powdered sugar and whip until light and fluffy. 
  • Spread icing over hot from the oven rolls. Rolls are best served warm. If you have leftover rolls store in an airtight container once cool and rewarm individually on a plate in microwave for about 15 seconds or until soft and warm.

Notes

  • *You can also warm buttermilk gently in the microwave to bring it to room temperature. Heat it on 30% power in a microwave safe cup, in 20 second increments stirring between each, until it registers about 75 degrees on an instant read thermometer (no more than 90 degrees or it will curdle!). 
  • **To quickly bring eggs to room temperature place them in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let rest 10 minutes.
  • ****A 13 by 9-inch baking dish works as well I just like the result of the slightly bigger pan better as they have more room to expand.
  • ****For the overnight method, immediately after you've cut rolls and placed them in pan wrap with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Then following day remove from fridge, keep covered and let rest at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue to bake as directed.
Nutrition Facts
Cinnamon Rolls {Better than Cinnabon!}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 497 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 252mg11%
Potassium 120mg3%
Carbohydrates 73g24%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 635IU13%
Calcium 65mg7%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Originally published December 23, 2017. Text updated Dec. 6, 2019.