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Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe?

I am hosting my young nieces for a sleepover this evening. I want to make cinnamon rolls with them as an introduction to baking with yeast. The problem is that I don't have a tried and true cinnamon roll recipe. The last ones I made were Cooks Illustrated and I found them a little bready for my liking. Any good recipes out there? Thanks!

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  1. Too bready? Isn't that what cinnamon rolls are? I like Dorie Greenspan's sticky buns made w/ her brioche from Baking from My Home to Yours. If you're making something with them, they might like making monkey bread. It's really the same idea as cinnamon rolls, only more fun to make and eat.

    If you want a good basic cinnamon roll, Paula Deen's is pretty good. I don't use melted butter in between but softened butter, and brown sugar in the middle, not white, no glaze--but sometimes use cream cheese frosting.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      Thanks for the suggestions - I forget about monkey bread - something I don't think I've had since I was in girl scouts. I did look at the Paula Deen recipe but dismissed it because of her use of white sugar in the middle, good to remember that I can just make my own substitutions.

      1. re: glittersocks

        I usually use the dough recipe accurately but wing the rest.

    2. The Pioneer Woman has a pretty good cinnamon roll recipe and it makes a lot. I vary the recipe by adding pecans and instead of putting maple and coffee in the icing, I just use vanilla.

      I've always wanted to try Julia Child's recipe, which uses brioche dough, but it's way too time consuming to make for that morning's breakfast.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Avalondaughter

        I make them the night before, do the second rise in the refrigerator overnight and then bake in the morning. There's no other way we'd have them in the morning otherwise!

      2. Have you tried this one from Cook's Country? It uses a modified brioche dough.
        http://www.cookscountrytv.com/recipes... (requires free registration


        We love this recipe, although it makes cinnamon buns almost as big as a child's head.

        4 Replies
        1. re: DebL

          Thanks for the link - this is the recipe I went with and the rolls looks beautiful. I ended up making 12 rather than 8 but they seem plenty big.

          1. re: DebL

            Could you post this recipe please?

            1. re: AmandaCA

              Here is the paraphrased recipe for the Cook's Country Ultimate Cinnamon Buns.

              3/4 c whole milk, heated to 110 F
              1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
              3 eggs, room temp
              4 1/4 c AP flour
              1/2 c cornstarch
              1/2 c sugar
              1 1/2 t salt
              12 T unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

              1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
              1 1/2 T cinnamon
              1/4 t salt
              4 T unsalted butter, softened

              4 oz. cream cheese, softened
              1 T whole milk
              1 t vanilla
              1 1/2 c confectioner's sugar

              For the dough: Adjust oven rack to middle of oven and heat to 200 F. When the oven reaches 200 F, turn off. Line 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil & allow excess foil to hang over pan edges. Grease foil and a medium bowl.

              Whisk milk and yeast in measuring cup until yeast is dissolved, then whisk in eggs. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add warm milk mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 min. Increase speed to medium, and add butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix until smooth and dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 min. (If dough is still wet and sticky, add up to 1/4 c flour, a tbsp at a time, until the dough releases from the bowl. ) Turn out onto clean surface and knead into a smooth, round ball. Transfer to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hrs.

              For the filling: Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll into 18-inch square, spread with butter, and sprinkle with filling. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll dough into tight cylinder, pinch lightly to seal seam, and cut into 8 pieces (or for smaller cinnamon buns, into 12 pieces) . Transfer cut-side up to prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size.

              For the glaze, and to bake: Heat oven to 350 F. Whisk cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and confectioner's sugar on medium bowl until smooth. Bake buns until deep golden brown and filling is melted, 35 - 40 min. Transfer to wire rack and top with 1/2 c glaze. Cool for 30 min. Use excess foil to lift buns from pan and top with remaining glaze.

              To make ahead: After transferring pieces to prepared pan in step 3, buns can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 24 hrs. When ready to bake, let sit at room temperature for 1 hr. Remove plastic wrap and continue with step 4.

              1. re: toveggiegirl

                A must try even tho' yeast hates me.

          2. When I make cinnamon buns I use twice the amount of filling called for as I love them to be extremely ooey and gooey and buttery.

            1. Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls are the best I've come across. I scale the recipe down to 1/4, though; that's way too many cinnamon rolls!

              1. It's a little late for baking tonight, but my favorite recipe is actually for pumpkin cinnamon rolls. They don't really taste pumpkiny, but they're moist and a beautiful golden color. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour (on their site), and there are pics on my blog.

                1 Reply
                1. This is my favorite recipe for cinnamon rolls. Nothing I've ever tasted has come close. I never put icing on mine (that would cover up the fabulous taste of the homemade rolls!), but when I make them for bake sales, I bow to the sweet tooth and expectations of others, and make cream cheese icing. On the side. And encourage them to try it without the icing first.

                  Place 9 cups flour in a tupperware fix n mix bowl (They don't call it that any more. It's huge. The biggest one they have. It might now be called a "Thatsa Bowl" but it's hard to tell online. Anyway, get a BIG bowl, preferably one that you can cover easily. The tupperware is fabulously handy). make a well in the flour.

                  Scald: 1 1/2 cups milk and cool with 1 1/2 cups cold water (you're aiming for 115 degrees)
                  Add: 2/3 c sugar, 2 t salt, 2 pkg yeast, 4 beaten eggs

                  Pour liquid mixture into well. DO NOT MIX.

                  Put lid on and wait until it pops off (about 25-30 minutes)
                  While waiting, melt and cool two sticks of butter.

                  When lid pops off, add melted butter and mix all together. It will be wet and kind of lumpy, but don't worry.

                  Put lid back on and wait until it pops once again. (another 25-30 minutes)

                  Take half the dough out of the bowl and roll into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. (You can sprinkle on some butterscotch pudding powder if you'd like. Makes it extra gooey and adds good flavor. Especially good if you add chopped pecans.) Roll up the rectangle from the short end of the rectangle (to get the maximum swirls in each roll).

                  I use a length of button thread to cut my cinnamon rolls. Slide the thread under the tube of cinnamon roll, cross the string over the top and pull...kind of garrote it. You get a perfect, unsmooshed cut. Trim off the ends of the tube and make 8 even cinnamon rolls from the remainder.

                  Repeat with the remaining dough.

                  Place rolls in 2 9x13 pans. Put the ends in an 8x8 scrap pan. When you put the rolls in their pans, coat the outside of each roll with melted butter. This will make them easy to separate. I like to sprinkle some extra cinnamon sugar on the top of each roll.

                  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. I like 22 minutes, but it will vary from oven to oven. Caution--when you pull these out at the appropriate time they won't look all golden brown like you might expect. If you let them go until they're golden brown on top, they'll taste dry and unremarkable. That's one of the reasons I sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the top, so that people see some of the brown color they expect.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: modthyrth

                    This is the oddest recipe for a yeast dough I've ever seen. I'm curious where it's from. It also sounds as if these rolls are not given any time to rise, but baked as soon as they're formed.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Sounds unusual to me too, but I'm tempted to try it today. :)

                      1. re: roxlet

                        We've been making them for at least 30 years, and I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, though I suspect it was developed by Tupperware to help sell their fix-n-mix bowl, since the language on my copied recipe card refers to that Tupperware product specifically, and uses it to time the recipe. It really does work brilliantly! I love my fix-n-mix bowl!

                        There's no specific rise time after the rolls are formed, but the dough ends up getting some just by the fussy nature of making cinnamon rolls. You take half the dough and form the rolls. These 8 rolls fill a 9x13 pan. The two ends get put in a 9x9 pan to wait for the other ends. Pan gets set on the pre-heating oven while I form the rest of the rolls. By the time all the rolls are formed, oven is up to temperature and I pop in the first pan. Second pan gets to wait the 22 minutes it takes to bake the first pan (I don't have a convection oven, so I do one at a time).

                        The entire process takes me three hours start to finish, so there's plenty of rise time built in. The rolls won't look all big and puffy and fill the pan before you put it in the oven to bake, but they do puff up beautifully and fill the entire pan as they bake.

                        I will say that this recipe seems incredibly tolerant of abuse. I know for a fact that one of the first times I made the recipe when I was about 10, I went outside to play and forgot about the dough. Several hours and one frustrated mother later, we decided to try to form and bake the dough anyway. The rolls were, miraculously, still perfect.

                          1. re: angelsmom

                            I am curious also as to how these turned out chocolatechipkt..

                            1. re: xiaobao12

                              Oh I'd completely forgotten about these! It's too warm to bake here now, but I'll make a note to try them in the fall.

                      2. Joy the Baker's are possibly the best cinnamon rolls I've had yet: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2008/...

                        I made these last night; they're baked in standard cupcake/muffin pans in order to keep the coils snug, and for the roll itself to remain compact and resemble more of a middle, imo THE very best part of the roll. They do in fact double in size when the dough is placed inside the wells, but in this environment the dough behaves differently than it would when shoved together with the rest of the bunch in a pan where the rolls look like they'd run for the hills..

                        She mentions that the dough is from a recipe for Norwegian Coffee Cake. It gets seasoned with a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar, as well as the filling, and the dough also gets a hint of cardamom and nutmeg. I rarely change a recipe the first time around, but I needed to add a teaspoon of cocoa powder to the cinnamon filling, something I learned to do with Dorie's cinnamon swirl bread. It tends to tone down the cinnamon a bit; not at all the same as using less, but lends a je ne sais quois to the flavor since the addition is barely noticeable. I also don't use citrus zest in this type of dough since the zest reminds me too much of a coffee/crumb cake which I do like very much, but prefer to compartmentalize (could be that ocd that sometimes kicks in).

                        Well, if that's not picky enough, I don't do fussy frosting either, not for cinnamon rolls - (Rhee's on the top of this list, and please, no cream cheese frosting either.) Joy's is plainly perfect, although I omitted the orange zest because I simply didn't have one and it was fine as is. I did add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to the icing - perfect with the bit of lemon juice (citrus in the icing is absolutely okay in my book - just not in the dough of my cinnamon rolls nor raisin swirl bread). She really does get a huge gold star for these, they were gone immediately.

                        The rolls can be frozen in the muffin pan after the final rise, just until they are set, then stacked for storage and thawed completely overnight in the fridge before baking. I'll post a photo next time around, they were gorgeous.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: lilgi

                          I love the idea of adding cocoa to the filling!

                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                            It's one of my favorite tips! I probably would have tried it sooner had it not been that I'm not fond of the combo in reverse (if that makes sense), but the cocoa flavoring the cinnamon just a bit is wonderful. 1/2 teaspoon cocoa is enough for this filling, or you can use the full tsp turning up the cinnamon slightly by 1/4 teaspoon (there's cinnamon in the dough as well).

                            1. re: lilgi

                              Thanks for the cocoa tip. Mr. Pine doesn't care for cinnamon, so I usually just reduce the amount called for or add a bit of espresso powder. Will give cocoa a try. Appreciate your posting.

                          2. re: lilgi

                            I meant to post this one by her as well which would be an excellent alternative to a cinnamon roll. Not sure if I'll be trying this one soon enough, but the photo really does look fabulous.

                          3. I made these for Christmas breakfast and I will never make another cinnamon roll recipe. The brioche dough laminated with cream cheese is pure genius. Every bite of these was soft, gooey, sweet and delicious. ETA: I left out the raisins, but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: biondanonima

                              I made the Saveur recipe yesterday. They proofed beautifully, but the rolls seemed to flatten quite a bit during baking. I wonder if the cream cheese might have been the cause for this. They were delicious, but I was disappointed that they weren't nearly as high as they were when they went into the oven.

                              1. re: gmm

                                too hot of an oven temp? who knows. good news is they were delicious.

                            2. This might not bee too helpful since it's not online, but I like the cinnamon rolls from the bread baker's apprentice (http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Bakers-Ap...). They're really rich and buttery, not too bready.

                              1. absolute awesome recipe.....http://thepioneerwoman.com/

                                She takes you step by step, and the results are amazing.

                                1. I prefer Peter Rinehart's cinnamon roll recipe. http://pinchmysalt.com/2009/07/22/cin...

                                  I roll them out much thinner and add different spices(Penzey's baking spice, plus extra allspice, nutmeg, plus 1 C. of toasted pecans to the filling.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                    These are my next do cinnamon rolls. I don't know why I didn't come across them earlier since i have the book but maybe because I immediately flip to Dorie Greenspan's when I want rolls that I haven't looked further.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      The King Arthur cinnamon rolls are good but Ive also played with the recipe. I use milk instead of water, plus the dried milk powder. I use a mix of spices instead of only cinnamon. I use brown sugar instead of white in the filling, plus I brush the rolled dough with butter before adding the sugar and spice mixture.


                                  2. These Chelsea Buns are gooey and sweet ... I'm inspired to make them again this weekend

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: CocoTO

                                      These are caramel rolls, as opposed to cinnamon rolls?

                                    2. I concurr about The Pioneer Woman's recipe. Idiot proof, freezes great, and I have become a legend at the monthly Moose Lodge Breakfast as Cinnamon Roll Girl...

                                      1. I love Sticky Icky Gicky Cinnamon Rolls from my girlfriend "Peanut".
                                        Today I watched PD and she had on a lady Edie who made her famous cinnamon rolls.
                                        I'll be trying them out this weekend. They call for starter and luckily, I have 25 year old starter.
                                        Lastly I also have a copycat recipe for Cinnabons that I do on occasion for SuperBowl.

                                        For the last two it's all about the overkill amount of glaze.

                                        1. any recipe baked slightly underdone.