Serves a Crowd

Grandma Bercher's Cinnamon Rolls

November 11, 2013
9 Ratings
  • Makes 12 rolls
Author Notes

My great grandmother, Frances Bercher, was famous for her cinnamon rolls. She made these sweet, doughy buns for kaffeeklatsch, when the women of the family would bring their children and gather for kaffee (German for coffee) and klatsch (a bit of gossip). I've taken her recipe and made it my own, carrying on the cinnamon roll tradition for my family. Don't be daunted by the process, baking your own cinnamon rolls from scratch is simple and this recipe foolproof. This recipe takes about 3 - 3 1/2 hours, but I've included the option to let the rolls rise overnight in the fridge so you don't have to spend so much time preparing them in the morning. The cinnamon rolls are best eaten just after coming out of the oven, but will also be delicious stored in the fridge and reheated the next day. Just make sure to spoon over the glaze immediately before serving. —la domestique

What You'll Need
  • For the dough
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons (or 1/4 ounce pack) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (soft)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil for greasing
  • Filling and Glaze
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (soft and spreadable)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
  1. Heat the water and 1/2 cup of the milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat until warm. (The liquid should be no warmer than a baby’s bottle.) If it gets too hot, pour it into another container and stir until just warm.
  2. Pour 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl and whisk to combine evenly. Break the butter into small pieces and use a spatula to stir it into the flour mixture until the texture is crumbly and the butter is well combined with the flour. Pour over the warm milk and water, stirring until combined, then beat in the vanilla and one egg for a few seconds until the mixture is fully incorporated.
  3. Add more of the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. It should be soft and easy to handle. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. Shape into a ball. Grease a large bowl with oil and add the dough, turning to grease all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with butter. Gently punch down the dough, then roll it out on an oiled surface to an 18 x 10 inch rectangle. (If you rub the countertop down with vegetable oil the dough won’t stick and you won’t have to add any extra flour.) For the filling, spread the 8 tablespoons softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border on the long side farthest from you. Stir together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the butter, and then the raisins.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Starting at the long side of the rectangle closest to you, roll the dough tightly into a log, toward the 1 inch clean border on the other side. Using a knife, cut the log into 12 pieces, each 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the cinnamon rolls in the greased baking dish and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Alternatively place the rolls into the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and put them straight in the fridge to rise overnight. Remove the rolls from the fridge the next morning and let them finish rising in a warm place for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, while you heat the oven and continue with the next step.)
  6. Whisk together 1 egg and 1 teaspoon milk and brush lightly over the top of cinnamon rolls. Bake the cinnamon rolls on the center rack for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly. Whisk together the powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract and milk to make the glaze. Drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Nicole Burdette
    Nicole Burdette
  • lorie brand
    lorie brand
  • Leilani Hoch
    Leilani Hoch
  • MaSaBeMama
I'm a girl with passion for her pantry. Teller of stories, intuitive cook, food maven.

12 Reviews

ninadora December 19, 2022
I love this recipe. I've made a rediculoys number of cinnamon roll recipes and this is in the top 3. I love that you don't need a stand mixer.
NatalieAnn March 19, 2020
These were simple and superb! I browned the butter for the glaze and it was terrific!
Marty H. December 26, 2017
These were great! First time I made cinnamon rolls and they were fantastic. I was worried that storing them in the fridge overnight, then letting them sit for an additional rise didn't quite work as I was expecting them to rise more, but I let them sit for over an hour, baked them and they were great, puffed up perfectly during baking. My family was thrilled. One comment: I might up the qty of raisins next time but that's just personal preference. This is a keeper!
Taylor S. December 25, 2015
Nothing but rave reviews for these rolls! I substituted cream cheese for the butter for the icing and brown sugar for the white sugar in the filling but other than that followed the recipe exactly. These were extremely easy to prepare - almost no work even with the mixing and kneading by hand! And the nutmeg in the dough is a pleasant surprise :)
Nicole B. December 12, 2015
I have tried just about every cinnamon roll recipe on the internet, and these are by far the best! This was an easy recipe to follow and they turned out light and tender with just the right amount of sweetness. Thank you for sharing the recipe. My twins thank you too!

Malu October 12, 2015
Loved this recipe, easy and delicious, thank you!
za'atar January 4, 2015
These had such a wonderful texture. I was excited to find a cinnamon roll recipe I could follow exactly and have it turn out perfectly.
lorie B. December 26, 2014
These were amazing for Xmas morning. Added a few drops of fiori di Sicilia to the icing for a subtle infusion of citrus
sweetlittlebrownies December 6, 2014
Just amazing. So worth the effort! Check out my version of these cinnamon rolls on:
Leilani H. November 23, 2014
This was amazing!! I opted for whole wheat flour, the overnight option and swapped the butter for cream cheese in the frosting, and they were the best. Have eaten 2 this morning. Thank you for sharing :)
Laura I. November 7, 2014
Absolutely loved this recipe. I used organic spelt flour instead of all-purpose baking flour and it was wonderful. Simply fantastic!
MaSaBeMama November 25, 2013
always in search of the best cinnamon roll recipe. Will try this soon. Love the photo! and your story. Thanks for sharing!!!