Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

July 21, 2014
8 Ratings
  • Makes 9 to 10 rolls
Author Notes

After much experimentation I found my favorite recipe for cinnamon rolls, and I slathered them with cream cheese frosting for a super decadent finish.

I also picked up one of my favorite tips during my research: using floss or string to cut the dough (it's complicated to explain, so I've taken photo of the process). This process means that even pressure is applied in all directions on the log of dough, which means that the rolls don't get squished when you cut them! (The same method can also be used for cutting Swiss roll cakes neatly.) It's not really necessary, but it makes for very photogenic rolls. —Izy Hossack

What You'll Need
  • For the dough:
  • 3/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 packet (1/2 ounce) active dried yeast
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups white bread flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • For the filling and frosting:
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or white bread flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (divided)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Make the bread dough: In a medium bowl combine the milk and boiling water. Stir them together and then add in the yeast along with 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile place the flours, remaining granulated sugar, salt, vegetable oil, and eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer. (If you don't have a stand mixer, just use a large bowl.)
  3. Pour in the milk mixture and, using the dough hook attachment, mix everything together. Let the mixer knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until it's smooth and quite sticky. (If you don't have a stand mixer, stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon or your hands until it comes together, then knead it on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until smooth.)
  4. Lift the dough out of the bowl and pour some oil into the bowl to grease it. Place the dough back into the oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, then leave it in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Make the filling: In a small bowl stir together the dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and flour. Set aside.
  6. Once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle it with some more flour, then roll it into a 20- x 12-inch rectangle.
  7. Spread the 1/3 cup of softened butter all over the surface of the dough, and then sprinkle over the cinnamon mixture.
  8. Starting at the long edge (20-inch edge) of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly into a long log. Cut off the ends so you have a roughly 18-inch log, then score along the dough every 2 inches so that you can see where you'll be cutting to make 9 cinnamon rolls.
  9. Using either a thread or unflavored dental floss (as shown in the photos) or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 9 pieces.
  10. Place the rolls cut side-down into a large greased tray. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and leave the rolls somewhere warm to rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350° F. When the rolls have risen, remove the plastic wrap and bake them for 20 to 30 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Leave them to cool before frosting.
  11. Make the frosting by creaming together the 1/4 cup of softened butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Spread the frosting all over the cooled rolls.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lynnsy
  • christina albert
    christina albert
  • Adele Beinaraviciute
    Adele Beinaraviciute
  • Robert Edmondson
    Robert Edmondson
  • Delilah
Passionate about cakes, roasted vegetables and anything involving Maldon salt or maple syrup. Izy is a student living in London, UK who spends her spare time blogging and rambling on

18 Reviews

Nicole H. January 8, 2021
These cinnamon rolls are SO good! I’ve made them twice (using regular all purpose flour both times) and they turned out great. The dental floss trick is amazing, thanks for sharing!
Gen April 6, 2020
PERFECT cinnamon buns. Thanks for a great recipe! I decided to forgo the icing and instead brush with a vanilla whiskey syrup while still hot.
JenSays January 6, 2019
I have bulk active dry yeast, rather than packets. Red Star Yeast company and other online sources like the Spruce Eats say that a packet is most commonly equal to 1/4 oz or 2 and 1/4 tsp. For this recipe, should I use 2 and a 1/4 tsp or double that to 4 and a 1/2 tsp? Thanks for any advice!
Lynnsy November 29, 2017
I made dough last night for cinnamon rolls and was looking for the perfect filling--this is definitely it. (My dough recipe is very close to yours, using white whole wheat instead of regular WW, and butter instead of oil) I made it up in the form of a couronne. The filling is absolutely the best I have tried! It has rich flavor, smooth texture and some heft, so it didn't all melt and run into the pan like the usual cinnamon-sugar-butter concoctions. It might just turn me into a morning person! Thank you for sharing!
Stephanie G. April 25, 2016
Tips for doing this by hand?
christina A. December 30, 2015
Can I use butter instead of oil?
g December 24, 2015
can you just use regular all purpose flour instead of whole wheat flour
Anna December 26, 2015
Did you find out if these could be made with regular flour?
Adele B. December 11, 2015
Hi! Just wondering, are these fluffy, or does the Whole wheat flower make them more stiff and crunchy? Thank you!
Robert E. January 17, 2015
I made these tonight. They were a big hit. We had one after dinner and then divvied up the rest for everyone to take home for breakfast tomorrow. They perfectly filled a 9x13 and a 9x9 Pyrex (including the two end pieces). Everyone at dinner enjoyed trying out the dental floss too. Awesome recipe. Thanks for sharing. :)
Delilah December 24, 2014
I can't fully express how much joy I felt using dental floss to create perfect cinnamon rolls. Keeping them in the fridge overnight for Christmas morning.
Elissa December 25, 2014
I agree!!! Wasn't the dental floss the trick--just perfect!!! Can't wait to serve in the am!!!
Elissa December 7, 2014
Would love to prep for Christmas morning--- can they be stored somehow prior to baking?
Izy H. December 9, 2014
Once the rolls are shaped and you've placed them into the baking pans, cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill overnight. In the morning remove the plastic wrap - the rolls should be risen and ready to go straight into a preheated oven.
Elissa December 9, 2014
Thank you so much Izy!!!!!!
Althea D. December 7, 2014
Will be trying for Christmas
Peggy H. December 1, 2014
Can these be frozen at any point along the way?
Izy H. December 9, 2014
Once you've cut the rolled dough into individual pieces, place into a baking pan, then place that into a large ziplock bag and freeze. When you want to bake them, take out of the freezer (leave in the bag) and let them defrost, do the final rise, remove from the bag and bake.