Cinnamon Rolls

April 16, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Ooey-gooey and finger-lickin good. If you want someone to fall in love with you, make these cinnamon rolls and a really good cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. Then sit back and act like it was no big deal while they melt in front of you. Erin McDowell

Makes: about 1 dozen fat rolls
Prep time: 12 hrs 45 min
Cook time: 30 min


  • For the dough:
  • 624 grams bread flour (4 1/2 cups)
  • 100 grams sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 10 grams instant dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
  • 15 grams kosher salt (1 tablespoon)
  • 244 grams eggs (cold from the refrigerator) (4 eggs plus 1 yolk)
  • 219 grams milk (cold from the refrigerator) (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)
  • 255 grams soft unsalted butter, plus more for the pan (18 tablespoons)
  • For the filling:
  • 170 grams unsalted butter, melted (12 tablespoons)
  • 113 grams brown sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, beaten with water, for brushing
  • For the icing:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In This Recipe


  1. Make the dough the day before you want to make the cinnamon rolls. To make the dough, combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  2. Add the eggs and milk and mix on low speed until the mixture forms a ball around the hook, 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is very smooth, 5 more minutes. (Note: If you are planning to make the cinnamon rolls on the same day, use room temperature eggs and warm milk.)
  3. Continue mixing the dough on medium speed and add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each addition. All of the butter should be added over 3 minutes of mixing.
  4. Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl and let rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The dough is very enriched, so it may not expand much.
  5. While the dough rises, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Let the mixture firm up to a spreadable consistency at room temperature. Reserve at room temperature.
  6. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and pat out into a rectangle with about 1-inch thickness. Cover directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Note: If you want to make the cinnamon rolls the same day, refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or freeze for 15 to 20 minutes at this point, then continue.)
  7. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Grease a large casserole or 9- x 13-inch baking dish generously with softened butter.
  8. Lightly flour your work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Remove the parchment from the dough, and flour the top surface of the dough. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick.
  9. Dollop the prepared filling all over the dough, then use an offset spatula to spread the filling into an even layer. Try to spread the filling all the way to the edges of the dough so it is fully covered.
  10. Starting with the long side closest to you, begin to roll the dough into a tight spiral. Use your thumbs to prop the dough off the work surface and use your fingers to keep the roll tight while you work.
  11. Slice the finished roll into pieces 1 1/2-inch wide using a serrated knife. Arrange the rolls inside the prepared baking dish, leaving about 1/4 inch between each one. Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  12. Brush the top of the rolls with egg wash and bake until they are golden on the surface and the filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. While the rolls bake, combine the ingredients for the frosting in a medium bowl. Cover and reserve at room temperature.
  13. When the rolls are baked, let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then spread or drizzle the icing on top. Serve warm.

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Reviews (91) Questions (1)

91 Reviews

Paula B. November 15, 2018
Best Cinnamon Rolls I've made but I've only really tried like 3 recipes, however, I'm sure I"ll be returning to this recipe. The dough was nice - springy and moist. The icing got compliments from my husband who thought it was nice and soft but not runny once they cooled. Apparently the wrong kind of icing can be too messy to enjoy. Great flavor. My only hiccup was that I measured everything and still ended up with a sticky dough but I just mixed and added 1-2 tbsp at a time until the dough formed a ball. I was worried that it would make my bread dry and heavy but it didn't. I also forgot about my dough baby and let it rise for like 3 hrs instead of the 1 1/2hrs suggested - flavor was not affected. <br />
debra October 12, 2018
Thank you! I made these for my birthday. They are wonderful! First time ever making these. I was always a bit intimidated. Now I am a pro!
Darling H. January 13, 2018
The dough almost broke my brand new kitchen aid stand mixer- it kept dislodging the bowl there was so much of it. So to get the butter incorporated I divided the dough in two parts and mixed one at a time. Also couldn’t use a speed higher than 2 with<br />It dislodging the bowl. After all that it’s finally in the fridge waiting for tomorrow’s bake!
ashleyamore December 25, 2017
Made this by hand - with high altitude adjustments from and they were perfect. I'll be making this on the reg now, with some various different flavor profiles in addition to baking the recipe as is.
Molly M. December 15, 2017
If I want to make the dough the day before, after which step should I stop and refrigerate?
Molly M. December 15, 2017
nevermind! missed it the first time
moo November 25, 2017
Of all the cinnamon roll recipes I've tried over the years, nay decades, this is the best! Of course I should have expected it to be a great recipe--the dough has over a stick of butter and four eggs! It was sticky but with using bread flour, not unmanageable,
Olivia H. September 2, 2017
I had such high hopes for this recipe since there are so many great reviews but sadly, it was a disaster. I followed directions EXACTLY but I ended up with a sticky, wet dough (even after putting it in the fridge overnight). I went to roll it up after spreading the filling and it just became this pool of dough. I couldn't salvage it even a little bit. It's a huge dissapointment when you waste so many ingredients on such a recipe. I'm surprised no one else ran into this as I'm not a beginner baker. Oh well.
Nancy June 2, 2017
This is a lovely recipe! Looks so easy and therefore encouraging. Success on first try. Adapted to non-dairy (because of what I had in pantry) and they worked beautifully...just use oil at 80% volume of butter (because butter is only about 80% fat) and some soy, seed or coconut milk in the dough. Looking forward to making it with butter next time.
xinekim January 22, 2017
Can you bake this on a sheet pan instead of a baking dish? And would it be prudent to double the recipe?
jjw January 22, 2017
xinekim, Maybe on a lipped sheet pan? But they'd spread and be pretty flat-ish, I'd imagine. More like a danish? And I don't think my mixer could handle a double batch...hope you have a strong one! Good luck :•]
Audrey R. January 19, 2017
I made these cinnamon rolls twice over the holidays - for Christmas and again for New Year's Day. They are the most delicious things I've ever made. I have passed this recipe onto two of my friends who were also blown away by how good they are!
Änneken December 25, 2016
A total showstopper!!! That was the first time I made cinnamon rolls at home and oh boy, I am a glad I used this recipe. Erin McDowell, I commend you! Hands down the most luxurious cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted in my life. I didn't use any mixer, made it entirely by hand (I FaceTimed with family while working in 18 tbsp of butter individually...). Also, in terms of the frosting, I only had 1.5 cups of icing sugar and no heavy cream at home (replaced it with a couple of tablespoons of milk) and it all worked beautifully.
peggy M. December 21, 2016
Wonderful! Yes, the dough does seem sticky at first but it works out in the long run. I am always pleased to see measurements by weight when baking, saves me figuring them out. (I don't really think it's a political thing:))
Elaina B. December 20, 2016
HI! I don't have an electric mixer, I'm wondering if I can hand mix and have the same result?
Sharon G. December 20, 2016
Hi!<br />I made it all by hand and they turned out fantastic!<br /><br />
Sya December 20, 2016
Hi! Can you hand knead the dough instead?
Sharon G. December 20, 2016
I hand kneaded the dough and they turned out great!
Sya December 21, 2016
Thank you, love!
jjw December 19, 2016
Hi Briana, I've frozen them a week ahead to have for Christmas morning, so I think you'd be ok to refrigerate? I went through all the steps, even brushing with egg, then popped them in the freezer. I pulled them out about 45 minutes before baking, put them in the buttered pan to bake, and they were as wonderful as usual. Good luck!
Briana December 19, 2016
Thanks, jjw!
Briana December 19, 2016
I want to make these on Christmas morning but will have to prepare the dough on the 23rd. Does anyone have experience refrigerating two days before baking?
Casey May 1, 2016
13 year old made these this weekend. We kept them in the fridge overnight. Hands down, best cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted. Great, detailed instructions and great recipe. We did change the frosting because we like the cream cheese frosting. Thank you for a great recipe!
Annika S. April 30, 2016
I don't have a dough hook for my mixer. Can I do the kneading by hand? First attempt at making cinnamon rolls!
Jess S. February 29, 2016
Hi there, can bake this in a casserole similar to the one in the image? Say a 29cm oval cast iron casserole from Le Creuset?
Monica8866 November 22, 2015
I have been on a cinnamon roll quest lately, making various recipes and enjoying them all. Oh my goodness, though, these are the best! Call off the dogs, the search is over! No need to try another recipe! Thanks so much for sharing these!