Cinnamon Rolls

June 20, 2021
30 Ratings
Photo by Erin McDowell
  • Prep time 12 hours 45 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes about 1 dozen fat rolls
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 Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

Note: The pan pictured above is the Staub 12.75 x 9" Cast-Iron Oval Baking Dish ( —The Editors —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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. We used this 12.75- x 9-inch Staub Oval Baking Dish:
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Pat
  • debra
  • Smaug
  • Marina D Polak
    Marina D Polak
  • Katie Beach
    Katie Beach
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

128 Reviews

Pat March 6, 2023
I am not the most experienced baker. I do make yeast bread and scones well. I followed this recipe to the t. The rolls were far from fluffy. I'll try again someday. My husband liked them but he doesn't like fluffy.
debra March 10, 2022
These were the absolute best cinnamon rolls I have EVER made. I don't eat many cinnamon rolls because the dough is always so dense. However, the dough on these rolls were FABULOUS! And may I add VERY RICH! I used evaporated milk instead of whole milk because I ran out. I neglected to dilute it but I still loved the outcome. I needed to add a just a touch of flour but this recipe was flawless in my book.
Dicaron February 19, 2022
Best cinnamon buns ever!
Nobody explains the baking process better than Erin does. She even compares the failures so we can see exactly what is meant. Love the way she approaches recipes and have learned a lot.
Smaug January 27, 2022
In case you're not having your bowling team over for breakfast, this recipe is easily divided.
Smaug February 2, 2022
This comment was from an entirely different recipe, don't know how it got here. This is probably easy enough to divide if you can find the right size pan, but I haven't tried it.
cocoloco October 11, 2021
Dough is incredibly sticky, added a couple tbsp of flour and decided to just ~roll~ with it. Rise took abt 2 hours, just let it double in size. For the next day, make sure you put a lot of flour down before the filling part - it gets getting stickier and harder to work with as the butter melts and I couldn't cut them - had to bung it back in fridge for 2h.

Makes enough for two chunky caterpillars - I did cinnamon pecan + chocolate hazelnut. The buns are weightless and delicious, if rather buttery. Would recommend!
Marina D. June 15, 2021
Does anyone know why my rolls were swimming in butter/sugar syrup while baking? I was not able to bake properly because they were sitting in syrup
Katie B. December 24, 2020
Baked these this morning--holy moly, THE BEST cinnamon rolls, full stop. They have ruined us for all other cinnamon rolls, for all others are but pale immitations & just not worth the calories IMO.

A couple of notes:
1. I prepped everything 2 days ahead; rolled em up and set em in a greased pan, covered in plastic wrap & sat in the fridge for 2 days. No problems there, make em way ahead of time & have em on hand for whenever, they will do fine.

2. It's just me & husband in the house, so I halved the recipe. This yeilded 8 fat rolls, so I baked 4 this morning & I have 4 more chillin in the fridge for tomorrow morning (money in the bank, ya'll). 1/2 of the frosting amount is PLENTY, but do yrself a solid & use vanilla bean paste & a splash of KY bourbon.

3. I let my runny room temp filling sit in the freezer for about 15 min--you want a paste consistency so it isn't too oozy.

4. Speaking of the filling: sprinkle in some orange zest (and bourbon?). This recipe is a little fussy, and you are putting in some extra effort here, so why not really go for it, right?

5. I received an imaginary Paul Hollywood handshake for these rolls.
Kittie M. December 24, 2020
Katie, thanks for the tips! I too am cooking for 2 and love the idea of halving the recipe. Glad to know it was successful. Also, I just really got a kick from your comments. Made me smile! More bourbon? Of course! 😄
Joel R. October 18, 2020
I made these for my family on a Fall Break school break. These rolls are delicious! This was my third time making them and definitely the best attempt. I have only made them the same day. My electric LG oven has a "Proof" setting and I used it for the first rest (dough placed in buttered dutch oven with lid on for 1.5 hours). And, I also used the proof setting for last rest after the compiled rolls are placed into their baking dish. I also use 2.5 tbls of cinnamon when making the filling. Great recipe!
Cynthia S. October 10, 2020
Good stuff - been making it this way long before the appearance of this recipe since it’s really the same brioche-based recipe by renowned baker , Joanna Chang. For first class technique and recipes pick up one of her books.
Teresa September 27, 2020
Very disappointing. Too much butter in this recipe. The dough is so dense, I could barely get a rise. And what’s with the measurements? 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons? Really? As I ate one, I finally understand what Paul Hollywood means by “no lamination”. I’ll stick to Julia Child’s cinnamon roll recipe: works every time and well written.
Smaug January 27, 2022
Would 7/8 of a cup or 7 ounces be easier? Most people don't have a 7/8 cup measure so will probably do it by measuring a cup and subtracting an ounce (two tablespoons).
JamieATL June 21, 2020
Divine! Lots of steps but straight forward and easy to follow. We did double the vanilla in the icing, and since I have a convection oven we baked at 350 for 20 minutes. They are light, buttery and perfect.
NXL April 26, 2020
This dough is rich and buttery and a lot of fun to work with, although it is very soft and delicate to roll. It stuck to the paper during the overnight stay, so next time I'd put it directly onto an oiled pan. The filling is good, but not quite cinnamony for me, so I'd probably bump that up a little or ass more nutmeg. Altogether a good recipe and fun baking project.
Jenna April 5, 2020
Hi everyone, for the past month I have been baking various cinnamon bun recipes, like the many "Cinnabon Copy Cat" recipes and others that claim to be "the best." They are actually very similar in composition, with about 4 (to 4.5) cups of flour (bread or all-purpose), milk, 2-4 eggs, 1-2 packets of yeast, and so on. They also share the same process of production. The recipe at hand IS, IMHO "The Best"! It has more egg and MUCH more butter, that is incorporated late in the mixing/kneading process. There is also a two-step treatment of the dough after the first rise, in which you press it into a cookie sheet, chill, and then roll-out the chilled dough--which works beautifully. (The dough is especially easy to handle.) Once baked, these buns have a chewy, pillow-y, melting quality in the mouth that is just heaven and quite unlike any others. Really, they make all the other "best" buns seem like wheat bread and they easily take the bun up a notch from the Cinnabon buns at the mall. So, many thanks to Erin for this splendid recipe!
Smaug January 27, 2022
This type of enriched dough is pretty common (with variations on how enrichhed) and can be used for any number of purposes; they do generally handle much better cold.
Kittie M. January 1, 2020
I've made these 3 times. Each time, I used a different butter and I found the butter really makes a difference in how the dough handles and in the consistency of the filling. However, each time the filling has been runnier than I would think it should be, and when I roll up the dough, the filling squeezes out. Anyone else have this problem? How did you solve? Refrigerate the filling?
P S. January 2, 2020
The butter in the filling is too warm when you begin to roll them up. spread the filling and take your time getting it even across the dough and up to the edges. the butter will stiffen the filling as it cools so taking time and not rushing is key. i use the generic unsalted butter from walmart for all my baking with excellent results.
Kittie M. January 2, 2020
I make the filling the day before I bake the rolls and it sits out at room temperature, per the instructions in the recipe. It just never stiffens up as much as I'd think it should.
P S. January 2, 2020
I would chill it for just a couple minutes in the fridge. just be careful that it doesn't firm up too much on you. assuming you are using a basic stainless mixing bowl give it 60 to 90 seconds in the freezer, stir it up good and gauge the consistency. you need to be able to spread it. the other option is to spread it an put it in the fridge for a couple minutes before you roll it up. if your fridge is like mine there isn't always enough room. if the weather permits (cold and dry) put it outside. the filling should set up with out impacting the dough and your ability to roll it up...
Kittie M. January 3, 2020
My thought, too, to refrigerate it for a bit to thicken. Thanks!
frizz January 1, 2020
I made these today by hand with amazing success! I was tempted to add more flour but didn't based on the comments below. I kept adding butter to the dough as directed, and it all came together! Trust the recipe -- after the dough came out of the fridge, it was perfect.

The butter from the dish oozed onto the floor of my oven, so I might cut back on it a little for next time. That was the only adjustment I'd make. I love the texture, flavor, and wow factor.

Overall - huge success. I'll definitely make again!
P S. November 10, 2019
Good recipe. Just did a test run before the holidays. The key is to follow the steps and give yourself time the day before when making the dough. i used regular flour with no issues. may dial back the butter in the dough, cut the recipe in half and allow the dough to proof a little longer. im a sticky bun person but will break this recipe out Thanksgiving weekend. Overall I would go for it if your on the fence trying it.
Kittie M. November 9, 2019
I made these this morning for my husband's birthday breakfast. Definitely a winner! I, too, have searched for years for a roll recipe that would turn out this good. Like others, I wondered if my KitchenAid was up to the task, but it held out! Only flaw was I forgot to put on the egg wash! There it was on the counter as I pulled the rolls out of the oven! :-) Nothing was particularly difficult to do. The rolls were huge! I really did not have 1/4 inch of space between them in my 13x9 dish. Maybe they rose more than normal? Anyway, next time I will divide the dough and make two pans of smaller rolls. Has anyone else done this? If you did, how long did you bake them?
Joel R. January 24, 2020
My daughter and I made smaller rolls. We divided the rolled dough into 16 rolls and placed in two baking dishes for the same time and temp. The rolls were not tall (we didn’t do the final dough rest with the rolls in the pans before baking). I’d recommend trying smaller rolls.
Kittie M. November 9, 2019
Made these this morning for my husband's birthday breakfast. Definitely a winner! I, too, have struggled to find a recipe that would turn out good and this one definitely does. Like others, I wondered if my KitchenAid would meet the task, but it held out! I didn't find anything particularly hard to do, but I forgot the egg wash! :) There it was on the counter as I pulled the rolls out of the oven! The rolls were huge and I really didn't have enough space in my 13x9 dish for a 1/4 inch space between them. Maybe my dough rose more than usual. Anyway, may divide the dough next time and make two pans of smaller rolls. Has anyone else done this? If you did, how long did you bake them?
ccarpe01 October 29, 2019
Absolutely delicious!!
Laura October 21, 2019
Please give the measurements of the rectangle. Guessing 18" x ?