Easy Cinnamon Rolls (VIDEO)
Big, soft, homemade Cinnamon Rolls have the best cream cheese icing and they always disappear fast! As my sister puts it, they are “better than Cinnabon!”
The sweet smell of homebaked treats wafting through your kitchen is completely irresistible. Some of our favorites are Chocolate Chip Cookies, moist Banana Bread, and these Cinnamon Rolls! They literally melt-in-your-mouth warm from the oven with some of the glaze melting between each sweet bun.
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Easy Cinnamon Rolls:
We love that these easy cinnamon rolls can be made within a couple of hours with very little active time. I’m sharing my best tips for quick rising dough using instant yeast. If you’re new to working with yeast doughs, see our tips below so you can be confident.
Cinnamon Roll Icing:
The fluffy cream cheese frosting is even easier with just 4 ingredients and it comes together in 1 mixing bowl: cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. This icing is my favorite the next day when you reheat a cinnamon roll and it gets all melty and glazes the sides. If you prefer a glaze, try our salted maple glaze.
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls:
Homemade cinnamon rolls are easier than you think. In fact, there is very little active time – most of the time required is in letting the dough rise and puff up. Watch the video tutorial below and you’ll be a pro in no time!
- Combine and knead dough 3 min, cover and rise 30 min in a warm spot
- Roll into a 10×17 rectangle and spread with softened butter
- Sprinkle on cinnamon-sugar and roll tightly into a log
- Cut into 12 pieces, transfer to a buttered dish, cover, and proof 20-30 min in a warm place
- Brush tops with melted butter and bake
- Make the icing and spread onto warm rolls.
How Do I Know When I’ve Added Enough Flour?
The right dough consistency is key with cinnamon rolls. If you add too much flour, they won’t rise as well. First, be sure to MEASURE CORRECTLY.
You’ll know you have added enough flour when the dough still feels lightly tacky/sticky to the touch while kneading, but won’t stick to clean and dry fingertips. I knead with one hand and keep the other clean to test and make sure I have added enough flour.
Can I Use Less Butter?
The butter plays a crucial role in how moist the cinnamon rolls are and also allows the cinnamon sugar mixture to bake into the cinnamon rolls. Unless you want a dry cinnamon roll, don’t skimp on the butter. In fact, you can throw all modesty out the window and use even more inside the cinnamon rolls and brush the tops with double the butter!
Can These Be Made Ahead?
If you’re wanting to prep cinnamon rolls the day before and enjoy freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the morning for the holidays or a special occasion, check out our Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe.
Tips for Working with Yeast:
Be Sure to Use Instant or Rapid Rise Yeast which is a fast-acting and quick-rising yeast. It speeds up the process. We use the Red Star Brand Rapid Rise Yeast and you can also use their Platinum Yeast. Note: Rapid Rise yeast is not the same as “Active Dry Yeast” which requires an additional proofing.
Heat Kills Yeast and stops the rising process. Never overheat the liquids (they should be 110˚ to 115˚F) and keep oven at 100˚F if proofing in the oven. I double-check temperatures with an instant-read thermometer.
Proofing: Yeast doughs require rising times. In most cases, you can cut the rising time by proofing in a warm place like a 100˚F oven. If you don’t have a low heat proofing setting, you can warm your oven to the lowest heat setting for 2 minutes and turn it OFF. Set the dough bowl over a towel in the oven to proof, just don’t forget the towel in the oven.
Why Isn’t My Yeast Dough Rising?
If your dough is not rising and puffing up as expected, these are the common reasons:
- Too cold – set the dough in a warmer place (100˚F oven).
- Too hot – if oven or milk were too hot, it can kill the yeast
- Old or expired yeast – start over with new yeast.
- Too much flour – a dense dough won’t rise properly
How to Reheat Cinnamon Rolls:
If you have refrigerated your cinnamon rolls, you can quickly warm them up in the microwave for 18-20 seconds. The dough becomes soft and the frosting softens and melts like a thick glaze over the cinnamon roll. A re-heated cinnamon roll is just as enjoyable as a fresh one and I’d argue the glaze gets even better!
More Homemade Bakery-Quality Desserts:
- Baklava – authentic and excellent
- Eclairs – stuffed with custard, smothered in chocolate
- Cream Puffs – with our top pastry dough
- Baked Donuts – filled with jelly
Watch Natasha Make Cinnamon Rolls:
This easy cinnamon rolls recipe never fails to impress. I hope you’re inspired to discover a new favorite.
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Easy Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Big, soft, homemade Cinnamon Rolls have the best cream cheese icing and they always disappear fast! They are incredible warm from the oven with some of the glaze melting between each sweet bun.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls:
For the Cinnamon Roll Filling:
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter softened, plus more to for grease pan
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
For the Cream Cheese Icing:
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls:
Add 3 cups flour (measured correctly*) and stir in with a firm spatula or wooden spoon. Add more flour 1 Tbsp at a time just until dough is no longer sticking to fingertips or the walls of the bowl. It should still feel slightly sticky but won’t stick to clean/dry fingertips. Knead dough by hand for 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm 100˚F oven for 30 minutes (or at room temp 1 hour), until doubled in size.
Generously dust a clean work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and roll into even 17″x10″ rectangle, squaring off the sides. Dot the surface of dough with 6 Tbsp softened butter and spread it out evenly all the way to the edges.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp cinnamon and sprinkle ALL OF IT evenly over buttered dough. Roll the dough up starting with one of the longer sides and work in a typewriter motion, keeping a tight roll. Once it's rolled up, push ends in slightly to make them a little more uniform then slice into 12 equal-sized rolls.
Butter sides and bottom of a 9×13 baking pan with 1 Tbsp butter and arrange cinnamon rolls, evenly spaced with the cut-side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm 100˚F oven 20-30 minutes, (or room temp 50-60 min), until puffed. Do not proof too long.
Brush tops with 1 Tbsp melted butter and bake at 350˚F for 22-24 mins or until tops are lightly golden. Let cool in pan 15 minutes then frost warm buns generously with the cream cheese glaze (instructions below).
How to Make Cream Cheese Icing:
In a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream together 4 Tbsp softened butter and 4 oz cream cheese. Beat in 1/2 Tbsp vanilla then add 1 cup powdered sugar and continue mixing on high speed until fluffy (3-4 min), scraping down the bowl as needed.
*On Measuring Flour: Fluff up flour then spoon into a dry measuring cup. Level off the top.
**Liquid should not be hotter than 115˚F and oven no hotter than 100˚F or you will cook and ruin the yeast.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen