Bakery-Style Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe works best if the butter for the dough is very soft. Take the butter out of the fridge a few hours before you want to make the dough to give it time to soften, or even the night before. If you forget, or don't have time to let the butter soften, slice it into tablespoons and knead each piece between your fingers before adding it to the dough.

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Rising time: 9 hours
  • Yield: 8 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, very soft

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or slightly less table salt)

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons milk, whole or 2%
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Special equipment:

Method

1 Make the dough: Warm the milk for 15 to 30 seconds in the microwave, until it's slightly warm to the touch but not steaming. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Let the mixture stand until foamy, about five minutes.

Add the eggs, flour, and salt to the bowl and mix on medium speed until a sticky dough is formed. Beat in the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting until the butter is incorporated before adding the next batch. The butter needs to be very soft for this to work; if the butter isn't incorporating, knead each piece in your fingers until soft before adding it to the dough.

Once all the butter is incorporated, knead the dough for 10 minutes on medium speed (or knead by hand).

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

2 Rise overnight: Shape the dough into a ball, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight, at least 8 hours. It will slowly double in size.

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

3 Cut and shape the rolls: In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator. The dough will be quite stiff and firm, but should roll easily. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin lightly with flour, and roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 12x16 inches in size.

Spread the dough with butter, leaving a 1-inch border on one of the shorter edges. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the butter in an even layer.

Starting from the short edge (the one with butter all the way to the edge), roll the dough into a tight spiral. Pinch the spiral closed (the unbuttered edge should stick to the log of dough). Trim the ends if they are shaggy.

Cut the roll in half crosswise to make 2 pieces. Cut each piece in half again to make 4, and each piece again to make a total of 8 rolls. Place the rolls in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish.

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

4 Cover the rolls with plastic wrap, and let them rise in a warm place for 30 to 90 minutes. Rising time will depend on the temperature in your kitchen. When ready, the rolls should be puffed and pillowy. They should be touching each other with very little space between each roll.

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

5 While the rolls look half-risen, preheat the oven to 350°F.

6 Bake the rolls: Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden on top and puffy. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes before frosting.

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

7 Make the frosting: While the rolls bake, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Add half of the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat for 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and vanilla, and beat for 1 additional minute. Add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is as spreadable as you like.

8 Serve warm: Frost the cinnamon rolls generously while they're still a bit warm. Serve immediately.

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.

Comments

  • Carol Abnett

    Hi Cindy,
    Once you have rolled out the dough and cut into rolls could you then place them back into the fridge to rise so they can be baked latter in the day?
    Thanks Carol.

    • Cindy Rahe

      Yes! you can definitely do that, just take them out a bit before, like 30-60 minutes (maybe put them on the oven while it preheats), to take the chill off. They could also take an additional minute or two, so just keep on eye on them.

      • Jonathan

        Looks tasty! Would they last in the fridge overnight after they are cut? I’m thinking of taking this on a camping trip!

        • Emma Christensen

          You mean after shaping the rolls, but before baking them? Yes, you can do that! Cindy recommends letting the rolls come to room temp and rise for 30 to 60 minutes or so before baking. Enjoy!

  • Malika Black

    These are perfect for breakfast. Anything that tastes like brioche is good for me!
    They can be made in advance, I’m sure they freeze well, at least without the frosting.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • 2pots2cook

    With you all the way ! Thank you !

  • Judith Armstrong

    Hi, I’d like to know if you changed any of the proportions in the ingredient list from the Tiny Nevadan Town? I’m in Truckee at 6000′ , do you have any suggestions for the altitude?

    • Cindy Rahe

      Hi! Cindy here, I wrote the recipe and I currently live in the Reno area, at about 4,400′ and have not had to adjust anything.

  • Richard S

    Interesting recipe. I’ll try it. But I’ll add raisins and skip the frosting.

    • Cathy Turner

      My all time favorite sweet bread, and i have many favorites when it comes to sweet breads.( monkey bread is 2nd in line). I am definitely going to bake these, but i will add pecans and raisins as well. I really appreciate the helpful comments . Thank you Emma Christensen for sharing this.

  • Monica

    These were amazing! I’ve made a lot of cinnamon rolls, but I loved the brioche preparation for the dough and the overnight chill of this recipe! They turned out perfect. Might be my new favorite recipe! I’m blogging about it and will post the link when I finish.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hooray!!! That’s so great to hear. :) Yes, please do share the link when you post it!

  • Jasmine Prasil

    This is probably a fail on a Cinnamon Roll recipe. I am disappointed. The dough came out very “water.” I had to remake the cinnamon rolls using a different recipe. Perhaps it’s my fault that I substituted Coconut Milk for Cow Milk and Coconut Sugar for Regular Sugar but I never had a problem of all the times I subsituted for these things.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Jasmine! So sorry that this didn’t work for you! Do you mean that the dough came out very loose and soft? It’s definitely softer than some other cinnamon roll doughs. If it was more like a batter, then I think something else is going on — it should definitely be a dough, not a batter (like the photos). Did you chill the dough completely (at least 8 hours) after kneading? That’s important for making the soft dough easier to roll out and shape. Also, did you use butter in your dough or did you substitute something else? Butter is crucial for this recipe and I’m not sure if butter substitutes would work quite as well.

  • Jasmine Prasil

    I was able to save this recipe by adding my own touch of some ingredients. This is a good “base” recipe for me then. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jarrett

    Great tasting result!

    I think some ingredients can be reduced (a bit less butter for the filling and a bit less for the frosting). Maybe start with 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar and 1 tbsp milk to check the consistency and flavour (whether you want it to taste more like cream cheese or powdered sugar).

  • Sharon

    These were amazing! Our grandchildren spent the night and preferred these to another special treat. I do not like cream cheese frosting so I drizzled confectioners sugar frosting on them instead.

  • Renee

    Hi there – can’t wait to try this. I would really like to give these in foil tins for Christmas. Do you think I could freeze these at any point before baking to make them ahead? If so t which step?

    Thank you!
    Renee

    • Cindy Rahe

      Hi! Yes, you can freeze these in a foil pan. Make them through the rolling and cutting step and place in the pan but don’t do the second rise, cover, and freeze. When you want to bake them, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Let the rolls rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size. Bake as directed in the recipe. :)

  • Brietta

    Can I let these rise at room temperature for quicker process?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Brietta! Yes, you can let the dough rise at room temp, but know that it’s fairly sticky and floppy (for lack of a better word!). Refrigerating it not only improves the flavor, but makes it easier to work with. When you roll it out, use flour as needed to avoid sticking, but try to avoid working in too much or else the dough will end up tasting floury. Good luck!