Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls is a copycat cinnabon recipe with soft, fluffy, tender, buttery dough in a swirl of cinnamon and brown sugar filling topped with creamy, melt in your mouth cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts.
If craving strikes, you know you can make homemade Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls, just as delicious or even better. The filling and frosting recipe is versatile that you can adjust to suit your taste making it better than store-bought.
Cinnamon rolls are classic bread rolls or pastry rolls served as snack and great with coffee. It is easy to make but proofing the dough takes time.
When going to the mall, as soon as you get closer to the food court the sweet aroma of cinnabon cinnamon rolls are lingering in the air as if it is calling you. It is hard to ignore and you succumbed to have these fluffy sweet rolls at that moment and extra rolls to go.
The great thing about this cinnamon rolls recipe, the same dough can be used to make brioche bread rolls (ensaymada). Isn’t that awesome. It’s 2 types of sweet bread rolls in one dough.
If you have read my ensaymada post and it sounds similar to this one, YES, it is. The dough ingredients and procedures are the same.
How to Make Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
This step by step instructions for Cinnabon cinnamon rolls recipe is easy but very detailed to help 1st time bakers.
Like myself, when I started baking I felt more confident when I am presented with detailed procedures.
(1) Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
This cinnamon rolls recipe uses basic ingredients and you probably have it already.
As I have mentioned above, this dough recipe can make cinnamon buns and brioche bread rolls.
Whenever I make this, I can make more cinnamon rolls and a few brioche bread rolls or vice versa.
Prepare all your Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients.
(a) Yeast – please don’t use expired yeast. If you do, make sure it is active.
(b) All-purpose flour – when measuring flour do the spoon and level method and don’t tap your measuring cup. Don’t just dunk your measuring cup and scoop out flour, you will end up with pack and very dense mixture.
Sifting the flour is optional but it is a habit of mine. I always sift the flour after measuring.
(c) Egg yolk – Leave eggs in room temperature before using.
(c) Butter – Soften butter in room temperature before using.
(d) Milk – Use whole milk.
(e) Brown Sugar & Powdered Sugar – Just enough is used to make this sweet cinnamon buns.
(f) Cream cheese – Adds so much flavor to frosting.
(g) Salt - It enhances the flavor of other ingredients.
(1) Yeast - Some people can get by using expired yeast if store properly in the freezer. But if you are new to baking, please don’t use expired yeast.
Dry Active Yeast or instant yeast is use as leavening to make dough rise.
Although, I’ve been baking for quite a while now, I still prefer to use a packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) of Dry Active Yeast. To activate yeast, it is mixed with lukewarm water and sugar and set aside for 10 minutes.
Water temperature is very important when blooming yeast, it should be between 110 - 115 degrees F.
Heat water in the microwave for 10 seconds then an increment of 5 seconds at a time for about 15 to 20 seconds until it is warm to touch but doesn’t burn your finger.
Notes: TOO HOT will kill the yeast.
If using instant rapid yeast, you can add it directly to ingredients but make sure it is not expired.
The advantage of active-dry yeast, you can tell if it is alive when bloomed while adding rapid instant yeast to your ingredients, there is no way to know if it is alive. If it is bad, then you just wasted all the ingredients.
Where to Rest and Rise the Cinnamon Rolls Dough
Do this before you start making your dough. It has always worked perfectly for me.
(2) This step is optional. If it is cold in your house or has centralized a/c, the best place to rest and rise your dough is in the oven with the door shut.
Set oven to its lowest temperature of 170 degrees F for 4 minutes. At the same time, boil water (half full) in a medium pot. Place uncovered pot of boiling water in the oven to create a warm temperature for your dough to rise.
Otherwise, dough covered with cloth can stay in room temperature in a warmer area in your house.
Make the Cinnamon Rolls Dough
(3) When yeast is ready, combine egg yolk, sugar, salt, butter, ½ cup milk and bloomed yeast in stand mixer with whisk attachment at lower speed (KitchenAid #2) for about 2 minutes.
(4) Switch from whisk to dough hook attachment. Add flour in three batches and remaining milk. Set speed to low (KitchenAid #2) while adding flour then adjust to medium (KitchenAid #4 - #6). This step takes about 5 minutes so do not overwork the dough. Also, don’t forget to scrape the sides and bottom of mixer to well blend the ingredients.
Your dough will get very sticky and it will slightly pull away from the side of mixer with some dough sticking at the bottom.
When done mixing, lightly flour your hands and spatula and remove dough from mixer. Use a spatula to detach the dough from mixer and flip bowl upside down until dough falls on a floured surface.
(5) With your floured hands, form dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased or floured bowl or mixer covered with cloth. Place dough in room temperature or in the oven. No need to cover dough if placed in the oven.
(6) Proof dough for 1 ½ - 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size. If yeast is active and you have dough in a warm place, you’ll be surprised how quickly your dough is rising.
Making cinnamon rolls is easy but proofing the dough takes a while.
(7) Once dough has doubled in size, punch down dough to release air or it will deflate on its own once you remove dough with spatula from bowl. Don’t forget to flour your hands, spatula, working area, rolling pin and cutter.
(8) Kneading is not necessary. Dust dough surface with ½ teaspoon flour for easy handling but avoid adding too much flour to dough.
Cut dough in half. Take one, pull and shape dough into a log. Use a rolling pin, stretch dough from side to side to form a rectangle approximately 17 in x 10 in.
(9) Spread butter on dough surface then combine cinnamon, sugar and flour and evenly spread on dough surface. Roll dough to form a log, evenly cut into 9 pieces and place in a lightly greased mold. Note: If using non-stick mold, no need to grease but grease with butter if using paper liner.
Repeat the same process for the other dough.
Notes: This dough makes 18 medium cinnabon cinnamon rolls. If you like big rolls similar to store-bought don’t divide the dough in half.
If you like to use the other half of dough to make brioche bread rolls (ensaymada), click the link and follow #12 to #21 of recipe card.
(10) Before cutting dough, boil water in pot and place in the oven. Once all the rolls are done, place mold in oven or in room temperature for 1 hour to rise. Remove mold from oven.
(11) Preheat oven and bake at 350 degrees F between 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.
Note: Cinnamon rolls and Brioche Bread Rolls (ensaymada) can be baked together for the same baked time.
(12) Remove rolls in mold as soon as possible and transfer to a serving plate and cool for a couple of minutes then top with cream cheese frosting. Add walnuts or raisins if you like.
How Long to Store Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
After baking, if house temperature is cool, it can stay up to 2 – 3 days in a sealed container at room temperature otherwise refrigerate for a week. Soften and warm in the microwave.
Store in freezer for up to 2 months.
Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
- 1 packet active dry yeast 2 ¼ teaspoons
- ¼ cup water lukewarm
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Cinnamon Rolls Dough Ingredients
- ⅓ cup butter soften can be replaced with shortening
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolk room temperature
- 4 cups all-purpose flour sifted
Cinnamon Rolls Filling
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon flour optional
- ½ cup unsalted butter (spread over on dough surface)
Cinnamon Rolls Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup cream cheese 4 ounces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts optional
Extra flour for Hands and Kitchen Tools
- 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Activate yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment, combine soften butter, sugar, ½ cup milk, salt, egg yolk and activated yeast. Whisk at low speed (KitchenAid #2) for 2 minutes.
- Replace whisk attachment with dough hook. Add flour in 3 batches.
- Add 1st batch of flour and beat at low speed (#2) until combined. Scrape the sides of mixing bowl, add the 2nd batch of flour and the remaining ½ cup of milk. Beat until combined at low speed. Scrape again the sides and add the last batch of flour, beat at low speed until combined. Adjust the speed to medium (KitchenAid between #4 to #6 speed) beat until well incorporated. This process will take about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Don’t overwork the dough.
- Dough will be sticky. Once dough starts to clump up on dough hook and pulls away slightly from the sides, flour spatula and hands. Remove dough and form into a ball.
- Transfer dough in a floured (½ teaspoon flour) or greased bowl covered with cloth.
- Rest and rise dough at room temperature for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until it doubled in size.
- Note: I proofed dough in the oven. Before mixing the dough, boil water (half full) in a medium pot and turn on the oven to the lowest setting of 170 degrees F for 4 minutes. When done, place pot in oven with door shut. This will create a warm environment for dough to rise. This is best done when temperature in your house is cold or has centralized a/c. No need to cover bowl.
- Lightly flour spatula, hands, work area, rolling pin and cutter. Avoid adding too much flour in dough. Remove dough from bowl using spatula. It will deflate on its own without punching the dough.
- Place dough in floured working area. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon flour on top of dough for easy handling. Divide dough into half.
- Take one dough and stretch with a floured rolling pin from side to side to form a rectangle. The approximate size is 17 in x 10 in.
- Combine cinnamon, brown sugar and flour to make filling. Brush dough surface with soften butter and spread cinnamon mixture.
- Roll dough from it widest area into a log. Cut dough to 9 pieces. Place each roll in a greased muffin mold. No need to grease non-stick mold.
- Let it rise in room temperature or place mold in oven with oven door shut for 1 hour to rise. Note: Pot of boiling water should be in oven.
- If you are using oven to rise dough, remove mold from oven.
- Preheat oven and bake at 350 degrees F between 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.
- Remove cinnamon rolls from mold as soon as possible and cool for a couple of minutes. Combine and cream frosting ingredients in a mixer and spread cream cheese frosting on top of rolls. Add chopped walnuts if you like. Enjoy
- If house temperature is cool, store cinnamon rolls in a sealed container up to 2 to 3 days in room temperature then transfer to fridge. Freeze up to 2 months.
- If using a baking pan, add some space in between cinnamon rolls.
- If you like, you can use half of the dough to make brioche bread rolls (ensaymada). Click the link and follow #12 to #21 of the recipe card. Both rolls can be bake together for the same baking time.
This Cinnabon Cinnamon Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting was adapted from Todd Wilbur. The original recipe where I got it from no longer exist.