This homemade cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns recipe makes the best, soft and fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls you’ll ever have. Made with a rich, buttery sweet dough and packed with a cinnamon brown sugar filling, this Cinnabon copycat recipe makes the most perfect cinnamon buns ever!
The Best Cinnamon Rolls
I love the wonderful aroma and delicious taste of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
The golden brown, fluffy dough, and the ooey-gooey buttery, brown sugar cinnamon mixture swirling through the soft roll, make these cinnamon buns completely irresistible.
A great breakfast treat any day of the week but especially during the holiday season.
Why You’ll Love These Homemade Cinnamon Buns
- Cinnabon Copycat: They taste like the famous Cinnabon without the price tag!
- Crowd Pleaser:Everyone enjoys the crave-worthy flavor of a breakfast sweet roll. Bring them to the office, to holiday parties and potlucks. Everyone will be glad you did!
- Easy Homemade: Making the yeast dough is very easy and rolling is not a big deal! After that, the oven does all the work!
- Make Ahead: You can make them and bake them the next day.
Cinnamon Buns Ingredients and Substitutions
There are 3 parts to this recipe, the yeast dough, the cinnamon filling and the sweet and creamy glaze. I am combining the ingredients into one list just to give you the highlights of what you will need.
For the complete list of ingredients and quantities, check the printable recipe card below.
- Butter: I prefer unsalted butter. In this recipe you will need softened butter as well as melted butter.
- Flour: Although many recipes use bread flour, I use only all-purpose flour to make these fluffy cinnamon rolls.
- Milk: I prefer whole milk. The milk should be lukewarm to allow the yeast to bloom.
- Active Dry Yeast: I always make sure my yeast is alive before proceeding with the recipe. To proof the yeast (or check that is alive), combine the yeast with warm milk. Wait about 5 minutes. If it foams (blooms/bubbles), then the yeast is alive.You can use instant yeast if that’s all you have.
- Eggs: You only need the yolk. I use large eggs.
- Milk: I prefer whole milk. The milk should be lukewarm, between 98℉ and 105℉ (36.5°C to 40.5°C) for the yeast to bloom. If the milk is too cold or too hot, it kills the yeast.
- Active Dry Yeast: I always make sure my yeast is alive before proceeding with the recipe. Just mix the warm milk with the yeast and wait about 5 minutes to make sure the yeast foams (blooms/bubbles). You can use instant yeast if that’s all you have.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is used for the dough and the filling. Powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar is used for the glaze. You can use light or dark brown sugar for the filling if prefer.
Cinnamon Buns Filling Ingredients
How to Make the Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe
Make the Cinnamon Bun Dough
- Proof the Yeast: First, in a small bowl proof the yeast by combining the warm milk with the yeast and a little bit of sugar. The sugar is an optional ingredient when proofing yeast but since it feeds the yeast it seems to accelerate the process a bit.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or an electric hand mixer.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients: Pour the yeast mixture, melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until well combined. . Stop the mixer and scrape the side of the bowl.
- Mixing the Dough: Beat on medium speed until the dough gathers together gathers in a ball away from the sides of the mixing bowl. The dough should be smooth and soft.
- First Rise: Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball. Place the dough into a large bowl greased with butter. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Fill and Roll Cinnamon Rolls
- Shape and fill: On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle. Spread the room temperature butter all over the surface of the dough. In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle it all over the buttered dough. Roll up the dough tightly into a cylinder, starting with the long edge. Pinching the edges to seal. With a sharp knife cut into 6 even rolls and arranged in a greased baking pan, cut side down, leaving space between each roll.
- Second Rise: Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let them rise until doubled in size.(about 35 minutes).
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the cinnamon buns are golden brown on top.
Make the Glaze and Serve
- Combine the confectioner’s sugar with the heavy cream, add the butter and mix until the glaze is smooth.
- Drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls.
Can I Make Cinnamon Rolls Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can make overnight cinnamon rolls. Simply make the dough, fill it, roll it, cut it into buns, and place them in the baking pan. Refrigerate the baking pan overnight. The next morning, remove the baking pan from the refrigerator and let the cinnamon rolls rise, covered in a warm environment for about 1 to 1.5 hours. Proceed to bake as instructed in the recipe card below.
Can You Freeze Cinnamon Buns?
Yes, cinnamon buns can be frozen. Prepare the dough, fill the rolls, roll and cut them and place them on a greased baking pan. Wrap the pan with at least two layers of plastic wrap. I like to add a layer of foil paper or place the whole baking pan in a jumbo resealable bag.
Thaw them out in the fridge overnight. Follow the next steps in the recipe.
Proofing yeast means to proof that your yeast is alive and active. This task is as simple as combining 2 to 3 ingredients and waiting 5 to 10 minutes!
Add the yeast into a container filled with warm milk (or water). The liquid temperature should be lukewarm like a baby’s bath – between 110 and 115 degrees F. In some recipes, sugar is added to the mixture as it helps to activate the yeast.
After 5 to 10 minutes, the mixture should be foamy. Expect some bubbles, not a foam fest!
If you don’t see any bubbles, simply toss the mixture and start over. Your yeast may be expired, or perhaps the liquid was too warm (or cold) and killed the yeast. There are other factors that can possibly kill yeast as well.
Cinnamon Rolls Recipe Tips
- Make sure your yeast is alive by proofing it before continuing to mix the dough ingredients.
- If your dough seems a bit warm, you can refrigerate it for about 20 minutes before cutting it into rolls. A chilled dough is much easier to slice.
- You can substitute Half and Half for the whole milk.
- This recipe yields 6 large rolls (think Cinnabon big). You can make the rolls smaller. Make 9 or 12 smaller ones if you prefer.
Take a look at these other pastry recipes!
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The Best Cinnamon Buns
For the Dough:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, plus more to grease the mixing bowl
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Filling:
Make The Dough
- In a small pan over medium-low heat or in a microwave safe bowl, heat up the milk to about 100 -110 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat (or from the microwave) and sprinkle in the yeast and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the hook attachment (if using a regular mixer use the beaters), mix in the flour, the 1/4 cup of sugar, salt and nutmeg. Pour in the yeast mixture, the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla and mix on low speed for about 1-2 minutes or until the dough is well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat on medium speed for about 5-6 minutes or until the dough gathers together into a ball and no longer clings to the sides of the bowl. (if using the hook attachment, the dough will cling to the hook). The dough should be smooth and soft. If your dough is too wet, add additional flour in small increments (about a tablespoon at a time).
- Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball. Place the dough into a mixing bowl greased with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Fill the Roll
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 x 14 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle it all over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly into a cylinder, starting with the long side. Pinching the edges to seal. Cut into 6 even rolls and arranged in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan, cut side down, leaving space between each roll.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled (about 35 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for about 35 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 – 15 minutes. Meanwhile make the glaze.
Make the Glaze
- To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream and melted butter.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon buns (while still warm) and serve.
- If the yeast doesn’t get bubbly, that means the yeast is dead. You need to start again with new yeast.
- Make sure you don’t overheat the milk. Milk (or any liquid) that is over 110 degrees will kill the yeast.
- If heating the milk in the microwave, heat it in 20 second increments to prevent the milk from overheating. If the milk overheats, quickly cool it in the fridge.
- MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS: You can make, fill, roll and cut and place the rolls in the baking pan. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and let them rise in a warm environment for about 1 to 1.5 hours.