Ultimate Guide to Baking the Perfect Cinnamon Roll: Best DIY Recipe and Tips

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the secrets to creating soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls every time.
  • Learn about the essential ingredients and techniques for the perfect dough and filling.
  • Explore various customization options to suit your taste preferences.
  • Find tips and tricks for making cinnamon rolls in advance and storage advice.
  • Step-by-step guide from preparing the dough to the final icing.

There’s nothing quite like the warm, comforting aroma of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. This quintessential pastry is a favorite treat for breakfast, brunch, and dessert around the world. In this article, we will walk through a detailed cinnamon roll recipe that ensures you can recreate this sweet, sticky delight in your own kitchen. From the perfect yeast dough to the rich cinnamon filling, topped off with a creamy frosting, every step will help elevate your baking skills.

The Perfect Dough: Heart of Every Cinnamon Roll

Creating the perfect cinnamon roll starts with the perfect dough. The dough is the foundation and needs to be soft, elastic, and buttery. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients for the Dough:

  • 1 cup warm milk (about 110°F to 115°F)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Dough:

  1. Activate the Yeast: Start by warming the milk in the microwave or on a stovetop. It should be warm but not hot to the touch. Add the yeast and a pinch of sugar to the milk, stir gently, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture should look foamy, indicating the yeast is active.
  2. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, and eggs. Add the activated yeast mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Add Dry Ingredients: Gradually mix in flour and salt, stirring until the dough starts to form. This is a good time to switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon or a dough hook if you are using a stand mixer.
  4. Knead the Dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes, or use a stand mixer with a dough hook on medium speed for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic and should spring back when poked lightly.
  5. First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Rich Cinnamon Filling

The filling for cinnamon rolls is crucial as it defines the rolls’ flavor and gooey texture. Here’s how to prepare it:

Cinnamon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

Preparing the Filling:

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well to distribute the cinnamon evenly through the sugar.
  2. Spread Butter: Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 14×9 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about a 1/2 inch margin at the edges.
  3. Apply Filling: Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the buttered dough, pressing it lightly into the butter to stick.

Shaping, Cutting, and Second Rise

Shaping your cinnamon rolls properly is key to them not only tasting great but also looking appealing.

Rolling and Cutting the Dough:

  1. Roll the Dough: Starting at one of the long edges, carefully roll the dough into a tight log. Ensure the seam is on the bottom and pinch it lightly to seal.
  2. Cut into Pieces: Using a sharp knife or a piece of dental floss, cut the log into 12 even rolls. When using the floss, slide it under the log, bring up the ends, cross over, and pull through to make a clean cut.
  3. Second Rise: Place the cut rolls in a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover them with a damp cloth and allow them to rise again until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Baking and Icing

Baking is the final step in creating your cinnamon rolls, followed by icing them while they are still warm.


  1. Preheat your Oven: While your rolls are undergoing their second rise, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Bake: Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown on top.

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
  1. Prepare Icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time until it reaches a pourable consistency.
  2. Apply Icing: Once the rolls are done, remove them from the oven and immediately drizzle or spread the icing over them. The warmth of the rolls will melt the icing slightly, allowing it to seep into the rolls and adding to their moistness.

In conclusion, making cinnamon rolls from scratch might seem daunting, but by following this detailed guide, anyone can achieve bakery-quality results in their home kitchen. Whether enjoyed as a special breakfast, a comforting snack, or a delightful dessert, cinnamon rolls homemade with love are always a treasured treat.

cinnamon roll recipe