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If you like your Cinnamon Rolls gooey, rich, and drowning in cream cheese icing, this is the recipe for you! The dough is made with yeast because: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

Homemade cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet.

Nothing says “I love you” like a pan of giant gooey Homemade Cinnamon Rolls. This version is my absolute favorite, and I know you’ll love it too.

I used my grandma’s homemade crescent roll dough for the base, then topped it with plenty of chunky cinnamon and sugar filling.

But the secret ingredient is heavy cream: pour it over the rolls after the second proofing, before baking. Top with generous dollops of cream cheese frosting, and you’ll forget whatever a “Cinnabon” is.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled cinnamon roll ingredients in various bowls.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Active Dry Yeast: Fleischmann’s, Red Star, Bob’s Red Mill, or Saf are all good brands. Just make sure the yeast is fresh and hasn’t expired. Can you use instant yeast? Yes you can. Keep reading–I’ll show you how to tell if yeast is good.
  • Heavy Cream: This is a make-or-break ingredient that gives these cinnamon buns extra-special gooey appeal. Adding slightly warm heavy cream will keep the rolls rising as they should during baking.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a scalding temperature (when a skin forms on top of the milk, about 170 degrees), stirring frequently. Remove immediately from heat after scalding.
Scalded milk in a saucepan.
  1. Meanwhile, combine ⅓ cup butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour scalded milk over the top and cool to 110 degrees to 115 degrees, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the eggs.
Eggs mixed with scalded milk and butter.
  1. While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, add the yeast to the warm water (110 degrees) and let it “bloom” for 5 minutes (see note 7).
Activating yeast in warm water.
  1. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 4 ½ cups flour, yeast, and water. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the scalded milk mixture.
Making cinnamon roll dough in a mixer.
  1. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky after 3 minutes, add the remaining ½ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Using a small, microwave-safe dish, melt the remaining butter for 15 to 20 seconds.
Cinnamon roll dough in a standing mixer.
  1. Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and brush with 1 teaspoon melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Cinnamon roll dough before rising.
  1. Let proof (rise) in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 1 ½ to 2 hours (see note 8).
Cinnamon roll dough after rising.
  1. While the dough is rising, mix the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle and brush with the remaining melted butter.
Brushing butter on rolled out cinnamon roll dough.
  1. Sprinkle filling to within ½ inch of the edge of the dough and press into an even layer. Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the counter if necessary.
Sprinkling cinnamon roll dough with filling.
  1. Starting at a long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough to form a tight cylinder. Pinch seam to seal. Arrange cylinder seam side down and cut into 12 equal pieces. Using your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep the filling in place.
Cinnamon rolls rolled up and cut into pieces.
  1. Arrange rolls in prepared cake pan. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap.
Cut cinnamon rolls in a baking pan before baking.
  1. Let proof in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes (see note 3). Pour heavy cream evenly over the rolls after this second proofing.
Someone pouring glaze over unbaked cinnamon rolls.
  1. While the rolls are proofing the 2nd time, make the icing. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, buttermilk, and powdered sugar and stir until smooth.
Cream cheese icing in a bowl.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake until the rolls are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Switch the positions and rotate the orientation of the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with icing.
Cinnamon rolls after glazing in a pan.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 12 tall, gooey cinnamon rolls.
  • Storage: Store leftover cinnamon rolls at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  • Make ahead: These cinnamon rolls can be made to the point of the second rise (once they’re rolled out, cut, and added to the pan). Cover them, refrigerate the pan until morning, then bring them out and let them go through their second rise. Add heavy cream and bake, proceeding with the recipe as planned.
  • Freezing: Roll out, cut, and fill the baking pan with the cinnamon buns. Wrap the baking pan in layers of plastic wrap and foil and freeze. When ready to bake, take them out and move the to the refrigerator, letting them thaw overnight. The next morning, take them out and let them warm up while you preheat the oven. Bake according to the recipe, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
  • Room temperature ingredients: When it comes to baking, using room temperature ingredients, especially eggs, is important. If you forgot to leave the eggs out,  warm them up in a bowl of warm water.
  • Blooming yeast: In this recipe, you add yeast to ¼ cup lukewarm water (90-110 degrees). At the end of 5-10 minutes, the yeast should look foamy. If it does not, the yeast isn’t alive and should be discarded. Yeast activates at 40 degrees and dies at 140 degrees.
  • Proofing: “Proofing” is a fancy term of waiting for yeasted dough to rise. To create the perfect place for proofing, preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170°F, 200°F, etc.), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110°F.  Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven.  The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise. In this recipe, the dough should double in 90 minutes to 2 hours under these conditions.
  • Orange icing: For an orange twist, add a tablespoon or two of orange juice and a tablespoon of fresh orange zest to the icing.
  • Maple and pecans: Add ½ cup of finely chopped pecans to the filling mix as well as 1 tablespoon of real maple syrup for another layer of cinnamon bun perfection. You can add even more toasted chopped nuts over the icing, if you want to.
Cinnamon rolls on a plate next to pan of them.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns?

These are the answers we need, and I’m here for it! But seriously, cinnamon rolls you bake in the pan and then add a glaze. With cinnamon buns, you flip them over in the pan after baking, and the caramel glaze previously on the bottom is now on top and functions as the topping.

How do you keep cinnamon rolls moist?

Be sure to store them in an airtight container at room temperature. You can store them in the refrigerator, but the constant cold will dry them out over time, no matter how tightly you wrap them.

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Homemade cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

If you like your Cinnamon Rolls gooey, rich, and drowning in cream cheese icing, this is the recipe for you! The dough is made with yeast because: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total proofing time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Calories 485

Ingredients 

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter divided (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast or 4 ½ teaspoons (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water 110 degrees
  • 4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup butter melted (½ stick)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (slightly warm, for after the 2nd proof, see note 2)

For the icing:

  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese softened
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (4 ounces)

Instructions 

To make the dough:

  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a scalding temperature (when a skin forms on top of the milk, about 170 degrees), stirring frequently. Remove immediately from heat after scalding.
  • Meanwhile, combine ⅓ cup butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour scalded milk over the top and cool to 110 degrees to 115 degrees, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the eggs.
  • While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, add the yeast to the warm water (110 degrees) and let it "bloom" for 5 minutes (see note 7).
  • In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 4 ½ cups flour, yeast, and water. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the scalded milk mixture.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky after 3 minutes, add the remaining ½ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Using a small, microwave-safe dish, melt the remaining butter for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and brush with 1 teaspoon melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let proof (rise) in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 1 ½ to 2 hours (see note 8).

To make the filling:

  • While the dough is rising, mix the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
  • Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle and brush with the remaining melted butter.
  • Sprinkle filling to within ½ inch of the edge of the dough and press into an even layer. Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the counter if necessary.
  • Starting at a long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough to form a tight cylinder. Pinch seam to seal. Arrange cylinder seam side down and cut into 12 equal pieces. Using your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep the filling in place.
  • Arrange rolls in prepared cake pan. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes (see note 3). Pour heavy cream evenly over the rolls after this second proofing.

To make the icing:

  • While the rolls are proofing the 2nd time, make the icing. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, buttermilk, and powdered sugar and stir until smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake until the rolls are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Switch the positions and rotate the orientation of the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with icing.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Active Dry Yeast: Fleischmann’s, Red Star, Bob’s Red Mill, or Saf are all good brands. Just make sure the yeast is fresh and hasn’t expired. Can you use instant yeast? Yes you can. Keep reading–I’ll show you how to tell if yeast is good.
  2. Heavy Cream: This is a make-or-break ingredient that gives these cinnamon buns extra-special gooey appeal. Adding slightly warm heavy cream will keep the rolls rising as they should during baking.
  3. Storage: Store leftover cinnamon rolls at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  4. Make ahead: These cinnamon rolls can be made to the point of the second rise (once they’re rolled out, cut, and added to the pan). Cover them, refrigerate the pan until morning, then bring them out and let them go through their second rise. Add heavy cream and bake, proceeding with the recipe as planned.
  5. Freezing: Roll out, cut, and fill the baking pan with the cinnamon buns. Wrap the baking pan in layers of plastic wrap and foil and freeze. When ready to bake, take them out and move the to the refrigerator, letting them thaw overnight. The next morning, take them out and let them warm up while you preheat the oven. Bake according to the recipe, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 485kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 7gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 488mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 2gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 758IUCalcium: 68mgIron: 2mg
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I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Hi! Can u make the dough and store it overnight, then finish the baking process the next morning? With it affect the dough rising if it’s stored in the fridge?

    1. Hi Aubrie, yes! These cinnamon rolls can be made to the point of the second rise (once they’re rolled out, cut, and added to the pan). Cover them, refrigerate the pan until morning, then bring them out and let them go through their second rise. Add heavy cream and bake, proceeding with the recipe as planned. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  2. Thanks for this recipe Megan. The most amazing cinnamon rolls I have ever made. I’ll be trying your cabbage soup next. Your recipes remind me of home, born and raised Hoosier.5 stars

  3. Great recipe ! I tried many and the cinnamon rolls were often too dry or not enough cinnamon but this was great, we all loved it and i will make it for brunch with my Swedish friends, i am sure they will totally love it too :-)
    thanks for sharing.5 stars

  4. Very good easy dough to work with. I mixed butter and filling together. Easier to roll. Family covered them. I had to leave them!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Starr! I don’t see why not! Fit your electric hand mixer with the dough hook attachments. If the dough is too much for your hand mixer, you may need to turn out the dough from the bowl onto a flat surface and knead by hand in step 5. I haven’t tried this myself but I would love to hear how this turns out for you! – Meggan

  5. Quick question, is there a way to substitute sourdough starter rather then dry yeast? I have read that you just need to adjust the amount of flour? And or liquid?

    1. Hi Sarah, I am sure there is a way, but I’m not sure what it is. It would take some testing for sure! I have played with sourdough but not enough to know off the top of my head how you would convert this recipe. I’m sorry about that! Good luck. -Meggan

  6. I have a question. The ingredients in the dough recipe says “1/2 cup butter, DIVIDED” but the directions don’t say what the division is; it just says to add butter, without specifying the amount. Is it supposed to be 1/4 cup for the dough and 1/4 cup for the filling (the filling recipe ingredients lists 1/4 cup butter) or 1/2 cup butter in the dough? I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Dianna, so sorry about that! In Step #2, it’s 1/3 cup butter that you add. You end up melting the rest and brushing it on the dough later (1 teaspoon before proofing and the rest after you’ve rolled out the dough into a rectangle, before adding the cinnamon mixture). I’ve fixed the recipe. Thank you for pointing this out! -Meggan