Perfectly fluffy, super soft homemade cinnamon rolls with vanilla glaze. The PERFECT cinnamon roll recipe!
One of my new year’s resolutions was to learn to make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls. Because fluffy, pillowy soft, cinnamon swirled buns frosted with sweet vanilla glaze are delicious. And clearly an important life lesson.
And I mean honestly, I’m going to be way more successful at any resolution involving eating vs. not eating.
So after months of toiling away in the kitchen, some very tasty experiments, and some very very sticky cinnamon covered fingers – I’m ready to share this delicious, one-rise cinnamon roll recipe with you. And show you exactly how to make them. They’re ridiculously soft, deliciously buttery, filled with lots of cinnamon, and the perfect homemade cinnamon rolls
for first timers (that was awkward) if you’re not as comfortable with yeast baking.
So let’s get started.
Cinnamon Rolls vs. Sticky Buns
First things first – today we’re making homemade cinnamon rolls as opposed to sticky buns. I used to just throw around the words willy nilly interchangeably – but did you know they’re distinctly different, delicious breakfast pastries?
Yes, there’s obvious similarities. Both are a yeast bread dough (cue the light, fluffy, super soft, amazing texture), have a spiral shape, and a cinnamon sugar flavor. However – the classic cinnamon rolls are frosted with vanilla or cream cheese frosting. Whereas sticky buns are baked in a pan where the bottom is filled with a sauce of melted butter and brown sugar. Then after baking you flip the buns upside down so the tops of your buns are soaked with the sticky sugar sauce instead of frosted with icing. Both delicious. But today we’re making homemade cinnamon rolls.
The more you know.
How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
First, we’ll make the sweet yeast bread dough. For this recipe I wanted to speed up the process – so we’re using instant yeast. The buns only require one rise instead of two so there’s less room for errors and more time to relax.
To make the dough we’ll toss together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Then we stir in the milk, a little melted butter and the egg using a rubber spatula. I found buttermilk gives the softest, fluffiest texture – so clearly it’s a winner. When adding the milk, it’s super important that it’s warmed to the correct temperature to activate the yeast. This temperature will depend on your brand of yeast and is typically somewhere between 115F to 125F degrees, so check your packaging. It should be warm to the touch but not scalding.
After a few stirs the batter will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Then we’ll place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 4 minutes. You may need to re-flour your hands a few times since the dough is sticky to start off. But sticky dough is A-OK. This means it’ll be soft. When you’re done kneading the dough it should look smooth and slightly springy in consistency.
Then we let it sit for a few minutes as we make our cinnamon sugar mixture. Which is obviously the delicious namesake of cinnamon rolls. A little cinnamon, white sugar and brown sugar get mixed together and we’re all set.
Then it’s time to get assembling. First we roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 14 x 9 inches. I like to roll out my dough on a silicone baking mat, or you could just lightly flour your counter top. Then we spread a layer of very soft butter over the sheet of dough – it needs to be very soft or almost melty so you don’t rip the dough – and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over top.
Then roll up the dough working from the short edge to create the signature spiral shape of the buns. After creating one big roll, we’ll pinch the edges closed and cut the it into slices about 1 inch thick. I like to use dental floss for this because it makes for the easiest slicing, but just be careful you use the unflavored variety. No one wants hint of mint cinnamon rolls.
Then it’s time to wait for them to rise. Oh my gosh – seriously the hardest part of the recipe if you’re me. (I watched MTV…. seriously the trashiest tv shows and extremely inappropriate. But also super addictive). Ok – distraction over. The buns will need to rise in a warm, draft free place. I like to heat the oven to 200F degrees, then turn it off, place the cinnamon buns inside and leave the oven door slightly ajar to let the buns rise.
Then after they’ve about doubled in size – say 60 minutes. It’s time to bake. Above are the cinnamon rolls AFTER they’re done rising. (See how much they grew???? Like those weird spongy dinosaurs you placed in a cup of water as a kid.)
Forget cinnamon scented candles, your kitchen will smell so AMAZING after these homemade cinnamon buns are done baking. Then we’ll drizzle (or drench) them in vanilla glaze, and it’s time for the moment of glory. Fresh, deliciously warm, perfectly fluffy homemade cinnamon buns ready for the eating.
Do you have a favorite recipe for sticky buns??? They’re my next kitchen goal!
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough
- 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour , plus ¼ cup more as needed
- 1 package instant yeast , about 2 and ¼ teaspoons
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 and ½ tablespoons melted butter
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- Flour for kneading the dough
For the Filling
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , very soft
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 and ½ tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
For the Vanilla glaze
- ¼ cup cream or milk
- 1 cup icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- In a large bowl whisk together 2 and ¼ cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
- Warm the buttermilk to the temperature described on your yeast package (likely about 115F degrees to 125F degrees - it should be warm but not scalding) - then stir the buttermilk, melted butter and egg into the flour mixture using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Once the batter starts to form and pull away from the edges of the bowl, turn it out of the bowl onto a floured surface/kitchen top. If the mixture still appears very wet stir in the additional ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a tim
- Knead the dough with floured hands for about 4 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and forms a ball. You may need to flour your hands a few times in between. Then place the dough into a lightly greased bowl to rest for 10 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, stir together granulated sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon to make the filling.
- Then on a flat lightly floured surface or a silicone baking mat roll the dough into a rectangle shape about 14 by 9 inches in size. Spread the ¼ cup of very soft butter over the rectangle and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over top, leaving an border of about ½ inch on each side.
- Then starting at the short edge of the rectangle, roll the dough into a roll and pinch the side closed. Using unflavored dental floss or a very sharp knife cut the roll into about 8-10 slices, each about 1 inch thick.
- Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, or lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate and place the rolls inside. Allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes in a warm, draft free environment - such as inside an oven (that's turned off).
- If your rolls are in the oven to rise, remove them. Then preheat the oven to 350F degrees and bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven until the tops are just starting to brown.
- Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven.
- As they're cooling make the glaze. In a medium sized bowl whisk together all the glaze ingredients. Once smooth and no sugar lumps remain, drizzle on top of the cinnamon rolls.