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Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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This Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls recipe provides detailed step-by-step instructions for making soft and tender cinnamon rolls every time.

Get warm, speedy homemade cinnamon rolls on the table in just over an hour – start to finish! 

Frosted homemade cinnamon rolls in a pan.

Best Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe

This recipe got me started making cinnamon rolls regularly for my family. It made me successful at baking them, and now I want to make them repeatedly!

The biggest reason this recipe makes us so successful in making homemade cinnamon rolls is the yeast.

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The yeast is mixed in with the flour so it’s protected and foolproof, just in case the water you add may be a bit too hot.

Hot water kills yeast and then your rolls can’t raise properly…such a disappointment!

Another big reason this recipe is wonderful?

It’s a TIME SAVER. These cinnamon rolls can be made, start-to-finish in just over an hour.  Making cinnamon rolls doesn’t have to take all day!

This quick and easy cinnamon roll recipe will fill your kitchen with the comforting scent of warm cinnamon and sweet cinnamon roll frosting in no time.

Another method for making very moist cinnamon rolls is by making cinnamon rolls with heavy cream, like these Tik Tok Cinnamon Rolls.

How to make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine milk, water, oil, sugar and salt in microwave safe bowl.

Heat 1-2 minutes, or until the temperature is to 120 – 130 degrees F. at the center.

While the liquids are heating, measure 3 cups of flour into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add yeast, combining it with the flour.

Pour the heated liquids into the flour/yeast mixture.

Using the whisk attachment, beat at medium speed for 30 seconds, then add the egg and beat one more minute.

Switch to the dough hook and add 3 cups of flour, kneading the dough until the flour is fully incorporated.

First, be careful you don’t add too much flour. 

The cinnamon roll dough should be pretty tacky to the touch when you get ready to pull the dough out of the mixing bowl.

TACKY to the touch is ok, but not STICKY and MESSY. If your dough is sticky, you must add more flour, but only as needed, a little at a time.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, a little at a time, only adding as much as needed, until the dough is soft and pliable, slightly tacky to the touch and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.

Typically, when the dough has reached the perfect consistency (slightly tacky and still soft and tender), it will come all together on one side of your mixing bowl.

As soon as this happens, STOP KNEADING! To also keep your dough light and tender, don’t over work the dough as this can make it tough.

At this point, if you have time, which I usually don’t, place the dough into a large greased mixing bowl and cover with a lightweight towel.

Let the dough raise until double in size, approx. 40-45 minutes.

This extra first raise will make your cinnamon rolls extra tender. If you don’t have time for this step, just proceed to the next step.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Punch the dough down, then rest for another 5 minutes.

Once the dough has fully relaxed, it will roll out easily.

Sprinkle a bit of flour onto your work surface, then throw your dough down a couple of times so that if there are any air bubbles inside, they move on out.

Next, use your hands to form the ball of dough into a fat rectangle, of sorts. This will help you roll the dough into the large rectangle that you want for the rolls.

As you roll out the dough, make sure you roll from the center towards the edges so that the center of the dough isn’t thicker than the rest.

Using your favorite rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle, approx. 22″wide x 18″ tall in size.

Try to be sure to roll out the dough into a RECTANGULAR sheet, not an oval sheet.

If you begin rolling out the dough into the rectangle and the dough keeps pulling back each time, let the dough rest for an additional 5 minutes.

Use your rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle that is about 22-inches wide by 18-inches tall.

Cinnamon roll dough rolled out into a large rectangle.

Now spread the butter over the rectangle of dough, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.

Cinnamon roll dough sprinkled with cinnamon .

Now add your layer of dark brown sugar; sprinkle this over the top of the cinnamon, then use your hands to spread it out evenly, pressing down on the brown sugar a bit to level it.

The brown sugar layer of the cinnamon rolls.

Using your fingertips, gently grab the front long edge of the dough and begin rolling it from the front towards the back.

Cinnamon roll dough beginning to be rolled up.

Once you have the cinnamon roll dough rolled up into one long roll, pull out your measuring tape (or just eyeball it) and find the center, then mark it with your knife.

The cinnamon roll dough rolled into a long log.

Using the mark as your guide, cut the log of dough into two equal halves. Place them one above the other, but not touching, on your work surface.

The cinnamon roll dough log cut into two equal halves.

Now slice each log in half, making four equal-size logs of cinnamon roll dough.

The halves of cinnaon roll dough cut into quarters.

Mark each log of dough where you want to slice it.

In this example I needed to get 5 rolls from each portion of the log of dough, for a total of 20 small rolls from the batch.

Prepariang to slice the cinnamon roll dough into individual rolls.

Use a sharp serrated knife to gently saw down through each dough log, slicing each one into rolls.

Place the rolls onto a well-greased, rimmed 13×18-inch baking sheet. At this point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Freshly sliced cinnamon rolls placed onto a baking sheet to raise.

Let the rolls raise in a warm, draft-free spot in your kitchen until they are just barely beginning to touch each other on the baking sheet.

Cinnamon rolls that have gently raised and are ready to be baked.

Bake the rolls, uncovered, on the center oven rack in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, just until golden brown on top.

Remove the rolls from the oven to a cooling rack.

Frost the rolls while they are still warm, but not super hot.

One hour cinnamon rolls with homemade frosting.

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Dough is Tough

Your dough is telling you it hasn’t rested enough just let.

If the dough pulls right back as you try to roll it out into the rectangle, lay down your rolling pin. Take a walk about for 5-10 minutes.

Yes!!! Double the amount of yeast this recipe calls for, then proceed just as directed. Cut the dough into 16 cinnamon rolls.

Once you return, I bet you’ll see that the dough cooperates completely. It just needed a little nap!

Can I freeze these easy homemade cinnamon rolls

Place 5-6 rolls into a greased 10×12-inch aluminum pan. I use disposable pans since I give away a lot of cinnamon rolls. Make sure to leave enough room around each roll so they can freeze and raise. 

Freeze the cinnamon rolls until ready to use. Then place the pan into the fridge the night before you want to bake them or 8-10 hours of fridge time.

About an hour before you want to bake them, remove the rolls from the fridge and uncover on the counter. Let the rolls rise.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the cinnamon roll pan onto a baking sheet (doubling up like this helps the rolls to brown better on the bottom).

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and done at the center. Let the cinnamon rolls cool for 15-20 minutes, then frost as directed in the recipe. 

How to make a quick cinnamon roll frosting

In your stand mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups of softened butter and 8 oz. softened cream cheese until smooth.

Add 1 Tbs. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 2 lbs. powdered sugar, and 2-3 Tbs. milk. Beat until frosting is the desired consistency.

Divide into thirds and freeze to use later. The recipe makes enough for three batches of cinnamon rolls.

Can I use canned frosting for my cinnamon rolls?

Sure. I like to use cream cheese frosting but have even used chocolate frosting before, too.

No matter which frosting you are using, homemade or store-purchased, frost the cinnamon rolls while still warm.

Which tools are helpful for making speedy homemade cinnamon rolls?

Rimmed baking sheets – Heavy-duty bakeware is essential for proper browning. I like aluminum baking sheets with a rimmed edge, 13×18 inches in size. If you make sure to always hand-wash your baking sheets they will last soooo much longer!

Silicone spatula spoons – Of all the tools in my kitchen, silicone spatula spoons are what I use the most. They make stirring and sautéing a breeze and I love all the pretty silicone colors available. Silicone spatula spoons are completely heat-proof so they won’t melt, even when used over high temperatures. I like to have different sizes on hand for different kitchen tasks – soooo handy!

Rolling pin – My rolling pin of preference is a French 16-inch wooden rolling pin. The tapered design makes it easy to maneuver when rolling out dough.

Stand mixer – Making cinnamon rolls in a stand mixer definitely makes the whole process easier and faster. I can highly recommend the Bosch stand mixer. It is powerful, easy to use. I love how the motor is in the base of the mixer so there’s nothing in your way as you’re working in the bowl.

Frosting spreaders – Using an off-set spatula spreader for spreading the icing over warm cinnamon rolls makes the job an easy one. I like having different sizes depending on the task at hand.

Spice shaker – I want the cinnamon to be well dispersed in a nice thin layer on my cinnamon rolls. This stainless-steel shaker works great and I really like the handle on the side.

Other Favorite Recipes

Everybody loves cinnamon rolls – that’s for sure. As a matter of face, we love another version of this cinnamon roll recipe almost as much – Speedy Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting.

Frozen Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls with Heavy Cream shows you how to effortlessly transform frozen cinnamon rolls into light, fluffy, and decadent oven-baked treats.

How to Make Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls….The Easy Way!

I can make a batch of these Speedy Cinnamon Rolls from start to finish in about 1 hour and 10 minutes, including the time it takes for the rolls to raise.  This recipe will make 12 very large cinnamon rolls (1 sheet pan), 16 small cinnamon rolls, or 2 large braided rings. 

Speedy Cinnamon Rolls

These Speedy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls recipe provides detailed step-by-step instructions for making soft and tender cinnamon rolls every single time.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16 cinnamon rolls
Calories: 383kcal
Author: Chef Alli

Ingredients

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 1/2 – 6 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, as needed to make a nice, soft dough
  • 5 tsp. instant yeast, I use quick rise
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, very softened
  • 1-2 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, or substitute 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Creamy Cinnamon Roll Icing

  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbs. milk, as needed
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Instructions

Cinnamon Rolls

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine milk, water, oil, sugar and salt in microwave safe bowl; heat 1-2 minutes, or until the temperature is to 120 – 130 degrees F. at the center.
  • While the liquids are heating, measure 3 cups of flour into the bowl of a stand mixer; add yeast, combining it with the flour.
  • Pour the heated liquids into the flour/yeast mixture. Using the whisk attachment, beat at medium speed for 30 seconds, then add the egg and beat one more minute.
  • Switch to the dough hook and add 3 cups of flour, kneading the dough until the flour is fully incorporated. At this point, the dough is likely to still be pretty sticky; add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, a little at a time, only adding as much as needed, until the dough is soft and pliable, slightly tacky to the touch and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
    Typically, when the dough has reached the perfect consistency (slightly tacky and still soft and tender), it will come all together on one side of your mixing bowl. As soon as this happens, STOP KNEADING!
    At this point, if you have time, which I usually don't, place the dough into a large greased mixing bowl and cover with a lightweight towel; let the dough raise until double in size, approx. 40-45 minutes. This extra first raise will make your cinnamon rolls extra tender. If you don't have time for this step, just proceed to the next step.
  • Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface, allowing it to rest for 5 minutes. Punch the dough down, then allow it to rest for another 5 minutes.
  • Using your favorite rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle, approx. 22"wide x 18" tall in size.
    If you begin rolling out the dough into the rectangle and the dough keeps pulling back each time, let the dough rest for an additional 5 minutes. Once the dough has fully relaxed, it will roll out easily.
    As you roll out the dough, make sure you roll from the center towards the edges so that the center of the dough isn't thicker than the rest. Also, try to be sure to roll out the dough into a RECTANGULAR sheet, not an oval sheet. These two steps really help you wind up with cinnamon rolls that are all uniform in size.
  • Spread the softened butter over the surface of dough; sprinkle the dough evenly with cinnamon first, and then the brown sugar. Using your palms, lightly press down over the brown sugar to kind of "adhere" it into the dough a bit.
  • Roll up the dough starting from the long edge closest to you, gently tucking and rolling the  dough and the filling as you go.  
  • Using a sharp serrated knife or a piece of dental floss, cut the log of dough evenly in half. Now place both halves horizontally before you on the work surface, one above the other on the counter, but not touching. 
    Please see the photos below this recipe card to better see what I'm referring to here so you can understand this better – it's kind of confusing to just write it out without showing.
  • Make incisions on top of each log of dough at the same time, marking where you want to slice so that both logs of dough can be cut into equal pieces. Slice each one at the incisions you made on top of the rolls of dough, then place the cinnamon rolls onto a greased, rimmed baking sheet, 13" x 18" in size.
    You can slice 12 large cinnamon rolls from the dough, 16 medium cinnamon rolls, or 20 small cinnamon rolls.
  • Let the rolls raise in a warm, draft-free place for 15-20 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for approx. 14-15 minutes (20 small rolls) 16-18 minutes (16 rolls) 19-20 minutes (12 large rolls) or until lightly golden brown, taking care not to over bake.
    Let the cinnamon rolls cool slightly, 10-15 minutes, then frost with the cream cheese icing.

Creamy Cinnamon Roll Icing

  • Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in the vanilla and milk, then gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar and salt until the icing is smooth and fluffy. Spread over the cinnamon rolls while they are still slightly warm. Serve at once!

Notes

**Be sure to check the blog post for tips and tricks, specific instructions, recommended tools, and FAQ’s for making this recipe.
My Top Tips for Making Homemade Cinnamon Rolls 
  • Yep, a couple of things, actually.  First, be careful you don’t add too much flour.  The cinnamon roll dough should be pretty tacky to the touch when you get ready to pull the dough out of the mixing bowl.
  • TACKY to the touch is ok, but not STICKY. If your dough is sticky, you DO need more flour added, but only as needed, a little at a time. Also, if you have time, letting the dough raise BEFORE you make the cinnamon rolls makes the dough even more light and tender, but I rarely do this extra raise.
  • To also keep your dough light and tender, don’t over work the dough as this can make it tough, and be sure you don’t over bake the cinnamon rolls, as well.

    How to freeze cinnamon rolls to raise and bake later

    1. Double the amount of yeast this recipe calls for then proceed just as directed, cutting the dough into 16 cinnamon rolls.
    2. Place 5-6 rolls into a greased 10×12-inch aluminum pan (I use disposable pans since I give away a lot of cinnamon rolls), leaving enough room around each roll so they can freeze and raise. 
    3. Freeze the cinnamon rolls until ready to use, then place the pan into the fridge the night before you want to bake them (or 8-10 hours of fridge time). About an hour before you want to bake them, remove the rolls from the fridge and uncover on the counter, letting the rolls raise.  
    4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the cinnamon roll pan onto a baking sheet (doubling up like this helps the rolls to brown better on the bottom); bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and done at the center. Let the cinnamon rolls cool for 15-20 minutes, then frost as directed in the recipe. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 469IU | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg
A pan of frosted cinnamon rolls
Up close shot of two frosted cinnamon rolls.
Upclose shot of a frosted cinnamon roll
A big, fat, fluffy and tender cinnamon roll.

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19 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      hi im from the uk and i have tried many recipes but failed miserably ! i followed this recipe exactly and made sure i read all your tips and they turned out absolutely amazing !! thank you so much for such great instructions to a fabulous recipe !!

    2. Hi Gloria –
      I’m so glad your cinnamon rolls were a success. Thank you for letting me know and also for the 5 star rating. I love it when my recipes bring joy!
      My fam loves these cinnamon rolls so I know it by heart…pretty much frontwards and backwards. 🙂
      Let’s Keep Cookin’,
      Chef Alli

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I used the rapid rise yeast and followed the recipe and they were so yummy. I did have to use a little bit more flour because my dough was sticky. Best homemade cinnamon rolls I have made so far.

    1. Hi Amy –
      I’m so happy you enjoyed this cinnamon roll recipe. My family loves these cinnamon rolls and I just made a double batch for a Christmas dinner at my sister’s house last weekend. I’m glad you realized the dough need a little more flour and went with it. There are lots of things that can make the amount of flour needed vary.
      Thanks for your comment here,
      Chef Alli

    2. 5 stars
      All the gluten!!! Yummy! Thank you for giving me the chance to look like a rock star… FINALLY! (I have struggled with cinnamon rolls)

    3. Hi Beth –
      Thanks goodness for GLUTEN!!! Right???? Completely and totally YUMMY….you are correct. So glad I could help you be the rock star you are – my pleasure. 🙂
      Sincerely,
      Chef Alli

  2. These are definitely the fastest and easiest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made! They bake up nice and light too! The icing is just sweet enough! Definitely a keeper!

    1. Hi Clyta –
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this cinnamon roll recipe. It’s supposed to snow and rain tomorrow here in NE Kansas so I think a pan of these cinnamon rolls will be a hit for my guys – I better get busy.
      Thanks so much for you comment.
      Sincerely,
      Chef Alli

  3. I saw your Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls on FB Live tonight – they look delicious and I am going to make them this weekend for my family. You make the process look so fun and easy. We love your recipes Alli.

    1. Hi Maureen –
      I’m so glad you could watch the FB Live cinnamon roll segment this eve – thanks for being there. I’m not sure why in the heck it’s taken me SO LONG to figure out a better way of cutting the dough to make the jumbo cinnamon rolls….good grief! Any cinnamon roll is a gift, but a JUMBO cinnamon roll really takes the cake!!
      Your fan,
      Alli

    1. Hi Debi –
      Let me know when you make the jumbo cinnamon rolls using this recipe. I’m going to make an entire new post for the jumbo cinnamon rolls, too. I want to show the new way of cutting the dough to make it easier when rolling up the rolls. Cinnamon roll heaven!!!
      Thanks for your comment here,
      Chef Alli

  4. 5 stars
    Love the tips on how to raise dough in the oven and putting the tail of the roll underneath the roll when placing them on the pan!! For the frosting, I like to add a couple drops of maple flavoring in the powdered sugar. So good!!!!

    1. Hi Peggy –
      Thanks so much – I love it when I can share helpful tips for making cooking/baking easier. Love your idea of the maple flavoring in the frosting – sometimes I even add a bit of coffee, too. Hard to go wrong with ANY kind of cinnamon roll and frosting – right?? So heavenly.
      Let’s Keep Cookin’,
      Chef Alli

  5. What size pan do you recommend? You mentioned putting them on a baking sheet. A cookie baking sheet with no sides? Or a 9×13 baking pan?

    1. Hi Patricia – Thank you for pointing this out to me. I made an adjustment to the recipe so the pan size is noted. I use a rimmed baking sheet that is 13″ x 18″ in size. Sorry that was clear previously!
      Sincerely,
      Chef Alli

    1. Hi Maria –
      I’m so glad this recipe worked well for you. Good cinnamon rolls are a MUST in this life!
      Let’s Keep Cookin’,
      Chef Alli

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