Allison’s Homemade Cinnamon Rolls


December 30, 2023

These homemade cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy and are topped with a gooey cream cheese icing. They rival a Cinnabon and for good reason: I spent months tweaking and perfecting the recipe. Through some trial and error, I’m happy to share the final recipe with you today, as well as some tips and tricks that will help ensure they turn out perfect.



For the dough:

1 packet (1 Tablespoon) active yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup whole milk (heated to 110 degrees F)

½ cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs (room temperature)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

4 ½ cups bread flour

For the filling:

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

2.5 Tablespoons cinnamon

1 Tablespoon regular white flour

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

For the frosting:

2 oz cream cheese

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Some tips from the test kitchen:

Before we get started, I want to share some tips that I’ve uncovered through trial and error. I’ll preface by saying this is very much a science project, so if it’s listed a certain way, I encourage you to follow the instructions and not make substitutions.

Tip 1: Bread Flour

I initially tried this recipe with regular flour and I will say, bread flour makes all the difference. It makes the rolls less dense, and gives them that fluffy and moist texture that we all desire. Spring for the bread flour.

Tip 2: temperature matters

Listed above in the ingredient sections are two important notes about the temperature of two ingredients. Eggs: make sure these are room temperature. Milk: heat this in the microwave for a minute or until it reaches 110 degrees F. This will make for a bettering proofing process with the yeast.

Tip 3: the filling

We’ll get to this in the instructions below, but I want to call out two important items when it comes to your cinnamon roll filling.

  1. Including 1 Tablespoon of flour in this mixture will help it bond with the rolls rather than fall to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Brush your butter onto the dough. While you can certainly mix the butter into the overall filling mixture, I find that brushing it directly onto the dough helps everything stick. It’s like a primer for your dough!


Proofing Yeast

  1. In the bottom of a mixing bowl, add one packet of active yeast (or 1 Tablespoon), 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 cup of whole milk heated to 110 degrees F
  2. Stir these ingredients together in the mixing bowl with a spoon
  3. Let rest for 10 minutes
  4. If your yeast properly proofed, it will have small bubbles in it and will have expanded in the bowl.

Creating the dough

  1. Add the following to the mixing bowl with your proofed yeast:
    • 2 room temperature eggs
    • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon salt
  2. Mix the above ingredients with a whisk attachment until blended.
  3. Once blended add 4.5 cups of bread flour.
  4. Mix using a dough hook attachment until fully blended. When the dough is blended properly, it will form into a ball with the dough hook and the sides of your mixing bowl will be nearly clean. This is the sign of great dough!

Let The Dough Rise

  1. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased mixing bowl
  2. Cover with saran wrap and place two additional dish towels over the top and sides of the mixing bowl. We want to keep air out, and keep moisture in to allow for the dough to rise.
  3. An extra trick I like to do which promotes great rising is to place this bowl and towels on top of a heat vent.
  4. Allow dough to rise for 2 hours

Create the cinnamon roll filling mixture

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients:
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2.5 Tablespoons cinnamon
    • 1 Tablespoon regular white flour
  2. In a separate dish, melt 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter and set aside. I’d suggest doing this after your dough is done rising.

Creating the Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Once dough has risen (it will have doubled in size) remove from bowl and place on a greased surface. I like to spray some olive oil spray or Pam on my surface
  2. Spend a couple of minutes working with the dough – both kneading it and punching it.The goal is to get all of the air bubbles out of it
  3. Begin rolling your dough into a rectangular shape of 12” high x 24” long
  4. Once a rectangle is formed, paint the melted butter onto your dough with a brush
  5. With your hands or a spoon, sprinkle the cinnamon roll filling mixture across your buttered dough until the mixture is gone

Roll up!

  1. Place your fingers under the bottom side of your rectangle and gently lift the edge from the surface.
  2. Starting with a hand on each edge, roll your rectangle tightly.
  3. Continue rolling dough until it’s formed one long roll.

Cutting the rolls

  1. Using a ruler, make an incision in the dough log every 2 inches
  2. If you’ve properly measured this, you’ll end up with twelve rolls total
  3. Place nine rolls in a 9” x 13” baking dish
  4. Place the remaining three rolls in a bread pan (or if you cut an extra roll place four in an 8”x8” baking dish)

Rising Round 2

  1. Cover both baking dishes with saran wrap and dish towels
  2. Place back over a heated vent for at least another hour
  3. The rolls will expand and rise, doubling and almost tripling in size


  1. Bake cinnamon rolls at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes on the center rack
  2. Once rolls show any sign of browning on the edges it’s time to remove them from the oven
  3. Place pan on a wire rack to cool

Note: As each oven is a little different, I’d suggest setting a timer for 17 minutes the first time you make these, and see how far along your rolls are.

Cream cheese Frosting

  1. Whip together:
    • 2 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter
    • 2 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  2. Once blended, add 1 Cup powdered sugar and mix until combined.

Frost cinnamon rolls and serve warm!


If you’re enjoying these beyond the first day, I find warming them up in the microwave for 20 seconds makes them taste like they’re right out of the oven!

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  1. Janet says:

    As always, they were delicious!!

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