Homemade cinnamon rolls are easy to make from scratch and taste delicious with cream cheese icing.

cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing dripping donw on white round plate; cinnamon sticks next to plate

Homemade cinnamon rolls are a favorite among many breakfast lovers. These yeasted rolls are tender, sweet and irresistible when fresh out of the oven. They have a beautiful swirl of cinnamon sugar on the inside and a layer of cream cheese icing on top. Whether you make these rolls on a random weekend or for family during the holidays, they will certainly be a hit!

Why this recipe works: These homemade cinnamon rolls are not overly sweet. They are the perfect balance of a tender bread and sweet cinnamon filling. The cream cheese icing adds a decadent touch. You can also make the rolls the night before so they are ready to go in the morning.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

photo collage demonstrating how to make cinnamon roll dough in a stand mixer
before and after photo collage of cinnamon roll dough rising

Step by step instructions

  1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the wet ingredients, then add 2 cups flour. Mix until combined. Switch to the dough hook and add 2 more cups flour. Knead until dough is soft and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.
  2. Let dough rise: Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it and let it rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  3. Prepare filling: Whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  4. Roll and fill the dough: On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 16×12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon filling. From the long end, roll the dough into a long log.
  5. Cut the dough log: Use dental floss (or a sharp knife) to cut the dough into 12 equal sized rolls (1 ½ inches thick).
  6. Let rolls rise:Place rolls in a greased 9×13-inch pan and let them rise for 1 hour.
  7. Prepare icing: Using an electric mixer, beat icing ingredients until smooth. Place in the refrigerator while rolls bake.
  8. Bake the rolls: Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before icing and serving.
photo collage demonstrating how to fill, roll and cut cinnamon rolls
hand holding offset spatula spreading cream cheese icing over cinnamon rolls in round pan

Helpful tips and tricks

Weigh your ingredients. It’s a not-so-secret secret to baking success. It’s more accurate than measuring your ingredients! Watch the dough as it is kneading. If after 7 or 8 minutes the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, then add more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. Having trouble rolling the dough? Cover it with a kitchen cloth for 5 to 10 minutes and allow it to rest, then try again. This allows the gluten to form making it easier to work with.

Use dental floss to cut the log of rolled dough. I know, it sounds silly, but it makes a clean cut with each roll so they stay round and the swirl stays in tact! Refer to the photos and video for demonstration on how to cut cinnamon rolls.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store cinnamon buns: Cinnamon buns are best when eaten the day they are baked. However, they may be stored (without icing) in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Store icing in the refrigerator.

How to reheat cinnamon buns: Preheat oven to 325 F and bake buns until heated through, about 10 minutes. Cinnamon buns can also be reheated in a toaster oven or microwave. Add icing after buns are reheated.

How to freeze cinnamon buns: After rolling the dough into a log, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month. Defrost in the refrigerator before cutting into buns and following remaining steps for rising and baking. Baked buns (not iced) may also be frozen. Wrap them individually and store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to one month.

cinnamon roll slightly pulled apart showing brown sugar filling; cream cheese icing on top

Overnight instructions

Are you planning to make these homemade cinnamon buns the night before? No problem! Follow the steps through cutting the cinnamon buns. Place them in your baking dish and securely cover it. Immediately store the buns in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove the buns from the refrigerator 1 1/2 to 2 hours before baking (they will take a little longer than an hour to rise as they need to come to room temperature). Bake according to the recipe.

When it comes to breakfast pastries, there are a few you can try. Jelly filled donuts are a popular treat in the morning as are homemade croissants. I also love these sticky buns from Beyond the Butter blog.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy recipe, I suggest honey bun cake. It has similar cinnamon swirls, but with a honey glaze. You can also try my cinnamon roll cookies for dessert!

cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing in round cake pan on round wire rack

Homemade cinnamon buns will fill your kitchen with the most pleasant aroma that will have you counting down the minutes until the buns come out of the oven. They are tender, sweet and simply the best breakfast treat! At Christmas time, I bake this gingerbread version.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

cinnamon roll unrolled showing cinnamon brown sugar filling

Get the Recipe: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Homemade cinnamon rolls are easy to make from scratch and taste delicious with cream cheese icing.
5 (21 ratings)



  • ½ cup (118 mL) warm water, (about 100° F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast, (one envelope)
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, , room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks,, room temperature
  • ½ cup (125 mL) warm whole milk, (about 100° F)
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter,, melted and warm
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups (500 g to 560 g) all purpose flour

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling

  • ¾ cup (150 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 cup (225 g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make the dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine water, yeast, sugar, egg and egg yolks. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
  • With the mixer running, add the milk and butter followed by 2 cups of flour and salt. Increase speed to medium and mix for 1 minute until well combined. Switch to the dough hook. Add 2 more cups of flour and allow the dough hook to knead on medium speed for 10 minutes (you can also do this step by hand, but it will be quick the arm workout). The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it will be slightly sticky. If after 8 minutes the dough is too sticky and sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl, add more flour (I ended up using 2 additional tablespoons as I made these on a humid day).
  • Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down and transfer it to a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to shape the dough into a 16-inch by 12-inch rectangle.
  • Whisk the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl. Brush 2 tablespoons melted butter evenly across the dough rectangle. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch clear at the far, long side of the rectangle.
  • Roll the dough beginning with the long edge closest to you. Use your fingertips to pinch the dough as you roll. Dap the top 1/2-inch with water to seal the roll. Press on the ends of the cylinder if necessary to make a uniform roll.
  • Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan (or two 9-inch round cake pans) with butter. Use dental floss (or a sharp knife) to cut the roll in half and then into quarters. Cut each quarter into 3 equal pieces (you will have 12 rolls total about 1 ½ inches thick). Place rolls in prepared pan. Cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow rolls to rise until doubled in size (about 1 to 1 ½ hours).

Cream Cheese Icing

  • While the rolls rise, prepare the icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until light, fluffy and no clumps remain (about 2-3 minutes). Add confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix again until combined, about 1 minute. Store icing in the refrigerator while you bake the cinnamon rolls.

Bake the Rolls

  • Preheat oven to 350° F and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Remove plastic wrap from the cinnamon roll dish. Bake cinnamon rolls for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove rolls from pan and let them cool slightly on a wire cooling rack (about 10 minutes). Use a knife to spread icing on top of cinnamon rolls and serve.


Yeast: If using dry active yeast, follow these steps: Whisk together warm water and dry active yeast. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes (it should foam up otherwise the yeast is dead). Add sugar, egg and egg yolks and mix on low speed. Follow remaining instructions.
Overnight instructions: After rolling and cutting the cinnamon rolls, cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning remove the rolls from the refrigerator and allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (until rolls have visibly risen). Bake according to recipe.
Storing cinnamon rolls: Store baked cinnamon rolls (without icing) in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. Reheat rolls in the microwave or toaster oven then add icing before serving.
Reheating cinnamon rolls: Preheat oven to 325 F. Reheat cinnamon rolls (without icing) in the oven for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Freezing cinnamon rolls: After rolling the dough into a log, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and proceeding with the recipe.
High altitude adjustments (Denver, CO; altitude 5,280 ft): Flour is drier at high altitude. Start with 3 1/2 cups flour and if necessary, add more flour one Tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Rising times will be quicker (about 1 hour for the first rise and 45 minutes for the second rise).
Suggested tools:
Serving: 1roll, Calories: 276kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 370mg, Potassium: 100mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 573IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 72mg, Iron: 1mg

References: Baking Illustrated cookbook (one of my 7 favorite baking cookbooks)

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