Not much compares to the comforts of a homemade breakfast served with coffee from your favorite mug. And while savory options such as biscuits and gravy or breakfast tacos are delicious favorites, adding something sweet to a breakfast spread is always sure to please. Gooey, buttery, flavorful cinnamon rolls are the perfect fit.
Cinnamon rolls are a timeless breakfast treat, made with a yeast dough and sticky-sweet glaze. The rolls have been made in home kitchens for centuries, and they all come in different shapes and sizes with a variety of fillings and toppings.
The dough for these homemade cinnamon rolls is rolled out and spread with plenty of butter, cinnamon, and sugar to create a gooey, tasty filling. Once rolled up and baked, you'll have soft, moist breakfast rolls topped with a luscious vanilla glaze that are just begging for you to dig in with a fork.
Here, learn how to make homemade cinnamon rolls the whole family will love.
Craving cinnamon rolls but don't have time for a yeast dough? Try these Southern Butter Rolls .
Ingredients for Homemade Yeast Cinnamon Rolls
The ingredients for these homemade cinnamon rolls are simple and easy to find at your favorite grocery store.
For the dough, this recipe calls for warm milk, sugar, active dry yeast, softened butter, one egg, salt, and flour. To make the filling for these cinnamon rolls, you'll need more softened butter and sugar, along with the star of the show—cinnamon.
The simple glaze used to top these cinnamon rolls is made by combining powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch
While it may seem daunting, the dough for these cinnamon rolls comes together in a few simple steps. The process is made even easier with the help of a stand mixer and dough hook.
To start the dough, combine the warm milk and sugar, and sprinkle the yeast over top. It's important to let the yeast mixture sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. During this time, it will feed on the sugars in the mixture and begin to produce carbon dioxide, releasing bubbles and turning into a foamy mixture.
Once the yeast has activated, combine two cups of the flour with the softened butter, egg, and salt. Mix on low.
Then, mix in the remaining flour before turning the speed on the mixer up to medium-high. Leave the dough in the mixer for five minutes to knead it.
Then, transfer the dough to a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Set the dough aside to rise for one hour.
After the dough has risen, flour a flat surface and roll it out to form a rectangle.
Spread the softened butter over the dough. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and spread it on top of the butter.
Roll the dough up to form a log and cut it into even pieces.
Place the cinnamon rolls in a greased baking dish and allow them to rise for another 15 minutes before baking at 350°F for 22 minutes.
Once the cinnamon rolls are baked, remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool slightly for 15 minutes before topping them with vanilla glaze.
Tips for Making Homemade Cinnamon Rolls With Yeast
The key to making moist, fluffy cinnamon rolls is allowing them to rise. The yeast in the cinnamon rolls is what helps to create that beautiful, soft texture, and using yeast that is alive once activated is crucial to the process.
Allow your yeast to activate for 5 minutes to be sure it begins creating foam and bubbles before continuing the steps of making the cinnamon roll dough. If the yeast doesn't activate, toss the mixture, and start over with new yeast for best results.
What's the Best Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls?
The topping you choose to use for cinnamon rolls is entirely up to you. For many, a classic batch of cream cheese frosting is the perfect pairing, adding a sweet tanginess to the mix.
These homemade cinnamon rolls are topped with a simple vanilla glaze for a touch of sweetness that comes together at home in just minutes.
The glaze can also be altered to switch up the flavor. Consider using almond extract instead of vanilla extract, or even mixing additional cinnamon into the glaze for an extra kick of spice.
How to Store Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
It's best to enjoy cinnamon rolls right after they come out of the oven. That's when the texture of these rolls is at its best.
However, if you have leftovers, there's no need to throw them away. Store leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container or individually wrap them in plastic wrap. Leave them out at room temperature for two days, or in the fridge for four days.
Once you're ready for a treat, warm a cinnamon roll for 15 to 30 seconds in the microwave.
Cinnamon Roll Dough
1 cup warm milk (110°F to 115°F)
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 (1/4-oz.) pkg. active dry yeast
1 large egg
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 tsp. salt
3 2/3 to 4 cups (about 15 5/8- to 17-oz.) all-purpose flour , as needed, plus more for work surface
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter , at room temperature
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Prepare the Cinnamon Roll Dough: Place milk and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment; add yeast, whisking until combined. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add egg, butter, salt, and 3 2/3 cups of the flour to yeast mixture in bowl; beat on low speed of mixer just until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat on medium-low speed until dough is smooth, tacky, elastic, and pulls away from sides of bowl but still sticks to bottom of bowl, 8 to 12 minutes, adding remaining 1/3 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough is too soft or sticky.
Transfer dough to a bowl coated with cooking spray; cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place (75°F) until doubled in size, 1 hour, 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Punch down dough; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll dough on a clean work surface into a 18- x 10-inch rectangle (very lightly flour work surface only if dough starts sticking).
Prepare the Filling: Stir together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until well combined. Spread butter evenly over rolled dough using a small offset spatula. Evenly sprinkle sugar mixture over butter, pressing lightly to help adhere.
Roll dough into a log, starting with 1 long side. Trim ends just slightly, and cut log crosswise into 10 even slices using a serrated knife. Place slices, cut sides up, in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place (75°F) until doubled in size, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven until lightly golden brown and cooked through, 20 to 22 minutes. (Any butter bubbling in bottom of baking dish will absorb into rolls.) Let cool in baking dish on a wire rack for 15 minutes before glazing.
Prepare the Glaze: Whisk powdered sugar in a large bowl to eliminate any large clumps. Whisk in milk and vanilla until smooth and combined. Drizzle Glaze over cinnamon rolls using tines of a fork or a small whisk. Serve with any additional Glaze.
February 2023 Update
We've updated the recipe instructions and ingredient list to clarify how much flour is used and when it is added.