Rich, buttery rolls with gooey swirls of cinnamon sugar, slathered in vanilla cream cheese icing. If you love the kind of cinnamon rolls that are soft and buttery, and not overly sweet, this easy recipe just might become one of your favorite morning indulgences.
For the Dough:
- 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature, approximatly 75 degrees
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten (how to separate eggs)
- 6 tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature + 1 tbsp melted butter for the bowl
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt (1 1/4 tsp table salt)
For the Filling:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt (1/2 tsp table salt)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted
For the Frosting:
- 6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Make the dough:
- Pour the milk into the bowl of a standing mixer and add the sugar and yeast. Stir to combine and then let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast begin to come alive. Pour in the egg, egg yolk and melted butter.
- Fit a stand mixer with the dough hook and add 5 cups of flour. Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together. (You can also hand-knead the dough – see note.)
- Reduce the mixer to low speed and slowly add enough additional flour so that the dough comes together into a soft, slightly sticky ball. Add the flour bit by bit. Depending on the humidity in the air, this might take the entire remaining cup of flour, or only a bit of it. What you’re looking for is a soft, smooth ball of dough that clings to the dough hook, does not stick to the sides of the bowl, but does stick slightly to the bottom of the bowl.
- Once the dough has come together, sprinkle in the salt. Continue to knead in the mixer for about 8-10 minutes. The dough should look very soft and smooth.
- Brush a large bowl with the remaining tablespoon of melted butter and dump the dough into the bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl so that it’s coated on all sides with melted butter. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Fill and Assemble the Cinnamon Rolls:
- Stir the 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl.
- Brush one or two large rectangle baking dish with a little bit of the melted butter. (*See note)
- Gently turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is about 18 inches wide and 12 inches long. Spread about 3/4 of the melted butter evenly over the surface of the dough with a pastry brush or spoon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the butter.
- Roll the dough into a long, cigar shaped roll. With the seam side down, cut the roll into 12 even pieces. Place each piece into the buttered baking dish. (It will be a tight fit.) Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining melted butter, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to rise overnight. (If you’d like to just keep going and bake the rolls the same day, simply let the rolls rise in the covered baking dish at room temperature, for about 1 hour, until nearly doubled in size, before baking.)
- The next morning, remove the pan from the refrigerator and let the rolls sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls for about 40-50 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. To test if the rolls are done in the center, pull the pan from the oven and use a butter knife to gently separate a couple of the rolls in the center of the pan. If the rolls still look doughy, bake for a bit longer.
- Remover the pan from the oven and let cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting. (You can also make the frosting the night before, refrigerating it until ready to use.)
Make the Frosting:
- Add the cream cheese, butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed just to combine and then on medium speed until the mixture is light and creamy. Add additional powdered sugar if desired to get to your preferred level of sweetness and consistency.
- Slather the frosting over the top of the warm rolls and serve. Or, serve the frosting alongside the rolls, allowing each person to frost their own.
- To hand knead the dough: Dump the dough out onto a floured counter and shape it into a rough ball. Use the heel of your hand to press the dough down and away from you. Lift the edge of the dough that’s farthest away from you and fold the dough in half toward you. Repeat folding and pressing, adding flour as necissary, until the dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 10 minutes.
- Use one pan or two: As the rolls rise and bake they will get quite large and fill a 9×13 pan completely. This is usually how I bake them, but you do have to be careful about baking them long enough for the center rolls to bake through. You can also distribute the rolls between two 9×13 pans, which will give the rolls a bit more room to breath as they bake and make it easier to tell when the rolls are baked through.
- Delicious reader tip! One fellow cinnamon roll baker left a comment about these rolls with a delicious idea: “I like mine a bit heavier on the cinnamon so at the end I put a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar on the top right before baking and it made the most delectable crust on top!” Thanks for the tip, Rose!
Keywords: cinnamon rolls, sweet bread, sweet rolls, breakfast, brunch, yeast rolls, yeast bread, easy recipe, overnight cinnamon roll recipe