Oh, cinnamon rolls. It’s taken forever for me to finally post a classic cinnamon bun recipe because I love them so much. And I want them to be absolutely perfect. If they’re dry, sickeningly sweet, artificial tasting, or tough…well, bye. If they’re lacking in cinnamon, tangy cream cheese frosting, or simply aren’t gooey enough — again, bye! This recipe is perfect and everything a cinnamon roll should be. And I’m so pleased to finally add a classic recipe to join this Fall Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll recipe.
When I lived in San Diego and first started dating Fabien (my now husband), we made a tradition of going to this teeny tiny bakery right on the beach. We’d sit outside and watch surfers walk by while we ate our cinnamon rolls. One time a group of young teenagers from France walked by! We were so bummed when the bakery went out of business and had to take the buns into our own hands (bun pun intended). Nothing could come as close to those fresh bakery buns than a warm and homemade batch straight from the oven. And so, the past seven years, I’ve been testing and tweaking recipes, and this is pure cinnamon bun perfection. Enjoy!
Not kidding when I say I’m cinnamon bun obsessed. Take a look at these other recipes, often quicker to eat without the resting and rising of the traditional yeast based recipes. Cinnamon Roll Cake, Cinnamon Roll Loaf Cake, Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake to name a few cakes. And if you have some apples, try Apple Cinnamon Roll Cake.
- 4 1/4 cups flour, divided
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. Instant dry yeast (one ¼-oz packet)
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 6 tbsp. Butter, melted
- 3 Eggs, slightly whisked
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk*
- 6 tbsp. butter, softened
- 3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 4 tsp. cinnamon
- 6 tbsp. butter, softened
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
To make the dough: Add flour, sugar, yeast, and salt to a stand mixer bowl attached with the paddle. Combine buttermilk and melted butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave about 45 seconds. (You are trying to achieve the temperature the yeast packet says, around 105F degrees). Add this mixture, with the whisked eggs to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix on medium-low speed for one minute, until combined.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for 10 minutes (15 minutes by hand). After 5 minutes, add the remaining ¼ cup of flour to smooth the dough to prevent the dough from sticking to the sides. It’s okay that it sticks to the bottom. The dough is supposed to be very moist so don’t be tempted to add any more flour to it.
Grease a large bowl and place your dough in the bowl, flipping it over once so it’s lightly oiled on each side. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm spot, until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Pro tip: Turn on the oven to 400F for exactly one minute (it will not get to 400F degrees). After one minute, turn the oven off and place the bread in there to rise.
Line a9x13-inch pan (or an 11×17-inch jellyroll pan) with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the filling ingredients until a dark paste is formed; set aside.
After dough has risen, punch it down, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly for about 2 minutes before rolling into a 16×12-in (ish) rectangle. Spread the paste, using an offset spatula in an even layer onto the dough; leave a ¾-inch border around the edges.
Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a tight log, and place seam side down. It should be about 18 inches long with the ends patted in to stay even. It doesn’t need to be perfect at all. Using a serrated knife, floss, or a bench scraper, slice 12 rolls. Arrange the rolls snugly in the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I use the same pro-tip oven method from above so they rise more quickly.
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden on top but not too brown. While they bake, make the cream cheese frosting.
In a medium bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and cream cheese, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Stop after each cup to taste and see how sweet you want it. Beat until desired fluffy consistency is reached, about 3 minutes.
Spread frosting immediately and generously over the cinnamon rolls when they come out of the oven. Serve immediately.
*Note: You can use any type of milk, including nondairy milk with 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice to use in place of the buttermilk for the cinnamon roll dough.
Adapted from Averie Cooks blog.