Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls American-Style Buns With Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite breakfast treats! Unlike the Scandinavian-style kanelbolle or kanelsnegl (the beautifully knotted buns commonly found at bakeries in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark), these doughy, fluffy American rolls are swirled with cinnamon sugar and served with a generous dollop of vanilla cream cheese frosting on top. I love the addition of the icing; without it, I think cinnamon buns can get too dry and one dimensional in flavor. True, the glaze makes this pastry more like a dessert than your typical breakfast – but are you really eating cinnamon rolls to be healthy? This recipe is so easy, and makes the absolute best breakfast for those mornings when you’re looking to indulge!

Homemade cinnamon rolls with vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Homemade cinnamon rolls with vanilla cream cheese frosting.

The Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe

My family has always loved to make cinnamon rolls for birthdays, a special weekend breakfast, and during the holidays. Growing up, we always used the ready-made Pillsbury rolls from a can, but this holiday season I decided I wanted to make them from scratch! When creating my perfect cinnamon roll recipe, I made sure that there was plenty of butter and cinnamon sugar in the filling. Nobody wants a dry, dense bun without enough of the good stuff! This easy recipe makes buttery, ooey gooey rolls which are served warm and drizzled with delicious vanilla cream cheese frosting. (The glaze is honestly the best part for me!) I love how the sour tartness of the icing perfectly balances out the sugary sweet cinnamon sugar. And yes, they’re way better than Cinnabon.

Since the dough needs a bit of rising time, I usually make these rolls the night before I plan to eat them and let them rise in the fridge overnight. Then, the next morning they just need a half hour to come to room temperature before you can pop them in the oven. After twenty minutes of baking, you’ll have fluffy, flaky cinnamon rolls with vanilla cream cheese frosting ready to serve. You can also easily bake them on the same day, if you prefer – it’s completely up to you!

Looking for more recipes? Try Kaitlin’s Buttermilk Pancakes or Molasses Cookies!

After proofing overnight, the doughy cinnamon rolls are ready for the oven!
After proofing overnight, the doughy cinnamon rolls are ready for the oven!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast or 6 tsp (18 g) fresh yeast
  • 1 cup (240 g) whole milk (warmed)
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) brown sugar
  • 4 cups (480 g) all-purpose (wheat) flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean)
  • ½ cup (113 g) salted butter, room temperature

Filling

  • 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (16 g) ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (160 g) salted butter, room temperature

Glaze

  • 1 8 oz package (200 g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (57 g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Mix yeast with milk and brown sugar. Wait 10 min until foamy on top.
  2. Add yeast mixture to bowl of a stand mixer. Attach dough hook.
  3. Add flour, salt, eggs, vanilla, butter. Mix until combined (about 5 minutes).
  4. Cover bowl with plastic and set in a warm place until dough has doubled in size (about one hour).
  5. While you wait, make the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  6. Grease or butter a baking dish.
  7. Flour your work surface and pour your dough out on top. Punch down, and use a rolling pin to roll dough into a large rectangle.
  8. Spread butter evenly on top of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar.
  9. Tightly roll dough into a log, and cut a little bit off each end (where there’s less filling).
  10. Use a sharp knife to divide the rest of the log into 12 even rolls. Place rolls in baking dish.
  11. If you’re baking the rolls immediately, cover the dish with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  12. If you’re baking the rolls the next day, cover the dish with plastic and place in fridge overnight. The next morning, let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  13. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  14. While they bake, make the frosting. Whisk together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl.
  15. Spread icing evenly over warm rolls. Serve hot!

Notes

If you want to make even further in advance, you can assemble the rolls (through step 10) and freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight and bake as directed.

Drizzle the rolls with icing, serve warm, and enjoy!
Drizzle the rolls with icing, serve warm, and enjoy!

Did you try our cinnamon roll recipe? Leave a comment below and let us know how they were, or share a photo and tag us on Instagram!

Kaitlin Orr

Kaitlin Orr and Anders Husa are food & travel bloggers and creative content creators. From their base in Copenhagen, they operate the largest and most influential restaurant-focused travel blog in Scandinavia.

6 comments

  • Awesome treat. A cup of hot coffee, good friend to share the morning with and gooey cinnamon rolls. Nothing better

  • Allright, this has just saved my life ! I have been craving cinnamon buns for weeks. But I’ve been too lazy and also couldn’t find the right recipe. And no, I live out in nowhere and can’t just buy one… Soooo, you just made my day (days, whole year, who will know?).
    But, I’m not the smartest and I want to know what exactly a cup of whole milks is in dl?
    Btw, cool with recipes from you. I looove this universe and use your guides EVERYTIME I go somewhere new and need food, basically every minute awaken.

    Love

    • Hi Camilla! Oh yay! That makes my day 🙂 Hope you enjoy this recipe! Sorry about any measurement confusion – I’m American and still trying to find the easiest way to write recipes for Americans and Europeans. A quick Google search said 1 cup of milk is 2.37 dl. Hope that answers your question? Let us know what you think of the recipe!

  • I have always been intimidated but cinnamon roll recipes. This looks terrific. I can’t wait to try it!
    Do you take the pictures? I love them!
    Kathy (Hoya Saxa)

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.