How to Make Cinnamon Rolls
The ultimate Saturday morning treat, homemade cinnamon buns are flaky, buttery, gooey and glazed. Learn how to make this decadent treat with the Taste of Home Test Kitchen’s foolproof cinnamon roll recipe.
By Elizabeth Harris, Contributing Editor
This favorite cinnamon rolls recipe has a yeast dough for fluffy texture and a developed flavor. Step-by-step instructions with photos demystify the process, so roll up your sleeves and get baking!
Special Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
What you’ll need:
- Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 25 min.
- Large mixing bowl
- Greased bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Two 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans
- Wire racks
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat water to 110° to 115°, using a thermometer. Measure liquid and place in a large mixing bowl. Add active dry yeast; stir until dissolved.
2. Add next seven ingredients; mix well (do not knead).
When mixing dough, always start with a minimum amount of flour until dough reaches desired consistency. Overworking or adding too much flour can make your rolls tougher.
3. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. This prevents the dough from drying out while rising.
4. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place covered dough in a warm draft-free area (80° to 85°) until dough has doubled (about 1 hour).
5. Press two fingers 1/2 in. into the dough. If the dents remain, the dough is doubled in size and ready to punch down.
6. Punch down. To punch dough down, make a fist and push it into the center. Gather the dough to the center and shape into a ball.
7. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half.
8. Roll each half into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Dust off any loose flour that might cling to the dough. Brush with butter.
9. Combine filling ingredients; spread over dough.
10. Roll up from long side; seal seam.
Tip: To keep cinnamon rolls from separating or unrolling when serving, dust off any excess flour from your dough after rolling it out. Then be careful not to spread or sprinkle too much filling over the dough—abundant filling does not allow the roll to seal as it rises. Tightly roll up the dough.
11. Slice each roll into 12 rolls.
Tip: I used to have difficulty cutting rolled-up dough for my cinnamon rolls. I solved this by folding an 18-inch piece of white sewing thread in half, slipping it under the long cinnamon roll and slicing into individual rolls by pulling the thread up through the dough. —Ann Phelan, Milwaukie, Oregon
Place cut side down in two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans. Use aluminum pans with a dull rather than shiny or dark finish. Glass baking dishes and dark finishes will produce darker crusts.
12. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled (rolls will start to touch each other), about 45 minutes.
Let dough rise in a warm (80° to 85°) draft-free area. Proper rising helps in the development of the texture.
13. Time to bake! Arrange the oven racks so that the rolls will bake in the center of the oven. Preheat oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking. To allow for good air circulation while baking, leave at least 1 in. of space between pans and between pans and sides of oven.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Use a kitchen timer and test for doneness starting at the minimum recommended baking time.
14. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm rolls.
15. Cool in pans on wire racks.
Makes: 2 dozen.
How to Prepare Cinnamon Rolls the Night Before
You can refrigerate your cinnamon bun recipe either after it is kneaded and before the first rise, or after the dough has risen and is shaped.
To refrigerate after kneading, place the dough in a tightly covered bowl or a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate. Punch the dough down 1-2 hours after it's placed in the refrigerator and, if needed, once every 24 hours after that. Time in the fridge is considered the first rise. When ready to use, remove the dough from the refrigerator, punch it down and allow to rest before shaping. The second rise will take a little longer than normal because the dough is cool.
To really save time in the morning, try refrigerating the dough for your cinnamon buns recipe after it has risen and is shaped. Cover the shaped dough tightly and refrigerate up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator, partially unwrap and let rise until doubled. Then bake according to recipe directions.