Best Cinnamon Rolls Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 20 min.
The ultimate Sunday morning treat, homemade cinnamon rolls are sweet, buttery, gooey and glazed. Learn how to make this decadent treat with our Test Kitchen’s foolproof cinnamon roll recipe.

Updated: Jan. 23, 2024

When you’re staying in for a leisurely breakfast, there’s one morning treat that tops them all: homemade cinnamon rolls. Sure, popping open a can is fine in a pinch, but there’s no match for the homemade version covered in cream cheese icing.

These swirled buns packed with cinnamon, brown sugar and butter are just about the most comforting bake you can imagine, and they’re exactly what you want with a cup of coffee on a relaxing Sunday. If you’re familiar with baking basic bread, making homemade cinnamon rolls isn’t too far of a departure. We’re confident that you can tackle this project for the upcoming weekend.

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Cinnamon Roll Ingredients


  • Active dry yeast
  • Warm whole milk
  • Sugar
  • Butter, melted
  • Eggs, room temperature
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour


  • Packed brown sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Butter, melted


  • Butter, softened
  • Cream cheese, softened
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar


Step 1: Make the cinnamon roll dough

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As with any yeasted bread, you’ll start the recipe by proofing the yeast. Instead of using warm water (as you would with many basic bread recipes), this cinnamon roll recipe calls for warm milk.

The process, though, is the same. Just add your packet of yeast to a cup of warm milk. Be mindful to not let the milk get too warm while heating. Between 105º and 115ºF is just right. Let this mix sit for a few minutes. The yeast is active and ready to add to the other ingredients when it starts to get a bit frothy.

When the yeast is ready, it’s time to stir up the dough. You can do this in your stand mixer with a dough hook or by hand—just depends on how much of a workout you want!

To make the dough, combine the sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt, yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth (or stir, stir, stir until smooth). Incorporate additional flour (up to 2-1/2 cups more, about a tablespoon at a time) to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Editor’s Tip: Too much flour can lead to tough, dry cinnamon rolls, so pause to check the texture of the dough as you add the extra flour, and stop when the dough is still a little sticky.

Step 2: Knead, then rest

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Once your dough comes together, turn it out onto a floured surface and start kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. This should take about eight minutes. If the dough is really sticky, you can always sprinkle in a little more flour as needed.

If you already have your mixer out, you can knead the dough with your stand mixer. It’ll save you a little elbow grease!

Once kneaded, pop the cinnamon roll dough into a greased bowl, turning once to coat. (A greased bowl helps make the dough easier to remove after proofing, and allows the dough to rise higher since it won’t be working against the bowl.) Cover and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about an hour, depending on the temperature in your home.

Step 3: Make the cinnamon filling

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While the dough is proofing, use the time to make the cinnamon filling. It’s simple: Just stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Use a fork or small whisk so you break up all the clumps of brown sugar.

Step 4: Roll out the dough

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Once the dough has risen, punch it down. That means pressing down on the dough with your knuckles to deflate it just a bit. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into two portions.

Lightly flour the work surface before rolling out the dough, which will prevent it from sticking, tearing and stretching. Grab a rolling pin and roll each portion into a rectangle that’s about 11 by 8 inches. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mix over the top, leaving about a half-inch perimeter.

Editor’s Tip: If you like, you can add flavor and crunch here by sprinkling chopped toasted walnuts over the cinnamon blend.

Step 5: Roll the dough into spirals

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Starting with the long side, roll the dough up jelly roll-style. Work slowly and carefully. Once the dough is rolled up, pinch the long seam to seal it. You don’t want your rolls unwinding.

Step 6: Slice into individual rolls

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Next, use a bench scraper or a sharp knife to slice off the ends of each roll (you can bake these scraps as an extra treat). Then cut each roll into eight even pieces.

Editor’s Tip: If your knives aren’t sharp enough, use a piece of unflavored dental floss to easily cut the roll into pieces.

Step 7: Proof again

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Grease two 13×9-inch pans and arrange eight rolls inside each. Be sure to leave space between the rolls because they will expand during this proof.

Cover with a kitchen towel and proof a second time until the rolls double in size. This should take about an hour.

Step 8: Bake and cool

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Once proofed, pop the pans into a 350°F oven and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. After baking, place the pans on wire racks to cool.

Questioning if the cinnamon rolls are done? Know that the perfect cinnamon roll is a deep golden brown color with an internal temperature between 190° and 200°. When pressed gently in the center, the rolls should feel firm and not squishy.

Step 9: Make the icing

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While the rolls are cooling, take the time to make the delicious icing. This part is super simple. Just beat together softened butter, softened cream cheese, vanilla and salt until well blended. Then gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until you have a nice, thick icing.

Editor’s Tip: You can add a little extra flavor here if you like with grated orange zest or some orange extract in lieu of the vanilla. Orange and cinnamon are a delicious flavor combination.

Step 10: Frost and enjoy!

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After the rolls have cooled slightly (they can be warm but not hot) smother them in as much icing as you like. The warmth from the cinnamon buns will help the icing drip along every spiral. Once frosted, remove the cinnamon rolls from the pan.

How to Store Cinnamon Rolls

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If you can’t eat them all in one go, store any frosted extras in the fridge due to the cream cheese. Unfrosted buns can be stored in an airtight container for a few days, or popped into the freezer. Revive them with a quick stay in a warm oven and top with fresh icing.

Can you freeze cinnamon rolls?

Yes, you can freeze cinnamon rolls! To freeze unbaked rolls, cut as directed but don’t allow to rise. Tightly cover and freeze in a single layer for up to two weeks. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge overnight. The next morning, bring to room temperature and allow it to rise until doubled in size. Bake as directed. To freeze baked rolls, bake as directed and cool. Tightly cover and freeze. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge. The next morning, cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Let cool and frost.

Cinnamon Roll Tips

How do you know when the dough is kneaded enough?

You want to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Another trick to tell if your dough is done is to press it with your finger. If the indentation stays, the dough still needs more work. If it springs back to its original shape, your dough is ready to rest. Find more tips in our guide to how to tell if the dough is kneaded enough.

Why didn’t my cinnamon rolls rise?

In general, sweet doughs take longer to rise because the liquid that feeds the yeast is absorbed by the sugar. To counteract this, be sure you allow sweet doughs, like cinnamon rolls, plenty of time to rise. Also, when kneading the dough, don’t add too much flour. Doing so creates a tough, dry dough, causing the yeast to not work properly.

Watch how to Make Best Cinnamon Rolls

Best Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 40 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 16 rolls


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. In another bowl, combine sugar, butter, eggs, salt, yeast mixture and 2 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  2. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Punch down dough; divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 portion into an 11x8-in. rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons butter; sprinkle with half the brown sugar mixture to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut into 8 slices; place in a greased 13x9-in. pan, cut side down. Cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°.
  4. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  5. For frosting, beat butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt until blended; gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar. Spread over tops. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Facts

1 roll: 364 calories, 15g fat (9g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 323mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

When I married him, I discovered that my husband's family has the best cinnamon roll recipe! I asked his mom how to make homemade cinnamon rolls, and I've been making them ever since. Serve them with scrambled eggs, and you have a filling breakfast. As a variation, you can replace the filling with a mixture of raisins and pecans. —Shenai Fisher, Topeka, Kansas
Recipe Creator