Baking · Bread · Breakfast · Desserts

The World’s Greatest Cinnamon Rolls

You know what’s great? The little lip balms that look like mini eggs. Piano music on a blustery day. Smiley face stickers. Finding a ten-dollar bill in an old purse. Laughing so hard you cry a little. And most of all…cinnamon rolls. Specifically, these cinnamon rolls. The best EVER. No, I’m not kidding. They are perfection.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Enjoy them with coffee, make them for a special brunch, have some friends over for the early game or take them to card night with the girls. Did you know breakfast for dinner is always better with cinnamon rolls? Whatever you have to do…just make them. Start with perfectly sweet dough…which comes together very quickly and is a dream to work with. Roll it out into a nice rectangle(ish) shape.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Then brush with melted butter. When the second instruction is to slather butter all over, it’s a good day.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Then take some cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over. Now…this is one of the keys to truly great cinnamon rolls. Use brown sugar. Every other cinnamon roll recipe I’ve seen uses white sugar in the filling. Blah. So boring. The brown sugar gives it a caramelly richness that’s fabulous.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Wait just a minute. I said “sprinkle”? I meant to say “cover”. Really coat it thick. Lay it on like the flattery Mr. Brown Noser at work gives your boss. Yeah. Overdo it. That’s better.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Then roll it up. Start slowly, make sure the first few rolls are good and tight so you get a nice spiral in your dough. Seal up the seam with a little butter.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Beautiful spirals of sugar. Mmmmm.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Ok, now we cut the log. Unflavored dental floss works really well for this. But since all I had was the minty kind (darn you fresh breath!), I used a big serrated knife. Start in the middle and cut it in half. Clearly I’m not going to win any awards for my “half” eyeballing skills.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Then cut it in half again (each half). Now you’ll have 4 pieces. Then cut each 4th into 3rds and you’ll have 12 mostly even rolls. This is just one example of why it’s important to stay in school kids…you can’t have cinnamon rolls without math.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Place the rolls in a well buttered baking dish and allow to rise until about doubled. A really cool feature of this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before. Just put these in the fridge after placing the rolled buns in the pan (don’t let them rise). Then in the morning, put them in a cold oven – turn it on to 350° and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes. Or…you can let them rise, and continue on with your baking immediately. Here they are waiting to rise.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Doubled up. When they are just starting to snuggle together at the edges, they are ready for the oven.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Now bake them up. They come out golden brown and the sugar/cinnamon is all bubbly and caramelled. The aroma that fills your house is just incredible. Mmmmmmm.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Then we slather them with the most delicious cream cheese frosting ever. Which, not coincidentally, also has butter in it.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Take the rolls out of the pan immediately. As the buttery sugar goodness starts to cool on the bottom, it will essentially turn into glue. See it there at the bottom of the roll? The deep rich brown? Yeah, that’s the most delicious adhesive substance known to man.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

A little reminder of the process here…just in case you forgot. Roll, rise, bake, mmmmmmmmm.

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Oh, pardon. A thousand apologies. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to continue unrolling to the best part…the middle. Soft, doughy, drenched in glorious frosting and swimming in cinnamon sugar goodness. Enjoy!

The World's Greatest Cinnamon Rolls - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for The World’s Greatest Cinnamon Rolls

The World’s Greatest Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, margarine, salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Brush dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough starting along the long side and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt. As soon as rolls come out of the oven, remove them from the pan. Spread any filling that has seeped out over the top and then spread frosting on rolls before serving.


93 thoughts on “The World’s Greatest Cinnamon Rolls

    1. I’ve always made them in a glass dish. I’m sure metal would work just fine too, but possibly you’d need to adjust the baking temperature/time.

  1. Quick question in the top you say to brush on melted butter and then coat with cinnamon and brown sugar but in the directions you say to soften the butter and mix in with the cinnamon and brown sugar. Which way is correct/better.

    1. Hey Tara,

      Sorry for the confusion, I’ll update the recipe. Melt the butter and brush it all over, then coat the cinnamon/sugar all over it.

      1. Seriously just thought I was going crazy I’m making the cinnamon rolls again tonight it’s after midnight and I’m reading the recipe and thinking why did I think this said to put the butter in with the brown sugar and cinnamon. so glad I scrolled down to the comments to see that you already changed it and it not quite as crazy as I thought I was. 😉

  2. THE very easiest way to cut raw cinnamon buns is to use a piece of thread. Slide about a 14″ piece of thread under the roll to the desired thickness, pull up each end, cross the ends over each other and pull in opposite directions. Voilà! Perfectly cut buns.

  3. How about raisins? I must have raisins in my cinnamon rolls! What measurement would I use?
    Used to really love Mrs. Powell’s in Phoenix. They were fabulous, you could get with or without raisins.

    1. Put raisin in a saucepan with 1/2 water & boil . Cook until liquid is almost gone. Cool then sprinkle on cinnamon roll which already has butter & brown sugar. Roll & cut into slices & bake.

  4. Sorry, I went right over the recipe. Figures I was in such a hurry to try them I completely missed the recipe. I’ll let you know after I bake them but I’m telling you they will be DELICIOUS. thanks for posting it.

  5. I’ve been making cin. rolls with brown sugar for 62 years, and SO glad to finally see a recipe similar. Because baking is harder for me, now, I will use Rhodes frozen dough. Thaw, roll out and proceed. It is perfectly acceptable.

  6. Does anyone know how long you would knead the dough for? I don’t want to start making these without having an idea!

    1. Between 5-10 minutes. Until dough is smooth and elastic, which will vary depending on your kitchen temp and if you are doing it by hand or with a mixer.

  7. These look fantastic! PS, sewing thread works when dental floss is not available. I love your math/stay in school comment! 😍

  8. I use my bread machine, no kneading, no mess and no work. In a bowl stir up the eggs, add milk, salt, melted, butter, or margarine …or I even used vegetable oil. Pour all into bread machine and add flour and bread machine yeast. Set machine on dough…..thats it , when machine beeps the dough is ready, proceed to roll out your cinnamon buns. Only change to this recipe is, I use 3 eggs. The dough is out of this world!

  9. Would this recipe be okay to refrigerate overnight after the rolls have been let rise in the pan? Then baked the following morning?

    1. That’s what I wanted to know as well. I’m a little confused by putting them in the cold stove and turning it on. Will it rise in time??? I’d think it would need more time to rise then just keeping it in the stove during the preheat stage? Also, could i kneed it with a mixer and attachment ???

  10. I made these yesterday, they were beyond fabulous ! I haved baked for over 60 yrs. and never had much success using yeast ,but gave it a try and am so glad I did ! I used active yeast and was careful to dissolve it in 110* milk. thx for the great recipe 😘

    1. I’m a little confused about making them the night before. I have chronic migraines so I would absolutely need too but putting them in the cold stove and turning it on; Will it rise in time??? I’d think it would need more time to rise then just keeping it in the stove during the preheat stage? Or should I let them rise 30 min then put in fridge over night then bake in the morning? If so how long do I bake then? Also, could i kneed it with a mixer and attachment ??? Thank you in advance for responding!

    2. I’m a little confused about making them the night before. I have chronic migraines so I would absolutely need too but putting them in the cold stove and turning it on; Will it rise in time??? I’d think it would need more time to rise then just keeping it in the stove during the preheat stage? Or should I let them rise 30 min then put in fridge over night then bake in the morning? If so how long do I bake then? Also, could i kneed it with a mixer and attachment ???

      1. In my experience, if you make the recipe the evening before and put them in the fridge to rise, in the morning they should be ready to bake. If you have time, I’d let them sit on the counter at room temperature for at least a half an hour before baking.

        I know this is not a forum for migraines, but I’ve tamed mine with the help of a neurologist. If you’re interesting in hearing my experience, you’re welcome to contact me. I know they are miserable.

    1. I’m thinking that cream cheese orange frosting would be amazing. Just use orange extract in place of the vanilla, and the zest of one orange. Yum!

  11. These are Devine! I have made them twice now for my family and the devour them!
    Any tips or suggestions on how to make the gluten free?

  12. These were amazing! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. Made them this morning. Hubby said they’re the best ones he’s ever had – not even in the same category as store-bought or even from a restaurant.

    Do you have any tips on rolling the dough into s rectangle? My sides ate always shorter than the middle.

    1. I don’t find that an issue. I pat out the dough (I don’t roll it) into a rectangle with the long side toward me. After putting on the interior ingredients (cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins, etc.) avoiding the last 2 inches at the back or so, I roll up the dough starting from nearest me. I pull the corners a bit as I do this, as well as the dough rectangle. When done I lightly pinch the roll together along the long edge. Your ends will be just as nice and filled as the center. Having left the last two inches along the back long edge clear of toppings makes pinching the seam easy. Put the seam side down, then use a long piece of thread to cut each roll. (See my comment above about 18 comments.)

      1. Quick question have you ever tried making these in cupcake tins with parchment wrappers. I love this recipe but I need to make them single serving for an open house you think it might work??

      2. Sorry for the late reply. Assuming you’ve already figured this out. I’ve never tried it, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work!

    1. I don’t know who said margarine, but I’d NEVER use margarine for anything. Nasty. Hopefully the person meant butter–better tasting and better for you. 😉

  13. Can these be made ahead of time and frozen? The hubby doesnt like cinnamon rolls so I’d like to not make them all at once.

  14. I subbed bread flour for the all purpose flour and won the blue ribbon at my state fair with this recipe!

  15. These were the best cinnamon rolls I’ve made! They are now a family favorite and so easy to make, thanks for the recipe!

  16. These look delicious! I made the Southerbut I will add the butter to the filling sn Living recipe and they left off the butter in the filling but they were really good anyway. They do recommend bread flour to give you that chewy texture. I will add the butter next time. Great recipe. Try it with bread flour they’re to die for delicious. Thanks

  17. Is there any method to freezing these ahead of time? I’m about to have a baby and it would be great to make ahead and have a nice cinnamon roll to make without all the work once she’s born

    1. I am afraid to bake homemade cinnamon buns. My partner of 26+ yrs. says ” We will get married when You make me Homemade cinnamon buns!” Still Shacking up and cook + bake everything …but. Canadian fan

  18. Dough is just rising now hopefully but it was quite crumbly so I added a bit of water… really hoping this will turn out. The directions are really weird at the beginning saying to put in egg and margarine even though it doesn’t have it in the recipe.

  19. I made these. They (in the words of my husband)ain’t nothing special. But they’re ok.
    Not what I want to hear after spending two hours on a special treat! He said the dough isn’t very good
    And I agree.

  20. I tried making these Last week. I had to give the dough two tries because the first time I made them I used the amount of flour in the recipe. The dough was tough and barely rose so I made them again with about 3 1/4 cups flour and it worked much better. For anyone making these I would recommend starting with about 3 cups flour and added more until the dough is just a little sticky.

    1. I used 4.5 . The dough was to stiff. I should of read the comments first for help with this. I just hope them come out good. Didn’t want to waste my time and Ingredients

  21. Can you use a thermometer that came with a fish fryer to check oil temp to check temp of milk because that’s the only one I have here at house and I really want to try your rolls today for my brothers birthday tomorrow. He lives my original recipe but yours looks like it makes more rolls.
    Please help quick so I can get started.
    Thanks Tiffaney, aka-cake pop mom

  22. Am I the only one who has the amounts cut off? I can make some of them out, but not all. Changing orientation doesn’t help.

  23. Amazing! Followed recipe exactly. Kneaded for five mins in stand mixer. Simply incredible! This is our new go-to cinnamon roll recipe. Thank you!

  24. Just made these last night Then refrigerated overnight. Baked this morning and they were fantastic! Now the rest are in the freezer for the next time I want a roll.

    1. Did they raise on the fridge? I wanted to make for Christmas not sure if I should freeze them afraid they will rise in fridge did yours?

  25. Well today I’m making my 4th batch .it for a church family member she is a diabetic I’m using splenda .I think it will be fine and I’m cutting frosting In Half.

  26. These Cinnamon Rolls are seriously the BEST! I’ve made them so many times and they were always amazing, thanks so much for your recipe! 5 stars (;

  27. Have you ever made these ahead and out in the freezer? I want to try these for Christmas morning but would like to make ahead of time. I was wondering if I should freeze before they rise?

  28. can i use regular flour? how much of the yeast do i use if i use the quick rise? is there a difference in eiher one????

  29. I’ve made these different ways and I found that I didn’t melt the butter to spread in with the sugar cin mixture, I used used it room temp and mixed it with the sugar mixture and spread it out. I also added an egg yolk to the dough to make it softer.

    I’ve been a baker for 30yrs so I made some changes

  30. I made two batches of these today. The recipe was easy to follow and the rolls turned out great. Gave one pan to my neighbors and the other pan I’ll share. Going to make again tomorrow for my Lawn guy coming Saturday. Thanks for sharing.

  31. These look wonderful and I will be making them. Printing the recipe is a must for me. BEWARE! This recipe printed out 18 pages with all of the lovely pictures and replies. I wasn’t in the same room so didn’t realize this had happened or I would have stopped it sooner. Just a little FYI.

  32. I have been making these cinnamon rolls since January, and my family loves them. I live in Gilbert, Arizona, but I will be spending a month in Pinetop AZ. The elevation there is over 5000 feet higher. Do I need to make adjustments to the recipe to make them while there?

  33. Truly the best! Thank you for the recipe! I made them for my husbands birthday, he prefers cinnamon rolls to cake and this is the best cinnamon roll recipe that I have ever made! Love the dough! Thank you again!

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