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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Beautiful spirals of sugar. Mmmmm.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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.