Cinnamon rolls are such a fun treat on crisp cool winter mornings. Cinnamon rolls are also a traditional Christmas breakfast. So whether you are looking for a fun breakfast to warm you up in the morning or a new Christmas tradition with your kids you will love these homemade gooey cinnamon rolls.
My family loves some gooey cinnamon rolls with some hot chocolate, tea, or coffee to warm up on colder afternoons after getting all of the chores done. It can make such great after-school snack or treat after a day of working outside on the homestead in the fall or winter.
How to make the best cinnamon rolls
Kneading: Knead the dough thoroughly. This develops the gluten, giving the rolls structure and a good texture.
Tight Rolling: Roll the dough tightly to create those beautiful, spiral layers in the finished rolls.
Sharp Knife or Dental Floss: Use a sharp knife or dental floss to cut the rolled dough. This helps maintain the shape and prevent squishing.
What you need for gooey cinnamon rolls
For the Dough:
- 1 cup warm whole milk (110°F/43°C)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
For the Filling:
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
Cream Cheese Glaze:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
How to make your own gooey cinnamon rolls from scratch
Prepare the Dough:
In a bowl, combine warm milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the remaining sugar, melted butter, salt, and eggs.
Gradually add the flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Prepare the Filling:
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
Roll and Fill:
Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle (about 16×20 inches).
Spread softened butter over the surface of the dough, then evenly sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Starting from one of the longer sides, tightly roll the dough into a log.
Cut and Arrange:
Cut the rolled dough into 12 equal pieces.
Let It Rise Again:
Cover the baking dish with a kitchen towel and let the rolls rise for another 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Make the Cream Cheese Glaze:
While the rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese glaze. In a bowl, beat together softened cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
Finish and Serve:
Once the rolls are done baking, let them cool for a few minutes before inverting them onto a serving platter.
Drizzle the cream cheese glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls.
Enjoy your homemade gooey cinnamon rolls!
How to store fresh cinnamon rolls
Avoid Refrigerating Freshly Baked Rolls:
It’s best to avoid refrigerating freshly baked cinnamon rolls as the cold environment can alter their texture and make them denser. If you plan to consume them within a day or two, keeping them at room temperature is preferable.
Freezer (Long Term):
If you want to store cinnamon rolls for an extended period, freeze them. Here’s how:
:: Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool completely.
:: Wrap each individual roll or the entire batch tightly in plastic wrap.
:: Place the wrapped rolls in a freezer bag or airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
:: Label the container with the date for reference.
:: To thaw, remove the rolls from the freezer and let them come to room temperature, or reheat them in the microwave or oven.
Ways to make Cinnamon rolls more interesting
Cinnamon rolls are a versatile treat, and there are numerous ways to add creativity and variety to the classic recipe. Here are some ideas to make your cinnamon rolls more interesting:
Add Nuts: Mix chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds into the cinnamon-sugar filling for added crunch and flavor.
Fruit Swirl: Incorporate fruit into the filling, such as diced apples, raisins, or even mashed bananas. The fruit adds sweetness and a different texture.
Citrus Zest: Add a burst of freshness by incorporating citrus zest (orange or lemon) into the filling or the cream cheese glaze.
Chocolate Twist: Sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks over the cinnamon-sugar filling for a delightful chocolatey twist.
Cream Cheese and Fruit Icing: Experiment with different cream cheese glazes by adding fruit puree (strawberry, raspberry, etc.) for a fruity, tangy flavor.
Pumpkin Spice Variation:= During the fall season, add a teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the cinnamon-sugar filling for a seasonal twist.
Coffee-Infused Glaze: Mix a bit of instant coffee or espresso into the cream cheese glaze for a coffee-flavored icing.
Maple Pecan Topping: Drizzle maple syrup over the baked cinnamon rolls and sprinkle chopped pecans on top for a decadent touch.
Savory Cinnamon Rolls: Explore a savory version by adding ingredients like bacon, cheddar cheese, or herbs to the filling. Consider a cream cheese and chive topping.
Caramel Drizzle: Drizzle caramel sauce over the warm cinnamon rolls for an extra layer of gooey sweetness.
Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls: Create stuffed cinnamon rolls by adding a layer of cream cheese, Nutella, or fruit preserves between the layers of dough before rolling.
Different Shapes: Instead of the traditional round shape, cut the rolled dough into squares or twists for a unique presentation.
Glazed and Grilled:b Grill the cinnamon rolls for a few minutes after baking to add a smoky flavor and a slightly crispy exterior.
Spiced Sugar Coating: Roll the dough in a mixture of cinnamon and other spices like cardamom, nutmeg, or ginger before adding the filling.
Dulce de Leche Filling: Swap out the traditional filling for a layer of dulce de leche for a rich and caramelized flavor.
Feel free to mix and match these ideas to create your own customized cinnamon roll variations. The possibilities are endless!