This homemade cinnamon rolls recipe is truly the best ever! They are so light and fluffy, made with brown butter, and topped with silky cream cheese icing.
But it's been too long since I've made a classic light and fluffy cinnamon roll!
These are the best rolls I've ever made! You can tell from the images that they truly are light and fluffy with tons of cinnamon.
I followed a recipe from Cooks Illustrated and made just a few changes. The main one being brown butter. I've been on a brown butter kick lately and just had to include it in these rolls.
OMG! They came out amazing!!
Cinnamon roll ingredients
The ingredient list for cinnamon rolls can be intimidating but don't let it scare you. Yeast is nothing to be afraid of! To make homemade cinnamon rolls, you will need:
- Butter - This gets cooked on the stovetop until it turns golden brown
- Milk - Whole milk is best for this recipe
- Yeast - You need 1 envelope of instant yeast or 2 and ¼ teaspoons
- Eggs - Will help the rolls rise higher creating the light and fluffy texture
- Flour - I prefer all-purpose flour
- Sugar - Just a little to add sweetness to the dough and feed the yeast
- Salt - Helps balance the sweetness
- Brown sugar - The main ingredient for that gooey filling
- Cinnamon - It's not a cinnamon roll without it
How to make homemade cinnamon rolls?
Here's how to make the very best cinnamon rolls ever...
- Brown the butter. Brown the butter in a small pan and set aside some for the filling.
- Make the dough. Warm the milk to 105-115°F and stir in the yeast until it's dissolved. Then, stir in the eggs and slightly cooled brown butter. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour while the mixer runs on low speed. Keep beating on low speed until all the flour is incorporated then turn the speed up to medium and mix until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours depending on how warm the environment is.
- Make the filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
- Shape the rolls. Roll the dough into an 18-inch square and brush the surface with the reserved brown butter. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the butter. Roll the dough tightly into a log and pinch the seam to seal. Cut the log into 12 equal size pieces and place them in a buttered 9x13 baking dish. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. This will take about 1 hour.
- Bake the rolls. Bake the rolls in a 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes. The filling should be melted and the rolls should be a deep golden brown.
- Glaze the rolls. Top the warm rolls with your favorite glaze or use the one included in the recipe down below.
- Serve warm. Cinnamon rolls are best served warm. Enjoy!
Can active dry yeast be used instead of instant yeast?
If you only have active dry yeast on hand, you can use that instead of instant yeast. You'll need to activate the yeast beforehand by placing in ¼ cup of warm (105-115°F) water mixed with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it's foamy then add it to the warm milk. You will need to reduce the amount of milk by ¼ cup.
Do I have to use brown butter?
You do not have to brown the butter if you don't want to. You can simply use melted butter instead. Although, the sweet nutty flavor of brown butter is what makes the rolls so phenomenal.
How do I make cinnamon rolls without a stand mixer?
These cinnamon rolls are easiest to make with a stand mixer but I understand that not everyone has one. You can mix the dough in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until the flour is well incorporated then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until a soft dough forms.
Try to avoid adding too much extra flour during kneading as this can make the rolls dense and tough.
You'll know the dough is ready when it is smooth and no longer sticky. If you press a finger in the center, it should bounce back.