Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

$4.59 recipe / $0.51 each
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.50 from 6 votes
Pin RecipeJump to recipe →

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that we make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

This cinnamon roll recipe almost did me in. They were so good with their buttery, cinnamon-filled layers and gooey cream cheese frosting that I just couldn’t stop eating them. And since I tested this cinnamon roll recipe several times over the course of a few weeks, my diet was probably 50% cinnamon roll there for a while. 😅 But hey, it was worth the sacrifice. (#sarcasm) After all the hard work and dedication of eating cinnamon roll after cinnamon roll, I’m now ready to teach you how to make the absolute best homemade cinnamon rolls ever. Your Saturday mornings will never be the same.

Overhead view of frosting being spread onto homemade cinnamon rolls.

These incredible homemade cinnamon rolls have a super fluffing and soft brioche-like dough that is slightly sweet. The dough is slathered with a mixture of butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, then rolled up and sliced into perfect little pinwheels. They bake up fluffy and cloud-like and then are topped with the most deliciously sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. They’re cinnamon roll perfection!

Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own homemade cinnamon rolls:

  • Yeast: Yeast is what gives these cinnamon rolls their airy, fluffy texture. You can use active dry yeast, instant yeast, or bread machine yeast for this recipe.
  • Sugar: We use regular granulated sugar in the cinnamon roll dough, brown sugar to make the filling, and powdered sugar in the cream cheese icing. Make no mistake, this is a sweet treat!
  • Flour: Regular all-purpose flour is the base for the soft and fluffy cinnamon roll dough.
  • Salt: Adding a little salt to the dough really makes the flavor pop instead of being a bland, floury flavor.
  • Butter: Butter is used to help keep the dough tender, to make the rich cinnamon-sugar swirl filling, and to soften the cream cheese icing.
  • Milk: Milk also helps tenderize the dough, keeping it super soft and moist. We also add just a touch to the cream cheese frosting to help it whip up nice and soft without being too thick.
  • Cinnamon: There is no shortage of cinnamon in these cinnamon rolls! We use a full tablespoon in the filling, which gives the rolls a warm and cozy flavor.
  • Cream Cheese: The tangy flavor of cream cheese in the frosting helps balance the sweet and rich flavor of the cinnamon rolls.
  • Vanilla: A splash of vanilla extract gives the frosting more flavor and richness.

Make Them Ahead

I know, not everyone wants to bake a full-blown batch of cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning. If you’re more of a night owl or prefer to do the majority of the work the night before, simply prepare the cinnamon rolls as directed below and as soon as they’re cut and in the baking dish cover them with plastic and refrigerate. They’ll rise slowly while they refrigerate overnight. The next morning, take them out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, then bake as usual!

How to Store Cinnamon Rolls

The un-frosted baked cinnamon rolls can stay at room temperature for about two days. Frosted cinnamon rolls can be kept in the refrigerator for about four days. And since these little cinnamon bombs are super rich, you can also freeze them for later! Just pull apart each roll, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze until solid (about two hours). Then wrap each one tightly and place in a freezer bag. The frozen cinnamon rolls can be thawed at room temperature for about 30 minutes before enjoying.

Overhead view of frosted cinnamon rolls in a baking dish with coffee on the side.
Share this recipe

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

4.50 from 6 votes
These incredibly delicious homemade cinnamon rolls have soft, buttery layers of cinnamon and sugar topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. 
Close up overhead view of cream cheese icing being spread onto homemade cinnamon rolls.
Servings 9 rolls
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total 2 hours 10 minutes



  • 1/2 cup hot water (100-110ºF) ($0.00)
  • 2 tsp dry yeast* ($0.20)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar ($0.04)
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter, melted ($0.25)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk ($0.16)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (more or less as needed) ($0.38)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)

Cinnamon Filling

  • 6 Tbsp salted butter, room temperature ($0.75)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar ($0.26)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon ($0.30)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature ($1.10)
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter, room temperature ($0.25)
  • 1 Tbsp whole milk ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ($0.30)
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar ($0.54)


  • Stir together the hot water, yeast, and sugar until the yeast is mostly dissolved. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes, or until a thick layer of foam develops on the surface.
  • Once the yeast is activated (as indicated by the foam on top), whisk in the milk and melted butter.
  • In a separate large bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour and the salt. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour and stir until smooth.
  • Begin adding more flour, ½ cup at a time, until a sticky ball of dough forms and it becomes difficult to stir with a spoon. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Knead the dough for 3 minutes, adding a small amount of flour as you go to prevent the dough from sticking. After kneading for a couple of minutes, the dough should be very soft, fairly smooth, and just slightly tacky. Do not over-knead the dough or add too much flour, as this will make the dough stiff. You'll use about 2 cups of flour total from the beginning in the bowl to the end of kneading.
  • Place the kneaded dough back into the mixing bowl and cover loosely with plastic. Let the dough rise for one hour, or until it's double in size.
  • Punch the dough down to deflate, then scrape it out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into an 8×13-inch rectangle, sprinkling with flour as you go to prevent sticking.
  • To make the filling, stir together the room-temperature butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until it forms a smooth paste. Spread the paste over the dough from edge to edge.
  • Roll the dough up (long side toward long side) to create a 13-inch long log. Do not roll tightly, or this will make the center of your cinnamon rolls pop up while baking. Slice the roll into 9 pieces, about 1.5 inches wide each.
  • Place the slices into a greased 9×9-inch baking dish (or a round pie dish). Let rise for 10-15 minutes as you preheat the oven to 350ºF. The rolls will rise quite a bit in the oven, so don't worry if they're still quite small after 10 minutes of rising.
  • Once the oven is preheated, bake the cinnamon rolls for 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top.
  • To make the icing, beat together the room-temperature cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Begin stirring in the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, until it is all incorporated.
  • After the cinnamon rolls have baked, let them cool for 5-10 minutes before spreading the cream cheese icing on top. Enjoy warm or wait until cooled, then dig in!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*You can use instant yeast, active dry yeast, or bread machine yeast for this recipe. 


Serving: 1cinnamon rollCalories: 403kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSodium: 310mgFiber: 1g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
Email Me This Recipe
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Close up overhead view of baked cinnamon rolls without frosting.

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls – Step by Step Photos

Frothy yeast in a liquid measuring cup.

Stir together ½ cup hot water, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, and 2 tsp yeast. Let the mixture sit until a thick froth forms on the top of the liquid (about 5 minutes). If it does not become frothy, your yeast has likely expired and your dough will not rise.

Yeast being poured into a bowl of flour.

Melt 2 Tbsp of salted butter and stir it into the yeast water along with ⅓ cup whole milk. In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ tsp salt. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and stir until well combined. Continue to add flour, about ½ cup at a time, until it forms a sticky ball and becomes difficult to stir with a spoon.

Dough being kneaded by hand on a marble surface.

When the dough forms a ball in the bowl and you can no longer stir it with a spoon, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for only about three minutes, adding a little flour as you go to keep it from sticking to your hands. After about three minutes you should have a very soft ball of dough that is slightly tacky and you will have used about 2 cups of flour total (in the bowl and while kneading).

risen ball of dough in the bowl.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Loosely cover it with plastic and let it rise for one hour, or until doubled in size (pictured above after rising). Punch the dough down to deflate and turn it out onto a floured surface.

Cinnamon roll dough being rolled out into a rectangle.

Roll the dough out into an 8×13-inch rectangle, sprinkling with flour as you go to prevent it from sticking.

Cinnamon sugar mixture being spread onto the rolled out dough.

Mix together 6 Tbsp softened butter, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and ⅛ tsp salt. Spread the mixture onto the rectangle of dough, spreading it from edge to edge.

Rolled dough being sliced into rounds.

Roll the dough up into a 13-inch long roll (long side toward long side), making sure not to roll tightly (this makes the center of the cinnamon rolls pop up while baking). Slice the roll into nine pieces. I find a serrated knife works best for this because you can slice horizontally without using so much downward pressure that it squishes the roll.

Cinnamon rolls placed into a baking dish.

Place the sliced cinnamon rolls into a greased 9×9-inch baking dish. Let them rise for 10-15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350ºF. They should have risen just enough to be touching each other when they go into the oven (pictured above). They will rise quite a bit more as they bake.

Baked cinnamon rolls in the baking dish.

Bake the cinnamon rolls for 30 minutes or until they are nicely golden brown on top and the filling is bubbling up through the top.

Cream cheese frosting being spread onto the cinnamon rolls.

While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese icing. Beat together 4oz. room-temperature cream cheese, 2 Tbsp room-temperature butter, 1 Tbsp whole milk, and ½ tsp vanilla extract. Once those ingredients are fully combined, stir in 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. It’s best to add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time to prevent it from flying everywhere as you stir. After the cinnamon rolls have baked, let them cool for about 10 minutes before adding the icing so it doesn’t completely melt into the rolls.

Side view of a cinnamon roll being lifted out of the baking dish.

Enjoy the soft, fluffy, buttery, cinnamon-licious homemade cinnamon rolls warm, or wait until completely cool to devour! (My vote is to enjoy while still slightly warm!)

Share this recipe

Posted in: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Leave a Comment
  1. Very successful recipe! The dough is lovely and easy to work with. We did the overnight version and it baked beautifully in the morning. Jus for personal preference, next time we will add more cinnamon to the topping and sprinkle some nuts before rolling

  2. Great recipe! My husband, who’s in his 70s, said these are the best cinnamon rolls he’s ever had. Soft, fluffy, warm from the oven. I like mixing my butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together like this, have done it myself before but haven’t seen a recipe calling for that until today. Will definitely make these again.

  3. I followed the directions exactly and the dough never rose….not after sitting for an hour, not in the oven…never. What could have happened?

    1. It’s likely either A: your water was too hot and killed the yeast, or B: the yeast was dead to being with. The yeast mixture should be foamy and give off a bready aroma after the first step. If it does not, the yeast has gone bad.

  4. Yum! We made our dough last night as the recipe suggested so we could just bake them while the kids opened Christmas presents this morning. They came out really well! I would definitely make them again. We had a little trouble spreading the filling on the dough with our rubber spatula (maybe our butter should have been softer) but spreading with my fingers worked really well (maybe helping to warm the butter a little more)Thanks Beth!

    1. Unfortunately, I’ve never cooked with that ingredient so I’m not sure how it would affect the outcome.

  5. Wondering if anyone has tried these with a gluten-free flour and what you would recommend? I would love to make these for Christmas morning but we’ll be with a relative who is gluten intolerant.

    1. I have never actually used a bread machine, so I’m not sure if there are any quirks or nuances that would make it not work.

  6. Hi, Lover of cinnamon rolls here and these look delicious! I was wondering if I could use a stand mixer to make these. I have arthritic hands and stirring/kneading process can be tough for me. I would love to try this recipe.


  7. I made this exactly as written and it was phenomenal! We are at 3200′ altitude and there were no adjustments necessary. Also, it made a TON of frosting, so we didn’t end up using all of it. If I were making it again, I probably wouldn’t change a thing.

  8. I had instant yeast on hand and the directions on the packet said to mix with the dry ingredients. So I just did melted butter, sugar, and milk mixed before adding to the dry ingredients.
    So when tried mixing saw it was too dry and added water to get it in dough form.
    I’m guessing I did something wrong because after an hour it didn’t rise at all.

    1. Instant yeast can also be used in the same manner as active dry, by mixing it with the liquid ingredients. That’s always a safer bet, IMHO, because you can see at that point if your yeast is dead before mixing the entire batch of dough. Also, did you start with just one cup of flour? It sounds like you added the full amount all at once. When you start with a smaller amount, like 1 cup, and add more as you stir and knead, you can stop when the dough is the right consistency and avoid having to add more water later. Adding water to dough never really works well.