Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls are easy to make for a delicious cinnamon roll breakfast without ever leaving home! Topped with copycat Cinnabon frosting, these soft sweet rolls with a thick, cinnamon-sugar filling will be gone before you know it.
Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
A fabulously soft, sweetened bread made with egg and buttermilk is the base for Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, and it’s also the base for ours.
We make our filling with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a little cornstarch to thicken up the filling (so it doesn’t all ooze out, thanks to a great tip from a recipe message board).
The copycat Cinnabon frosting is, of course, the star of the show! A vanilla cream cheese frosting with a hint of lemon to really make it stand out.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Active Dry Yeast – You’ll need the regular packets, not the instant kind, for homemade Cinnabon cinnamon rolls.
If it doesn’t get nice and foamy when mixed with the water and sugar, it has died and you’ll need to start over with a fresh packet.
Also, be sure your water is right between 110-120°F — using a kitchen thermometer will help.
If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t bloom. Too hot, and you’ll kill it.
- Buttermilk – This ingredient adds moisture and tanginess, plus it helps make these quick homemade cinnamon rolls extra fluffy!
If you don’t have any on hand, you can make an easy substitute with regular milk and lemon juice or vinegar.
- Eggs and Butter – Bring these to room temperature before starting the recipe, even for the portion of butter that needs to be melted.
Ingredients incorporate a lot better when they are the same temperature, and the butter will melt faster and more evenly if it’s already warm.
Homemade Cinnabon Icing Recipe
Whip together a mixture of softened cream cheese and butter, then mix in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and kosher salt.
The secret ingredient in this Cinnabon icing recipe is lemon juice!
It perfectly complements the cream cheese and helps balance the sweetness in the rolls.
Be sure to use freshly squeezed citrus — bottled lemon juice is too sour and often has a bitter aftertaste.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
Quick Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Without a Stand Mixer
No mixer? No worries! You can mix the dough by hand instead.
- Activate the yeast. Add water, yeast, and sugar to a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
Once the yeast blooms, stir in the buttermilk, eggs, and butter.
- Form the dough. Stir in the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Then, add the salt and flour and mix until you can no longer stir with a spoon.
- Knead. Turn dough out onto the floured countertop and knead for 3-5 minutes. Once the dough is no longer sticky, proceed with the remaining instructions.
Make Ahead Instructions
The easiest way to prep this cinnamon roll breakfast recipe is to do most of the work the day before you want to serve the rolls.
Then, all you have to do is pop your quick homemade cinnamon rolls in the fridge and bake them fresh the next morning!
- Make and assemble the dough. Follow the recipe all the way up until the baking step.
- Cover and refrigerate. Place the unbaked cinnamon rolls into the baking pans and place them in the refrigerator. The dough will slowly rise overnight.
- Bake. The next morning, remove the pans of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and bake.
NOTE: They may need a few extra minutes in the oven to account for the cold dough, so be sure they are cooked thoroughly before you pull them out.
- Make copycat Cinnabon frosting. Prepare the Cinnabon icing recipe while the rolls bake, then slather over the top while hot!
Cinnamon Roll Breakfast FAQ
Yes! In fact, it’s the perfect “warm place” for this very purpose.
Preheat your oven to 200°F, then turn it off. Place the dough inside and shut the door, then check it after about 45 minutes. It’s ready once it has doubled in size.
Feel free to add some extra warming spices like ground ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg to the filling.
You could also add or swap flavors in the Cinnabon icing recipe to make it more interesting! Use orange juice instead of lemon, or substitute maple syrup for the vanilla extract.
For a pop of extra sweetness, sprinkle raisins or dried currants over the filling before rolling up the dough!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Favorite Breakfast Recipes
Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls + Video
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup water warm, 110-120°F
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, softened
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 stick, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pour water and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (see cooks note if you do not have a stand mixer), sprinkle yeast over top, and stir. Allow yeast to bloom for 5-10 minutes. Once it is nice and foamy, it is ready. *It should look like the ‘head’ of a beer poured too quickly and smell yeasty.
- In the meantime: melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Once the yeast mixture is aromatic and looks like the head of a beer, add buttermilk, eggs, and butter to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on low and add 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time. Add salt. Once the flour is mixed in, add remaining flour slowly until dough becomes a ball. Mine takes 5 ½ cups total. Knead dough on medium-high for 5 minutes. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed, if bread is too sticky to come together. The dough should be tacky when you pull it out of the mixer, not sticky.
- Lightly dust countertop with flour. Turn dough out onto the countertop. Knead a few turns, shape dough into a ball.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter to bowl and heat in microwave until melted. Place dough into bowl upside down, flip the dough over and cover loosely with plastic wrap and drape bowl with a towel. Set bowl in a warm place in your kitchen. Allow dough to rise for 60-90 minutes until nearly doubled in size.
- Meanwhile combine light brown sugar, cinnamon, and corn starch in a medium bowl. Stir with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few turns, then using a rolling pin, roll out into an 18” tall x 24” wide rectangle. Spread softened butter around dough leaving the bottom 1” border uncoated.
- Sprinkle the buttered dough with brown sugar mixture, leaving the bottom 1” uncoated. Use your rolling pin to gently press sugar mixture into the dough (so it doesn’t fall out as you roll it).
- Starting at the top, tightly roll dough toward you, using the last 1” to seal roll. Cut dough roll in half and then cut those halves in half, giving you 4 pieces. Cut each of those pieces into 1/3rd. You will have 12 pieces.
- Grease (2) 9”x13” baking dishes. Place rolls in pans evenly spaced out, 2 rows of 3 rolls in each. Make sure to put the end pieces upside down. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and drape a towel over pans. Set pans in a warm place and allow rolls to rise another 60-90 minutes until rolls have doubled in size.
- Preheat oven 350°F.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Halfway through baking time rotate the pans.
- In the meantime prepare frosting; add cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
- Remove rolls from oven. Spread ¼ of frosting over each pan of rolls. Allow to cool slightly and repeat. Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published November 2013, updated and republished July 2023
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