This Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe is the perfect way to start the weekend!
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I find it tough to eat breakfast during the week. However on weekends and holidays I really enjoy going to the trouble to making a nice homemade breakfast or brunch. One of our favorite indulgent breakfast and brunch foods just so happens to be homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing.
Sure, you could hit up the local Cinnabon, but I find there is just something extra special about going to the trouble of making homemade cinnamon rolls. I originally came up with this Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe back during the holidays and never got around to posting it, but with Easter brunches just around the corner, I knew I had to get it posted!
As a side note, I know a lot of people are scared about working with yeast, but it’s really not something to totally stress yourself out over – and I know as I’ve been there. Using a mixer or bread machine can take out a lot of the guess work, but kneading can be just as easy with some practice. Be sure to check out my tips for using yeast to help make sure your rolls are a success.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
These rolls are made up of traditional cinnamon roll flavors that let the cinnamon flavor really shine through without being too potent. Of course, if you’re like me, the frosting is actually your favorite part. As always, you can change up the recipe to your liking. For example I added raisins to the filling (though next time I think I will add them into the dough itself). You could also add nuts or instead of using cinnamon, opt for lemon or orange zest, which would also make a great addition to the icing.
If you’re like me and don’t like getting up super early, the rolls are just as good if you make them up to the point of having the rolls rise, cover and sit in the fridge over night. Take them out first thing in the morning while you get ready and let the oven preheat and then bake as normal. The rolls can also be frozen at this point for future yumminess.
These cinnamon rolls do take a while to make, but are totally worth it and will make you the star of your next brunch or gathering!
- 1 packet dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup whole milk (you can probably use 2% but I always use whole when baking)
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup Raisins (optional)
- 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- Oil or cooking spray
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Heat milk to lukewarm, between 100-115°F. Any higher and the yeast could die.
- Once heated, pour milk into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir or whisk in yeast until dissolved. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy. If you see no bubbles, the yeast was either killed or may be bad and you'll need to start over.
- Add sugar, butter, salt and eggs to yeast mixture and thoroughly combine.
- If using stand mixer for kneading, add in 3 cups of flour and then attach the bowl to your stand mixer with the dough hook. Turn on to the appropriate dough setting and wait for the flour to be thoroughly mixed in. Add the remaining cup of flour, adding more, if needed, a tablespoon at a time, continuing to run the mixer until the dough forms a ball in the bowl and is elastic - about 10 minutes.
- If kneading by hand, add all 4 cups of flour and stir or mix with your hands until dough has come together enough to knead. Place dough on a lightly floured clean surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- If desired, lightly mix or knead in raisins and pecans.
- Lightly oil or spray a large clean bowl. Shape dough into large ball, place upside down in oiled boil to coat, then turn right-side up, cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel, and leave to rise until doubled in a warm place 1 - 2 hours.
- Once dough has double, thoroughly punch it down and then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Using a rolling pin, or pat with your hands, roll out dough into approximately a 16 x 21 inch rectangle (long side facing you), adding a bit more flour if it starts to stick.
- Spread softened butter all over rolled out dough and then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Starting with the side closest to you, begin rolling the dough tightly to the top edge. Pinch the top edge to the dough roll, and then roll over the roll so that the pinched edge is now on the bottom.
- At this point, you can cut the rolls into whatever size you desire with a knife, unflavored floss or thread. I usually just use a serrated knife.
- Place the rolls into a pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. I find that the rolls bake up best in a glass baking dish. Having the filling ooze out can be a common problem with cinnamon rolls and I find the best solution is to leave just a bit of room for the rolls to rise and double so they will be touching and supporting each other.
- Cover pan(s) of rolls with plastic wrap or clean towel and allow to rise until doubled in size in a warm area - about 30 minutes to 1 hour. I usually make my cinnamon rolls the day before and stick the pan in the fridge at this point to slowly rise. Then I take them out in the morning first thing while I get ready and let the oven preheat instead of having to get up at the crack of dawn.
- While rolls rise, preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Once preheated, bake the rolls for about 12-20 minutes, or more depending on how large you made yours, until golden brown.
- In the mean time, make the frosting by beating together the softened cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt.
- One rolls are browned, remove from oven and slather with frosting.
- Serve and enjoy! Don't be surprised if you'll be asked to make these again and again. :)
Easily change up the flavor of these rolls by adding dried fruits, nuts, citrus, etc. For example, you could make orange rolls by adding orange zest instead of cinnamon to the filling and adding orange zest to the frosting.
If you're like me and aren't a morning person, these can be made the night before up to the point of letting the rolls rise. Just cover and place in the fridge until morning. You can also freeze the rolls at this point.
Recipe adapted from Food.com.