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Classic Soft & Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls
Easy, fluffy and soft cinnamon rolls that are gooey and delicious! Perfect season to get baking this recipe which covers all the basics from the dough using all purpose flour to the cinnamon butter, baking and frosting.
Let us understand the vibe, I was 14 years old, had traveled to Dubai and was aimlessly walking around Dubai Mall. If you are not aware of Dubai Mall it is one of the largest malls in the world, hence visiting the mall itself is a workout in itself and I was tired needless to say hungry from walking all day. I could smell vanilla and cinnamon wafting through the air and it was coming from the food court. I didn’t have control over my actions as I “wafted” my way towards the aroma. Until I reached Cinnabon, the holy grail of cinnamon buns and I ate my very first cinnamon bun.
Since then I’ve eaten cinnamon buns in many cafes, bakeries and restaurants but I must admit, homemade cinnamon buns/cinnamon rolls are the best I’ve had. They taste like no other I have eaten. They are not complicated but do need a little bit of effort to bring together. Having said this, making them doesn’t take a lot of technical skill or use fancy ingredients/equipment. This recipe is a fuss free one and doesn’t require much from you, apart from a little patience. Here are some of the commonly asked questions about cinnamon rolls:
What is a cinnamon roll?
Cinnamon rolls are a sweetened yeasted bread made with dry yeast, milk, sugar, all purpose flour, butter, eggs, baking powder, which is rolled out and spread with cinnamon butter, cut into slices and rolled into scrolls, baked until golden and risen. Which is topped with cream cheese frosting or glaze.
Now, What is the difference between cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns?
I call them cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns interchangeably but I have noticed that cinnamon rolls are baked in a large tray that bake into each other making it a pull apart yeasted bread once baked. Cinnamon buns could be baked with space between or in individual muffin moulds for a single cinnamon bun. There is no science to this but that’s the only difference I see in them as the ingredients and equipment needed to make both are the same.
What are cinnamon rolls filling made of?
The classic cinnamon roll filling is with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon powder and a pinch of salt. They are many variations on this recipe though, using castor sugar, cardamom powder, cocoa powder and multiple flavors such as Nutella, peanut butter, pistachio paste etc.
Is cinnamon roll a dessert?
As it is a sweet yeasted bread it can be considered as a dessert, mostly served for breakfast, brunch or a tea snack. You could serve them at any point of the day as well.
What country is known for cinnamon rolls?
Sweden is known for their cinnamon rolls and it originates from there too, especially Kanelbulle and they celebrate Oct 4th as a national holiday for the same. Of course you can find them world over, with some of the highest consumptions in America, Sweden still holds the highest production and consumption rate.
What makes cinnamon rolls better?
Good cinnamon rolls need the best ingredients. Make sure to use good quality butter and eggs to make the dough, this ensures it is buttery and soft like a brioche. The filling but have the best cinnamon you can get your hands on. The better the cinnamon the stronger the flavor.
What do you eat with cinnamon rolls?
Cinnamon rolls can be eaten on their own, dunked into a simple syrup, slathered with frosting or drizzled with glaze. Commonly served with coffee or tea these rolls are sweet so they are delicious with a warm drink to wash it down with every bite.
How do you eat cinnamon rolls?
There is no right or wrong way to eat cinnamon rolls, some eat it with a fork and knife, other ice into it directly, while some like to unroll them and eat the dough. You could eat them any way you like. I prefer eating them warm with my hands and biting into them for the best form of satisfaction.
Are cinnamon rolls eaten hot or cold?
They are best served warm but you can serve them cold if you like. Depends on the recipe as some rolls could be tough once they are chilled. I think they should always be warmed briefly for at least a few seconds before serving to melt the butter so it oozes.
Can you make them vegan & gluten free?
This recipe cannot be made gluten free, I have tried using gluten free all purpose flour but the texture is just not the same, hence I wouldn’t suggest a gluten free option here. To make these dairy free substitute use any plant milk and plant based butter for the dough and cinnamon spread.
Tips for the best cinnamon rolls:
- Bloom yeast don’t kill it
- Don’t add more flour
- Cutting the dough into slices
- Use correct size pan
- Rise in peace don’t rush it
- Watch out for over baking
- Baking soda regulates the dough’s pH, helping it brown in the oven
Now that we have covered these basics, let us understand the ingredients, equipment, method of preparation and some troubleshooting points:
What ingredients do you need to make these Classic Soft & Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls?
I have used all purpose flour and I think they give these rolls the best texture, they come out super fluffy and tender. You could use bread flour but it would be a little chewy in texture the next day.
Dry yeast –
I have used instant dry yeast, you can use active dry yeast as well. I haven’t made this recipe with fresh yeast, if you do let me know how it goes.
The dough calls for a little castor sugar, you can use granulated sugar or honey as well. This not only sweetens the dough but also helps the yeast bloom well. We also need brown sugar to make the filling, I wouldn’t recommend skipping the brown sugar for any other sugar as it adds caramel like flavor to the filling once baked.
The milk must be pleasantly warm to the touch. This helps activate the yeast as well as starts gluten formation in the dough once mixed through. If the milk is cold it will not activate the yeast.
We need butter in the dough and the filling. This recipe is not the one to look at your waist line. The butter in the dough keeps it soft like a brioche and the butter in the filling adds flavors and helps the cinnamon become oozy and gooey once baked.
We yogurt in the dough to make it tender and soft once baked. You could use an egg as well- it has the same effect.
Baking powder & Baking soda-
Might seem odd but this helps keep the bread light and soft once baked.
Cinnamon powder –
Can’t make cinnamon rolls without cinnamon powder. We need to add cinnamon in the filling. I wouldn’t skip on the quality of cinnamon here, as the better the quality the better the cinnamon rolls.
Vanilla & Salt –
I consider these as seasonings but they are absolutely essential in the dough. You need small amount of both but they go a long way.
My cream cheese topping is a cross between frosting and glaze. It is rich, delicious and perfect. We need cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla and salt.
What equipment do you need to make these Classic Soft & Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls?
You could make this in a stand mixer to keep your hands clean for the most part. You could also use an electric dough mixer. I prefer making these by hand, it is therapeutic but also very easy. You need a roll pin to roll out the dough, a large mixing bowl to allow it to proof. We also need a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough and roll into scrolls. I bake these rolls in a 9 x 13 inch tray in the oven, you could do them in batches. If you bake them in a small tin they will take longer to bake and might over spill in the oven. To make the frosting we need a whisk and mixing bow. When being any kind of bread I like using a dough scraper.
How to make these Classic Soft & Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls?
We start by mixing the yeast, milk and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy. Add 4 cups flour, butter, yogurt, vanilla, salt and mix until its combined. Knead for 2-3 mins until combined, the dough will be a little sticky which is fine, oil your hands if needed or use a wooden spoon. If using a stand mixer let it mix for 1-2 mins. Cover the bowl and let it proof for 1 hour in a warm place.
In the mean time make the cinnamon butter by beating the butter with brown sugar, cinnamon powder, salt until combined, set it aside. After one hour add a little of the one cup flour at a time with the baking powder and baking soda, and knead together for 10 minutes by hand and 4-5 mins in the mixer. Keep adding more flour as needed, the 1 cup is a basic outline you shouldn’t need more than that. Place in the bowl and cover the dough, let it sit for 10 minutes, flour the surface and roll out the dough to a rectangle around 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Spread over the cinnamon filling evenly using an offset spatula or butter knife. Using a pizza cutter divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece individually, this gives you clean edges once baked.
Transfer each roll to a 9×13 inch baking tray in columns of 3. Cover and let them proof for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 180℃ and place the tray in the middle of the oven, bake them for 30-35 mins until risen and golden. They will continue to cook in the hot pan once baked so keep an eye on the baking to avoid them drying out. To make the frosting, whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Slather over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. Serve with coffee or tea, and enjoy!
What to do if the dough is too sticky while kneading?
After the first proof the dough will still be sticky, adding more flour and baking powder will help balance that out. Be patient with the dough and allow it to absorb the flour before adding more than the suggested requirements. After adding the 1 cup flour and baking powder the dough should be easier to handle and less sticky. The flour will help with that. As flour varieties can vary the absorption can vary, making some more sticky than others. But I would recommend to follow the above measurements.
Why are my cinnamon rolls not fluffy?
The yeast must be expired, the flour was expired or the dough didn’t have enough time to proof. Sometimes they can take longer to proof as compared to the timing depending on temperature, moisture and humidity. Hence follow the rules of the dough doubling in size to know its time to knead, this can happen in 30 mins in hot climate and in 2 hours in a cold climate. Do not over bake these or else they will dry out.
Now that we have covered how to make these Classic Soft & Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls, you can have a look at the recipe video on my socials but let’s get to it. Don’t forget to follow along for more fun recipe inspiration.
If you try this recipe out, don’t forget to share it with me on instagram so I can see how it turned out. I’d love nothing more than to chat with you on your cooking/baking.
Classic Soft & Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls
- Mixing bowls / Stand mixer with dough hook
- Wooden spoon
- Pizza cutter/sharp knife
- 9x13 Baking tray
- Butter knife/offset spatula
- 1 2/3 cup warm milk
- 1 tbsp instant dry yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar/honey
- 3 tbsp yogurt
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter soft
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 2 tbsp butter soft
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- We start by mixing the yeast, milk and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy.
- Add 4 cups flour, butter, yogurt, vanilla, salt and mix until its combined, the dough will be a little sticky which is fine. Should take 5 mins by hand or if using a stand mixer let it mix for 1-2 mins. Cover the bowl and let it proof for 1 hour in a warm place.
- In the mean time make the cinnamon butter by beating the butter with brown sugar, cinnamon powder, salt until combined, set it aside.
- After one hour , transfer the dough to a clean surface and add a little of the one cup flour at a time with the baking powder and knead together for 10 minutes by hand or 4-5 mins in the mixer. Keep adding more flour as needed. Place in the bowl and cover the dough, let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Flour the surface and roll out the dough to a rectangle around 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Spread over the cinnamon filling evenly using an offset spatula or butter knife. Using a pizza cutter divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece individually, this gives you clean edges once baked.
- Transfer each roll to a 9x13 inch baking tray in columns of 3. Cover and let them proof for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 180℃ and place the tray in the middle of the oven, bake them for 30-35 mins until risen and golden.
- To make the frosting, whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Slather over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. Serve with coffee or tea, and enjoy!
- Allow the yeast to bloom before mixing.
- Don’t rush the proofing process, this helps the dough get soft.
- Don’t over bake these rolls as they will dry out.