Skip to content

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting beats store-bought cinnamon rolls, hands down. These are soft, fluffy, and irresistible.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

These are THE cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting to make when you’re craving the real deal, straight out of your own oven.

Never made your own fluffy cinnamon rolls before? No worries. We’re here to give you the step by step on how to make cinnamon rolls that are so good, it’ll kinda ruin all other cinnamon rolls for you.

In between classic cinnamon roll bakings, feel free to try our Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake in a jiffy for a moist coffee cake with cinnamon-roll flavors.

homemade cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, cooks illustrated cinnamon rolls, americas test kitchen cinnamon rolls

Your family will adore these fluffy, soft, and just-sweet-enough cinnamon rolls straight out of the oven.  They may not bother to wait for you to top these with cream cheese frosting, and honestly?

This cream cheese frosting is similar to one we use for everything from Moist Carrot Cupcakes to Gingerbread Loaf Cake…which means it’s ridiculously awesome. That said, you can choose to go without, because these freshly baked rolls are just that good.

homemade cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, cooks illustrated cinnamon rolls, americas test kitchen cinnamon rolls

Ingredients for Your Best Cinnamon Rolls

For fluffy soft, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls, gather these 9 ingredients. You probably have half of these items in your pantry or fridge already:

  • milk
  • regular butter
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast, also called rapid rise yeast.
  • sugar
  • 3 eggs 
  • salt
  • all purpose flour
  • brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon

As for the luscious cream cheese filling, you’ll need the following 5 ingredients:

  • real cream cheese
  • corn syrup (helps with the ooey-gooey texture, but you can go without it if you prefer.)
  • heavy cream
  • powdered/confectioner’s sugar
  • vanilla extract.
homemade cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, cooks illustrated cinnamon rolls, americas test kitchen cinnamon rolls

Quick Pro Tips

You’ll notice that we don’t simply pour all the flour in when mixing the dough; you’ll add it in increments, which is very important to the dough texture. You’ll ultimately aim for dough that’s soft and pliable and smooth; not overly sticky nor dry/crumbly. Adding a bit of flour at a time is key.

This cream cheese frosting is unbelievably scrumptious.  It’s definitely not the thin, runny coating some of us are used to. This one is a rich, decadent frosting, thanks in part to the addition of corn syrup. Again, if you prefer to go without, you can omit the corn syrup as long as you don’t mind a slightly thinner texture.

The frosting marries perfectly with the warm rolls.  I habitually lessen the amount of sugar in almost everything I make, so I personally use less sugar than what the recipe calls for.  If you opt to use a bit less sugar as well, know that the frosting will still be delicious.

homemade cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, cooks illustrated cinnamon rolls, americas test kitchen cinnamon rolls

Prepare These Cinnamon Rolls Ahead of Time

My favorite thing about these cinnamon rolls is that they can be prepared the night before and taken out to bake the morning of!  You just need to take it out to rise about 30 minutes in the morning, and it’s ready to be baked. 

Note also that the cream cheese frosting can be made entirely ahead of time and chilled until ready to use.

If you’re not into the idea of waking up at 4am to make fresh cinnamon rolls, you’ll love the fact that the unbaked rolls can be prepared the night before.

It goes without saying that once you bake your cinnamon rolls, they must be eaten immediately, while still warm. We doubt that’ll be an issue at all.

homemade cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, cooks illustrated cinnamon rolls, americas test kitchen cinnamon rolls

Watch This Recipe in action:

Print

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 2 reviews

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting beats store-bought cinnamon rolls, hands down. These are soft, fluffy, and irresistible.

  • Prep Time: 5 hour
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes

Yield: 12 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick regular butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water, 110F
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg + 2 more egg yolks
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 44.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour

For the cinnamon filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 TB good quality ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine salt

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz real cream cheese, softened but cool
  • 1 tsp corn syrup
  • 2 TB heavy cream
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp good vanilla extract
  • pinch fine salt

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Heat milk and butter in microwave or saucepan until about 100F.  In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle, mix water, yeast, sugar, egg, yolks at low speed until mixed through.  Add salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups flour.  Mix at medium until blended, about 1 minute. 
  2. Switch to dough hook, add 2 more cups of flour, and knead at medium until dough is smooth and clears sides of bowl, adding 1 TB flour at a time (up to 1/4 cup), only as needed.  Do not add too much; just until dough comes together and is smooth and soft.  Knead 10 minutes.  Shape dough into a ball and place in lightly oiled large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk.  About 2 hours, but depends on room temp.
  3. For the icing/frosting (can be made ahead of time):  Combine all frosting ingredients and blend together at low speed in standing mixer for 1 minute.  Increase speed to high and mix until frosting is smooth and free of lumps, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to small bowl and cover.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Cinnamon filling: Mix together the three filling ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
  5. After dough has doubled, press/punch it down and place on lightly floured surface.  Roll out to a rectangle, roughly 16×12, with the lengthier side facing you.  Sprinkle cinnamon mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a half inch border at the far edge. 
  6. Roll the dough, starting with the long edge closest to you.  Roll tightly but carefully until you reach the far edge.  Moisten far edge with water and seal the roll well.  Press on roll gently if needed, to make a uniform cylinder.
  7. Grease a 13×9 baking dish (I had to include another 8×8 dish).  Cut roll into 12 equal pieces using sharp knife, lightly oiled if needed.  Place rolls evenly in baking dish.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  8. If baking the same day, place in warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk (approx. 2 hours).  Preheat oven to 350F when dough is nearly doubled. (If baking the next morning, do not let rolls do their second rise yet.  Put dish of rolls in fridge to sit overnight – bottom of rolls may grow a bit wet, but don’t worry about it. The next morning, place the dish of rolls, still covered, in cool oven. With oven still off, place a large pan of boiling water on the rack below.  Let rolls gradually rise for about 30 minutes or until they look fluffy and almost doubled.  Take rolls and pan of water out of oven.  Preheat oven to 350F while rolls finish rising on the counter.)
  9. When rolls have doubled in bulk, bake at 350F for about 20-25 min or just until golden brown on top.  Watch carefully to be sure they don’t over bake.  I start watching a few minutes early.  When done, invert rolls onto wire rack and cool 5-10 min. 
  10. Transfer to serving plate and spread on thin layer of icing or drizzle on with piping bag (I just use a Ziploc bag with tiny hole cut at end.)  Serve immediately, while still warm.

Notes

Prep time includes passive dough-rise time, for 2 risings.

You can sub half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, if you like. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ♡

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 483
  • Sugar: 28.1 g
  • Sodium: 286.7 mg
  • Fat: 23.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 61.3 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Protein: 8.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 108.7 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud, adapted from Baking Illustrated
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

Add a comment

Recipe rating

27 comments

    • Olufunke

    Wow! Cream cheese frosting, looks delicious and totally worth trying out.

    • Melissa Lee

    My daughter and I made these for Easter 2020 and they were fantastic! The smell of yeast bread filling the house was just what we needed on a snowy Easter. We ended up having a late dinner, and then ate our cinnamon rolls for “supper.” They were soft, and the frosting is delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      YAY, Melissa 🙂 🙂 Makes me so happy you guys enjoyed your cinna-rolls! 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

    • adebimpe

    Lucky to find this article, I am trying it right away. Thank you.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you’re making this! 🙂

    • Monidipa

    So yummy. It’s late night over here. And I feel hungry. I wish I could make them but yeah tomorrow I can try it out.

    • Jackline A

    This looks super good. Thank you for the recipe.

    • M. Robinson

    This looks so delicious! I’m seriously considering making this.

    • Kevin Akidi

    These look so yummy! I totally want to make some now. Saving the recipe for when I can make some.

    • Amy

    This looks delightful and tasty, everyone can dig in right now. My kinds of weekend treat.

    • Amy

    This looks delightful and tasty, everyone can diff in tight now. My kinds of weekend treat.

    • Marienne G.D.

    These look delicious. I might actually try making them. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pyotr

    These looked amazing and l am definitely doing them sometime. Perfect quarantine task

    • Sundeep

    This looks droooling. Today I am going to try this. Just taken out the print out of the recipe. Recipe looks easy and doable.

      • chewoutloud

      Fantastic!! 🙂 🙂

    • World In Eyes

    Wow, it looks delicious, your recipe with proper instructions and ingredient is useful for readers who will try to make this.

    • trkingmomoe

    Wow that look soo good. I love yeast cinnamon rolls.

    • MissMuffin

    Sounds delicious- but how much is 1 stick? In Denmark we dont know what “stick” means, so I hope you kan tell my how much it is in gram, cups, ounces?

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, MissMuffin! 🙂 1 stick = 4 ounces or 8 Tablespoons

    • galleykitchengal

    WOW. These look divine! Can’t wait to try them — they look perfect for a Sunday brunch (and by “brunch,” I mean “my newspaper and I having a date with coffee in bed”).

    • myhealthyohana

    Any child or adult would be thrilled to have these on the first day of school, your kids are very lucky 🙂 Hope they had a great first day!!

      • chewoutloud

      thank you, myhealthyohana! the first days have been fantastic so far, and i’m already feeling better with it 🙂

    • epicureantease

    Love it!! Love the story and the cinnamon rolls look fabulous!! Your kids will remember these special moments forever! My mom did special things like this for my siblings and I and thinking about those times always make me smile! 🙂 Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

      • chewoutloud

      what a sweet mom of yours, to create such memories that you enjoy even now 🙂

    • cupKaykes

    These look amazing! Will be trying them out this weekend 🙂

Get our free email series: 5 Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less

Plus our newest recipes each week