Think you’ve had the best cinnamon rolls already? Think again. Our homemade cinnamon rolls are made with a unique cream cheese cinnamon sugar filling AND incredible cream cheese icing on top giving you top-tier ooey-gooey deliciousness.
We’ve all had delicious cinnamon rolls at one time or another, but have you ever had cream cheese STUFFED cinnamon rolls? I think not. Fluffy cinnamon roll dough is perfectly hugged between a mouthwatering cream cheese-sugar-cinnamon filling that can only be described as breakfast dessert heaven.
To make this homemade cinnamon roll recipe, just prepare the dough and let it rise for a bit. While you wait, make the make cream cheese icing. When the dough is ready, assemble your rolls and bake.
What You Need for Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- 2% milk: for the quickest results, it’s important that the milk is warmed to 110℉-115℉.
- Quick-rise yeast: we used quick-rise yeast to make this a quicker and easier recipe.
- Egg: be sure that your eggs reach room temperature before using.
- Vanilla extract: vanilla extract takes the flavor of these easy cinnamon rolls to the next level.
- Cream cheese: make sure you use softened cream cheese for easy mixing.
- Brown sugar: the warm flavors in brown sugar pair great with the cinnamon rolls.
- Electric mixer: a stand mixer or hand mixer is needed to thoroughly mix the dough and cream cheese frosting.
Variations and Substitutions
- Milk: You’re welcome to sub out the 2% milk with heavy cream, whole milk, or your favorite non-dairy milk.
- Yeast: Use instant yeast in place of quick-rise yeast. If you aren’t in a time pinch active dry yeast works too!
- Vanilla: Experiment with different flavors like almond extract, lemon extract, or coconut extract.
- Pumpkin cinnamon rolls: Turn these cinnamon rolls into pumpkin cinnamon rolls by mixing the cream cheese with a little pumpkin puree! You could also sprinkle in some pumpkin spice into the dough and icing.
- Switch up the Cinnamon Roll Icing Recipe: feel free to use whatever frosting you love. Try any of the following: cream cheese buttercream frosting, vanilla cream cheese frosting, or whipped cream cheese frosting.
Is there a difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns?
Yes. Cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns are both popular breakfast pastries that share the same spiral shape.
However, the key difference between the two is that cinnamon buns often have nuts in them, such as pecans, walnuts, or raisins. This adds an extra crunchy texture that cinnamon rolls don’t have.
Do you roll cinnamon rolls tight or loose?
When rolling your cinnamon rolls, you don’t want to roll them too tightly or too loosely. If they’re rolled too tight, the dough will become tough and chewy rather than soft and fluffy. If they’re rolled too loosely, they won’t hold their shape well when baking. Finding a happy medium is key!
A good rule of thumb is to roll them so just the edges of the dough meet, similar to how you would roll out a sheet of pie crust.
Can you make these homemade cinnamon rolls ahead of time?
We don’t recommend making these cinnamon rolls the night before, or the yeast will activate too much and they will overflow out of the pan.
Store any leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Can you freeze homemade cinnamon rolls?
We don’t recommend freezing these cinnamon rolls, as the cream cheese doesn’t freeze well.
Whether you have a big brunch potluck coming up or are craving the breakfast of champions, there are many great breakfast dishes that taste delicious with these ultimate cinnamon buns.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Brown Sugar Filling
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll Icing
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Prepare the dough. Add the warm milk, granulated sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside until the yeast has bloomed, about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the butter, egg, vanilla, flour, and salt. Turn the mixer on to the lowest speed. Once the dough has started to form, turn the speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. It should bounce back once poked.
- Leave the dough in the stand mixer and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. About 1.5 hours.
- Make the cream cheese icing. Place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend until combined. Set aside.
- Assemble the cinnamon rolls. Once the dough has risen turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll into a rectangle that is approximately 18” long, 12” wide, ¼” thick.
- Spread the cream cheese over the dough and then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the cream cheese. Then, roll into a tight log starting at one of the long sides. For larger rolls, roll the tight log starting at one of the short sides.
- Slice the log into about 1-1 ½ -inch rolls. This will yield about 12 rolls depending on how tightly you roll your log and whether you start rolling at a long or short side of the dough.
- Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper. Add the rolls to the dish, making sure they just barely touch. Depending on how tightly you rolled dough into the log, you can either place rolls 3×4 or 2×4 with extra rolls in another baking dish.
- If you’re making the rolls in advance, wrap them in plastic and place them in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Bring the rolls to room temperature (about 30 minutes) when you’re ready to bake and then skip to step 10.
- If you are making the rolls immediately, cover them with plastic wrap and then a tea towel. Place them in a warm spot to rise until the rolls begin to touch – about 30 minutes. While the rolls rise, preheat your oven to 350℉.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for 18-22 minutes (depending on your oven and the size of your rolls) or until the centers are set, be sure not to overbake.
- Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for 10 minutes before frosting.
Tips & Notes
- You can use any milk for this recipe
- You do not have to warm the milk before activating the yeast. But it will help get things going quicker. It is important not to heat more than 115℉ so you will not kill the yeast.