Sweet Cinnamon Rolls! Made with pillowy brioche dough and cinnamon sugar tucked into every nook and cranny. This makes a BIG batch of dough that you can divide and save for later…or make extra all for yourself!
It seems almost silly to write any more since you, like most normal people, saw “Cinnamon Rolls” and are like, “Yes! In! This is the only gift I need this holiday season!”
You probably started thinking about your favorite part of the cinnamon roll which is OF COURSE, the center. The gooey, soft, pull-apart, cinnamon-slathered, sweet, perfectly glazed bite. The bite you waited for the whole time or, if you’re like some of us, the only bite you took and then discarded the rest because why botherrrrr?!
Well, what if the whole cinnamon roll *was* like the center? What if every single bite was light and soft and buttery and sweet? What if the entire thing was draped in a silky smooth cream cheese glaze that seeped and sneaked into every single available warm cinnamony pocket? Yes. Yes. Goodbye dry, hard glaze-less outer bready bits! We’re here for brioche and we’re never turning back.
Your holiday brunches, your quiet mornings with a hot cup of coffee before everyone wakes up, your treat plate on the counter where you sneak bites in between all the stirs and mashes and temp checks of holiday meal prep…all of this just got so much more delicious.
In This Post: Everything You Need To Make Cinnamon Rolls
- WATCH How to Make This Recipe
- Ingredients You’ll Need
- How to Make Homemade Brioche Dough (And How Else to Use It)
- How to Make Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
- All About Cream Cheese Icing
- Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?
Ingredients You Need For Cinnamon Rolls
To make these pillowy dream machines come together, you’ll need some time and some patience and some butter. Those are definitely the big things, but there’s a few other ingredients on the list too.
- white, brown, and powdered sugars
- cream cheese
- butter (butter lovers, this is your moment to shine!)
About that butter. The absolute key to this perfect cinnamon roll, in our humble opinion (but also not humble…hiiii this is the best cinnamon roll!), is the brioche dough. It’s soft and sweet and airy. It is absolutely made to be soaked in cinnamon and sugar and warm drippy glaze.
Yes, You Can Make Homemade Cinnamon Roll Dough!
Trust – it’s easier than you think.
This brioche dough that we’re using is ultra-pillowy, soft, and luscious. Also: stupidly easy. I have zero time for fussy bread recipes, so you know this is doable. You will be big-time rewarded with fluffy dough and amazing bread smells for all your (slightly) hard work. And hard work = 30 seconds of stirring.
Here’s all you have to do:
- Combine water and yeast in a bowl.
- Add all the other dough ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. It will be messy, sticky, and loose.
- Cover loosely and let her rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours until it has puffed up and doubled in size.
- Store in the fridge: Once the dough has doubled in size, put the bowl in the fridge, covered, to store at least overnight, so the dough has time to chill and become easier to handle.
You can do it!
What Else To Make with Brioche Dough
If you love the texture of these rolls, which you will, this same dough recipe can be used in multiple ways! It’s a go to around here for lots of pillowy, plush, super tender baked yummies.
Here are my favorite ways to use that leftover dough:
- Gooey Caramel Monkey Bread (a brunch necessity!)
- Christmas Tea Ring with Raspberry Cream Cheese Filling (a family favorite perfect for Christmas morning)
- Ricotta Berry French Toast Casserole (french toast for a crowd!)
How To Make Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
There are some steps here. There is a little bit of time and planning and love that goes in, but what are the holidays if not time and planning and love. And we promise, absolutely all your efforts will be rewarded. BIG TIME.
- Make the brioche. This really is meant to be an overnight process. You’ll mix your dough together, all sweet with honey and rich with butter, and then cover her loosely and let her double in size (about 1-2 hours). After that, just go ahead and pop her in the fridge and go to bed. The brioche dough really is so much easier to work with after a chill because of all the…ahem, butter.
- The morning of. Mix together your filling: cinnamon, your sugars, and your melted butter. If you really want to get fancy you can stick some orange zest in there, maybe some cardamom, some cocoa?!
- Roll it out. When you’re ready in the morning, roll out your dough into a large rectangle.
- Form the rolls. Spread the filling over your dough and then roll it up, starting from the short end. Trim the uneven ends (but don’t you dare leave those! toss them in a ramekin and bake them up, make little cinnamon twists, give them to kids to play bakery with…point being, bake a tiny snack with them). Cut the log into 8 equal pieces and place them in your pan. Give them another 45 minute rest in a pre-warmed oven.
- Bake. After they rise, bake for about 22 minutes. Let the coziest, merriest, warmest kitchen smells commence!
Let’s Talk Cream Cheese Icing
You’re already going to be peeking in that warm oven and absolutely high-fiving yourself left and right as you watch them pillow up over the top of the pan, but there is still more glory to come! That’s right, it’s a fluffy, light, thin but not too thin, covers and drips over everything cream cheese glaze. Icing? Glaze? Frosting? Reason for living? Whatever you call it, this one is just about perfect.
So there are some tips and tricks here because sometimes a glaze wants to lump, and we’re not having that. So you’ll want to make sure you use an electric mixer to whip it really smooth – the longer you mix it, and the higher the speed, the fluffier your frosting will be (but it then kinda melts down in the most wonderful way once it goes on the rolls).
Flavor Variations On The Cream Cheese Glaze
You can also have some fun here if you’re feeling it.
- A little maple syrup in that glaze perhaps?
- A swizzle of honey to bring out the honey in the brioche?
- Zest some orange in that filling or how about a splash of orange juice in your glaze for a sweet citrusy twist?
Play around, make them your own, make them again and again and again.
We really do not know how you could possibly go wrong! Even if you do get some lumps. Can fully attest that the whole team ate a full batch of these cinnamon rolls with RECKLESS ABANDON and zero regrets.
In a way, making these perfectly soft, pillowy, sweet cinnamon rolls is a lot like gathering friends and family for the holidays. It takes a little time and patience and planning. But once everyone is all tucked in and ready to go, there’s nothing more warm, more cozy, more joy-giving than having them at the table.
Cinnamon Rolls: Frequently Asked Questions
If you have leftovers (ha!) keep them in a sealed container in the fridge and they should stay fresh for a few days! Reheat in the microwave or oven until warm.
Just pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for a quick 5 minute rewarming treatment, or about 15-20 seconds in the microwave.
Yes! See the notes section of this recipe for a sample timing option that shows how you can make these the night before and let them sit in the fridge until the next morning. And the dough itself can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and just kept covered in the fridge!
A previous version of included extra dough for 3 batches of cinnamon rolls; you can find the previous version here. The updated recipe now is for ONE batch of cinnamon rolls. The video still reflects that older method of splitting the dough in 3; you can just ignore that, until we are able to get it updated. 🙂
Source Notes: To get to light, pillowy, aggressively glazed cinnamon roll nirvana, I am using the method from the amazing cinnamon roll recipe in Bread in 5’s Holiday and Celebration cookbook (affiliate link). This is one of the best baking books I own for easy, do-able baking! Highly recommend and owe all credit for much of what I’ve learned about making brioche to them and this book!Print
Our House Favorite Cinnamon Rolls – the ones we make every year! With pillowy brioche dough and cream cheese glaze tucked into every bite.
Cinnamon Roll Brioche Dough:
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (not hot water)
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 1/2 cups flour + extra for dusting
Cinnamon Roll Filling:
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 5 tablespoons white sugar
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk (more as needed)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- small pinch of salt
- Make the dough: Start by adding the water and yeast to a bowl. Melt the butter, whisk in the honey, then the egg and salt. Add your butter mixture to the bowl, and then measure in the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. It will be messy, sticky, and loose – that is correct.
- First rise: Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let her rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours until the dough ball has puffed up and roughly doubled in size. I often turn on my oven to 200 degrees and place the dough bowl in close proximity to the fan to speed this process up.
- Store in the fridge: Once the dough has doubled in size, gently reach in with your hand and pull the sticky dough from the edges of the bowl. This should somewhat deflate the dough – that’s great. Put the bowl in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. It needs at least 3 hours in the fridge so the dough has time to chill and become easier to handle. Don’t try to work with it right after the first rise – chilling is necessary to make it workable. The dough can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Assemble the rolls: Remove the dough from the fridge and coat the outside lightly with flour. Roll your dough ball out to about a 9×13 rectangle. This dough doesn’t like to be over-handled, and you don’t want to have to add a lot of extra flour – so work with it right out of the fridge.
- Filling: Brush the rectangle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugars and cinnamon. You can use your hands to press it in and make sure it’s all evenly coated.
- Roll: Roll the dough up starting at the short side. Try not to over-handle the dough as it will become sticky. Once the log is rolled up, use floss or a very sharp knife to trim the uneven ends, and then cut the log into 8 equal rolls. Place the rolls in a 9-10 inch round baking dish or pie plate (another size could also work, I just like how they fit in a round pan with 7 around the outside and one in the center).
- Second rise: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and then turn it off. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the rolls rest in the turned-off oven for 45 minutes. They should fit a little more snugly together in the pan at this point. Cute! Take them out and turn the oven back on to 350 degrees. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
- Prep the cream cheese frosting: Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little bit of milk at a time until you get a smooth glaze; then continue to beat with the electric mixer until you have a light and fluffy frosting.
- Frost and enjoy: When they come out of the oven, give them a minute to cool. Then brush or spoon them with the frosting so it gets every crevice coated with gooey, drippy deliciousness. You can frost them again (second layer!) once they’ve cooled a bit more. Savor every warm, pillowy, glazed bite. YOU MADE THAT. Cinnamon roll bliss is yours!
Sample Timing – for less work in the morning: Make the dough the morning before; let it rise from 8-10am. Put it in the fridge. Roll out the rolls in the afternoon or evening, cover, and put back in the fridge. Take the rolls out first thing the next morning, rise from 7-8am, bake and be ready to eat by 8:30am.
Sample Timing – for last-minute people: Make the dough the night before; let it rise from 8-10pm. Put it in the fridge. Roll out the rolls the next morning from 7:30-8, let them rise from 8-9am, bake and be ready to eat by 9:30am.
Fridge Time: This particular dough can hang out in the fridge for up to 5 days. I don’t like to leave the pre-rolled rolls in the fridge longer than overnight because I feel like the filling starts to seep out. But the dough ball itself can hang out for 5 days.
Freezing: Currently freezing isn’t a part of my routine for these because I find that the dough is so rich and buttery that it’s hard to get a good second rise. I prefer to just work within that 5 day timeframe and store them in the fridge during that time!
If your dough is not rising: This happens to me every once in a while (due to variances in temperature of the room or temperature of ingredients). I find that it’s almost always because the dough is not warm enough yet. Assuming that your yeast was alive and you are smelling that sweet, yeasty smell from the dough, it just needs a bit more time, warmth, and moisture. Covering it with a damp towel and placing it near a warm oven for an extra 30-60 minutes should get it going. You can also try any of the tricks in this post– in particular I like the boiling water / oven method.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes + 12 hours wait time
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cinnamon rolls, maple glaze, homemade cinnamon rolls
More Holiday Brunch Recipes We Love
- Gooey Caramel Monkey Bread (this caramel is not messing around – it’s so good!)
- Christmas Tea Ring with Raspberry Cream Cheese Filling (family favorite!)
- Carrot Cake Coffee Cake (perfect sweet addition to the holiday table)
- Biscuits and Gravy Egg Bake (the ultimate brunch recipe mash-up!)
- Egg and Croissant Brunch Bake (a classic brunch crowd-pleaser!)
- Breakfast Enchiladas with Roasted Poblano Sauce (a little something different that will blow. your. mind.)