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House Favorite Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

33 reviews / 4.5 average

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.

Cinnamon rolls with glaze on plates with forks.

Ingredients You’ll Need

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.

  • eggs
  • flour
  • yeast
  • honey
  • white, brown, and powdered sugars
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla
  • 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.

The dough recipe itself is enough to make 3 batches of rolls so you can make one batch now and save the rest for another time that you want to make everyone’s day so much better. Or in case you want to make a pan all for yourself to eat while you’re baking another batch to put out on the table for everyone else. They don’t have to know. We’ll never speak of it. Your secret is safe with us.

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.

  1. 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. So go, dream of the warm cinnamon morning that awaits you. 
  2. The morning of. When you’re ready in the morning, pull the dough ball out and cut the dough into thirds. You’ll use one for this batch and you can fridge/freeze the other two. Roll out your dough into a large rectangle. If you’re really on top of things and a very normal person, you know where your rolling pin is. If you’re us, you grab the nearest cylindrical object and get at it. To each their own. 
  3. Make the filling. Mix together your 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?! The world really is your oyster, but we’re keeping it traditional in this one. 
  4. 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…point being, bake a tiny snack with them). Cut the log into 6-8 equal pieces and place them in your pan. Give them another 1 hour 15 minute rest (maybe also sneak one of those in for yourself?) in the pan to help ensure the puffiest cinnamon rolls…which is definitely always what we’re going for.
  5. Bake. After they rise, bake for about 20 minutes (we definitely err on the side of under-baking for optimal squish). Let the coziest, merriest, warmest kitchen smells commence!
White hand rolling up cinnamon roll dough.
Cinnamon roll dough rolled up and cut into sections.
Unbaked cinnamon rolls in a cast iron skillet.

Let’s Talk Glaze

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 smooth, silky, thin but not too thin, covers and drips over everything cream cheese glaze. Icing? Glaze? 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 your cream cheese is VERY soft to start and that you whip it really smooth before you begin slowly incorporating the milk and sugar and vanilla so everything stays silky.

Then it’s up to you where to go next! If you drizzle the glaze on right away, the better chance it has to seep all throughout the cinnamon rolls for a gooier, squishier, all around dreamier holiday morning experience. If you wait for the rolls to cool a bit first, it definitely acts a little more like a frosting sitting up on top, still delicious and completely devourable.

You can also have some fun here if you’re feeling it. A little maple syrup in that glaze perhaps? Or a swizzle of honey to bring out the honey in the brioche? Did you zest some orange in that filling, 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 lumpy-icinged cinnamon rolls with RECKLESS ABANDON and zero regrets.

Cinnamon rolls covered with glaze in a cast iron skillet.

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: FAQs

How do you recommend storing these to keep them fresh?

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.

How do I rewarm my cinnamon roll?

Just pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for a quick 5 minute rewarming treatment, or about 30 seconds in the microwave.

How should I store my leftover dough?

You can store it wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for a couple days – after that, transfer to the freezer for up to 3 months. See recipe for more specific instructions!

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Source Notes: To get to light, pillowy, aggressively glazed cinnamon roll nirvana, we originally worked a lot from the amazing cinnamon roll recipe in Bread in 5’s Holiday and Celebration cookbook (affiliate link). Our dough is a slight departure from their brioche but theirs is the recipe that called out, “Yes, you CAN do this! You CAN make these from scratch!” And then basically that voice has called to us every day ever since because, you know…cinnamon rolls.

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A picture of House Favorite Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

House Favorite Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze


Description

Our House Favorite Cinnamon Rolls – the ones we make every year! With pillowy brioche dough and cream cheese glaze tucked into every bite. This makes a BIG batch of dough that you can divide and save for later…or make extra all for yourself! 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Cinnamon Roll Brioche Dough:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water (not hot water)
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 cups flour

Cinnamon Roll Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk (more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Start by adding the water and yeast to a bowl. Add all the other dough ingredients to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. It will be messy, sticky, and loose. You can transfer to a clean bowl if you want – then cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let her rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours until it has puffed up and doubled in size. *This is important.*
  2. 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.
  3. Cut a chunk off: When you’re ready for rolls, remove the dough and cut the whole dough ball into thirds. Each third (about the size of a grapefruit) will give you a 6-8-roll batch of cinnamon rolls. You’ll use one third for this recipe, and the other two thirds can be stored in the fridge or freezer – one of the best parts about this recipe! See notes.
  4. Prep the filling and glaze: For the filling, mix the sugars and cinnamon in a small bowl. For the glaze, use an electric mixer to beat the softened cream cheese 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. 
  5. Assemble the rolls: On a well-floured surface, roll your dough ball (the one-third chunk from step one) out into a rectangle a little bigger than the size of a piece of paper – about 9×13, and about 1/2 inch thick. You’ll want to do this when the dough is right out of the fridge because as it warms up it will get more sticky. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon roll filling. You can use your hands to press it in and make sure it’s all evenly coated.
  6. Cut, rest, and bake: Roll the cinnamon rolls up starting at the short side. Cut off any uneven end pieces so both ends have a clean cut. Gently cut your log into 6-8 rolls and place them in a 9×13 pan or a circular pan, with an inch or two of space between. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the rolls rest at room temperature for 1 hour and 15 minutes before baking (this helps the rolls puff up a little further). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. (I like to err on the side of underbaking.)
  7. Glaze and enjoy: When they come out of the oven, give them a minute to cool. Then brush or spoon them with the glaze so it gets every crevice coated with gooey, drippy deliciousness. This is a glaze and not intended to be a thick frosting – it is normal for it to drip into the cracks of the rolls as pictured. Savor every warm, pillowy, glazed bite. YOU MADE THAT. Cinnamon roll bliss is yours!

Notes

Yield: This makes enough brioche dough for 3 batches of cinnamon rolls, with 8 rolls per batch.

Freezing the Dough, Option 1: You can just wrap your two extra dough balls in plastic wrap and freeze them as a dough chunk – this is what I usually do. The advantage of this is that it allows you the option of using the brioche in something other than cinnamon rolls, like this gooey caramel monkey bread. To thaw the frozen dough chunk, you’ll need to put it in the fridge to thaw about 24 hours before you’re going to use it. Then, once you’ve rolled or assembled it into its final form, give it at least 1-2 hours to rest and rise at room temperature before baking.

Freezing the Dough, Option 2: You can roll out the extra dough into cinnamon rolls and put the individual rolls in the freezer already dressed and ready to go. In that case, put them in the fridge to thaw at least 24 hours before baking, and let them rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours to puff up again before baking.

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: 30 minutes + 12 hours wait time
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cinnamon rolls, maple glaze, homemade cinnamon rolls

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124 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Teresa

    OMG! Yes please!! Will definitely be trying these! I do have a question about getting the dough to rise. I have the worst time with yeast and not getting a good rise. Any tips or tricks?






      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        We’ve never tried using this dough in a savory recipe. The dough is a bit on the sweeter side, but I could definitely see it working with savory ingredients!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Jennifer

      I accidentally gave this four stars, when I meant to hit five stars! Trying to type quickly withy toddler on my lap and didn’t realize until I hit submit! So sorry about that!






  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Noelle Hawton

    Hi POY team! These look amazing! Question: I’d like to prep the whole thing — including the 1.25 hours rest prior to baking — the night before. Would that work? Put them in the fridge after the rest and then take out in the morning to bake?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Noelle! Great question. Yes, you can definitely prep everything the night before and put them in the fridge, but Lindsay still suggests leaving them for at least an hour on the counter to really puff up before baking.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Robyn Wagner

        Gluten-free flour AP works! Eating them now and they are delicious. Like most gluten-free baked goods they don’t puff up as much but they are still light and flaky…plus the cream cheese frosting is AMAZING!






        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Lexi

          Hi PoY! What size round pan do you recommend? The pictures show a cast iron so I’m wondering what size and if that is the preferred method of basking?

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo
            Krista @ Pinch of Yum

            We’ve used a variety of pans/dishes, like pie pans and regular casserole dishes, for this recipe, so a cast iron isn’t necessary. The skillet shown in the photo is either 11 or 12 inches!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cat

    Yum! Can’t wait to try these. Also, could you use this dough recipe to make rolls? I have a heck of a time trying to find brioche rolls here. Thanks!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mallory

    I’m so excited to make these for Christmas morning. I love a good cinnamon roll but I’ve never attempted to make them myself. Now that I have a stand mixer I think I’ll try!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Erika

    Hi there, these look so yummy. So I am questioning if you need to triple the filling and frosting Since you divide the dough into thirds To make three batches. If you Just make one of the batches, do you use the recipe as Written and then you need to make The filling and frosting again to make Each of the rest of the batches each time? Or do you divide the filling in frosting ingredients into thirds for each batch? Thanks for clarifying!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Erika! Great question! Yes, you will need to triple the filling and frosting if making 3 batches of cinnamon rolls. The recipe for the filling and frosting as written is for 1 batch or 1/3 of the dough.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kathryn

    So, when you want to use the stored dough balls, do you make filling and glaze for each one according to the instructions above in the recipe (so a total of 3 recipes’ worth for the entire amount of dough)?
    Thank you.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Emma

    How long is too long to leave the dough in the fridge? I’m thinking of making the dough on a Friday morning and then sticking in the fridge until early afternoon Saturday to finish making/baking. Would that be too long or would it work okay?






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Emma! That should be fine. I’ve read that the dough can hang out in the fridge for up to a couple days.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lisa

    These look delicious! Wondering if you’d have any suggestions for substitutions for the honey in the dough? Can’t use due to allergies

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great question! We haven’t tested the dough with anything other than honey, but I’m guessing maple syrup would be a good substitute!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Keisha

    I have been unsuccessful at recipes that involve dough rising on the counter, thinking maybe my house it too cold? “Room temp” in my kitchen is 68 degrees. Do I need to pop the bowl in a low temp oven to help with the rising? Or is this recipe not that sensitive?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      I think that’d be a good idea! I’ve run into the same problem in the past, and have found that setting my oven to the “warm/proof” setting really helps dough rise.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great question. We’ve never worked with a sourdough starter before, so it’s hard to say if it’d work well in this recipe. If you give it a try, we’d love to hear back!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jessica Hughes

    I love POY! Food allergy family and the recipes are so easy to alter for our needs. Any thoughts if these would work with egg replacer? I usually use Bob’s Red Mill – unless you have a better suggestion. Thanks.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi! We haven’t tested these rolls with an egg replacer, but we think it’s worth a try! Let us know how it goes!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Karen

        When I mix yeast and water in bowl, does it need to sit or stir to dissolve before adding flour? Is there also no kneading of the dough?

        Thanks

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Krista @ Pinch of Yum

          Hi Karen! No need to let the yeast and water sit and you don’t need to knead the dough.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Meg Stowe

    Just made these! The texture is divineeeee for sure but we found it a lacking in cinnamon sugar flavour. I think I’ll double the cinnamon sugar mixture next time. We’re never going back to Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls in this house though!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Meg Stowe

      I should add that the dough recipe as-is would make amazing rolls! I might try that out with one of my extra dough balls.






  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kristi

    Any tips on what would be the best way to scale this down for one person who only wants to make a couple at time? Is there a good recipe converter tool for scaling down more than half? I love your recipes “for two” and would love to see more of those in 2022!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    April Driggers

    aaaah man… I’m on the search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe and the best cinnamon roll recipe. I haven’t attempted the Pioneer Woman’s because … I don’t want to make 7 pans the first go round but oh myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy these look heavenly.

    That does it… I’m going in!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Ashley Hager

      I only have regular active yeast instead of instant. How much longer would this need to rise? Or could I put it in the instant pot to proof and if so, how long?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Jesse Izquierdo

        I just used active yeast as well yesterday to makes these and it worked perfectly! Just leave in the water and honey for 10 minutes until foamy. Some people recommend increasing the active yeast by 25% since more of the yeast is dead in active yeast than in instant yeast.

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        You can use active yeast instead! You shouldn’t need to make any changes.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lindsey

    These look great! I was wondering if POY might include weight measurements in their baking recipes? It can make a big difference in a final product. Thanks as always for your awesome content!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jocelyn

    Could you give any tips on how to prepare and give as Christmas gift boxes? Should you bake and then freeze to give away?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great question! I think that’s good idea especially if you won’t be gifting them, right after you bake them.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Bianca

    Hello! Looking at the recipe, i see you didn’t specify if we should use unsalted, semi-salted, or salted butter for the dough. Would you please let me know? Thanks!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Marie

      Hello! Getting ready to try the recipe this weekend and would love to know if best to use salted or unsalted butter. Thanks!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        Lindsay has used both salted and unsalted butter for this recipe, so whatever you have on hand will work. We tend to use salted butter in the Pinch of Yum kitchen!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cheryl

    Made these cinnamon rolls and love them!! Any suggestions for an icing or glaze recipe that is not cream cheese? I tried a a recipe from a different site and it wasn’t great.

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Casey

    So easy and sooooo good!! Yeast products have always scared me so I avoid them 😆 it’s summer in Australia and I had to let the cold tap run for a few moments to cool it down to lukewarm temperature 🤣🤣 I doubled the cinnamon in the filling. Instructions don’t say to flour as you roll but I assume you’re meant to as it wasn’t happening otherwise 😆 thanks for this it was amazing! Excited to have two thirds of dough left to play with






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Emily! We haven’t tried freezing the glaze, but we think it’d work okay if you have some leftover!

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Barbara

    Hi. Just a suggestion. Don’t white the instructions of the recipe as if you’re making it for 3×8 rolls and then have the ingredients for just 8 rolls. It’s totally confusing. I halved it thinking i’m gonna get 12 rolls. 🙁 Now I’ll only get 4?! Anyway, I only saw this fact in the comments, beacuse I did not check the portion number in the recipe card – I never really had to in other POY recipes. Thanks.

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Loriana

    I’m wondering if I could use 1/3 of this dough to make your raspberry tea ring? We love that for Christmas and I want to try these this year too! It looks like the same dough, with slightly more ingredients in so maybe 1/3 would be enough to form a ring? Thanks! Love your recipes!!!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Kaye

        Hi, i’d like to make this recipe, they look delicious. Can you tell me if i should use strong bread flour, s/r or plain flour please?
        Thank you so much.
        Merry Christmas 🎄

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Meagan M Roa

    Should I use the whipping attachment on the vitamix for the glaze? Great recipe!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      We’ve never tried that attachment but it sounds like it’d help!