Watch out Cinnabon, because these are the best cinnamon rolls ever! They’re extremely gooey, packed with cinnamon sugar flavor, and topped with cream cheese frosting. Overnight and freezing options are included!

A giant super gooey cinnamon roll on a plate.

I know everyone claims to have the best cinnamon roll recipe, but as a former pastry chef who has worked in dozens of high-end bakeries, I can say with certainty that these are the BEST homemade cinnamon rolls that taste even better than from a bakery.

After creating tons of gourmet cinnamon roll flavors like strawberry rolls and coffee rolls, I decided to tweak the base to be softer and gooier, with a rich buttery flavor like a classic Cinnabon. Trust me, they deliver!

Why These Are The Best Cinnamon Rolls

  • Super gooey: This recipe has the goo-factor thanks to a few secret ingredients!
  • Bakery-worthy flavor: I have tested this recipe dozens of times to achieve the perfect balance of sweetness and richness to taste even better than from a bakery!
  • Easy to work with: Using Tangzhong, an Asian bread technique (also known as milk bread), ensures a soft and easy-to-handle yeast dough. This is the base of my Oreo rolls and bacon rolls, too!
  • Stay soft for days: These sweet rolls stay soft and fluffy for days…if they even last that long!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make cinnamon buns in bowls with labels.

Bread flour: I used bread flour over all-purpose flour in this recipe. The higher gluten content in bread flour results in a chewy texture, which is key to the best cinnamon rolls. While all-purpose flour works, bread flour will give you the best results.

Instant yeast: I have tested this recipe with instant yeast and active dry yeast and prefer instant yeast because it gives a more yeasty flavor, and you can skip the second rise! If you choose active dry yeast, see my post on how to bake with yeast for tips.

Heavy cream: Instead of pouring cream over the rolls like other recipes, it gets incorporated into the dough for tenderness, richness, and moisture. It’s essential for achieving the perfect gooey texture!

European butter: We’re using European butter in this recipe for its high-fat content and because it’s packed with more flavor than American butter. More flavorful butter = more flavorful cinnamon rolls! Kerrygold or Plugra are great options.

Vanilla bean paste: Bakeries often use it for its super intense flavor. While vanilla extract can be substituted equally, the paste provides way more flavor!

Vanilla powder: While optional, it adds extra vanilla flavor to the filling!

Find the full list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions in the recipe card below!

Filling and Flavor Variations

Tips on Working with Yeast

Here are my top tips for success:

  • Kneading: Focus on achieving a smooth and elastic consistency. The dough should look soft and smooth when kneaded properly. If it looks rough, lumpy, or dull, knead it longer.
  • Proofing: Allow the dough to rise in a warm (not hot!) spot in your home. This promotes yeast activity and allows it to rise properly. While it’s tempting to use the oven shortcut as other recipes suggest, I don’t recommend it. The proof time allows the yeast to flavor the dough. Speeding up this process will result in cinnamon rolls with less flavor!

Recipe Instructions

Step 1: Make the tangzhong. Cook the water and bread flour in a pot over medium-low heat until it resembles a thick paste. (Image 1 below)

Step 2: Combine the wet and dry ingredients. In a stand mixing bowl, use the dough hook to combine the wet and dry ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. (Image 2 below)

Step 3: Knead the dough. Mix in the butter. Continue kneading until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and looks smooth and elastic (Image 3 below). Do a windowpane test to ensure it’s ready!

A process collage of the steps for making homemade cinnamon roll dough.

Step 4: Let the dough rest. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl, covering the top with plastic wrap. Set it aside for 30 minutes. (Image 4 above)

Step 5: Make the filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and vanilla powder. (Image 5 below)

Step 6: Roll out the cinnamon roll dough. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 15×21″ rectangle. (Image 6 below)

A process collage of the steps for rolling the cinnamon buns.

Step 7: Spread the filling. Spread the cinnamon mixture evenly over the top, leaving a 1″ border at the top clean. (Image 7 above)

Step 8: Cut the rolls. Use a pizza wheel to cut twelve, 1 3/4-inch strips. Roll each one away from you, securing the clean edge to the roll to seal in the filling. (Image 8 above)

Step 9: Let the dough rise. Place them into the prepared 9×13 baking pan. Cover the top with plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm place until doubled in size. (Image 9 below)

Step 10: Bake the rolls. Once doubled in size, bake the cinnamon rolls in the preheated oven until the tops are lightly golden brown. (Image 10 below)

A process collage of baking and frosting cinnamon rolls.

Step 11: Make the cream cheese buttercream frosting. While the sweet rolls are baking, make the frosting. (Image 11 above)

Step 12: Cool the rolls on a wire rack. Once baked, let the pan cool on a wire rack. Spread the cream cheese icing over the tops of the warm rolls and allow it to melt into the centers. (Image 12 above)

Troubleshooting

Why didn’t my dough rise?

Using expired yeast is most likely the problem. I always recommend using fresh yeast!

My dough is super wet and sticky, what did I do wrong?

Using too little flour or too much liquid can result in wet and sticky dough. Another consideration is if you live in a humid environment, you may need extra flour in general! Watch the video at the bottom of the post for a visual of what the dough looks like.

Why are my cinnamon rolls dense and dry?

Incorrectly measuring the flour or wet ingredients, overbaking, and not kneading the dough long enough can result in dense or dry rolls.

Help! The filling leaked out of my rolls!

This is likely due to the butter being way too warm and soft. Using cool room-temperature butter is ideal! Stick a thermometer into your stick of butter, it should fall between 64F-68F.

Why did the middle of the rolls pop out?

Rolling the dough too tightly can cause this.

Why did my rolls collapse after baking?

This is likely due to overproofing the rolls. Make sure they are only proofed until they double in size!

Overnight Rise Instructions

If you are preparing them for Christmas breakfast, Easter, or any other special occasion, making them ahead can save you some time!

After rolling and placing the rolls in the pan, tightly cover them with two layers of plastic wrap and chill overnight. The next day, allow them to rise at room temperature until doubled before baking.

Avoid refrigerating for more than 24 hours, otherwise, the yeast will ferment, giving off an alcohol-like smell.

Storage and Freezing

Storage: To keep the cinnamon buns soft and gooey, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Warm them in the microwave or oven before serving!

Freezing: After rolling, wrap the pan tightly with two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of foil. Freeze for up to 2-3 weeks. To bake, defrost in the fridge overnight. The next morning, let the unbaked rolls rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours until doubled in size, adjusting for kitchen temperature.

Tips for the Best Ever Cinnamon Buns

Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is my #1 baking tip! If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.

I know it’s tempting, but don’t substitute ingredients. This recipe has been meticulously tested for the best results- it’s the best cinnamon roll recipe for a reason!

Follow the instructions and read through the recipe once before starting. This is helpful especially if it’s your first time making cinnamon rolls from scratch or using the milk bread technique.

Don’t rush the dough process. This is crucial to achieving flavor and a soft and fluffy texture. Putting your dough in the oven to rise or doing anything that will “speed up” the proofing process will result in less flavorful rolls.

Use cool room-temperature butter for the filling. Melted or super-warm butter will melt out of the rolls and pool to the bottom.

Use a pizza wheel instead of floss! I’ve found this is much easier to cut and roll rather than using dental floss or a serrated knife. It keeps the cinnamon rolls perfectly round after baking, too!

FAQs

Can I use all-purpose flour instead?

Yes! Although I highly recommend bread flour for the best texture.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes!

Can I make this recipe without a stand mixer?

You can, although you will need some serious elbow grease to knead the dough properly!

A tray of homemade cinnamon rolls with one on its side to show the gooey and fluffy texture.

More Cinnamon Roll Recipes

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

A giant super gooey cinnamon roll on a plate.

The Best Cinnamon Rolls

5 from 17 votes

Watch out Cinnabon, because these are the best cinnamon rolls you'll ever have! These homemade cinnamon rolls are made bakery-style so they're extremely gooey, packed with cinnamon sugar flavor, and topped with cream cheese frosting.
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Tangzhong

  • 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup water

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 3 2/3 cups bread flour, *See notes below for measuring*
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Tangzhong from above
  • 8 tablespoons salted European butter, cool room temperature

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • 1/2 cup salted European butter, cool room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder, optional

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Instructions

  • Before you start, line a metal 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper.

Make the Tangzhong

  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the water and all-purpose flour. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is a paste-like slurry. Scrape it into a bowl and set it aside.
    1/4 cup (32 g) bread flour, 3/4 cup (155 g) water
  • In a stand mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt until combined. Add the cream, milk, egg, vanilla, and tangzhong to the bowl. Knead on low speed with the dough hook for 2 minutes until it forms a rough dough ball.
    3 2/3 cups (485 g) bread flour, 1/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/3 cup (78 g) heavy cream, 1/3 cup (78 g) whole milk, 1 large (50 g) whole egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, Tangzhong from above
  • On low speed, knead in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, letting it fully incorporate before adding more. Continue kneading for another 10-12 minutes until the dough looks smooth and elastic.
    8 tablespoons (113 g) salted European butter
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and pull the sides down into the bottom center to create a smooth round ball. Place it seam-side down into the mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough rests, combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla powder for the filling. Set aside.
    1/2 cup (113 g) salted European butter, 2/3 cup (133 g) light brown sugar, 2 tbsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15×21-inch rectangle. Dollop the cinnamon sugar mixture across the surface, then spread it to the edges with an offset spatula, leaving a 1-inch border at the top clean.
  • Use a pizza cutter to cut twelve, 1 3/4-inch strips. Roll each strip away from you, then carefully transfer them to the baking pan. Cover the top with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 F/162 C.
  • Bake the cinnamon rolls for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
  • While the rolls are baking, make the cream cheese frosting. In a stand mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter until combined. Then mix in the powdered sugar. Keep beating on low speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, then mix in the vanilla bean paste and heavy cream.
    6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, 5 ounces (5 oz) cream cheese, 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Let the pan cool on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes, then spread the cream cheese frosting on top. Let sit another 15 minutes for the frosting to seep into the rolls. Serve warm and enjoy!
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the oven or microwave until warm before serving!

Video

Notes

*Measure your dry ingredients properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Use cool room-temperature butter. This is important for both kneading it into the dough and for the filling. Butter that is too warm and greasy will make the dough harder to work with. It will also cause the filling to leak from the rolls. 
Use a pizza wheel instead of floss! I’ve found this is much easier to cut and roll rather than using dental floss or a serrated knife. It keeps the cinnamon rolls perfectly round after baking, too!
Overnight rise: Once rolled, cover the baking pan with plastic wrap and chill them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, allow them to rise until doubled at room temperature before baking. Don’t refrigerate them longer than 24 hours or the yeast will ferment and turn sour.
Freezing: Once rolled, cover the pan with two layers of plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for 2-3 weeks. Allow to defrost in the fridge overnight, then let them rise until doubled at room temperature before baking.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 261mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 957IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




18 Comments

  1. Came out great! Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

  2. Do anyone know if you can use cake flour , to make cinnamon rolls ???

    1. Hi Tim, I do not recommend cake flour for cinnamon rolls! Cake flour has a very low protein (gluten) content and will not give you the structure, rise, or texture that you want in a cinnamon roll.

  3. Best cinnamon roll recipe I’ve ever tried…and I’ve made a lot! The extra steps are worth the effort. You can tell this recipe was created with lots of knowledge and expertise. Won’t make any other recipe now!5 stars