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Homemade Cinnamon Roll recipes are classic for a delicious reason. I can promise you that these light, buttery and divine. You mind will change about store-brought rolls in one bite.
I’m recreating my favorite childhood cinnamon roll recipe from McKenzie bakery. Their homemade cinnamon rolls had raisins. I know several people are anti-raisins, so it’s optional. The mascarpone icing recipe is thick so it could be smeared on rather than poured on.
If you’re going to impress anyone with your homemade cinnamon rolls you’re going to need these ingredients to be successful
- Yeast: We need yeast for these rolls to get they’re signature flavor.
- Cinnamon: We cannot have homemade cinnamon rolls without it.
- Butter: Butter equals flavor! Using butter will make these rolls top notch instead of using shortening or butter flavored shortening.
- Raisins: Raisins add a nice pop of flavor to these amazing cinnamon rolls.
- Brown Sugar: I find the flavor of dark brown sugar to be superior to light brown sugar because it gives a better warm maple flavor.
- Flour: I always use unbleached flour for baking and cooking. Feel free to use a gluten-free baking flour as a swap for a gluten-free treat.
- Powdered Sugar: This is the base to our incredible mascarpone icing.
- Mascarpone: Most cinnamon rolls use cream cheese, I wanted to impress my guest when I first made these.
How To Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Here’s how you’re going to be successful at making your cinnamon rolls from scratch.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 170°F or warm, once hot, cut the oven off. In a large mixing bowl mix the yeast and warm water together, set aside for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, kosher salt, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and 3 ½ cups of flour, stir together. Add 3 ¼ cups flour and mix until a soft ball of dough forms.
Step 2: On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 20 times until the dough is smooth, form into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel and pop in a warm oven for 1 hour, dough will double in size.
Step 3: Meanwhile, make cinnamon filling, in a bowl mix, together brown sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt.
Step 4: After dough has doubled in size. Punch dough down, on a lightly floured surface roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and into a rectangle shape. Brush with melted butter and evenly spread cinnamon mix over dough, then raisins. Roll dough into a log shape. Cut the log in 1-inch slices, place on a baking sheet, cover and pop in the fridge for 1 hour.
Step 5: Preheat oven to 400°F; bake rolls for 20 minutes, cover loosely with foil, and continue baking for 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Step 6: While rolls bake, in a medium bowl add the powdered sugar, mascarpone, vanilla extract, and salt, stir together until smooth. Icing should be thick enough to spread. Once rolls are finished baking, allow to cool for 10 minutes before smearing icing evenly over each roll. Enjoy warm.
Common One to One Substitutions:
Cranberries = Raisins
Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, Gluten-Free = Bread Flour
Instant Yeast = Active Dry Yeast (if using instant yeast, rising times will speed up by 50%-75%)
Light Brown Sugar = Dark Brown Sugar
Granulated Sugar = Raw Cane Sugar
Shortening, Non-hydrogenated Coconut Oil = Room Temperature Butter (Rolls)
Cinnamon Roll Tips & Tricks
Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make cinnamon rolls at home:
- If this is your first time making a homemade dough with yeast. When you make the dough, feel confident and trust the recipe.
- Proof your dough in the oven. Proofing gives you the perfect temperature in your home for your dough to double in size without the a/c or ceiling fans adjusting the temperature.
- You can use warm milk to mix your yeast with instead of warm water.
- Some ovens come with a proofing option on them. Use it.
- Using sweet potatoes stops the form of gluten, and this gives these cinnamon rolls an incredible pillowy chewy texture.
- Dry active can be stored at room temperature for one year from the date it was produced. After that time, dry active keep only six months refrigerated or three months in the freezer.
- If you do not own a stand mixer, make the dough with a large spoon. Once the dough is too difficult to stir, add to the light flour surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, form into a ball. If the dough’s too sticky, flour your hands as you knead the dough.
- Use your dough 24 hours after it’s been refrigerated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about homemade cinnamon rolls:
There’s no difference between the two. It’s just a name preference—however, a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun are different. Cinnamon rolls have a vanilla or cream cheese icing, where sticky buns have nuts and a brown sugar glaze.
I proof my dough in a warm oven. I turn my oven on to warm (170 degrees); once hot, I cut it off before placing my dough in. This technique is a great way to proof bread in the winter or when it’s cold out.
Another technique is to place your bread inside on the top rack, fill a pan with boiling water on the bottom rack, and close the oven door. The residual heat will keep the oven warm.
Proofing dough in the fridge is known as “retarding” this style of proofing helps improve the final results of your bread, rolls, or buns. Retarding the dough slows down the rise (yeast activity) and gives the bread more flavor, a better crust, and crumbs to your final product.
It’s best to use your dough 24 hours after it’s been refrigerated.
Bread flour about 11%-13% protein, while regular all-purpose flour has about 9%-11% protein. The higher amount of protein in bread flour creates much gluten. The higher amount of gluten makes a chewier finished product. Kneading dough forms gluten that produces the characteristic of bread. You can use all-purpose flour as a substitute for bread flour and still get a great finished product.
Can you make ahead?
Freezer: Cinnamon Rolls: Rolls can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.
Fridge: Cinnamon Rolls: Rolls can be kept in the fridge for 7 days.
Mascarpone Icing: Icing can be made 3 days in advance.
Reheat: Cinnamon Rolls: Reheat in a 300°F oven for 5 minutes.
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I hope you’re ready to try my homemade cinnamon rolls? I’ve had friends who have literally stop eating any store-bought or out of the can cinnamon rolls ever again. I hope you have the same story after whipping these cinnamon rolls up!
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Cinnamon Rolls with Mascarpone Icing
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- ½ cup raw cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs slightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ stick melted unsalted butter
- 1 cup raisins
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1 lb. powdered sugar
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 170°F or warm, once hot, cut the oven off. In a large mixing bowl mix the yeast and warm water together set aside for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, kosher salt, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and 3 ½ cups of flour, stir together. Add 3 ¼ cups flour and mix until a soft ball of dough forms.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 20 times until the dough is smooth, form into a ball, and transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel, and pop in a warm oven for 1 hour, the dough will double in size.
- Meanwhile, make the cinnamon filling, in a bowl mix, together with brown sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt.
- After the dough has doubled in size. Punch dough down, on a lightly floured surface roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and into a rectangle shape. Brush with melted butter and evenly spread the cinnamon mix over dough, then raisins. Roll dough into a log shape. Cut the log in 1-inch slices, place on a baking sheet, cover, and pop in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F; bake rolls for 20 minutes, cover loosely with foil, and continue baking for 10 minutes, until golden brown.
- While rolls bake, in a medium bowl add the powdered sugar, mascarpone, vanilla extract, and salt, stir together until smooth. Icing should be thick enough to spread. Once rolls are finished baking, allow to cool for 10 minutes before smearing icing evenly over each roll. Enjoy warm.