cinnamon rolls

Originally posted: Feb 2008; Updated June 2014

a cinnamon roll

I love cinnamon rolls and have fond memories saving my allowance to buy these treats on my way home from school. As a child, I wondered how cinnamon rolls got their special shape and how the bakers got the sugar, butter and cinnamon in between each layer. After reading about how to make them on The Pioneer Woman (when I was much older), I decided to give them a shot. This is probably the only recipe I have used and I don’t think I need to try out any other recipe. It is relatively simple, even for a novice baker. I usually am less generous (than PW) with the butter and sugar and also use 2% milk instead of whole milk. It makes for a less sweet and rich cinnamon roll, but still yummy. I usually don’t make the glaze as well. If you like, you can also add raisins or any other dried fruit. Walnuts would also be a nice addition.

cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven

Cinnamon Rolls

(taken from PW; click here for recipe)


  • 1 quart whole milk (I use 2%)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast, 0.25 ounce packets OR 4.5 teaspoons (I always use instant yeast)
  • 8 cups (plus 1 cup extra, reserved) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) salt
  • Plenty of melted butter (about 2 cups) (I usually use less)
  • 2 cups sugar (I usually use a lot less)
  • Generous sprinkling of cinnamon
  • Raisins/Walnuts/Dried fruit (optional)

Maple/Vanilla frosting (optional):

  • 1 bag powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons maple flavoring (OR 2 teaspoons vanilla essence)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee (optional if using vanilla essence)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. To make the dough: Heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat till just before boiling. Turn off heat, set aside and cool to warm.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute. If you are using instant yeast, you don’t have to wait.
  3. Add 8 cups flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: According to PW, dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.
  7. To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. I usually use a lot less sugar and butter but make sure you don’t use too little because that will result in dry rolls.
  8. Starting at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down.
  9. With a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans or pan you decide to use and swirl to coat. I usually don’t do this though.
  10. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.) You can also bake the cinnamon rolls in normal round or square or rectangular cake pans.
  11. Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the counter top for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
  12. To make the maple/vanilla icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring or vanilla essence. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.
  13. Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor.

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