Chewy Soft Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing more delicious that soft and chewy cinnamon rolls. Especially ones that has been drizzled in a brown butter icing. This recipe is a no muss-no fuss version that will have you never wanting another recipe again.

Hey friends, have I got a treat for you. Today I am sharing a new, hot-off-the-presses, soft, chewy, extra sweet, easy, decadent recipe for cinnamon rolls that will have you asking for seconds and thirds. It really is that fantastic and after one bite you will be converted.

cinnamon roll recipe

So, more cinnamon rolls? Really?

Yes, really! I know my cinnabon recipe put my site on the map and then my 1 hour cinnabons really went a little crazy on Pinterest, but those two are their own beasts. That recipe was based off of cinnabon’s recipe with a highly enriched dough that can be harder to work with.

They are delicious (with 600+ comments and 170 reviews) but I was looking to create a softer, more pillowy cinnamon roll that had a forgiving, easy to work with dough that would give consistent results again and again.

soft cinnamon roll recipe

How is this Cinnamon Roll Recipe different?

The dough for these cinnamon rolls is based off of my homemade White Bread recipe. It yields a softer dough that is perfect for beginners who maybe aren’t as familiar with yeasted doughs or as confident. It leaves room for errors all while giving you a great finished product.

Mix that with plenty of cinnamon, sugar and butter and you have got yourself a winner of a recipe!

Finish the whole thing off with a brown butter icing and you’re ready to enter a whole new realm of delicious you never knew existed.

homemade cinnamon roll

Having success with Yeast

There are a few things you can do when working with yeast to ensure you get the best finished product possible.

Check the expiration date. Your yeast is likely to leave your baked goods feeling (and looking) flat if it has expired! Buy it fresh and use it sooner than later. Store in the fridge to help extend shelf life.

Use a quick rise yeast. I like quick rise yeasts because I can see them working almost immediately. Of course regular old dry yeast is fine too. It just takes a little more rise time. I love SAF-instant yeast and use it almost exclusively.

Use warm water to activate. Think baby bath water temperature. If you go too warm, you can kill the yeast so when in doubt, opt for cooler water than warmer. If using a thermometer, you want to aim for 100-110 degrees F.

Let yeast proof first before using. In almost every recipe, you are required to dissolve the yeast in warm water and some sort of sugar (granulated sugar, honey, agave, etc..) to activate and ‘prove’ that it will work. After 10 minutes, it should look foamy on top with lots of carbon dioxide bubbles. If there is no change, throw it out and try again OR get new yeast.

cinnamon roll icing

Tip for making perfect Cinnamon Roll Dough

While I could probably list a hundred tips for making any kind of yeasted dough, it all comes back to one thing:

don’t add too much flour

Everyone and their mom measures flour differently. On top of that, we all live in different climates in different parts of the country. This makes for all sorts of issues when talking about baking. That is why there are visual markers I’ve been talking about for years (like in my pizza dough recipe) that are worth mentioning again.

When you are making this cinnamon roll dough, look for:

  • dough that has cleaned the sides of the mixing bowl
  • dough that still sticks to the bottom of the mixing bowl
  • dough that is mostly smooth
  • dough that is tacky when touched but isn’t sticky enough to leave a residue or stick

Using these markers lets you have confidence in the process and you’re on the right track….even if you add in 1/2 cup less or 1/2 cup more of flour that the 6 cup measurement. And don’t forget: when in doubt, leave the dough a little on the sticky side and then refrigerate. You can always add in more flour later as you’re rolling out the rolls to compensate. It’s a very forgiving dough.

perfect cinnamon roll glaze

Do I have to brown my butter for the icing?

No! But the brown butter definitely adds a really nice, nutty (almost maple) flavor that is to die for.

How to brown butter

Very simply put, butter becomes brown or ‘browned butter’ when you have toasted up the milk solids.

So, to brown butter, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a light colored skillet over medium heat. After its completely melted, it will start to foam. Swirl the pan as it foams and after a minute or two, you’ll notice little brown flecks in the butter that have started to smell nutty. Once they have become a medium brown color, remove from the heat immediately. Voila! Browned butter!

soft homemade cinnamon roll

After you have browned your butter, whisk in some milk, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth and that is how you make the glorious browned butter icing. Drizzle it overtop of your warm cinnamon rolls and behold the glory.

It may seem like a little much icing, but I assure you more is more!

If you prefer a frosting instead of a glaze, give my cream cheese frosting a try instead. Delicious!

Storing cinnamon rolls

I like storing my baked and iced cinnamon rolls covered well with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

They can last up to 48 hours in the fridge, but I just prefer serving mine warm and fresh when they are at their peak softness and they just don’t stay that way for longer than 48 hours, unfortunately.

cinnamon roll recipe

Other Cinnamon Roll Recipes!

  • Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
  • Easy Cinnamon Rolls Made with Puff Pastry
  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze
  • Warm Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Dip

cinnamon rolls recipe

Please oh please make and enjoy these cinnamon rolls! It was such a fun one to develop and share with friends. So much so that I might just start my own cinnamon roll shop here in NYC! Haha, maybe not, but a girl can dream!

Have a great day, friends.

Chewy Soft Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing more delicious that a soft and chewy cinnamon roll. Especially one that has been drizzled in a brown butter icing. This recipe is a no muss-no fuss version that will have you never wanting another recipe again.

 

For the Dough

  • 2 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast (2 packets)
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)
  • 6 cups all purpose flour (give or take 1 cup (see NOTES below))
  • 5 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled)
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1/2 cup salted butter (very soft but not melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Brown Butter Icing

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

For the dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir warm water together with yeast an 3 tablespoon sugar until mostly dissolved. After 10 minutes, mixture should be foamy. (If nothing has happened, throw it out and try again OR buy fresher yeast.)

  2. Add in remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 cups of flour and start to mix with the machine on low to medium speed with the dough hook attachment. Stir in melted butter and salt. Add in another 1-2 cups and let the machine work to knead it into the dough, about 2 minutes or kneading on low to medium speed. Add in remaining 2 cups of flour (if needed) bit by bit, letting the machine knead in the flour for several seconds before adding in more flour. Only add in enough flour to get a dough that is mostly smooth, has cleaned the sides of the bowl, the bottom is still sticking and when you touch it with your hands, it is tacky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands. This whole process should take about 10 minutes.

  3. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and into a well greased large bowl. Roll it around to coat in oil, over and refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight.

Making the Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Flour a clean surface and dump risen dough onto the board. Sprinkle the dough and rolling pin in more flour and start to roll a 24"x18 rectangle (approximately). As you roll, be sure to move the dough around to ensure no sticking. Add more flour as needed.

  2. Using your fingers, spread the soft butter over the entire piece of dough, leaving a 1 inch border along the top of a longer 24" side. Spread the brown sugar over the butter evenly and then sprinkle with cinnamon.

  3. Roll dough neatly into a tight swirl, towards the border of dough without cinnamon or sugar. Bring entire log of dough towards you, moving the seam side down to hold in place. Using a serrated bread knife, cut into 1 1/2" rolls (approximate is fine) and place onto buttered parchment paper on a lightly colored half sheet pan. (You should end up with 16 nice cinnamon rolls and 2 small end pieces that you can squeeze onto the sheet pan too or just toss.)

  4. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and rise 1 hour or until puffed and pretty. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

For the brown butter icing

  1. In a large skillet with high sides, melt butter over medium heat. After butter has melted, it should start to foam. Swirl butter for 2-3 minutes as it foams until the milk solids start to brown, butter smells nutty and you see medium brown flecks in the butter.

  2. Remove from the heat immediately and pour in milk and vanilla. Whisk in powdered sugar cup by cup until smooth and thick.

  3. Pour over warm cinnamon rolls and spread with a knife to coat.

  4. Serve rolls warm or at room temperature.

Don’t let the 6 cup increment of flour fool you! This is an approximation. Only add enough flour to get you a dough that:

  • has cleaned the sides of the mixing bowl
  • still sticks to the bottom of the mixing bowl
  • is mostly smooth
  • is tacky when touched but isn’t sticky enough to leave a residue or stick

When in doubt, leave the dough a little on the sticky side and then refrigerate. You can always add in more flour later as you’re rolling out the rolls to compensate.

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