Recipes » Breakfast » Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

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5 from 1 vote
Homemade cinnamon rolls warm from the oven slathered with cream cheese icing.
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Two cinnamon rolls on a serving plate with a fork on the side.

These homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing are almost identical to the famous brand you buy at the mall.

Two cinnamon rolls on a serving plate with a fork on the side.

I have something that will really tempt you today. Fresh hot Cinnamon Rolls warm from the oven slathered with rich cream cheese icing. Ahhh…. Who can resist that?

If you’re currently on a diet, I apologize in advance. Maybe you could file this post for future reference.

Or maybe you could make a pan full of these, have one for yourself and share the rest with your neighbors. On second thought, maybe not. They’d be permanently camped out in your kitchen waiting for the next batch. They’re just that good.

One of the greatest pleasures of the kitchen for me is working with yeast doughs. In years past I made bread nearly every weekend. I love the whole process – the kneading and the rising. The way the dough feels in your hands and the way it grows while resting – almost like the dough is alive.

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There’s something so calming and restful about making bread. Working the dough gives your hands and arms a good workout and gives time for your mind to wander.

It’s been a little while since I worked with a yeast dough and I was really starting to miss it. I wanted to make an old tried-and-true cinnamon roll recipe that I used to bake about twice a month. It was a recipe that I found on the internet way, way back. But, sadly, I couldn’t find that recipe anywhere! Never fear though, this one adapted from the King Arthur Flour web site is just as good, if not better, than my old standby.

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Mix and Knead the Dough

Rough dough mixture in a mixing bowl.

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Stir until the mixture begins to come together (see above – it will look pretty “shaggy” at this point and that’s okay).

To knead by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes or until smooth. To knead in a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead for 4-7 minutes at medium speed.

Let the Dough Rest and Rise

Kneaded dough formed into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to grease all sides. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

Note: I find that my granite countertops are too cool for dough to rise correctly so I put the bowl in the oven with the light on. It’s just cozy enough in there for the rising to take place.

Roll and Cut the Buns

Photo collage showing dough being rolled out, spread with butter and sprinkled with filling.

Punch down the dough. Transfer to a lightly greased surface (I just sprayed a little cooking spray on my countertop) and roll into a 16×21 inch rectangle.

Leaving a 1-inch border at one of the short ends, spread the dough evenly with the 1/3 cup softened butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the buttered area of the dough. Be sure to carry the filling all the way out to the edges except on the one-inch border.

Photo collage showing the dough being rolled up and edges pinched together.

Starting at the opposite end from the clean one-inch border, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the end all the way across the log to seal the dough.

Prepared buns in a baking pan.

Cut the dough into 12 equal slices and place the buns in a lightly greased 9×13 pan.

Let the Buns Rise

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for about 30 minutes or until nearly doubled.

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Make the Icing

Mixing bowl with cream cheese icing and a wooden spoon.

While the buns are baking, make the icing. In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Ice the Cinnamon Rolls

Baking pan with twelve baked cinnamon rolls.

When the buns are golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Finished cinnamon rolls spread with cream cheese icing in a baking pan.

Spread with the icing.

Two cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing on a white plate with a fork on the side.

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Two cinnamon rolls on a serving plate with a fork on the side.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Homemade cinnamon rolls warm from the oven slathered with cream cheese icing.
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 450kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk lukewarm
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • cup butter cut in cubes
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 pkg. rapid rise yeast

For the filling:

  • cup butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon

For the icing:

  • 3 oz cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Stir until the mixture begins to come together. To knead by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes or until smooth. To knead in the stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead for 4-7 minutes at medium speed.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn over once to grease all sides. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough. Transfer to a lightly greased surface and roll into a 16×21 inch rectangle.
  • Leaving a 1-inch border at one of the short ends, spread the dough evenly with the 1/3 cup softened butter.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the buttered area of the dough. Be sure to carry the filling all the way out to the edges except on the one-inch border.
  • Starting at the opposite end from the clean one-inch border, roll the dough into a log. Cut into 12 equal slices and place the buns in a lightly greased 9×13 pan.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for about 30 minutes or until nearly doubled.
  • While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • While the buns are baking, make the icing. In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • When the buns are golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Spread with the icing.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 511mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 607IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on February 15, 2011.

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46 Comments

  1. Hi I have never used yeast before and I wanted to know how much is in a packet of yeast so I don’t get the wrong one. Thank you they look so good and I want to make them for my family Christmas morning!

  2. Lana,
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe; my daughters and I made these today and they were awesome (we added raisins too )!

  3. Lana,

    I too want to thank you for the step by step pictures with the recipe. My boys love cinnamon rolls so I used to cheat and buy store brand. Came across recipe and made them. Not only did my boys love them, they will no longer eat store brand ones. Thank you again.

  4. I just made these and they didn’t turn out very well, they didnt rise very much and turned out super dense. What did I do wrong?!

    1. Katie,

      It sounds like a problem with the yeast. Either it was past its expiration date or you got the liquid too warm and killed it.

      So sorry you had a problem with the recipe. It’s a great one that always turns out for me and I hope you’ll try again.

  5. I love this recipe but I do have a question. I plan to make a batch to leave for family to have during the week for breakfast while I am away. We like our cinamon rolls warm. Should I leave the baked rolls in the fridge unfrosted and then warm and frost individually or will they become too hard? Is it better to frost them all at once and just reheat in microwave?

    1. Terri – I have rewarmed the frosted rolls in the microwave very successfully. Just about 6 to 7 seconds (depending on your microwave) per roll is about right. Be careful, though, because overheating will melt the frosting. Sorry, I can’t answer about refrigerating them. Never tried that :-)

  6. I stumbled across this recipe and loved how precise your directions were! Loved the pictures as well. I added walnuts and raisins to the recipe and it came out perfect! Definitely going to use this as my go-to recipe! Thank you so much!

  7. Hey Lana, if I wanted to make these fresh for breakfast can you leave them to rise overnight? I don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn to make them!

    1. Hi Heather! I’m not sure about the overnight rise. Maybe if the dough was refrigerated, but a regular rise overnight would probably be too long. If I wanted to serve these for breakfast, I’d probably bake them a day or two before and then reheat and put the icing on the morning I was serving.