Homemade cinnamon rolls are a cinch to make at home when you let the bread machine do all the hard work. These tender breakfast treats are sure to start any day off right!
I love making anything in my bread machine (affiliate link). Cinnamon rolls are no exception.
Most of the hard work is being done for me. Besides doing the kneading, a bread machine acts as a humidified proofer, keeping my dough moist as it rises.
Every recipe will tell you to add the ingredients to the bread machine bowl as directed by the manufacturer.
I have long ago lost my directions. I suspect a few others have done the same.
I don’t just willy-nilly toss my ingredients in though. I try and use a bit of common sense in my method.
I add the wet ingredients to the bottom along with the salt. Salt kills yeast when it comes into direct contact so I don’t like to add those ingredients at the same time.
Then I add my sugar, followed by the flour and finally the yeast. I have yet to have any cinnamon rolls fail to rise on me using this method.
Now, I do not just dump in my ingredients and walk away. I leave the lid open during the initial mixing.
The bread machine will stop intermittently during this time.
Once the dough starts to come together, I may have to stick a rubber spatula down the sides to push some of the dry ingredients into the ball.
Once the full-on kneading process starts and the bread machine no longer has intermittent pauses, I look at the sides of the dough, if it’s too sticky, I add a tablespoon of flour and allow that to mix in.
I continue adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it is just barely sticking to the sides of the bowl before releasing.
Once that has happened, I close the lid and walk away. Do not open the lid after this point. Just leave it be.
The bread machine will alert you with an alarm, a beep. or some other warning sound. This is going to take 90 minutes or more.
If your dough isn’t rising you may have old yeast. Bread machine or quick-rise yeast works the best in this recipe. To use active dry yeast you will have quicker results by mixing the active dry yeast with the warm milk and allow it to bloom before adding it to the bread machine.
No Bread Machine, no problem. Taste of Home has you covered with these directions.
Rolling the Dough
Once the dough is gone through the first rise and is ready to be rolled, it’s time to roll it out into a large rectangle.
My rectangle is generally 26-inches by 19-inches. I prefer lots of thin layers.
If you want fewer layers, do not roll as thin as I do.
I also cut mine thinner, so I tend to get a full 9 X 13 baking pan of 18 or so, plus a few more round cake pans with 5 rolls.
I use disposable cake pans for the extra rolls for 2 reasons.
1. 10 cinnamon rolls will not fill a full cake pan and without sides to hold in the cinnamon rolls as they rise causes them to expand outward rather than upward and
2. So I can give some away to the neighbors and friends.
You do not have to cut them as thin. You can make these as thick as you would like.
The recipe would not change, only the baking time. The size does not matter, you will still bake them at 375ºF until they are done in the middle.
Once the cinnamon rolls begin to turn dark brown, gently stick a fork or butter knife between the middle rolls and pull gently.
If it looks like a dough ball in there, continue baking. Once the space between the middle rolls looks like a fluffy piece of white bread, they are done.
It generally takes my thinner rolls 18 to 25 minutes to finish baking.
A lot of the timing depends on the moisture in the air, some days my yeast baked goods take on more moisture and those days takes a bit more time to bake.
I make my cinnamon rolls a little differently.
I do not make up some paste to spread. I find it easier to “butter” the dough first.
I place little bits of softened salted butter over the dough.
I find softened butter easier to spread alone than it is to spread while it is mixed with the sugar and the cinnamon.
You can also melt the butter and evenly brush it over the dough.
Once all of the butter has been placed onto the dough, I use a butter knife or an offset spatula to spread the butter to within half an inch or so to the edges.
Once the butter is fairly evenly spread over the dough it is time for the sugars and cinnamon.
Yes, that said sugars. I use both brown sugar and white sugar.
When I add some white sugar to the mix it seems to produce a better cinnamon roll.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the buttered dough.
Use your hands to lightly spread the brown sugar to the edges of the butter.
Sometimes your hands are just the only tool that allows you to use a gentle but accurate touch.
I use a big jar of cinnamon that has a shaker top and I cover all of the brown sugar with a light sprinkling of cinnamon.
I use almost a full tablespoon of cinnamon.
Once everything is covered it is time to roll it up.
Start with the long side closest to you and start rolling away from you towards the farthest end of the long side.
This may seem like it is going to be difficult, but it isn’t. Just keep moving from one end to the other.
Once the first end has been rolled, it gets easier.
Cutting the Dough
Begin cutting the dough into the thickness of slices you want. Some people use unflavored, unwaxed dental floss for cutting their dough.
I don’t find any of the necessary. I actually make a bigger mess when trying that method.
I grab my serrated bread knife for this task.
Use long back and forth strokes without pressing down too hard and you will have clean slices just like I did in the photo above.
Starting from the middle works the best for me, but you can start at the end.
The end pieces are never full-sized, nor are they pretty.
I like the take the end pieces, unroll them, pinch the edges together to form another full-sized cinnamon roll with the dough.
When you make these at home you have the option of cream cheese icing or a plain vanilla frosting.
If your family and friends are anything like mine, there are some that prefer one over the other.
I usually make both.
Cream Cheese Icing
Making a cream cheese cinnamon roll icing is fairly simple.
Mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup softened butter until light and fluffy.
Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla, followed by 3 cups of powdered sugar.
Mix until the icing is smooth as silk. Now you can use all the extra icing you like!
You can cut the cream cheese icing recipe in half. Half will be plenty to cover all of the cinnamon rolls.
I just make extra because I have already softened the cream cheese.
I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t add some of the extra icing to their cinnamon roll after reheating in the microwave.
The same applies to the plain vanilla cinnamon bun icing included with our recipe.
The difference is, with the included recipe, the icing will need to be stirred before using additional icing.
There is corn syrup in mine and that is because I wanted something that was very close to Pillsbury’s icing that comes in the can.
I guess you could call this one a copycat Pillsbury icing. I know that corn syrup has a bad rap these days, but adding corn syrup is the only way I could find to achieve the same flavor.
Corn syrup makes the icing crust on the top. This is why you will see corn syrup in a lot of glaze recipes.
You can leave the corn syrup out. The icing will still taste great, just not like Pillsbury’s. The icing will also not have that smooth satiny finished dry crust after sitting.
I don’t like dry spots so I ice my cinnamon rolls while they are still hot.
I allow the icing to melt and settle into all the cracks and grooves, then I ice them once more time while they are still warm.
My finished pan of rolls looks more like a cake than breakfast rolls.
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Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls
- Place milk (heated to 115°F to 120°F), egg, melted butter and salt in the bread machine bowl.
- Add ½ cup of the sugar, followed by the flour, ending with the yeast.
- Set bread machine to dough setting.
- After dough been mixed, check dough consistency and add 1 tablespoon of flour if the dough is too sticky.
- When dough cycle has been completed (about 90 minutes depending on your bread machine), turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Preheat an oven to 375⁰F.
- Prepare baking dishes by coating with a non-stick cooking spray.
- After 10 minutes, roll dough out into a large rectangle. I make mine 26 X 19.
- Spread ½ cup softened butter over dough, leaving 1/2 of an inch border without butter.
- Cover butter evenly with brown sugar.
- Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the brown sugar.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup white sugar over the cinnamon.
- Roll dough up, starting at the long end closest to you, pulling slightly towards you as you roll.
- Cut dough log into 1/2 to 1-inch slices.
- Place rolls cut side down, into prepared baking dishes.
- Allow rolls to rise until double in size, about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Bake in preheated 375⁰ F oven for 18 to 25 minutes or until the middle of the pan, between the rolls, are completely cooked.
- Remove from oven and ice as desired.
- Served warm.
- Leftover can be reheated in a microwave for 15 to 30 seconds.
Vanilla Cinnamon Roll Icing
- Mix all ingredients until smooth.
- Ice cinnamon rolls as desired.