Warm, gooey, delicious homemade cinnamon rolls topped with rich cream cheese frosting.
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The taste of a delicious, gooey cinnamon roll still warm from the oven feels like the gateway to the world to me. I equate cinnamon rolls with travel, probably because of how ubiquitous Cinnabon stores are in American airports. The smell of sweet cinnamon and coffee wafting through the air makes the experience of waiting in a busy airport terminal much more tolerable.
Although the smell from Cinnabon stores is amazing, their cinnamon rolls are a bit too sweet for me, so I wanted to come up with a go-to cinnamon roll recipe for home that wasn’t too difficult and also achieved the right balance of gooey frosting, cinnamon filling, and warm, freshly baked dough. Here’s my version of ‘gateway to the world’ cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
To make these cinnamon rolls at home, start by adding milk and and an egg to a bowl and set aside to allow it to come to room temperature. We’re going to use instant yeast with this recipe, so we don’t need to dissolve the yeast in warm liquid first, but we do want our ingredients at least at room temperature when we begin. Melt the butter in the microwave and add it to the bowl along with the sugar. Mix well with a fork. At this point, go ahead and take out the cream cheese and butter for the frosting and filling, allowing them to soften.
Then add the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and instant yeast, and mix together with your hands. Once the dough starts to come together, form it into a ball and place on a well floured surface. Knead for a minute or two until the dough is smooth and elastic, then put in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray (you could use the same bowl that you mixed the dough in; just wash it out first). Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for 60-90 minutes. The dough will rise a bit, but not as much as bread dough would. This is totally normal.
Cut the roll into 6 pieces and place the pieces in a 9″ round baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Add plastic wrap and set aside for about 30 minutes. Most of the expansion will take place in the oven, so don’t worry if the rolls look pretty small at this point. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Beat the cream cheese with butter until smooth, and then add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread half of the frosting on the cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. Then add the remaining frosting after they’ve cooled a bit and serve.
Let me know what you think of these cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting by leaving a comment and a review below!
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus extra for kneading and rolling the dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup butter softened
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the milk and egg to a large bowl and bring to room temperature.
- Melt the butter in the microwave and add to the bowl. Add the sugar and mix with a fork.
- Add the flour, salt, and instant yeast and mix together with your hands or a large spoon.
- Form the dough into a ball and knead on a well floured surface for one to two minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.
- Place in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes. I'll often turn my oven for 1 minute, turn it right off, and then place the dough to rise in slightly warm oven. The dough will rise a bit, but not as much as regular bread dough, this is completely normal.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by mixing the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl until smooth. Leave on the counter at room temperature.
- Spray a 9” round pan with cooking spray.
- Then roll the dough into an approximately 10”x16” rectangle on a well floured surface. Gently spread the cinnamon mixture on the dough with a butter knife or spreader.
- Starting at the short end (the 10” end), roll the dough to form a tight roll.
- Cut the roll into about 6 pieces and place in the baking dish. Cover lightly with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and allow the rolls to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the rolls are golden brown.
- While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Add the cream cheese and butter to a mixing bowl. Mix for about a minute until smooth and then gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium low until fluffy and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- As soon as you take the rolls out of the oven, spread half of the frosting on top as a glaze. Then add the remaining frosting a few minutes later and serve.