Baker Bettie

Classic Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Use the basic sweet yeast dough recipe to make these tried and true classic cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. 

A Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting on a plate

I teased you with cinnamon rolls last week when I posted my master recipe for basic sweet yeast dough. Then I went to L.A. to see my mom and my sister and totally neglected you and didn’t live up to my promise of posting them.

I hope you’ll forgive me! Because I am giving you cinnamon rolls today and then a few other great recipes using this dough coming up! Pinky promise. I won’t let you down this time.

If you missed last week’s tutorial about how to make this basic sweet yeast dough, head on over to that post and check it out. That dough is a master recipe to use for all kinds of things. These cinnamon rolls, raised doughnuts, liege waffles, soft dinner rolls, monkey bread… and the list goes on and on.

The dough is put together in 4 easy steps: Rehydrate the yeast, Mix together the fat and liquids, Add the yeast mixture & flour and knead, and ferment! After all this is done and the dough has fermented, you are only a few more steps away from fresh, hot, homemade classic cinnamon rolls!

The procedure is not very precise after this point. The dough is rolled out to a large rectangle. If you prefer rolls with lots of layers and small swirls, roll it out out fairly thin. If you like just a couple of swirls and thicker layers, keep the dough fairly thick.

Then my measurements for the filling are as follows: Slather on lots of melted butter, spread out a ton of brown sugar, and top with heaps of cinnamon.

There really isn’t an accurate amount of filling. Like more dough and less sugar and cinnamon?! Well then you’re nuts, but go ahead and use less sugar and cinnamon. I will give you a guideline of filling measurements below, but go ahead and use as much or as little as you like. But really, don’t skimp on the filling.

Dough dough and filling are then rolled into a big tube and cut into individual rolls. You want to roll tightly as you are doing this, pinching with your fingers as you go. You can then slice the rolls as thick or thin as you want. I usually cut the tube in half, then each half in half again. Then decide how many rolls I think I can get out of each. It helps with consistency of size.

At this point, the rolls need to proof (rise) again for about 40 minutes. During the last 10 minutes or so of proofing is a good time to preheat the oven. If you are making these a day ahead of time, go ahead and proof them for the 40 minutes and then place some plastic wrap over them and place them in the refrigerator. The next day, take the rolls out about 30 minutes before baking to take the chill off so the yeast can wake back up and rise in the oven.

Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite baked goods to do variations on. One of the simplest variations is to brown the butter for the filling instead of just melting it. As brown butter does with most baked goods, it takes these babies to a whole new level.

In the summer and spring these Rosemary Lemon Cinnamon Rolls are a quite bright and cheerful variation both in flavor and appearance. Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect cliche for the fall. Or how about a Cinnamon Roll Wreath for the holidays?

I also encourage you to try cinnamon rolls with a bowl of chili. I’ve talked about this before. Because I’m passionate about this combination. It is a midwestern tradition to eat a cinnamon roll with your bowl of chili and it is a tradition because it is a perfect pair. Sadly, it is getting a little too warm for me to be craving chili. So a cinnamon roll on it’s own will have to do!

Classic Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting in a baking dish

Classic Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting in a baking dish

Classic Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 10-12 Rolls
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

Use the basic sweet yeast dough recipe to make these tried and true classic cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. 


  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (0.25 oz package or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups plus 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Warm the milk to 105-110ºF. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and let it sit until it begins to get foamy. About 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg.
  3. Fit the mixing bowl onto the mixer with the dough hook. With the mixer on the lowest setting, pour in the milk/yeast mixture and the flour. Increase speed to medium and let the dough knead for about 5 minutes until it forms a soft sticky dough. The mixture will seem quite wet at first, but will form a smooth soft dough once kneaded in the mixer for the full time. If the mixture is too wet after kneading, add more flour 1 TBSP at a time until a soft but sticky dough forms.
  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl with a towel or loose plastic wrap over it and allow to rise to double in size. About 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Gently degas the dough by pressing the middle and bringing the sides up. Lightly flour a clean work surface and rolling pin and roll the dough out to a large rectangle. If the dough is snapping back and difficult to work with, place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and let it rest for 5-10 minutes until it is easier to roll out.
  6. Using clean hands, spread the melted butter out evenly over all of the dough. Sprinkle on as much brown sugar and cinnamon as desired and use your hands to spread it out and mix it with the butter. With clean dry hands, roll the dough tightly into a large tube starting at the wide side. Pinch the dough shut to seal. Cut into individual rolls and place on a baking sheet or in a greased pie plate.
  7. Allow the rolls to rise for about 40 minutes. If you are making the dough a day ahead, cover the rolls in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to baking the next day. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  8. Bake the rolls at 350ºF for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Meanwhile, make the frosting by combining all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), and mix until incorporated. Allow the rolls to cool slightly before frosting.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0

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36 comments on “Classic Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Yum, yum and yum. I am a huge fan of cinnamon rolls. Waking up to one of these babies

  2. Yayy! I hope you had so much fun with your mom and sister!! And girl. These cinnamon rolls? They look UNREAL-like way too amazing and delicious for words!

  3. these look delicious!

  4. Perfect sweetness happening here, can’t wait to take a bite!

  5. Made these this morning and they were fantastic. Love the baking lessons (like the basic sweet yeast dough) and where to use it!

  6. I too could just eat some of these…A perfect combination of rich, sweet dough, cinnamon & the cream cheese frosting, just as I like them.
    Thanks for the recipe post on enriched, yeast dough, this will be used for many recipes.
    Your instructions are so clear, precise & easy to follow, with great recipe ideas to use this for, which I shall be making…
    Great tips for freezing, making ahead of time, what’s better than freshly baked bread, ideal to offer unexpected guests, especially over the holidays, they will be very welcome in our cold U.K. weather.
    Rating this 5 stars, got some mixing up now, the ratings are for ease of use, tips & great recipes…
    Thank-you, much appreciated, Odelle Smith.

  7. Ok these look really good but has anyone actually made these? I tried and the 3 cups of flour is too much. I only use 2 cups. They don’t raise that well for me either. Any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong?

    • Hi Sandy. Sorry you had problems with these. I make them all the time with no problems. Make sure you are measuring your flour correctly. Fluff it up with a spoon and then lightly spoon it into your measuring cups and level off making sure not to pack the flour down. Here is a post about measuring flour.

      Is your water warm when you add it to the yeast? Make sure it’s not too warm but warm enough to activate the yeast. Also, if you live somewhere very cold right now they may take longer to rise and you may need to let them proof for a little longer.

      • I tried making it as well and my dough was to hard so I had to put a little bit more milk? You said to put the yeast in with the warm milk not water ?

  8. Great instructions but for those of us who don’t live in USA, what is a stick of butter?

  9. Those look absolutely delightful,but can the unsalted butter be substituted for margerine? Also would there be a jurassic difference if the margarine was salted?

    • I have never made these with margarine. I suspect it might work ok, but baking is science, so it is difficult to know without testing it. The chemical makeup of margarine is quite different from butter. What is your reason for wanting to use margarine? If you use salted butter or margarine, eliminate the additional salt in the dough recipe.

      Hope you enjoy!

  10. Can you freeze this dough?

  11. 3 cups flour is way to much. Waiting for my dough to rise right now. Doesn’t look promising will c…..

  12. Worked well for me, my suggestion where peeps are struggling with the flour is just to make sure the mixer is slow at first and gradually add. Also has to be a large egg, if not slightly less flour. Also, warm place for proving, I use a slightly warmed oven to start the process. 

    Mixed up a batch yesterday and let them do their final rising as we traveled to the home of some old friends… baked them there and by the time they were cool enough for icing everybody was dying to dig in
    Even the one who doesn’t eat icing loved these cinnamon rolls!  I will definitely make them again and I’m looking forward to exploring more great foods using your sweet yeast dough — thank you so much or the recipe!

  14. First attempt and the dough is still very sticky so I added in another 75g of flour slowly well kneaded in my mixer with stopping it twice to scrape down the sides and bottom, rose lovely but it’s gone very sticky again I don’t want to add more flour incase it will taste of nothing but flour.
    It’s not location (UK) as I’ve made a few of your recipes without any issues at all….well apart from my 2 kids eating them before I get a chance!!!

    • Hi there!

      Enriched doughs like these tend to be quite sticky especially if your kitchen is very warm. A little extra flour on your counter while you’re working won’t hurt! Let me know how it went!

  15. If I plan on putting the dough in the fridge overnight, should I still let them sit for 40 minutes before placing in the fridge?

    • Hi Isabel. No you want to put them in immediately. The cold will slow down the proofing process and they will slowly proof overnight. You can check out my overnight cinnamon roll recipe for more details!

      • Thanks for the info- your write up includes:
        “If you are making these a day ahead of time, go ahead and proof them for the 40 minutes and then place some plastic wrap over them and place them in the refrigerator.”

        So I am a bit confused and a total novice at baking!

        I’m hoping to delay the bake by just a few hours, how long at a minimum can I let them proof in the fridge? Could I let them proof for 40 and then place them in the fridge if only waiting a few hours before the bake?

        • Hi Isabel, cold slows down the proofing process. So if you need to delay by a few hours you can just put them in the refrigerator. There is no minimum time for putting them in the refrigerator. This just slows down the process for you! Hope that helps!

  16. Hi, thank you so much for your recipes.  I am hoping you can clarify a couple things.  I am confused about the quantities for the dough.  In the recipe for the OVERNIGHT Cinnamon Rolls the ingredients are:

    1 cup (240 ml) whole milk (lower fat milk can be substituted)
    1 package (2 1/4 tsp, 7 gr) active dry yeast (not instant or rapid rise)
     1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated sugar
    1/3 cup (75 gr) unsalted butter, room temp
    2 large eggs, room temp
    1 tsp salt
    4-5 cups (480-600 gr) all-purpose flour

    But in the recipe for the CLASSIC Cinnamon Rolls the ingredients are:

    2/3 cup milk
    1 package active dry yeast (0.25 oz package or 2 1/4 tsp)
     6 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
    1/4 cup sugar
    3/4 tsp kosher salt
    1 large egg
    3 cups plus 2 TBSP all-purpose flour

    I don’t understand why there is slightly more butter (6 TB) in the CLASSIC Cinnamon Rolls with only 3 cups of flour when the OVERNIGHT Cinnamon Rolls call for 1/3 cup of butter (about 5 1/2 TB) with 4-5 cups of flour? 

    Which quantities are correct?  I would really appreciate clarification on this.  Thank you again.

  17. I don’t understand why there is more flour (4-5 cups) and less butter 5 1/2 TB) in the Overnight Cinnamon Rolls than the Classic Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (3 cups flour and 6 TB butter)?  Can you please explain?  Thank you.

  18. Hi! This recipe looks HEAVEN!!!

    I’m just wondering how these cinnamon rolls differ in taste compared to your overnight cinnamon rolls ( ).

    Thanks 😉

  19. Hi Bettie!
    I’m curious about the differences in the classic cinnamon rolls and the overnight cinnamon rolls. The ingredient quantities are different. Contemplating which recipe to try first. Thank you!

    • Hi Lisa, starting out I would try the Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (the overnight part is optional). The dough in this recipe was specifically made for cinnamon rolls while the Classic Cinnamon Roll recipe comes from my master sweet yeast dough recipe. I’ve gotten a lot of really good feedback on the Overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe for readers!

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