These Copycat Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls are about the closest you’ll get to the real thing without spending $5 a pop!
Plus, they make the whole house smell heavenly. Soft, chewy cinnamon rolls topped with a cream cheese icing that melts in your mouth.
Who can say no to an ooey-gooey Cinnabon roll? The thought of soft, sweet buns covered in a thick, sticky cinnamon and sugar sauce is truly irresistible. I remember going to the mall when I was young and being tantalized by the delicious smells pouring out of the Cinnabon shop.
The problem is, Cinnabon rolls are quite pricey and I want a whole box! Thankfully, with this copycat recipe, you can enjoy the goodness of a Cinnabon roll at a fraction of the price. Plus, if you decide to share these delectable treats with family and friends, you’re going to be their new favorite person.
Of course, sharing is always optional 🙂
For the Dough
- Bread machine yeast (2 ½ teaspoons) – yeast is a crucial element in any bread recipe, as it makes the dough rise. You can use instant yeast for this recipe, but test whether it’s still active. To do so, add 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to a quarter cup of warm water. After ten minutes, check if the mixture foams up and forms a yeasty scent. If so, the yeast is still active.
- Warm milk (1 cup) – the key to this recipe is lukewarm milk. Make sure your milk’s temperature is at 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s way too warm, it will kill the yeast. If it’s too cold, it won’t activate the yeast. Either way, you will end up with flat bread.
- Large eggs – Take the eggs out of the fridge an hour before you use them. Room temperature eggs will give your bread an airy consistency.
- Melted margarine (⅓ cup) – You might wonder why we’re not using butter. There’s a simple explanation though: this is how Cinnabon does it. But you can use butter for this recipe if you prefer. Use unsalted, though, so you get to control how much salt goes into your bread.
- Bread flour (4 ½ cups) – Use bread flour as much as possible because it will yield to chewy and tender bread. If you don’t have this on hand, the next best option is all-purpose flour.
- Sugar (½ cup) – Half a cup will do, as you don’t need a lot to sweeten the dough.
- Salt (1 teaspoon) – A necessary element in all baked goods. It may only be a teaspoon, but it’s crucial in bringing out the flavors of your ingredients.
For the Filling
- Brown sugar (1 cup, packed) – I use dark brown sugar in this recipe, but you can use light brown if you prefer.
- Ground cinnamon (2 ½ tablespoons) – The star ingredient that gives cinnamon rolls their signature flavor.
- Softened butter (⅓ cup) – Again, use the unsalted kind. Margarine works fine as well.
For the Icing
- Softened cream cheese (3 ounces/1 package) – Philadelphia cream cheese is the best brand for this recipe. Use room temperature cream cheese.
- Softened butter (¼ cup) – Unsalted room temperature butter, please.
- Confectioners’ sugar (1 ½ cups) – Often referred to as powdered sugar or icing sugar.
- Vanilla extract (½ teaspoon) – Notice almost all desserts call for this ingredient? It’s because it brings out all the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Salt (⅛ teaspoon) – To balance out the sweetness of the sugar.
How to Make Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
Step 1: The Dough
The dough serves as the base of your cinnamon roll, so you need to make sure it’s nice and tender. Start by putting the dough ingredients on the bread machine’s pan. Follow the order recommended by the machine’s manufacturer. Then, select the dough cycle and click on the Start button.
Once the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured surface. Cover and allow it to rest for ten minutes to rise.
Step 2: The Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
This one’s easy – just mix cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl until incorporated.
Once your dough has risen, knead to form a 16×21-inch rectangle. Spread butter on the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Then, roll up the dough and cut it into 12 rolls. Place the rolls in a greased baking pan. Cover for 30 minutes to allow it to rise. Once it has doubled in size, it’s ready for baking.
Step 3: Baking
Bake the rolls at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Once they’re out of the oven, transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool.
Step 4: The Frosting
The key to a Cinnabon is its cream cheese frosting. While your Cinnabon rolls are in the oven, cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract.
Spread generous frosting on the rolls while warm. Served best with homemade lemonade!
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs (room temperature)
1/3 cup margarine (melted)
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter (softened)
1 (3oz) package cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Place the dough ingredients in the pan of the bread machine. Follow the order recommended by the machine's manufacturer. Then, select the dough cycle and click the Start button.
2. Once the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured surface. Cover and allow it to rest for ten minutes to rise.
3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon until combined.
4. Once your dough has risen, knead to form a 16x21-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup butter on the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
5. Roll up the dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place the rolls in a greased baking pan. Cover for 30 minutes to allow it to rise. Once it has doubled in size, it's ready for baking.
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the rolls at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
7. While the rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
8. Once the cinnamon rolls are golden brown, remove from the oven. Spread frosting on warm rolls and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- If you want the icing to ooze down the cracks of your cinnamon roll, use half of the icing to frost the rolls fresh out of the oven. Spread the other half once they’ve cooled a little.
- You can prepare your dough beforehand and let it rise overnight so that the following morning you’ll have a dough that’s completely risen.
- If you over-knead your dough, chances are your bread will lack flavor. To avoid this from happening, use your hands instead of a stand mixer. That way, you don’t accidentally add in too much flour.
- Work on a flat and floured surface when kneading. The flour will stop the dough from getting too sticky. Flour your hands and rolling pin, too.
- If you make the mistake of adding too much flour, add a teaspoon of rapid rise yeast to your dough.
- If you want your dough to rise a lot faster, double the amount of yeast.
- Want more variation to your cinnamon roll? Why not add nutmeg or pumpkin spice to your cinnamon sugar mixture? Others also prefer raisins in their bread as well.
- Top your cinnamon rolls with chopped pecans for that extra crunch.
- The best brand for cinnamon is Saigon. It’s a little pricier than others, but you’ll definitely taste the difference.
- Roll your dough thinly so you have more room to spread your filling. That way you’ll have chewy rolls oozing with cinnamon sugar filling.
- When cleaning up the kneading surface, dust it with flour to loosen up the leftover dough
Can You Freeze Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls?
If you refrigerate your cinnamon rolls in an airtight container, they can last for up to five days. But, if you need them to last longer, seal them in an airtight container and freeze. This will keep your rolls good for 3 months.
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