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Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve always had a soft spot for old-fashioned cinnamon rolls. These babies have earned their name. They are nothing short of amazing. The dough is light but can hold its share of filling, which is gooey and full of cinnamon and wonderful. The icing compliments the roll perfectly. My mouth waters just thinking about them.

When my hubby and I were dating, we lived in different states. So whenever I visited, I stayed with his parents. My future mother-in-law was an incredible cook. She would make these cinnamon rolls or banana coffee bread for breakfast each morning. What a fantastic way to make someone feel welcome! I tell my super hubby that I married him for his mom’s cooking. He doesn’t blame me.

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
Serves: 12 rolls
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup Warm Water, (approx 115-125 degrees)
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 cups Bread Flour (add additional, if too watery)
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 T Butter, softened
  • 3 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 stick Butter, soft enough to spread
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 tsp Cinnamon
  • Icing:
  • 1 stick Butter, melted
  • 2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract or Maple Flavoring
  • 1-2 T Heavy Cream or Milk, if desired
  1. Dough: Place ingredients in bread machine in the order listed. Select DOUGH cycle. Once the dough is mixed and doubled in size, remove from bread pan and place on a large cutting board or piece of wax paper, lightly coated with cooking spray. Gently spread dough into a 12" x 18" rectangle using your fingers or a rolling pin.
  2. Filling: Melt butter and spread over dough. Stir the brown sugar and cinnamon together until well mixed. Sprinkle generously over the buttered dough. Spread around evenly. Roll the rectangle from the long side, pinching the seam closed and placing the roll seam-side down for slicing the rolls. Slice into 12 pieces. Place each cut roll in a 9x13 pan, lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover the pan with a damp towel and place in a warm place until doubled in size. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 or until golden brown. Remove from oven.
  3. Icing: While rolls are cooling slightly, melt butter in a microwave safe bowl until thoroughly melted and hot. Sprinkle in the powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Add either vanilla extract or maple flavoring. If the consistency is too thick to drizzle, add a few tablespoons of milk or heavy cream.
  4. Drizzle icing over the rolls. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Cream Cheese Frosting is popular and also quite tasty on rolls. My super hubby just happens to despise cream cheese and can detect it in nearly any recipe. He and my kids happen to love the icing I've included above. But for the rest of the world, here is a delicious alternative. Cream Cheese Frosting: 3 oz Cream cheese, softened 1/2 stick Butter, softened 1 tsp Vanilla Beat until fluffy. Add: 1 cup Powdered Sugar Beat; Add: 1 cup Powdered Sugar Beat until smooth.

Getting Started

Place ingredients in bread machine in the order listed. Select DOUGH cycle. Yep, it’s that easy. Which is why bread machines are quite possibly one of the best inventions known to man. Along with electricity. And indoor plumbing.

No bread machine? No problem. Bread has been made by hand for thousands of years. Start with the warm water and add the yeast, stirring until dissolved. Mix all the dry ingredients and stir into the yeast/water. Add more flour, if necessary, then add the softened butter.

Knead well for 5-10 minutes. Form into a ball, place inside a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Once the dough is doubled in size, it’s ready to be rolled out.




Remove from bread pan or bowl and place on a large cutting board or piece of wax paper, lightly coated with cooking spray.

It’s nice to have a surface that’s approximately 12″ x 18″ (give or take) to act as a guide for rolling the dough. (for example, a large cutting board or 18″ piece of wax paper)

Gently roll the dough out.

My original recipe called for melting the butter. But I found a different recipe that called for using soft butter. Of course, I had to experiment. The soft butter option was wonderful! It seemed to hold the filling much better.

Ignoring the picture on the left, spread the softened butter, leaving a half inch unbuttered on the long side closest to you. Having a “dry” surface will allow the dough to seal better when rolled.

Stir cinnamon into brown sugar until well mixed. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture over the butter and spread around evenly.

A traditional cinnamon/sugar mixture will use white sugar, but substituting brown sugar creates something magical, giving a moist, gooey filling like in a Cinnabon.

Roll the rectangle, starting with the the long side farthest from you and working toward the side that has a half inch uncovered. Having a surface coated with cooking spray will prevent the dough from sticking. Flour can be used, but cooking spray will keep the dough moist vs the drying effect flour can have.

Once rolled, pinch the seam closed with your fingers and place the roll seam-side down on your work surface.

Now slice the roll into 12 equal pieces. For an easy guide, cut the roll in half, then into quarters. Then slice each quarter into 3 equal pieces. This process will give you 12 individual rolls.

Place each sliced roll in a 9×13 pan, lightly coated with cooking spray. For a covering, briefly run a towel (i.e. clean kitchen towel or flour sack towel) underneath a faucet of warm water. Then twist the towel to spread the moisture. It should be slightly damp but not soaking wet or dripping. Place towel over your pan.

Yeast rises best in a warm, moist environment. Covering with a damp towel will help keep them moist. Placing near a warm oven or sunny kitchen window can help keep them warm. Let raise for about an hour.

If your kitchen is like mine and on the cooler, dryer side of life, create a proof box using your oven. Click here for this tip.

Using a proof box, your dough can usually double in size in about half the time (approx 30-45 minutes). Amazing.

Remove from oven, leaving the towel in place so the dough is not disturbed while the oven warming. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove towel and bake for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Remove from oven to cool.

Drizzle with the Perfect Cinnamon Roll’s companion, Perfect Icing.

Or spread with delicious Cream Cheese Frosting (find in recipe notes).

Whatever floats your boat.