How to Make the Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever
These rolls are so much better than any cinnamon rolls you will ever buy! For over 50 years they have been a much-anticipated part of our family holidays and dinners. They aren’t difficult but I’m going to share all my tricks and tricks that will ensure that every batch turns out great. Here’s how to make the best homemade cinnamon rolls ever!
This dough recipe has been handed down in our family for generations. My dad’s mom taught it to my mom and she has passed it down to her children and grandchildren. As a child, this was my favorite thing my mom ever made! It wasn’t something she did often, but she did make them for holidays, especially and always for Easter.
For years, I was afraid to make them, thinking that they were too complicated or hard t do. Finally, my mom had, had enough, and insisted that I learn to make them myself.
Once I mastered how to make the dough, I realized she was right, they weren’t that hard ,but you had to allow enough time and make sure the dough was put together correctly.
My adult children LOVE these cinnamon rolls and it was for them that I decided to make them as a gift. As you read the instructions, you’ll understand that it really is a gift of love when you make the best homemade cinnamon rolls ever.
Before You Start
Gather all the ingredients for the recipe. There are no optional ingredients in this recipe. Each ingredient is essential to the outcome.This dough recipe uses common ingredients that most of us have on hand and even if you have to buy them, they are really inexpensive.
Read through the directions. You have to do things in order and have things at the right temperature.
Allow enough TIME, these take about five hours total. However, you aren’t working the entire time. There are two periods of time, where the dough has to rise. I’ve provided approximate times but the temperature in your kitchen, your elevation, or even the humidity can all affect rising times.
Have the right equipment. You’ll need a large bowl, , a couple of small bowls, a medium sauce pan, and a hand-mixer. In addition, you’ll need a heavy wooden spoon or spatula, measuring cups and spoons, and rolling pin (or in my case a wine bottle.
The Ingredient List
- 2 packages of regular dry yeast or 3 TB of bulk dry yeast
- ¼ cup of warm water
- I stick of butter, melted + 1 stick to melt later
- ½ cup of sugar for dough + 2 cups for inside the rolls
- 1 cup of milk, warmed + 2 TB for icing
- 1 cup of cold water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 7 cups of flour (may be a little more or less)
- 2-3 TB light olive oil or melted butter or ghee
- 1/4 cup cinnamon
- Confectioners sugar
You’ll see from the ingredients that some things are warm and cool. You want the whole thing ending up as a little bit warm to get the yeast going, but not hot enough to kill it. It’s better to err on being too cool as too hot.
Dead yeast will keep your rolls from rising and being fluffy. If everything is too cool, it will simply take longer to get the dough risen but eventually it will get where it needs to be.
I just use one bowl, usually the biggest bowl I have on hand. I prefer my big old yellow Pyrex bowl but today I had to use a stainless-steel bowl.
In a small glass bowl, I combine the yeast with the ¼ cup of warm water and set aside.
In big bowl, I add the melted butter and sugar, and salt. Then I add the beaten eggs, warmed milk, and 1 cup of water.
To this I add the yeast and water. With my hand-mixer on low, I gently combine all these ingredients.
Adding the Flour
The recipe calls for about 7 cups of flour. I add about 3 or 4 cups of flour to the wet ingredients. I mix, on low, the flour into the wet ingredients until it is smooth and sticky. Don’t add so much your mixer starts making sounds like it is struggling. You want it to mix fairly easily.
When it is very smooth and a little shiny, you can put your mixer aside.
Now you’ll add the rest of the flour by hand. I usually add the next two cups, a cup at a time. I mix them with a sturdy spoon until they are worked in.
Then I start adding flour by ½ cups. The dough will start forming a ball but will be rough.
At some point, you are going to have to use your hands. I put the dough on a smooth surface and start working flour in, a little at a time. Put your bowl in the sink and run some water in it.
Your dough will stick some to your hands, but it shouldn’t be a gloppy mess. Add flour, until the dough holds together, and you can form a fairly smooth ball.
Now, go rinse out your bowl and dry it. Add a few tablespoons of light olive oil or some melted better or ghee. Take your ball of dough and put it into the bowl, turning it over and around until it is coated with oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set aside.
After the dough is doubled in size, you push in down with your hands and make it a smaller ball again. At this point, I divide the dough in half to work with.
I just roll my dough on my counter top–well cleaned of course. I found myself without a rolling pin and used a full wine bottle and it worked great. Even better than a rolling pin!
Once the dough is rolled out to a rectangle, about 12 X 16, I pour melted butter all over. You want it all over but not too heavy.
Then I sprinkle about 1 cup of sugar all over. On top of that, I sprinkle lots of cinnamon. It looks like a LOT at this point, but once they rise and bake, you’ll be glad you used plenty.
Now it’s time to roll the dough. Gently life the dough along the long side facing you and roll it up into a long roll.
Once you have the dough in long rolls, you can cut it with a sharp knife into individual rolls about an inch and a half wide.
I like to use, 8-inch cake pans and put six or seven in each pan. You need to leave plenty of room between the rolls because they are going to get bigger.
Let the rolls, sit out covered with plastic wrap for another hour and a half. If they are rising faster, the time might be less. If they are slow, give them more time.
Once they have filled out and up, it’s time to bake. Preheat oven to 375.
As soon as they are out of the oven, you have to whip up the icing. It’s super easy. Melt a little butter in a pan. Then pour in a couple of cups of confectioners sugar. Add milk just a couple of tablespoons at a time as you whisk it. When it is smooth and pourable, drizzle it all over the cinnamon rolls. I like to cover every single bit of roll and down any crevices.
That’s all there is to it! A mere five hours and you have the most amazing cinnamon rolls ever! Grammy made and grandkid approved! (Create GREAT memories so they will never forget you–How to Be an Unforgettable Grandparent)
Large Mixing Bowl — This has a non-slip bottom and something to hold onto.
Hand Mixer — Love my one that has a storage case with it. No more losing the beaters!
Rolling Pin — I loved how my full wine bottle worked, that I thought ceramic might get the same effect.
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Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having.