Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Fill them with jam or cinnamon…smother them with icing…and dive in and enjoy!



Prep time:

45 min

Total Time:

12 hours (overnight)

Good For:

Breakfast, Dessert


About this Recipe


Is there anything better than an ooey-gooey cinnamon roll? These sweet rolls are fully customizable. Fill them with apple, strawberry, peanut butter, or anything else your little heart desires.

Eating lower sugar or sugar free? Substitute the granulated sugar with All Purpose In the Raw or another sugar alternative and the confectioner’s sugar with Swerve Confection and enjoy the taste without the calories or the blood sugar spikes!


For the Dough

  • 1 cup milk (whole is best; if you don’t have whole, add a tablespoon of cream to your measuring cup and then fill the rest of the way with other milk)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar or sugar alternative (I love All Purpose In the Raw!)
  • 2 packets or 1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and in 4 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4.5 cups (558 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

For Classic Cinnamon Filling

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar alternative
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon

For Apple Filling

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar alternative (I like Swerve Brown)
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped and peeled apples (about 2 medium apples)

For Jam Filling

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup jam of choice
  • 1 cup chopped fruit of choice (optional)

For Icing

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar or sugar alternative
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1.  Making the dough. First, warm your milk either in the microwave or on the stove until it’s warm but not hot, about 95°F or 35°C. Add to the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook. Sprinkle sugar and yeast over the milk and whisk by hand for a few seconds (if you’re using a sugar alternative, be sure to add at least a tablespoon of regular sugar to feed the yeast–don’t worry, it’ll eat it all up!). Let the yeast sit for 5-15 minutes, until it’s creamy and foamy. Beat in the softened butter on low; it will break up but not totally incorporate. Add the eggs and salt. Gradually add the flour. Once all ingredients are added, increase speed to medium and mix until it turns into a soft dough. Increase speed again to medium high and knead for 6 minutes.
  2. Proof the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it by hand for a minute, then form into a ball. Put into a grased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. (If your kitchen is cool, turn the oven onto the lowest setting, then turn off as soon as it reaches temp. Slide the bowl into the oven.
  3. Roll the dough. Grease a 9×12 baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll to a 12×18″ rectangle. Dough should be smooth and of even thickness.
  4. Filling. Spread softened butter over the entire rectangle. If you’re using the classic cinnamon filling, mix your sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and then sprinkle evenly over it. If you’re using fruit, spread the fruit (and brown sugar, for the apple) over the butter.
  5. Make the rolls. Working from the LONG side, roll the dough into a tight log. You want it to be 18″ long when you’re done. Cut into 12 rolls. Arrange them in your baking dish with the cut sides up. Cover and store overnight or for about 12 hours in the fridge.
  6. Second Rise. In the morning, remove the rolls from the fridge and let rise in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, until they’re puffy.
  7. Bake. Bake the rolls at 375°F / 190°C for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. (Check them halfway through; if they’re starting to brown too much, cover them with foil.) Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. Icing. While the rolls cool, mix the icing ingredients in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Spread evenly over rolls.
  9. Enjoy!

From the Books

Cinnamon Rolls are featured in several of my books! Mrs. Dawe was renowned for her sweet rolls in the Secrets of the Isles series (as was Polmer’s Bakery!), and the ladies of the Ocracoke Inn in Yesterday’s Tides treat their guests to them as well!

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