Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing

My friend Laura took a bite of one of these cinnamon rolls, and declared that this recipe alone could put Cinnabon out of business!

You're pretty much guaranteed to make some new friends with these poufy, soft, sweet rolls. They're filled with just the right amount of butter and cinnamon-sugar, baked to perfection, and slathered with slightly tangy vanilla cream cheese icing. Cinnamon roll perfection, as far as I'm concerned!

Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing

Yield: 12 cinnamon rolls


Sweet Roll Dough
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus pinch granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for bowl
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare Dough

  1. Heat milk to 110F. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over the top, and stir to combine. Let mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. While yeast is proofing, combine remaining sugar, melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk to combine. Fit mixer with dough hook.
  4. When yeast mixture is foamy, pour into other wet ingredients. Whisk to combine.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until well-combined, and then increase the mixer speed to medium. Mix for approximately 6 minutes, until dough is slightly sticky, soft, and elastic. If dough is too sticky, you may add 1-2 tablespoons more flour.
  6. Butter a large mixing bowl. Place dough into bowl, and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Prepare Filling

  1. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Form Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Flour your work surface. Spray a 9x13" with baking spray, or butter.
  2. Gently degas dough, and press into a rectangular shape.
  3. Roll dough into a 10x18" rectangle, with a long edge facing you. Trim the edges if necessary, so that you have a square edges.
  4. Spread softened butter evenly over dough, going all the way to the edges on 3 sides of the rectangle - leave 1/2" bare at the top of the rectangle.
  5. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter.
  6. Brush water on the 1/2" bare edge at the top of the rectangle.
  7. Roll up the dough (like a jelly roll) into a tight roll, with the seam at the bottom. Press gently to seal.
  8. Cut the roll into 12 even pieces (1 1/2" wide), with a sharp knife, and place cut side down into prepared pan. Try to space the rolls as evenly as possible. At this point, they won't touch at all. Cover pan with plastic wrap.
  9. Place rolls in a warm place to proof until doubled, approximately 1 hour. When fully proofed, the rolls should fill the entire pan.

Prepare Icing

  1. Place cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Beat, using a hand or stand mixer, until butter and cream cheese are well combined and slightly fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to thin icing, as desired.


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Bake on the center rack for 30-35 minutes, turning pan halfway through baking, until rolls are golden brown.
  3. Remove from oven, and place on wire rack. Cool for 15 minutes before icing (prepare icing while rolls are cooling).
  4. Spoon icing over rolls, and spread evenly.
  5. Serve warm. Enjoy!


These cinnamon rolls can be prepared the night before baking, through Step #8 in "Form Cinnamon Rolls". Place covered pan in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from refrigerator, and let proof for 2-3 hours in a warm place, until the rolls fill the pan. Bake and frost as directed.

Source: Cinnamon rolls slightly adapted from Food Network; icing slightly adapted from Epicurious

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Milk and Honey said...

Seriously want one or three of these now.

Kristen said...

Milk and Honey - one or three sounds exactly right! They are so, so delicious.