Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Easy Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls

All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

Tell me about your weekend! What did you do? What did you eat? Shop? Wrap? Gather? Celebrate? I did all of the above, plus a festive “ugly sweater” 5K in Philly Saturday morning, caramel corn, no-bake cookies, and cheers-ed our friends engagement with mimosas and my easy make-ahead breakfast casserole.

It was an eventful weekend and I’m diving headfirst into Christmas week today. Can’t believe it’s on Friday already?! Oh, I also have a new post up on my photography blog this week! Christmas cheer galore.

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

Just in case you’re looking for simple, make-ahead, no fuss, and completely indulgent brunch recipes this week– I took care of it for ya. My first recipe suggestion for Christmas week is this cream cheese french toast casserole. It’s an easy baked french toast recipe that you begin the night before so you have time in the morning to spend with the family as they wake up. PLUS cream cheese stuffed inside!

And my second recipe suggestion for this week is the cinnamon roll magnificence you see today. The most unbelievable way to make cinnamon rolls. Like, real authentic cinnamon rolls with that coveted fluffy texture and gooey cinnabon taste. This slow cooker cinnamon roll method works because dough needs to rise (and cook!) in a warm environment. So why not just do it all at once? Slowly and simply.

It’s a cinnamon roll miracle.

Because it’s all done in the slow cooker, you drastically cut down on prep time and all the usual fuss. No waiting for dough to rise!! Just prepare the dough, roll it out, put the rolls in the slow cooker for 2 hours, and then you’re done. As if we all weren’t totally in love with our slow cookers already, right?!

*Bows down.*

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

I’m going to walk you through the recipe real quick so you understand what’s happening. First, the dough is a combination of a couple cinnamon roll recipes I have on my blog. Both my popular super easy cinnamon roll dough and my overnight cinnamon roll dough. Speaking of overnight, you can prepare this dough overnight! Check out my make-ahead tip in the recipe below.

The dough comes together quickly, then let it rest for about 10 minutes. During this time, you can prepare the filling and get the slow cooker ready to go. The slow cooker needs to be lined with a greased piece of parchment paper. Greased to ensure the dough doesn’t stick, of course.

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

Roll the dough out, like you would any cinnamon roll recipe. Spread with softened butter, then a heavy sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. Roll it up tightly and cut into 10-12 rolls.

Then you’ll cook the cinnamon rolls in the slow cooker on high for 2 hours until the sides are deliciously golden brown and the centers are cooked through.

That’s it, the rolls are done! They’re mind-blowingly simple.

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

One thing to note: if you’d like your cinnamon rolls to be a little toasty brown on top, you can place them in the oven after removing from the slow cooker. 5-10 minutes at a low temperature is perfect. See recipe note.

Icing is always a must and I chose to top these slow cooker cinnamon rolls with a maple icing. You can leave out the maple syrup and use vanilla extract for a vanilla icing instead. OR you can make a coffee icing like I do in my easy cinnamon rolls recipe. By the way, if you do not have a slow cooker that easy cinnamon roll recipe is the way to go. It’s one of the most popular recipes on my blog!

Dig into the irresistible slow cooker cinnamon rolls while they’re still warm. The icing melts into each crevice, the buttery cinnamon swirls are gooey and sweet, and the dough is fluffy. Because they’re cooked in the slow cooker, the rolls are extra moist and soft. It’s complete heaven. And you did minimal work to get there! Can you believe they are this easy?! A big sigh of relief and an even bigger cinnamon roll hug.

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

Designed to make your life easier! Make sure you read the recipe notes before beginning. And follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Easy Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls

Baking cinnamon rolls in a slow cooker cuts down on preparation time. The dough does not have to rise twice. In fact, it doesn't even need to rise at all! All of the rising and baking is done in the slow cooker. And the rolls are unbelievably moist and soft.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk (I recommend whole or 2%)
  • 1 packet Red Star Platinum Yeast or any instant yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon (55g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 3/4 cups (345g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Filling

  • 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, very soft and at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar

Maple Icing

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (150g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup (or use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
Special Equipment

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until lukewarm-- no need to use a thermometer, but to be precise: about 95°F (35°C). Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer OR no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). With a spoon, manually stir in the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. This is called proofing the yeast. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast. On low speed, beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour until combined. The dough will be wet. While continuing to beat on low speed, add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency. I always need 2 and 3/4 cups flour total, no more no less. **If you do not have a mixer, you can stir the dough by hand with a wooden spoon in this step.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. During this 10 minutes, line a 4 or 5 quart slow cooker with greased parchment paper. (I heavily spray it with non-stick spray, but brushing oil all over it works too.) If you have a larger slow cooker, that's ok- just space the rolls out more.
  3. Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14x8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly, then cut into 10-12 even pieces and place them inside the lined slow cooker. Place a paper towel right under the lid of the slow cooker-- this will help keep condensation off of the cooking rolls. Do not leave that step out and do not use a cloth towel-- a paper towel.
  4. Turn your slow cooker on high speed and cook for 2 hours, or until the rolls are fully cooked through. It's always 2 hours for me, sometimes 2 hours and 15 minutes. Once they're done, remove the rolls from the cooker right away by lifting out the parchment paper.
  5. Make the glaze: Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Whisk the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, and milk together until smooth. Add a little more milk if too thick. Drizzle over the warm rolls.
  6. Rolls are best enjoyed the same day, but stay fresh and soft in a covered container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 5 days. Rolls (with or without glaze) freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up however you prefer.
  7. Make ahead/overnight: This dough can be made the night before through step 3 and placed into a greased pie dish or cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and place each roll into the lined slow cooker. Then continue with the recipe. The rolls may take less time, around 1 and 1/2 hours.

Recipe Notes:

This is a dough formulated to be "quick." It's imperative that you follow the dough recipe exactly to ensure satisfactory results with this slow cooker method.

Make sure you are using an instant yeast, as any non-instant yeast varieties will result in a slower cook time for the dough.

If you'd like your rolls to have a beautiful golden brown, toasty look to them you can pull the rolls out of the slow cooker when they are done by lifting out the parchment paper. Then, place the entire thing (the parchment paper and rolls) into an appropriate size pan. Mine fit into a 9 inch pie dish. Bake at 300°F (149°C) for 5-10 minutes.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

No slow cooker? No problem! Try my easy cinnamon rolls instead!

My BEST ever Cinnamon Rolls - totally from scratch, great beginnger recipe!

Or these overnight cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

And my raspberry sweet rolls, too!

Raspberry Sweet Rolls

See many more sweet roll recipes. Clearly, I’m addicted.

Slow cooker cinnamon rolls on sallysbakingaddiction.com All the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls with half the work!

112 comments

  1. I LOVE cinnamon rolls!!! 🙂

  2. These are all kinds of awesome! LOVE! 

  3. Why can’t a kitchen towel be used instead of a paper towel?

  4. Made these for the in laws this morning! They are already gone! And there are only 4 of us lol. I’ll be making these again on Christmas because we loved them so much!

    The paper towel trick you explained is a must by the way. Thank you so much for sharing this easy recipe with us all Sally. Merry christmas! 

  5. Sally, are the plates you showed from the Pioneer Woman collection? I just saw those at Walmart and thought they were gorgeous!

  6. Perfect timing. This is our Christmas morning tradition. I was wondering how to fit this in without having to set my alarm. Since I’m now gluten free, I plan on trying my gluten free version in the crock pot. Brilliant. You are truly an inspiration – because of your guidance, I started my own blog – http://www.glutenfreefarina.com. Would love it if you’d check it out. Merry Christmas! P.S. I miss living in Philly – especially Wawa.

  7. I have a one pound package of (non instant) yeast. What could I do to use that type of yeast? I love your blog; you are such an inspiration!!

  8. Hi!

    I am making these this morning, but I realized I only have active dry yeast. 🙁 How long will these take in the slow cooker since I am not using instant? Thank you for the recipe!

  9. These look delicious! We always have cinnamon rolls for breakfast Christmas morning! Though, always from a can. I want to try these! For making overnight, could I Just put the crock in the refrigerator, or is there a reason to put in a dish then transfer in the morning? I can’t wait to try them!

  10. Sally, This recipe looks wonderful. I haven’t made cinnamon rolls for several years mainly due to the time factor involved. But I plan on making these since I have two crockpots and use them all the time. One question: Could you use brown sugar for the filling instead of granulated?

  11. These are absolutely amazing!!! Recipe is quick and easy which produces a tender and tasty cinnamon roll. Made these Christmas Day and what a treat for my family. I knew it was a hit when they had a second one within minutes of eating the first!! You did it again another fabulous recipe. I used King Arthur Cinnamon Roll filling. I will be making them again tomorrow morning and will follow your filling recipe, I’m sure it will be just as good. Throw out your old recipes this is the one and it is done in a crock pot!! Who knew.

  12. Hi Sally, I use mostly teaspoons and cups, but as I measured the milk for this I happened to notice that 300 ml is waaaayyyy more than 3/4 cup (more like 1 1/4 cup). I stuck with the 3/4 cup measurement, but I’m wondering if something is off? I hope it turns out the way I did it – I’ll let you know. =)

    • Anna, that’s my error. It should be 180ml. Yep, 3/4 cup is correct.

      • They turned out fine, except they were a little overdone. I knew my crock pot tends towards the hot side, but I was nervous to open it too soon….and the edges got too dark. =/ But other than that, everything was great! Would you suggest using my low setting for the two hours, or do you think keeping it on high for less time (maybe 1.5 hrs?) would be better?

      • High for less time should help, Anna!

  13. Hi Sally! I am newly introduced to your blog and everything looks so delicious! When I’m bored at work, this is what I look at! Can I prepare this dough overnight and put it the crockpot the next day? Thanks! 

  14. Hi Sally! 
    I’m thinking about doing this recipe but all i have is a pressure cooker with slow cooker settings. Do you think the cooking time will be any different or no? 

    Thanks so much!

    • Cecilia, I’m really unsure. I don’t want to say yes or no without trying it myself. Just cook until the dough is browned on the edges and the centers are cooked through.

      • And now reading your reply here, I’m thinking I should just play around with my crock pot…longer time on low or shorter time on high should both work….we’ll see!

  15. Hi Sally!! This recipe looks AMAZING and super easy! I was thinking about making them today and then keeping them in the fridge to have tomorrow, and I was wondering what you think is the best way to heat them up tomorrow morning? 

  16. Thank you Sally for posting this recipe! This was the perfect way to kick off the new year with a recipe that brought me delicious cinnamon rolls with minimal work. New Year’s resolution of learning new techniques in the kitchen is off to a great start! Happy New Year!

  17. I’m making them now.  My slow cooker tends to run hot too, so I quickly popped up the lid to make sure they weren’t burning.  They look divine!  I’ll pop them in the oven (if they’re not overdone) to give them a nice brown finish before glazing.  The smell is just like it should be!

  18. GAME CHANGER!

    Pinning, and totally making in the not too distant future!!

  19. These were so good and easy I made them twice over the holiday! There were a big hit.  I cut back on sugar a little in the cinnamon filling and icing so they weren’t too sweet. First time I ever attempted cinnamon rolls and they were so yummy! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes, Sally!

  20. I can’t believe how great these are!!! I’ve tried multiple cinnamon roll recipes and by FAR, this is tops in ease of preparation and the all important fluffiness/moistness. I actually have a jar of some homemade apple butter (so good) and I think I might try doing this slow cooker recipe with it. Do you think it’d work? I did see that you OKd the orange cinnamon roll recipe!

    OH! And while I’m at it, might the strawberry rolls work if I replace the filling with some strawberry spread?

  21. I love cinnamon rolls but I am Gluten free (not by choice.  Do you think this would work with a GF flour mix?

  22. THIS IS NOT A ‘SET-AND-FORGET’ RECIPE. I left my slow cooker for 2 hours, came back to check if the rolls needed the extra 15mins the author suggested to find the all the cinnamon rolls on the outside burnt and black! I managed to salvage the center ones but they were pretty dry. Double checked the recipe to make sure I got the settings and prep correct and I had. I guess slow cookers vary, so beware if you wanna try this recipe and keep an eye on your rolls.

  23. First I must preface this by saying, I love this blog!  Thank you for it!  With that being said, I unfortunately don’t have good news for this recipe and I’m really sad about it.  As with the previous comment, you cannot forget about these, mine were done in LESS than an hour and burnt!  Especially after I continuosly checked them for the first thirty minutes.  I will say that I am an expert cake baker and decided to try my hand working with yeast since I’ve been terrified of it for so long.  So I am not new to baking or to this blog which again I love.  However the rolls were really dry, and dense, even though my yeast did foam.  The center rolls were not burnt but were still dark so I made the glaze and tasted them to try again.  The cinnamon sugar was not nearly enough an the dough was very tasteless.  The glaze, I’m not sure what was going on with it.  This is just a comment to say not to walk away from the rolls once you begin cooking them.  I’m sorry Sally, but I definitely still love this site!

    • No apologies necessary! I work tremendously hard on my recipes, as you know, so the fact that these were a fail for you shocks me! I’m so sorry to hear about it but, as always, I appreciate your honesty. This will help other readers– I suppose slow cookers vary tremendously between brands, perhaps? Because mine are never anywhere near done that soon. Anyway, thanks Kris! Let me know any other recipes you try.

  24. Wow Sally! Finally got around to making these and they are delicious! 🙂 
    I made them with whole wheat flour, so used a bit less than your recipe called for. Additionally, like others have said, mine were done in about 1 hour and 20 mins. 
    I am a cream cheese frosting girl when it comes to cinnamon rolls, but this vanilla glaze was great.
    Another great recipe Sally, thank you!

  25. I made these Easter weekend.  I mixed them up the night before.  My new crockpot cooks more quickly than my older one.  Mine were done in 1 1/2 hours, and they were GREAT!  I have loved all of your recipes, and I’ve tried a lot!  THANK YOU so much for sharing.

  26. Can I use non dairy instead of cows milk.
    Thank you, Ana

  27. I made the rolls in my slow cooker for the first time on Sunday. they turned out beautifully soft but the outside was very black. Obviously my slow cooker was too hot on high. Should I turn down to low after an hour or take them out after one hour?? Please suggest something as I was very impressed with the texture. Thank you.

    • Hi Hazel– I would begin at high heat, yes. Then after 45 minutes or so, switch to a lower heat which will continue to cook the dough but hopefully not heavily brown them. I’m glad you loved the texture!

  28. Wow! These are out of this world! My first attempt at homemade cinnamon rolls and I’ll never go back! These were so easy and so much better than from a tube. I used half brown sugar and half granulated sugar along with the cinnamon and vanilla glaze. Next time I will just do all brown sugar as that’s my fav and gonna try the maple flavor. 

  29. Could these be made in the oven as well  following all the same steps?

  30. Made these again using 45 minutes on high and then on low the rest of time. Turned out beautifully. Thank you. This recipe has been added to my favourites listing.

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