These easy cinnamon rolls from scratch are perfect for yeast beginners because they only require 1 rise. Each cinnamon roll is extra soft with the most delicious cinnamon swirl! The rolls freeze beautifully, so this is a great make-ahead recipe, especially for planning ahead for holidays or the next time you need a special breakfast. Choose from a few easy icing flavors to top the warm & gooey rolls.
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
This easy cinnamon roll recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my website, for good reason.
These are classic, homestyle cinnamon rolls. It took me lots of recipe testing trial-and-error to develop quick cinnamon rolls that maintain all the flavor and texture of traditional overnight cinnamon rolls. But THIS. IS. IT. And I promise, making these easy cinnamon rolls is 100x more satisfying than that feeling you get from popping open a store-bought can of ready-to-bake rolls.
Here’s Why You’ll Love These Easy Cinnamon Rolls
- All the deliciousness of traditional homemade cinnamon rolls, but in half the time
- Soft and fluffy
- Gooey cinnamon sugar swirl
- Only 1 rise time
- Easy enough for yeast beginners
- Great make-ahead, freezer-friendly recipe—making it an excellent addition to your menu of Easter brunch recipes!
Lately, I’ve had even more success with the dough when I let the yeast dissolve in the warm milk/butter mixture, instead of whisking it into the dry ingredients. The rolls turn out even fluffier and softer, and I know you’ll appreciate that, too! The recipe below includes this small change.
Here’s what some readers are saying about this recipe:
Reader Kristine says: “This recipe is perfect in every way. It is simple to execute and requires a very reasonable amount of time. … The best part for me, however, is that they tasted just like my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls. I have her recipe but it requires hours and hours and I rarely have that kind of time. Tasting these warm from the oven brought back a flood of happy memories and made me feel like I was right back in her kitchen. ★★★★★“
Reader Lana says: “I admit, I was very skeptical about my cinnamon rolls rising in 90 minutes. And I was nervous about making cinnamon rolls because I didn’t think that I could make anything close to what my grandma used to make. But I’ve made other recipes from your site and have been successful so I gave it a try. Let me say, the cinnamon rolls are amazing! And easy! ★★★★★“
Just like grandma used to make! Is there a better compliment than that? I doubt it.
Yeast Beginners Rejoice: Only 1 Rise!
Do you love homemade cinnamon rolls, but are nervous to bake with yeast? You’re not alone! But if you’re curious about learning how to bake with yeast, this recipe is a perfect one to start with. No yeast cinnamon rolls are quick and tasty, but the Fluffiness Factor (I should trademark that) is simply unparalleled when it comes to yeast rolls vs. no-yeast rolls.
Unlike these homemade overnight cinnamon rolls that require hours of rise time, plus a 2nd rise after the rolls are shaped, this easy cinnamon rolls recipe requires only 1 rise, for just 60–90 minutes. And, honestly, they’re every bit as delicious. Bakery-style perfection for beginners!
Are You a Yeast Beginner?
This Baking with Yeast Guide is a wonderful starting point for yeast beginners. I answer many common yeast FAQs in easy-to-understand explanations, so you can learn about the basics before beginning.
Key Ingredients to Use for the Dough
Here’s my #1 tip: I recommend using a strong and dependable yeast. Platinum Yeast from Red Star is a premium instant yeast, which cuts down on rise time. Its careful formula contains natural dough strengtheners and makes working with yeast simple. And simple is always good, right? See recipe Note if using active dry yeast instead.
Here’s the rest of the lineup of ingredients for this rich dough:
- Flour: Flour provides the dough structure. All-purpose flour is best for these cinnamon rolls. You could also use bread flour—the rolls will be chewier.
- Sugar: You need white granulated sugar in the dough, both for flavor and to feed the yeast.
- Salt: Flavor.
- Whole milk: Whole milk is ideal for the richest-tasting cinnamon rolls. Buttermilk works just as well without any changes to the recipe. Many readers have successfully substituted nondairy milks. In a pinch, you can use low-fat milk, but avoid using nonfat milk.
- Butter: This is a rich dough, meaning it has fat to help guarantee softness.
- Egg: Like butter, egg promises a softer, richer dough.
These Step-by-Step Photos Will Help
The first step is to mix your dry ingredients together in a big bowl and this includes the flour, sugar, and salt. After that, warm the milk and butter together, and then whisk in the yeast until it has dissolved. Then you know it can start working its magic in your dough!
Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients, add the egg and then mix everything together. You do not need a stand mixer for this recipe, though you could certainly use one if desired.
Transfer dough to your work surface (below, left), and then knead by hand for 3 minutes until a soft dough forms (below, right).
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes as you prepare the filling—this gives the dough’s gluten a chance to settle and relax, which will make rolling out much easier.
3 Ingredient Filling
- Butter: Use super-soft butter for the filling—not too hard, not too melty. If the butter is too hard, it won’t be easy to spread it evenly over the soft dough. If it’s too melty, it will seep into the dough, and we don’t want that either. Butter that’s had time to soften to room temperature should be just right. If you forgot to get it out of the fridge earlier, here’s my trick for how to soften butter quickly.
- Brown Sugar: Using brown sugar in the filling gives these cinnamon rolls an extra-delicious depth of flavor.
- Cinnamon: You can’t have cinnamon rolls without it!
Roll out the dough and then top with softened butter and the brown sugar & cinnamon mixture.
Many readers have asked about using different fillings. Try using this raspberry cake filling instead—it’s delicious! Or if you love lemons, these lemon sweet rolls use this same dough.
Roll up the dough and then use your sharpest knife to cut into 10-12 rolls.
Why Are My Cinnamon Rolls Not Fluffy?
There are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity. But the most common reason cinnamon rolls don’t turn out fluffy is because the dough didn’t have enough time to rise. In this particular recipe, with only 1 rise, it’s imperative the shaped rolls double in size in step 5 below. See the next photo? You want a pan of puffy-looking rolls even before baking.
Additionally, be sure to add only as much flour as you need to make a workable dough. This is a soft and tacky dough and it’s not supposed to be tough and hard. Too much flour will give you stiff, dense, dry cinnamon rolls.
Arrange your rolls in a lightly greased 9-inch or 10-inch pan. I appreciate that this recipe makes a slightly smaller batch than most other cinnamon roll recipes.
Here are the rolls before and after rising. This is the only rise! They’re ready to bake after they have nearly doubled in size.
Why Do My Cinnamon Rolls Rise Unevenly When Baking?
Sometimes the centers of the cinnamon rolls can pop up whack-a-mole-style while baking. This is caused by either rolling them too tight, or if the pan is too small/crowded. It’s happened to me many times before. But this is really easy to fix! Pull the pan out of the oven and use the back of a spoon to gently press the overly risen parts back down.
You Have Options for the Icing
It takes a couple quick minutes to mix a bowl of cream cheese icing together and for that, you need cream cheese, a little butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract. For something even easier, try a vanilla (or even coffee) icing like we use on coffee cake. Simply whisk confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and a little milk or strong coffee together until smooth. The video tutorial in the recipe below shows both icing options.
Spread or drizzle your icing on the warm rolls before serving—both icings seep right into every gooey swirl! The finished rolls pictured above have cream cheese icing, and here is the vanilla icing batch:
These easy cinnamon rolls from scratch are completely irresistible and they take half the time. If you’re looking for that perfect cinnamon roll recipe that doesn’t require 4+ hours, this is the winner.
Success Tips for Making the Best Cinnamon Rolls
- Don’t add more flour than you need. You can add a little more flour to bring the dough into a knead-able consistency, but adding too much will give you dense, dry rolls.
- Don’t kill the yeast. If your butter/milk mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast and you won’t really notice until you’re far into the recipe… when the rolls won’t rise! Keep the temperature warm to the touch, around 100–110°F (38–43°C). An instant read thermometer is a handy tool for this baking recipe and many others.
- Use your sharpest knife to cut the rolls, so they don’t squish down.
- Use the correct size pan. This recipe makes 10–12 rolls, which fit in a 9- or 10-inch pan. If the pan is too small, they’ll be overcrowded. You can use a 9- or 10-inch pie dish, round cake pan, or square baking pan. If you want larger rolls, check out this recipe for jumbo cinnamon rolls!
- Let the rolls rise in a warm, draft-free environment. Here’s my favorite trick: Preheat your oven to 150°F (66°C), then turn it off. Cover the shaped rolls with aluminum foil and place the pan inside the warm oven. Leave the oven door cracked open for about 30 minutes, then close it and let them finish rising (another 30–60 minutes) in the oven with the door closed. Just don’t forget to take them out of the oven before you preheat it to bake them!
Easy Cinnamon Rolls (from scratch)
- Prep Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 rolls
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These easy cinnamon rolls are perfect for yeast beginners because they only require 1 rise. You have a few options for toppings. The recipe below includes a simple cream cheese icing, but we also love these with the coffee icing or vanilla icing that’s included in the recipe Notes below.
- 2 and 3/4 cups (344g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
- 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Platinum Yeast from Red Star or any instant yeast (1 standard packet)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter, extra softened
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 ounces (113g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (80g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the milk and butter together in a heatproof bowl. Microwave or use the stove and heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 110°F/43°C, no higher). Whisk in the yeast until it has dissolved. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients, add the egg, and stir with a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon OR use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed. Mix until a soft dough forms.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, knead the dough for 3-5 minutes. You should have a smooth ball of dough. If the dough is super soft or sticky, you can add a little more flour. Place in a lightly greased bowl (I use non-stick spray), cover loosely, and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes as you get the filling ingredients ready.
- Fill the rolls: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8-inch (36×20-cm) rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle it all over the dough. Roll up the dough to make a 14-inch log. Cut into 10–12 even rolls and arrange in a lightly greased 9- or 10-inch round cake pan, pie dish, or square baking pan.
- Rise: Cover the pan with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the rolls to rise in a relatively warm environment for 60–90 minutes or until double in size. (For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
- Bake the rolls: After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake for 24–27 minutes, or until lightly browned. If you notice the tops are getting too brown too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil and continue baking. If you want to be precise about their doneness, their internal temperature taken with an instant read thermometer should be around 195–200°F (91–93°C) when done. Remove pan from the oven and place pan on a wire rack as you make the icing. (You can also make the icing as the rolls bake.)
- Make the icing: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the butter and beat until smooth and combined, then beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until combined. Using a knife or icing spatula, spread the icing over the warm rolls and serve immediately.
- Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: This dough can be made the night before through step 4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise in a warm environment, about 1 hour. Continue with step 6.
- Freezing Instructions: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2–3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked rolls and here’s how: bake the rolls in step 6 for only about 10 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. To serve, take the pan of rolls out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator a few hours before serving. Then, finish baking them for the remaining 15–18 minutes.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Stand Mixer or Glass Mixing Bowl with Rubber Spatula/Wooden Spoon | Rolling Pin | 9- inch Round Cake Pan, 9-inch Pie Dish, or 9-inch Square Baking Pan | Instant Read Thermometer | Cooling Rack | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) for icing | Icing Spatula
- Yeast: I highly recommend instant yeast. If you only have active dry yeast, you can use that instead. Active dry and instant yeast can be used interchangeably in recipes (1:1). Active dry yeast has a moderate rate of rising and instant dry yeast has a faster rate of rising; active dry yeast will take longer to raise the dough.
- Milk: This recipe used to call for 1/2 cup (120ml) milk and 1/4 cup (60ml) water. The rolls taste much richer using all milk, and that is what I recommend. Whole milk or even buttermilk are ideal for this dough. If needed, you can substitute 3/4 cup (180ml) lower-fat or nondairy milk.
- Coffee Icing (or Vanilla Icing): Whisk 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 2–3 Tablespoons (30–45ml) strong brewed coffee together until smooth. Or swap milk for coffee for regular vanilla icing. Drizzle over warm rolls.
- Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Keywords: easy cinnamon rolls from scratch
Reader Comments & Reviews
It worked out amazingly well! They are so fluffy and light. For the icing I didn’t have cream cheese so I whisked together 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 4 tablespoons of milk, and 3 tablespoons of butter. This was the first time u ever used yeast, and i figured out that I had killed the yeast because my butter and milk in the microwave got too hot and killed the yeast. To fix this you just do 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and it should still rise perfectly fine. Anyways, this recipe was delicious and everyone in my family enjoyed them.
I have made these cinnamon rolls several time and I get rave reviews every time. They are easy to make and absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
I’m not a baker, but this recipe is easy and delicious. I also don’t usually comment but I thought I better add my accolades!!! I’ve made it 5 times in the last month and these truly are the best! The icing was too rich, so I found a recipe using Evaporated milk and cream cheese for the icing.
Thanks to you, I now know how to make from-scratch cinnamon rolls (and bread)! I made the dough the night before and baked the rolls the morning I needed them. Absolutely delicious-soft, fluffy, and the perfect amount of sweetness. Thank you for all the care you take with your recipes and for guiding us all–even skilled bakers–with your instructions, pictures, and encouragement.
Thank you so much for your glowing review, ED! We’re so glad you’re enjoying our recipes 🙂
Do you think this recipe will work using King Arthur’s Gluten Free AP Flour?
Hi Kristine, we haven’t tested this dough with gluten free flour but please let us know how it goes if you do!
I had the hardest time getting a rise with these. Threw my first bath away and redid it. And still did not double in size. I used instant yeast as well. 🙁 they look so amazing in the picture!
If I have frozen them and have put them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, how do I reheat them? I would like to be able to hear them in the oven rather than in the microwave to give them the most authentic taste, but don’t want to dry them out. Thank you!!
Hi Donna, You can certainly use a warm 300F oven until warmed throughout (depends how many you are warming!), but we usually just use the microwave for about 30 seconds or until warmed throughout.
Yummy as always!!!
I love everything about you recipies, Sally, but that photo of the goo covered rolls looks really unhealthy and outdated in 2023. Please! It s okay to promote a healthier bun! Comfort Food be damned!
Couldn’t disagree more. It’s an occasional treat and looks AMAZING. There are loads of recipes out there for healthier buns. If that’s what you’re looking for, go there. These are what I was looking for as a surprise treat for my family on a Sunday morning!
My go to roll recipe. I have made apple ,cherry and date versions of this. I find that Sally’s recipes easily convert to vegan by just switching a few ingredients. I do pour heavy cream to the top of rolls before baking and they always come out amazing.
I have made cinnamon rolls several times, and this was by far the easiest and best reciepe I have found they turned out amazing. Thank you
Wonderful rolls very fluffy, not too difficult to make. I substituted combo of sour cream and low-fat milk for the whole milk. And did a combo of the icing options too worked out great! Thanks!
I love your recipes! They are so easy to follow!
I made mini cinnamon rolls and baked them about 18 minutes. I’m not a huge cream cheese fan, so I opted for the vanilla icing. This recipe was so good!
Can you make these using almond milk?
Hi Cheryl, some readers have reported using almond milk with success. If you try it, let us know how it goes!
I have used almond milk and soy many times with great results.
Any idea how to substitute the egg for an egg allergy? Or Can you omit it? I have successfully substituted eggs with buttermilk in other yeasted doughs.
Hi Richard, we haven’t tested this recipe with any egg replacements, but let us know if you do.
I only bake vegan. I use aquafaba in all of Sally’s recipes and you cannot tell the diffrence. 45 grams 1 whole egg 30 grams for egg yoke or egg white
2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon veg oil = 1 large egg. Oddly enough I found myself out of eggs when I went to make this. I used the above substitution and had no issues.
DO NOT CHANGE A SINGLE THING TO THIS RECIPE!!! Clear direction and worked out perfectly. VERY HAPPY!
The recipe was super easy and came out great for first attempt. The only issue I had was that the filling for the rolls completely melted out the middle and caramelized on the bottom. Any ideas what I may have done wrong?
I also only needed to bake for 15 mins at 375F and they were the perfect golden brown, glad I set an early timer!
Hi Hailey, Some caramelizing is normal, but burning wouldn’t be. It’s possible you oven may run a bit hot – we recommend using an in-oven thermometer or simply reducing the heat by a few degrees next time you try these.
It tasted good, however the dough was so dry that it didn’t have the good texture. With that dough consistency, it was not rising at all. Good flavor, however.
i loved this recipe.Everyone in my family loved it. Will be making this again
There were a few issues for me on this first try but they still tasted great. I set my oven timer for 20 minutes and they were actually a bit overdone. Next time I’ll try 350 F. And I think I rolled them too tight. That said, I’ll definitely be trying again soon.
The rolls tuned out to be super fluffy and delicious. I love the cram cheese icing, way better than the sugar icing. My over gave th ebest results at 350oC for 20 min for this recipe.
Fantastic recipe..It was a HIT! Thank you so much
Can I bake them the night before?
Absolutely! Cover overnight at room temperature.
Hi Trina! The recipe says to cover overnight and put it in the fridge but I’m understanding your comment as to leave them at room temp over night. Which way is correct? Thank you 🙂
Hi Jen! The fully baked rolls can be stored at room temperature overnight.
These are amazing! I made a batch to share with neighbours and received so many compliments about what a good cook I am! I added some plumped rains for extra sweetness, but they’re really not necessary. Thanks!
Can the dough be made in a bread machine then rolled, let rise & bake?
Hi Rachel, we haven’t tested this recipe in a bread machine but other readers have reported success doing so. Let us know if you try it!
I tried this recipe in my bread machine on the dough setting. Turned out great!! I wouldn’t change a thing! My coworkers and husband absolutely loved these! Nice and fluffy and not too sweet. I did a very light drizzle of cream cheese frosting and it was a hit. 🙂
I made these cinnamon rolls last night–so delicious and soft! I had no idea making cinnamon rolls this good could be this easy. This recipe is one I will share, keep, and use often. Thank you, Sally1
I liked this recipe but I had to alter the oven temperature to 350° because the stated temperature was too hot for my oven. But, all ovens vary and that should be stated. But they were still delicious with my cream cheese icing. I made them for my roommate’s birthday yesterday.
I like cinnamon rolls
Great recipe, the rolls turned out perfect! Thank you!