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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.

round pan of cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing and a spatula removing one.

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

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.

close-up photo of gooey cream cheese icing-topped cinnamon roll.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Sugar: You need white granulated sugar in the dough, both for flavor and to feed the yeast.
  3. Salt: Flavor.
  4. 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.
  5. Butter: This is a rich dough, meaning it has fat to help guarantee softness.
  6. Egg: Like butter, egg promises a softer, richer dough.
ingredients measured in different bowls including flour, whole milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, and more.

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!

liquid measuring cup full of yellow liquid.

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.

egg and other wet ingredients on top of flour in glass bowl and everything shown again being mixed together.

Transfer dough to your work surface (below, left), and then knead by hand for 3 minutes until a soft dough forms (below, right).

ball of dough on counter with flour sprinkled all around it and shown again a little neater after kneading.

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 quickly soften butter.
  • 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.

rolled out rectangle shape of dough on counter and butter being spread on top.
rectangle shape of dough with cinnamon sugar mixture sprinkled on top.

Roll up the dough and then use your sharpest knife to cut into 10-12 rolls.

cinnamon rolls cut from long rolled-up log.

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.

cinnamon rolls before and after rising in glass dish.
glass pie dish of cinnamon rolls before icing them.
spreading frosting on cinnamon rolls in round dish.

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 coffee icing. 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!
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close-up photo of gooey cream cheese icing-topped cinnamon roll.

Easy Cinnamon Rolls (from scratch)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 rolls 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale

Dough

  • 2 and 3/4 cups (344g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) 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

Filling

  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) 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 (30g) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (80g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, knead the dough for 3 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.)
  7. 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. 
  8. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: easy cinnamon rolls from scratch

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally
    Does the butter have to be room temperature?
    Can I warm it in the microwave

    1. I
      Oh l really want to makr these rolls!
      They look amazing and it’s a great “excuse” to use a new baking tray

  2. These turned out really good and we’re really easy to make. We loved them!!

    1. I didn’t have instant yeast but I had active dry yeast and the dough is really sticky what should I do ?

      1. Hi Nina! You can use either, the rise time will just be longer for active dry yeast. There are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity in the air. There’s nothing wrong with adding just a little more flour to bring the dough into a less sticky and knead-able consistency.

      2. Thanks for asking this question. I had no idea there was a difference in instant and dry yeasts. Mine is super sticky as well. I’m out of flour so off to the store I go. I guess it can rise now and later

  3. should I be using strong flour (bread flour) or just a regular all purpose flour?

    1. Hi Theresa! Bread flour should work for chewier rolls, but all-purpose is great here for soft rolls. Up to you!

  4. This recipe is perfect in every way. It is simple to execute and requires a very reasonable amount of time. I made the recipe exactly as is, except that I didn’t have whole milk so I substituted half heavy cream and half water. The rolls didn’t quite double in size but this didn’t affect doneness, texture or taste. 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.

  5. Only reason I have the recipe 4 stars is because nowhere does it say what kind of dough I should be looking for when kneading. I measured exactly to your recipe, but it was so sloppy. I added another half cup of flour and still wasn’t sure if that’s the way it should be. Extremely sticky. Had to look at other one hour cinnamon roll recipes to try and figure it out. Otherwise, recipe is great. Came out perfect with the help of other recipes.

    1. Hi Amy- I’m having the same problem right now. I used the dough hook to mix for a few minutes then mixed with a spatula. When it was time to knead it was way too wet and I made an absolute mess. I hate adding too much extra flour because I don’t want dry, dense rolls.

  6. Hi Sally, is it possible to not bake the cinnamon rolls right after the rising process?
    Is there a way to leave the cinnamon rolls as it is to bake after some time of the rising process?

    1. Hi Munazza, the alternative to baking these right after the rise time is to make the overnight option. The 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.

    1. Hi Tina, we haven’t tested it but please let us know if you do!

    2. Hi Tina
      Just reading the reviews before trying the recipe. My mother has celiac disease and cannot eat items with yeast. We use gluten free flour for recipes, but never yeast. It may be ok for those eating gluten free for other reasons. Hope it goes well for y’all.
      Thx
      Cheryl

  7. Hi Sally
    Made such an amazing batch last night at first trial, such a perfect recipe you are now my to go for confectionery recipes.
    Much Love

  8. I made this recipe a few times now. They came out delicious. I wanted to make them again but I forgot to buy the 1/2 & 1/2 creamer I used in the previous times I made this recipe, I only have 1% milk, would I be able to use that as a substitute , or will they not come out that good ?

    1. Hi Sandy, 1% milk will work, though the dough will be a little less soft due to the decrease in fat.

  9. I just made these and they were excellent!!! This recipe was easy and it didn’t take a lot of time! I even used 2% milk because that is all I had.
    My only question is : I have an amazing sourdough starter. Can I use that instead of the dry yeast and how much would I use? How and when would I add the starter instead of the dry yeast? Thank you for a great recipe!!

    1. Hi Bessie, we don’t have much experience working with sourdough starter so can’t offer any advice. Let us know if you give it a try!

    2. Yes, you can use sourdough starter. There are several good Pinterest recipes for sourdough cinnamon rolls out there.

  10. Hi!
    My family and I really aren’t big cinnamon people. Can I switch up the filling to something else?
    Thank you!

    1. If you want a Cinnabon type flavor, use Vietnamese / Korintje cinnamon, which is sweeter than regular cinnamon.

  11. This is my favourite cinnamon rolls recipe. I find the dough too sticky to handle though so I always add a little extra flour. They still come out perfectly risen and soft! I’m thinking you could use other filling too like nutella/ chocolate spread or dried fruit.

  12. Is red star active dry yeast the same as instant yeast. I could not find anything that said instant and is it ok to use on this recipe

    1. Hi Lisa, yes! Instant yeast will be perfect in this recipe.

  13. 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! Thank you so much for another successful baking adventure!

  14. I’m trying to save time by making the rolls ahead of time, but bake them a few days later at a family member’s home as a special treat. Do you have any recommendations on how I should do that…freeze the dough? My only concern is that I need to travel about 3 hours with the rolls and I’d like to bake/ice the rolls the next morning.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Lana, see recipe notes for our recommended make-ahead and freezing instructions!

  15. Hi Sally, could this recipe be used for savoury scrolls? I’m looking for a soft a fluffy pizza scroll recipe.

    1. Hi Zoe, we can’t see why not, although it would take some recipe testing as you’d likely want to cut back a bit on the sugar in the dough. We do have a recipe for pizza rolls using our yeasted pizza crust recipe. Let us know what you try!

  16. Is it possible to use plant based milk in place of cow milk and flax eggs instead of regular eggs? Thanks so much. I love your recipes!

    1. Hi Janet, we haven’t tested these rolls with those substitutes so we’re unsure of the results. You can expect a different taste and texture when making substitutions, but let us know if you give it a try!

  17. I just made them today – delicious! I veganized them and they are incredible. (almond milk, vegan butter, justegg) . I added lightly toasted almond slices to the sugar filling I used coffee in the icing. Easy to make and so good, thank you.

    1. Hi Mar Mar, the rolls are still plenty sweet and delicious without the icing topping if you prefer plain cinnamon rolls.

  18. I was disappointed by this recipe. The dough didn’t double in size even after several hours. I’ve used a recipe in the past that was quite easy and the buns doubled in size in no time, and the dough was sweet..this one wasn’t.. Next time I will take the time to look for my old recipe.

  19. Being a beginner baker, I made these cinnamon rolls not sure how they’d turn out. They were sooo good, I love this recipe! I won’t be buying cinnamon rolls from the store again as long as I have flour and yeast! I’ve made it according to your directions each time and the rolls are perfect, soft sweet and so delicious. My family always asks for more. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  20. What would be a good egg substitute to replace the egg? Can I use egg replacer instead.
    Thanks!
    Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra, we haven’t tested this recipe with any egg replacements, but let us know if you do. If you’re interested, here are all of our egg-free recipes.

    1. Hi Ginny, yes, you can use your stand mixer (with the hook attachment) or your hands to knead this dough.

  21. This recipe looks wonderful and is so easy and quick. I live at an altitude of 7500 so am wondering what changes I would make to this recipe to achieve the same results?

    1. Hi Paulette, we wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  22. Hi Sally;
    We would like to make these for 2. How do you half this recipe. If you make too many they will turn hard. That is a waste of good stuff and money.
    Thanks, Carol

    1. Hi Carol, I’m unsure. I haven’t tried halving this recipe before, so I’m not entirely sure of the results or the best measurement for the rectangle you roll out. It may be best to make the recipe as written and then you can freeze leftover rolls.

  23. Hi! I’m so excited to try this out. I have a pan that is about 12 1/2″ x 8″. I’m assuming I’ll need to multiply the recipe but I’m not sure the best way to decide by how much? Any tips on that?

    1. Hi Marissa, you could try making extra dough, but I really don’t know the best way to scale up the recipe besides making the dough twice. If you want a larger pan of rolls, this cinnamon rolls recipe (with the overnight option) would be better and would fit into your pan.

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