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
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!
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 (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
- 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
- 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 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.
- 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
Great cinnamon rolls! These are amazing cinnamon rolls and the recipe is SO easy to follow. I’ve successfully and unsuccessfully made it a few times to where I just about have the steps memorized.
Very First time: Forgot the egg, came out fine – little dense
Next First time: Milk too hot, killed yeast
Second time: Milk too hot, killed yeast
Third time: I was so determined to make these and they finally turned out! A thermometer was so helpful, my milk was WAY too hot the other times.
I also just realized instant yeast is recommended and I was using the regular yeast the whole time. Question: does milk still need to be warmed to ideal temperature for instant yeast?
Hi Nicole, We are glad you figured these out! Yes, the milk/butter mixture should be around 110°F/43°C. If you warm it up too much, just wait until it cools down to this temperature before using.
I always make this recipe for important days in my family. Every birthday or holiday, this is the ideal brunch. My only tip to make sure that they come out good is to make sure to measure the flour correctly and precisely. Great recipe , thanks!!
Wow! These turned out perfect! I ended up rising over 10 minutes the first rise but just helped them get even bigger!
The best! Just made them tonight and could hardly wait to eat one. I even managed to make them with my 1 year old hanging off my leg
Gramma here . . . oh, for the good old days, trying to cook, bake, wash dishes with a toddler hanging on my leg;-) Proud of you, Mama!
I tried to print this out but couldn’t find a print friendly version and the print command would have printed 65 sheets! Too sad.
Hi Sandra, on the actual recipe, about halfway down the page, there are three tabs: pin recipe, comments, and print the recipe. Clicking print the recipe will give you a print friendly version. Enjoy!
This recipe was horrible. What a waste of time. Tastless i shouldve read the reviews.
You must not know what your doing because these are amazing. Don’t leave bad false reviews
OMG! This was the first time baking cinnamon rolls and they were absolutely delicious!
I made them Christmas Eve and baked them Christmas morning, everyone loved them!
One mistake I made was double the icing….Don’t do it…there’s more than enough icing with the recipe as is.
Every recipe you have that I’ve made is wonderful. I feel i can really bake. Your tips and instructions have made it easy to understand and not intimidating .
I can’t wait to see what comes next.
I love this recipe, have doubled it and still comes out beautifully!!! I am stumped though, when I have great success with cinnamon buns, that my Recipe for butterhorns doesn’t work – I’m in Pittsburg but my Canadian family swears by the recipe. Any suggestions?
Hi Wendy, we don’t actually have a recipe for butterhorns on the site, so I’m afraid we don’t have much advice for you here! So glad your cinnamon rolls turned out well, though!
My first time making cinnamon rolls! I am thrilled with the results. This is a really foolproof recipe because I made two mistakes because I was talking (forgot to let dough rest and mixed butter, cinnamon and brown sugar together so I had to spread like paste—oh brother!) but they still came out amazing! Used cream cheese recipe this time but next time I will make coffee glaze, yum! THANK YOU!
I have made lots of cinnamon rolls and for the length of time and the single rise, these were very good. The proof was good and let them rise for about 90 minutes. I just used a regular glaze on them. My only complaint was that I really like a pillowy roll and I am assuming because of the single rise that was the reason. However, I would definitely make these again and the grandkids loved them.. I am going to try them with gluten free flour as well. I love your site and use a lot of the suggestions.
I made these the other day and they were phenomenal. I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before so really took my time to follow this recipe exactly using all your tips and notes and a brand new pack of instant yeast ( first ever time using instant vs active dry) and cream cheese. Saw a bunch of comments of people who recommended or reported doubling the filling, so I multiplied by about 5/3 based on amount of butter available. They came out perfect, everything was perfect. Big rise, amazing flavor, warm and rich and gooey, sweet, melty and just a touch of salty/savory cinnamon. A little labor/cleanup intensive – including making my own confectioners sugar in food processor – but definitely easy to make overall. 10/10, no doubt. Thanks!
Dear Sally and Team
I am new to your website and have signed up for baking tips, new recipes etc! it looks marvellous – I made these cinnamon rolls and they were great!
However, I am finding it difficult to navigate any ‘Sign in Area” and to save recipes in my favourites. Is this function deactivated?
I cannot seem to locate anywhere that I can sign in, and I don not know how to favourite recipes under my profile for future reference.
Can you please send me easy to follow instructions on how I can sign in and save recipes in my profile/
Many thanks in advance!
Hi Janine! There is no sign-in option on my website. If you want to save recipes, many readers use Pinterest or you can print the recipes you love and keep them in a folder or binder. Or you can bookmark them on your browser.
LOVE this recipe! I’ve made it twice using instant yeast packets and they rice nicely in an hour and after baking they are HUGE haha. So delicious. 24 minutes was a little long in my oven but these cinnamon rolls come out amazing and the cream cheese frosting is to die for.
how long do u let the cinnaman roll dough rise
Hi Emma, see step 5 — “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.”
This is the recipe that I will definitely be using again!! I was able to make the dough, chill for over 22 hours in the refrigerator, and rise in the oven for 1 1/2 hours before baking the cinnamon rolls in a 9×11″ baking dish. They turned out perfect -so yummy!! Thank you Sally!! 🙂
I followed your recipe to the “t”. I usually do the long version but decided to try this faster recipe. The rolls turned out perfectly. They are light and high. I hand-kneaded and the dough was perfect to work with. I used a bit of flour on the board and on my hands but very little. I did the oven rise exactly as you said and they were ready in one hour. They were finished baking in 20 min. with a perfect instant thermometer reading. I did put foil over them. The icing makes the perfect finish! We ate one as soon as I iced them. Scrumptious! Thank you for another great recipe, Sally.
Hi Sally, wondering if this recipe will work with King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour?
Hi Kristine, we haven’t tested this dough with gluten free flour but please let us know how it goes if you do!
Good stuff! Simple recipe, but I would suggest proofing the yeast before adding it into the dry ingredients, just to make sure it’s viable. Just add a spoonful of sugar to the milk and butter, then wait 10 minutes. I don’t like so much icing, so I cut it in half – worked fine. Also, I’m thinking next time I will chop some pecans and raisins with the filling. Thanks!
Can I use a larger baking dish, like a 9×11? I used a 9 inch cake pan the first time and they rose so much that some of the rolls were taller than the others and browned much sooner.
Hi Dorci, that will be a bit too large for this recipe. If you found the rolls rose too high, you could try (ever so) slightly decreasing the rise time.
I used buttermilk because it’s what I had on hand and otherwise followed the recipe exactly…or so I thought. The dough came out super sticky and I realized I mistakenly used only 1 and 3/4 cup flour instead of 2 and 3/4 cup. I dusted in another 3/4 cup flour during kneading until I had a soft dough and guess what??? The rise and bake turned out perfect! Next time I’ll double the cinnamon. All these years I’ve avoided cinnamon rolls until I found this recipe. So good. Thank you for sharing.
Great recipe! I will make this again, just next time with more cinnamon and sugar in the filling. They’re great rolls, just need tweaked. I did check mine at 10 minutes and tented with foil to prevent browning. And mine were finished about 18 minutes.
Overall, great and easy recipe. Downside, timing was too long, I over baked mine. I also tripled the batch and it worked out.
Made these for Christmas Morning. My very picky husband ate 5 of them. Will be making these more often. So easy to do. I followed the make ahead suggestion and the worked out great.
These are so simple to make and came out delicious. I usually use a recipe that requires bread flour but I didn’t have any on hand so I tried this one out. I used 1/2 buttermilk and 1/2 2% and baked for 20 mins. Yum!
I have been baking (double rise) cinnamon rolls for years, and thought I would try this recipe for a little time saving on Christmas morning.
I activated the yeast until it was nice and foamy, let the rolls double in size before putting them in the oven, and still found the finished rise to be extremely disappointing. I am used to cinnamon rolls puffing up nicely in the oven, and these just did not.
24 minutes was far too long for my buns and they burnt. I understand that different ovens run hotter than others but I have been baking with mine for years. I would recommend checking after 15-18 minutes if you know your oven runs hot. It will likely be done around then. Buns rose very nicely but not enough butter and sugar for the filling. Would likely double the filling next time.
Yes! I agree, 24 minutes too long. Mine were overdone too. Other than that, they were great.
I found this recipe first during the pandemic, and it quickly became a family favorite. It’s pretty darn foolproof and amenable to variation. I soon started filling it with a ground mixture of dried fruits and nuts (apricots and walnuts today!) added to the basic filling mixture in a food processor, substituting it for the butter/sugar/cinnamon step. Instead of icing, I butter the pie plates and add a sprinkled layer of Demerara sugar which caramelizes during the baking for an upside down sweet crunchy topping.
This recipe worked well for me. I put them in an 8×11 rectangular pan, and they rose high and looked beautiful. Next time I will use twice the butter and sugar during the roll up process, as they needed a little more moisture and flavor on the inside for me. The icing was delicious.
Hi how are u so I’ve basically let them rise for an hour and they havnt rlly rised as much i hav followed the recipe and I don’t know what. To do
Hi Anna, Our baking with yeast guide is a great place to help troubleshoot. Thank you for giving these rolls a try!
Hi I have made these but had no eggs and used evaporated milk and absolute success!, Have tried for years to get a decent cinnamon roll recipe right and realised my mistake as I had always used bread flour but all purpose flour gave it the softness
I prepped the dough in the bread maker
Hi Sally’s Baking, I tried this recipe and unfortunately it turned out way too tacky / sticky. Usually when I baked with yeast in the past and it was tacky, it came together with a pinch of extra flour and extra kneading but there was no saving this 🙁 I would’ve needed a *lot* of flour and I didn’t want to dry it out. What potentially could’ve gone wrong? I followed the recipe to the letter and don’t know where I went wrong. I’m sure it’s a great recipe and I’d like to try again with better insight. Thank you!
Hi Sarah, is it particularly humid where you live? Many different factors can go into the consistency of dough, down to the weather, temperature, humidity, etc. It’s certainly okay to add a bit more flour as needed to help the dough come together. Do so a tablespoon at a time, so as not to dry out the dough with too much flour. You may find this Baking with Yeast Guide helpful for troubleshooting, too. Hope you enjoy the cinnamon rolls!