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.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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)
- 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, very soft and at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/4 cups (150g) confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup (or use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
- Slow cooker (here is the one I own-- I have it in white)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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No slow cooker? No problem! Try my easy cinnamon rolls instead!
And my raspberry sweet rolls, too!
See many more sweet roll recipes. Clearly, I’m addicted.