These slow cooker cinnamon rolls have all the flavor of gourmet cinnamon rolls, but with half the work!
If you’re entertaining this holiday season and are looking for an easy, make-ahead, no fuss, and completely indulgent brunch recipe, I have you covered. Whip out your crockpot and “bake” a batch of these Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls. They’re fluffy and soft with ooey gooey cinnamon swirls and sweet icing on top. It’s a breakfast classic made easier!
Easier Method to Cinnamon Rolls
Using your slow cooker for cinnamon rolls is revolutionary. This 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. And because the rolls are cooked in a steamy environment, they’re extra moist and soft. It’s a cinnamon roll miracle.
Because the whole process is done in the slow cooker, you drastically cut down on prep time and all the usual fuss. No waiting for dough to rise! As if we all weren’t totally in love with our slow cookers already, right?!
How to Make Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls
- Make the dough: The dough is a combination of these 2 cinnamon roll recipes: easy cinnamon rolls and overnight cinnamon rolls. The dough comes together quickly. After it’s prepared, let it rest for about 10 minutes. During this time, you can prepare the filling and line the slow cooker with parchment paper.
- Shape the rolls: 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.
- Cook the rolls: On high for 2 hours until the sides are golden brown and the centers are cooked through.
That’s it, the rolls are done! Top with icing and serve.
Can you believe they are this easy?! A big sigh of relief.
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.
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) whole milk
- 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
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) 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
- 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
- Make the dough: Warm the milk over on the stove over low heat or microwave it 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 or paddle attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer). Whisk in the yeast and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Cover with a clean 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 sides of the bowl. I usually use 2 and 3/4 cups flour total. **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, then knead for 1 minute. 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 spray it with non-stick spray, but brushing oil or softened butter 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 the cinnamon and sugar together, then sprinkle on top of the butter. Roll the dough up 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.
- Turn your slow cooker on high speed and cook for 2 hours, or until the rolls are fully cooked through. It's usually 2 hours, 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 icing: 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 covered tightly in the refrigerator for 5 days. Rolls (with or without icing) 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.
- Special Equipment: A 4 or 5 quart slow cooker (here is the one I own-- I have it in white)
- This is a dough formulated to be "quick." Make sure you are using an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the cook time will be longer.
- Looking for a golden brown and toasty top? Remove the cooked rolls from the slow cooker using the parchment paper to lift them out. Then, place the entire thing (the parchment paper and rolls) into an appropriate size pan. (If your slow cooker is round, a pie dish would be great.) 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!