I try not to exaggerate about the recipes I share on this blog, because I know the way a recipe turns out in my kitchen is not exactly the way it will turn out in your kitchen. And opinions on food are really a matter of…..well, opinion. So just because I think something is the “best ever” doesn’t mean you will. Having said that, I will tell you that I have tried MANY cinnamon roll recipes over the years (many of those also claiming to be the best ever) and I’ve never found one that I thought was special enough to share here. Until now.
Everyone in the family agreed. They were the best cinnamon rolls they’d ever had! They’re pretty big (yes, you really do bake 12 on a rimmed cookie sheet) but none of us has had trouble eating them. The dough is just about perfect, and the rolls still taste soft and fresh the next day. The secret is not to add too much flour–your dough should be soft and slightly sticky without leaving too much residue on your fingers. I highly recommend covering cooled rolls with a paper towel and putting them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. They taste like they just came out of the oven!
Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls
For the rolls2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 eggs
- 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour
For the filling1/2 cup butter, very soft
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the frosting4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk, or as needed for consistency
- To make the dough, heat the milk in a medium saucepan until it is just simmering and bubbles being to form around the edge of the pan. Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Add the butter, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed until the butter is melted. Let the mixture cool until warm but not hot. Add the yeast and eggs and mix until combined.
- Gradually add the flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 18×12 inches. Spread 1/2 cup softened butter over the dough.
- Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough. Pat it in slightly with the palms of your hands.
- Starting with a long end, roll up the dough as tightly as possible, pinching the seam lightly to seal.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the roll in half. Then cut each half in half again (forming four equal portions). Cut each of the four portions into three rolls – twelve cinnamon rolls total.
- Place the rolls evenly spaced on a large, parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet . If the ends have come free, carefully tuck them under the cinnamon roll. Cover and let rise until double.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 18-22 minutes until light golden brown. Let the rolls cool for about 10 minutes before frosting.
- For the frosting, in a large bowl, whip together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla, maple and salt and mix until combined.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar (if you add it all at once, be prepared for a huge snowstorm in your kitchen) and mix until thick and creamy. Add cream or milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable to your liking. Spread the cinnamon rolls with frosting.
For some great tips and more photos of the process, I highly recommend checking out the original recipe over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. The bread recipes she shares never fail me, and this is no exception.