How to Make Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
While baking with yeast may seem intimidating, these tips and tricks will give you the confidence to bake perfect cinnamon rolls at home.
Use Room Temperature Ingredients
Yeast needs a warm environment to thrive, so bring eggs, milk, and butter to room temperature before baking. Room temperature ingredients incorporate more easily into the dough and also keep the dough at the right temperature for optimal rising.
Don’t Overmix the Dough
When making cinnamon rolls, mix the dough just until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft. Overmixed dough leads to tough cinnamon rolls. The dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and feels tacky but doesn’t stick to your fingers.
If the dough is still sticky, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time while gently kneading and check the texture of the dough after each addition.
Let Dough Rise in a Warm Place
Once you’ve made cinnamon roll dough, place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot in the kitchen, such as inside the oven with the light on. Depending on how warm your kitchen is, dough will typically rise in 45 minutes to 1 hour.
To check if the dough has doubled, lightly flour two fingers and press them down into the center of the dough. If indentations remain, gently press down to deflate dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 5 minutes before rolling out into a rectangle.
Roll Out Dough and Add Filling
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll dough into a 14x20-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over the dough and sprinkle with filling, leaving a ½-inch border. If the dough starts to stick at any point, use a lightly floured bench scraper to lift dough from the board.
Roll Dough Up Tightly
Once you’ve spread the filling over the dough, roll up the dough into a tight log, pinching the edges firmly to seal. Rolling the dough tightly helps the cinnamon rolls hold their shape while rising and baking.
Slice Dough into Rolls
Use a bench scraper or the back of a knife to score dough into 12 equal slices. To avoid squishing the dough, use unflavored dental floss to slice dough crosswise (slip a long slice of floss under dough and cross on top to cut slices cleanly).
Place sliced rolls in a lightly buttered or parchment-lined 9x13-inch baking dish, spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. While the rolls are rising, preheat your oven.
Don’t Overbake Cinnamon Rolls
Overbaked cinnamon rolls are tough and chewy instead of light and pillowy. Since it can be a bit tricky to know when rolls are fully baked, use a digital thermometer. Bake cinnamon rolls until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches between 190°and 200°F.
Cool Rolls Before Icing
Once rolls are baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the icing. Allow the rolls to cool for at least 30 minutes before spreading with icing (this prevents the icing from melting off the rolls and into the pan). Enjoy!
Ready to bake cinnamon rolls? Head on over to the recipe for Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls and put these tips to use!