There will never be anything in my house, for a special day requiring a special breakfast, that compares to my favorite giant cinnamon rolls. They are the ultimate indulgence, and everyone’s choice for Christmas morning, or any other special occasion! And the thing is, they’re NOT THAT HARD.
How to make the best giant cinnamon rolls
All you’ll do is make a gorgeous bread dough in your Kitchenaid, (or by hand!) let it rise for a bit, roll it out, slather with butter and cinnamon-sugar, slice, and fill your pan! Let ’em rise till nice and full, and bake!
The best glaze for your cinnamon rolls:
So I feel like there are two schools of thought.
a. The thicker the frosting the better.
b. A simple glaze will do.
I’m going to be honest. I thought I was team A for sure! Until I experimented a few times with this recipe and discovered that a blanket of cream cheese glaze, that melts into all the nooks and crannies is PERFECTION. The roll is so buttery and decadent already, I felt like a thick frosting just became too much. This glaze ALMOST seems like it won’t stretch far enough, and then it DOES.
Having said that, feel free to make a little extra glaze if that’s what your heart is telling you to do!
Are these Cinnamon Rolls Macro-Friendly?
Haha. And I hope you don’t trust anyone who tries to make you try a macro-friendly recipe. Just make baked oats or eat a protein bar as your macro-friendly treat. Macro-friendly cinnamon rolls would be a SIN.
SIN-amon rolls. HA.
Because they most definitely would not be cinnamon rolls. It’s just not possible.
How to make the best cinnamon rolls ahead:
Ok so first, I do feel like they are always the best when I make them same day. But you will never see me waking up at the crack of dawn to get these baked in time for breakfast. So either we have our cinnamon rolls later in the day, OR we use one of these two methods:
1. Make cinnamon rolls days ahead and freeze to halt the rise
Make them in advance, even days ahead. Get them to the point where you’ve got them cut into rolls and placed on the pan. Cover and freeze them before you let the rolls rise. If your freezer can’t fit your sheet pan, you’ll need to break them into a couple of different pans at this point.
Remove from the freezer the night before you want to bake them, place the pan of the frozen rolls on the counter and let them thaw and rise overnight. From my experience they needed at least 8 to 10 hours to rise from frozen, but you might want to check on them a little before that to be sure! When you can tell they’ve risen substantially and are nice and puffy and touching each other, pop them in the oven and bake!
If they look like they’re not rising fast enough in the morning, you can place them in a barely warm oven (heat to 200 and then turn OFF) to help get them going.
2. Make cinnamon rolls the night before and pop in the fridge to slow the rise
I’ve also made them Christmas Eve and then placed the whole pan, before letting them rise, in the refrigerator overnight. Pull them out the next morning and let them rise longer on the counter if needed. Or preheat the oven right away for baking if they’re already puffy! The only risk here is I don’t know how long they will last in the fridge before they rise too much and fall. I’ve only done this when I made them late at night and got them in the fridge after 10 pm. I pulled them out around seven and preheated the oven and they were ready shortly after to bake!
My Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls
For the Rolls
- 2 cups whole milk (really any milk will work!)
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 eggs
- 6 cups flour
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup +2 tbs softened butter
- 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the Glaze
- 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tbs melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2-3 tbs milk
- 2 oz cream cheese or greek yogurt cream cheese works great!
- Microwave milk for 2-3 minutes until it’s bubbling. Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
- 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 about half of the flour. Switch to dough hook attachment and add the rest 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 bowl sprayed with nonstick spray. I like to spray a fine mist on the top of the dough too so I can cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about one hour.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangle, (horizontal in relation to your body) about 18×12 inches. Spread 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 a shallow slit in the roll at the half point, then cut a slit in the center of each half so you’ve got 4 equal portions, and cut slits for 3 cinnamon rolls in each of those portions … until you’ve got 12 cinnamon rolls. I like to do shallow slits to make sure they’re even before I cut all the way through. Cut with a gentle sawing motion.
- Place the rolls evenly spaced on a large, parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 24-26 minutes until light golden brown.
- For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, milk, and cream cheese until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls. It almost seems like it won’t be enough but it’s perfect!
Tried this recipe?
Tag @LillieEatsAndTells on Instagram with #LillieEatsandTells! We’d love to see your creations!
I have made this recipe several times. Literally every single time I have had people ask me where I got the recipe and tell me it’s better than cinnabun or it’s the best cinnamon roll they have ever had. Every single time!
So good and easy to make. Even the rolling out and bun forming went smooth with this recipe.
Huge, fluffy, delicious.
What size rimmed baking sheet do you use?
These really are giant and yummy. It’s worth noting that the filling should probably be with SALTED butter…I used unsalted and it was too sweet. I know cinny rolls are supposed to be sweet and decadent, but they needed a little cut. Lillie, do you usually use salted butter?
So easy and so delicious! Made these a couple days in advance and froze them to make a Christmas morning. Family absolutely loved them.
This is my new go to cinnamon roll recipe. Followed this exactly. Fabulous.
This is my new go to cinnamon roll recipe. Follow this exactly. Fabulous.
These look delicious! Would you change anything to make them GF besides the flour? Thanks!
wow! best cinnamon rolls ever!!
For anyone wondering about making these ahead…I made these last night. I put them in the fridge after rolling and slicing, covered with plastic wrap. I took them out and let them sit on the counter for about 2 hours this morning – enough time to let them get to room temperature and rise a little before baking. They turned out perfectly delicious! Huge hit on Christmas morning!
Thanks Angie for sharing your make ahead tips!
I make this recipe every Christmas with my family and it is one of the many sweet traditions I cherish during the holiday season.
What kind of flour did you use for this?
These cinnamon rolls are fabulous. They’re also amazingly not that hard; the directions are clear and easy to follow. Great for birthday breakfasts!
My dough was so tough and thick I thought for sure these would not work out. OMG, they are still amazing. Thank you!
Easy and soooooo delicious
These are wonderful. We’ve made them the day before and frozen the dough, letting it thaw and rise by morning and made and cooked them the same day. Deadly delicious.
Best cinnamon rolls we have ever had! This has become a staple in our family!
I have always been afraid to make cinnamon rolls. But these were so easy… and so delicious!! They are absolutely wonderful and worth every bite!
i MADE THESE FOR BREAKFAST FOR CHRISTMAS AND THEY WERE A HIT. DEFINITELY WORTH THE EXTRA CALORIES AND I’LL BE MAKING THESE AGAIN FOR SURE!
I made these once (years ago) and they were phenomenal! But I cannot figure out what I did wrong tonight. I made it twice and both times the dough was SO sticky. It never came away from the sides of the bowl even when I added gobs of extra flour (which is why I started over). I accidentally added active yeast instead of instant, could this be why? I didn’t have any issues with rise though… help!
This is now requested by my family every holiday.
Question Lillie: if I were to make 24 smaller rolls out of the same amount of dough, how long should I bake it for? I’m still thinking 350, but maybe at 20-24 minutes instead?
YUM! I made this, the only thing I did different was I used coconut milk and dairy free cream cheese in the frosting for someone in our house who is sensitive to dairy (does fine when it’s baked, so I left the rolls alone.) Love, love, love!
How long does it usually take to rise and double?
Has anyone done this with dairy free milk? If so what kind worked best?
Hi there! Can you make the dough the night before? Do you refrigerate it or let it sit out over night?
Could you do the first eight steps the night before, put the cookie sheet in the fridge overnight, let them rise the second time in the morning and then bake them?
I’m not a great baker, but I made these rolls and they were PERFECT!! These cinnamon rolls really are the best and I don’t ever have to shop around for another recipe!! YAY!!! Wondering if you could make ahead and still have a yummy warm roll for breakfast??
Thank you for this article!! i have just started macro counting and some days I just want to give up and binge and just go back to my old comfy ways.
Seeing someone talk about it and saying it’s worth it does help! I do feel better and it’s exactly as you’ve said, it’s about EATING SMARTER! So that we CAN fit in that dessert 😉 and then it becomes a treat 🙂
These were so delicious!!!
I love these cinnamon rolls! Today is my first time making them with a stand mixer. When it says knead for 2-3 minutes, does that mean by hand or with the hook attachment? Thank you for all of the delicious recipes!!
Can you make these ahead of time and cook in the morning?
These look so good! I’m going to make these for a mid-week quarantine treat! <3
Made these again but increased the cinnamon to 2 Tablespoons. I love Cinnamon and thought it needed a smidge more. This recipe is so easy to follow. The frosting is also amazing I typically don’t love cream cheese frosting but I couldn’t even notice it was in there, it just tasted rich and delicious!