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!