These last few weeks have been FILLED with celebrations….cooking and baking and lots of indulgent foods..

I didn’t throw in the towel.  But I didn’t stress or take apart my dinner to weigh it in front of a house-full of guests either.  I didn’t come out leaner and stronger… but there’s a season for everything!  And I’m just fine with Christmas not being my absolute leanest season….I could use the extra warmth anyway.


Our Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls

BUT I also remember Christmases before macros.  And I remember how I’d feel when I DID throw in the towel and seriously over-ate for a few weeks straight— almost shoving it in faster as the end came near. Knowing there had to be an end.  And that feeling was the WORST.  No matter how much permission I’d try and give myself, you can’t lie to an aching belly and swollen face– it is what it is, and stuffing yourself silly usually makes you feel like a prisoner in your body, rather than that care-free, light-hearted girl living in the holiday moment you’ve justified trying to be.

Last year, I’ll be honest, the food-aspect of the holidays was kind of rough. I’d started tracking my macros November 1st…. just in time for boxes of chocolates and pumpkin muffins to start popping up around every corner.  I knew I could make some fit my macros but I also knew how fast my fat and carbs could be wiped out if I did! Especially on “cutting macros”.  And I could only eat so much turkey wrapped in lettuce with what was left over (PRO-TEEEEEEEEN FOR DAYZZZZ). When I started I was eating around 170c/42f/140p and 1618 calories… not as low as some since I’m tall… but low enough to make me want to cry plenty of times.  For real.  I had a healthy dose of that dieting depression. Like the whole world gets to eat all the Costco samples they want and here I am fighting through the crowds, imagining I’ll never be able to casually pop a sixth of a tamale or a little heaven-sent tortilla chip with artichoke dip again!  Why can’t I just be happy with my belly rolls???? Life would be so much easier during the Renaissance. I mean I’ve seriously thought that.  I could live on these cinnamon rolls and be the hottest girl in town.  Who wouldn’t want to live in that world.

Our Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls

Having said that, I’ve decided to scale back to those original numbers for a couple of weeks just until Ross and I HEAD TO HAWAII!  But I love that I know exactly what to do.  And it doesn’t feel nearly as stifling as it did back then! But I figured I should do something to merge the gap between this pan of cinnamon rolls and a swim suit.

Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at is this. Everything was different this year.  And it was like a whole element of stress was gone from my life. And while I’m not a health or macro coach and I don’t feel worthy or qualified to offer all kinds of food therapy over here… I genuinely wish this feeling on everyone. I wish we could all fast forward to the phase where macro counting isn’t a burden and is even naturally evolving into something more intuitive.  But I know, there’s no shortcuts or quick fixes — bla.

I guess I just want people to know it’s WORTH IT!  And not just because of how your body might look.  Just mentally and emotionally…. it gets so much BETTER after counting for a while, and reaching a weight your happy to maintain… the whole game changes. Shedding weight and trying to fix eating habits doesn’t have to be the number one new years’ resolution anymore because you can live in a totally sustainable “maintenance” phase that doesn’t require ALL of your focus and attention anymore!  It doesn’t even require you to be miserable and hungry!  There’s still choices and accountability and slip ups etc… but seriously so much less stress. I have honestly felt ZERO of that dieting depression this holiday season.  I feel like I enjoyed everything I wanted to, but had no desire to turn off the switch and eat like a wild woman.  Because somehow it’s FINALLY really sunk in that I’m the only one that has to deal with the aftermath of that.  It’s JUST like a budget (I’ll never let go of that analogy) and if I overspend… I know I’d better slow my pace so we’re not in a serious financial predicament that affects ME and MY family.  I’m certainly not going to say – it’s no use– and throw all my money down the drain because I went over our Christmas budget.

I know the treats can and will fit. I know I can save room for a special dinner or restaurant. The things that are of VALUE to me. I also know I can bake a big cake for Finn’s birthday and take part in the fun and taste a nibble but then make myself a mighty muffin instead because it LEGIT brings me more joy now.  It’s super liberating.  Like my pantry is still full of Sees and Almond Rocha and Peppermint Joe Joes.. and mostly I’m just sad it’ll go to waste because there’s plenty of good stuff to eat that won’t blow my goals… those aren’t even a temptation.

Now if I was telling myself I had to eat carrots instead of Sees? Forget about it, I’d eat the whole box. The days of thinking I have to eat depressing food to lean out are GONE.  But I’m planning ahead and making each meal smarter so that I can fit a big dessert that I WILL choose over a box of Sees. Good food with good results beats a growing/gassy (tmi?) belly and swollen face any day. Am I right?

As always, still lovin on macros.

Our Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls

But when Christmas time comes, I’m gonna move some things around and forego my afternoon protein bar, and have a couple of egg-white wraps for lunch instead of my go-to turkey sandwich… to build up enough spare macros for a GAINT CINNAMON ROLL. And then my guilt meter doesn’t even get touched.  A guiltless giant cinnamon roll? It’s like magic.

These are our absolute FAVES. And it’s not just because they’re huge, although clearly that’s a selling feature for me. And of course I’m ruined now and can’t have them any other way.  And I hope you didn’t stumble over here assuming these would be macro- friendly because these are NOT! They’re just as they should be so get ready to clear some space!

Our Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls

Our Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls
Our Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls

My Favorite Giant Cinnamon Rolls

These are the epitome of Christmas to me. Or any super special morning. Our favorite giant pillowy cinnamon rolls! Adapted from
5 from 5 votes
Author Lillie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12
Calories 501 kcal

Disclaimer: the grams I’ve listed manually after each ingredient are accurate for a single recipe, but they will not multiply if you choose the 2x or 3x option. Please make sure and multiply on your own!


For the Rolls

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 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 fat free 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!


The nutrition facts include 1/12 of the glaze… but I usually choose mine and drizzle and weigh out my own glaze.  I used to think I wanted thick cream cheese frosting, but with these big soft warm beauties, a little glaze is plenty and by halving your portion, you can save yourself 10 carbs and 2 fat.


Serving: 1giant cinnamon roll with 1/12 of the glazeCalories: 501kcalFat: 22.7gProtein: 5.8gCarbohydrates: 71.1g

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    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.

  2. 5 stars
    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!


  4. 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!

  5. 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?

    Thank you!

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

  8. 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??

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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!!

  11. 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!