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90-Minute Cinnamon Rolls

As indulgent as you want a cinnamon roll to be, but so easy to make.

There is nothing better than a homemade cinnamon roll. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but that’s what I think every time I bite into one. The trouble is, homemade cinnamon rolls are often a complicated matter, sometimes involving an overnight rise or at least a double rise during the daylight hours. That’s exactly why I usually reserve them for special occasions like Christmas morning or when loved ones are visiting… but no longer! Not with this recipe – this recipe gets you doughy, delicious homemade cinnamon rolls in just 90 minutes so you can have them on any average weekend.

The process is very similar, but there’s no need for hours of rising time here. The dough starts with heated milk and butter, but don’t add the liquid to the rest of your ingredients until it’s cooled to lukewarm or it will nuke your yeast. Once you’ve kneaded everything together, let the dough rest for ten minutes or so and then roll it out into a big rectangle.

Brush the top with softened butter, sprinkle it with a generous amount of brown sugar and cinnamon and roll the whole thing up, forming a tight spiral. Cut it into twelve little rolls…

… and let them hang out in a baking dish in a warm spot until they’ve doubled in size.

That will take about thirty minutes, depending on how warm your room is, and they’ll look something like this.

They’ll puff up even more when baking and you end up with pillowy, soft rolls that are a dream to bite into. I’ve paired them with a cream cheese frosting because as far as I’m concerned, there’s just nothing better to top a cinnamon roll.

These taste as indulgent and special as you want a fresh, warm cinnamon roll to taste, and yet they don’t take up your whole day (and night!) to make. I guess you could make the case that special indulgences are best left for occasional enjoyment, but these are so easy that you’ll have a hard time not making them again and again and again.

Yield 12 rolls

15m prep time

20m cook time

40m inactive

Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 33 reviewers
For the dough:
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
For the filling:
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until it bubbles. Remove from heat and mix in butter until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup of the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add water, egg, vanilla, and milk mixture and beat with an electric mixer.
  4. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir well after each addition.
  5. When dough pulls together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Dough will spring back when lightly pressed.
  6. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest on counter 10 minutes.
  7. Roll dough out into a 9x12 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread butter over the dough, then stir together cinnamon and brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the top.
  8. Starting with a long edge, roll dough up in a tight spiral and pinch seam to seal. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 rolls.
  9. Place rolls in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  10. Bake in preheated oven until golden, 17-20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before frosting.
  11. While rolls cool, beat together the 2 tablespoons butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until creamy but spreadable.
  12. Spread over rolls and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Baker Chick.

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