These small-batch soft cinnamon rolls are so easy to make. Pillowy-soft bread filled with cinnamon sugar and glazed cream cheese frosting. Make 6 large or 9 medium size rolls in 90 minutes (or less) from preparation to frosting! Tips and video instructions included.
About this recipe
Hello home bakers! This is another highly requested recipe that I'm so excited to be finally sharing with you.
I know deep in my heart that you will absolutely love these because:
- The dough is so easy to make. It only requires one proofing. Rising time can take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the room temperature.
- It's a small batch recipe. It only requires 2 cups of flour that yields 6 large rolls or 9 medium-sized rolls.
- The bread is pillowy-soft, gooey, and buttery. Made of my favorite ingredients that never fails to make the best softest yeast bread!
- The cinnamon-sugar filling and the cream cheese frosting are less sweet making it more irresistible.
To make the pillowy-soft dough for cinnamon rolls, you will need:
- Flour - using equal amounts of all-purpose flour and bread flour is a favorite technique of mine to create that lovely soft bread texture.
- Instant Yeast - or rapid rise yeast is needed which helps the dough rise faster.
- Milk - use full fat or low fat for that milky bread flavor.
- Egg Yolks - the secret to a luscious, plush, and pillowy soft. Don't tell anyone (wink!).
- Butter - use pure unsalted butter for the good-tasting dough.
How to make Cinnamon Rolls in 90 minutes!
So here's my workflow for making quick and easy cinnamon rolls in 90 minutes! From preparation, making the dough, rolling, dividing, and frosting.
- Start with proofing the instant yeast in lukewarm milk and sugar. This is the key step to making a quick rise dough. It should take 5 to 10 minutes until it froths.
- Meanwhile, measure the dry ingredients and combine them in the bowl of your stand mixer. You will still have enough time to measure the butter and separate the egg yolks.
- When the yeast has proofed, add it to the dry ingredients along with the egg and butter. Knead for 8 minutes. While kneading, make the cinnamon-sugar filling.
- Shape the dough into a rectangle, spread the butter on top then sprinkle the cinnamon filling. Carefully roll into a log as tightly as you can then divide into 6 large pieces or 9 medium-sized rolls.
- Arrange rolls in the baking dish and let them rise for 20 to 30 minutes. While waiting you can start preheating the oven at 350F/ 180c. Bake the rolls until lightly golden.
- While baking, make the cream cheese glaze. This should take about 5 minutes. You will still have enough time to sit, relax, and enjoy the smell of your kitchen while waiting for the rolls to bake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
To make the frosting, you will just need three simple ingredients: cream cheese, butter, and icing sugar.
In the recipe below, I've included 2 sets of recipes for the frosting. One is for lightly frosted buns and the second is for heavily frosted buns.
You're welcome 🙂
Shelf-life and Storage
These frosted cinnamon rolls should last in the fridge for up to one week. For the best texture, store in an airtight container and consume within 3 days.
To reheat, place it in a microwave and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 10-second increments until it's warm.
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Watch How to Make it
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Small Batch Soft Cinnamon Rolls (quick and easy)
- ¾ cup fresh milk + 1 teaspoon sugar (lukewarm, see note 1)
- 2 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast (or rapid rise yeast)
- 1 cup bread flour (see note 2)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (see note 2)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 3 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 large egg yolks (room temperature)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ cup butter (softened)
Cream Cheese Frosting (see note 5)
- 2 tablespoon cream cheese (softened)
- 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar (sifted, add more if preferred)
- 1 tablespoon milk (add more as needed)
Proof instant yeast to activate quickly
- Place milk and 1 teaspoon sugar in a microwave-safe cup. Heat for 30 seconds. Check if the temperature is LUKEWARM by dipping your finger or a kitchen thermometer. If it's still cold, heat for another 10 seconds until it reaches 40c/104f.
- Add yeast, stir and let it proof for 10 minutes until it froths.
Prepare other ingredients
- Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine.
- Separate egg yolks from the egg whites. Set aside.
Knead the dough and prepare the filling
- Add milk-yeast to the flour mixture. Stir in egg yolks and ¼ cup softened butter. Attach the dough hook and set the mixer on medium speed. Beat for 8 minutes, add additional flour as necessary. Start with 1 tablespoon. The dough should be slightly sticky and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Be careful not to add too much flour. Let it rest in the bowl for 10 minutes (see note 4).
- Prepare the filling. In a small bowl, combine ⅓ cup brown sugar and cinnamon powder. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Roll out and divide the dough (watch the video, it's helpful)
- Wipe the work surface with oil. Roll the dough 28 x 35 cm / 11 x 14" rectangle with a rolling pin. Spread softened butter all over.
- Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar spread evenly with a spatula. Roll up firmly and gently into a log. Pinch the seam down to seal.
- Trim the ends for even slices and cut into 6 pieces for large rolls or 9 pieces for medium-sized rolls. Arrange in a lightly grease 23 x 33cm / 9 x 13 " baking dish. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 20 to 30 minutes (see note 3).
Baking and Frosting
- While rising, pre-heat oven to 180c/350F. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting. Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk or beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add enough milk until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
- Uncover the rolls and bake for 20 to 22 mins until lightly golden. Cool slightly. Spread frosting. Serve warm and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Milk temperature should be 30c/86f to 40c/104f. If it's too hot the yeast will die. If it's too cold, the yeast will not froth.
- I find that combining 2 types of flour makes a soft yet chewy bread. You can use pure bread flour or just all-purpose flour if one or the other is not available.
- Proving dough in colder months: Place a heatproof dish on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it with boiling water. Put the dough in the middle or top rack and shut the door. The steam and heat from the boiling water will create a warm environment to help raise the dough. You can also do this in an empty kitchen cabinet/cupboard so you can start pre-heating the oven while the rolls are rising.
- For heavily frosted cinnamon rolls (just like in the video), increase cream cheese to ¼ cup, butter to 2 tbsp, and milk to 2 tbsp.
- For a full batch recipe - follow my Quick and Easy Dinner Rolls recipe for the base dough then just multiply the ingredients of the cinnamon filling and frosting by two.
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Hello: I have been comparing dough ingredients between Cinnamon Rolls and Ensaymada. Would it be fair to say that the dough can be used for both? I have always read ensaymada recipes to have egg yolks only and cinnamon recipes to have whole eggs or both whole egg and egg yolks. What are your thoughts?
The ensaymada dough is very rich in butter and eggs with a longer proofing time. I would still recommend using this dough for cinnamon rolls.
Can I freeze cooked rolls?
Hi Sheila, Yes you can. Freeze them unfrosted. Wrap bread tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight freezer bag.
Seal tightly. Label with date.
Shelia King says
Thank you for your quick response! I made your cinnamon rolls recipe last night, and they are delicious. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to try the rolls with this recipe.
Great dough! I opted to make 6 rolls and baked them in a 9” round cake pan.
This made a beautiful dough, and it's perfect for two! Just soft and delicious!
I came across your recipe just now as I was looking for something for my small family for Christmas cinnamon rolls and these looked delicious! Quick question, if I cut them to be the 6 large rolls vs the 9 medium (as pictured) would I still use a 9x13 pan? Or could I get away with something smaller? Thanks!
Hi Jill, The rolls will become bigger as it rises so I still recommend using the 9x13 pan or a similar square size pan. You can also use 2 small pans and fit 3 rolls on each.
This was my first time making cinnamon rolls from scratch and this was such an easy recipe. It turned out pretty decent for my first attempt.
That's awesome, Stephanie! Thank you!
Thanka for sharing this recipe. My family and I just super love it.
Wondering tho if I can keep the dough in the fridge and then roll and bake in the morning?
Yes, you can. Reduce yeast to 2 teaspoons. After making the dough, let it rest on the kitchen counter for 10 minutes then place it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap. It should rise overnight. Bring it out of the fridge at least 30 mins before rolling.
Thanks Mella for the reply. Will try it.
Look forward to more recipes from you 🙂 All the best.
What can I do if I don't have a stand mixer?
You can knead by hand until the dough becomes elastic. This usually takes 10 to 12 minutes.
Adding up the time for letting the yeast proof (10 min), mixing the dough (8 min), letting the dough rest (10 min), letting the rolls rise (25 - 30),and baking (20 - 22) leaves you at most 15 mins to find & measure all the ingredients, shape the rolls, and let them cool before icing. 90 minutes? Not so much.
Can we use regular table sugar instead of powder for frosting?
Riverten Kitchen (Mella) says
Hi Ally, It won't dissolve easily as the powdered sugar. I recommend using caster/ superfine sugar and beating it for 2 to 3 minutes with the cream cheese.
Thank you so much for response will try it out today 🙂
You can put some regular sugar in a blender and it will turn into powdered sugar 🙂