Cinnamon rolls

There are a lot of things that I think I do well, but creating a cinnamon roll recipe that is better than this, is not one of them.  I can come up with great soups and salads all day long, but baking is definitely not my area of expertise.  So it’s a good things I have this recipe in my back pocket for those weekend mornings when my crew is craving (or more like begging) for something sticky and sweet.

We have been making these cinnamon rolls for years,

and I have yet to find one that is lighter or has a better texture.  They are not overly sweet, and have the fluffiest lightest texture.  There is honestly just something so magical about this dough.

It’s from Peter Reinhart’s book, “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”.  It’s an all around excellent book.  There are a lot of great bread recipes in there that I have tried over the years and I’ve loved them all.

This recipe can seem a bit daunting at first when you read through the steps, but individually they are all fairly easy steps, just maybe a little time consuming so you need to plan ahead.  I prefer to make the dough and roll it out the night before I plan on serving them.  Then I let the rolls rest in the fridge overnight and pull them back out to proof first thing in the morning (just be sure to give the dough plenty of time to proof, at least a few hours.  It makes a world of difference).

The hardest part of the recipe is probably kneading the dough.

It works great in a KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, but some good old fashioned elbow grease works just as well.  In fact, I actually prefer kneading the dough by hand.  There is something so grounding about getting your hand in dough.  It’s very soothing.  So don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty (or your kids!).

This recipe is a staple in our house and seems to be on our table for just about every holiday breakfast.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we have.

Happy baking friends!

Cinnamon Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Breakfast, vegetarian, brunch
Serves: 8-10 rolls
  • 61/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5½ tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. of lemon zest
  • 3½ cups of unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp of instant yeast
  • 1¼ cups of buttermilk
  • ½ cup of cinnamon sugar (6 tbps of granulated sugar with 1½ tbsp of cinnamon mixed in)
  • Fondant Glaze
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ cup whole milk
  1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment.
  2. Whip in the egg and lemon extract until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is silky and supple. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. The dough should pass the windowpane test or register 77-81 degrees. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling ti around to coat it with oil. cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
  4. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter.
  5. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about ⅔ of an inch thick - measuring around 14 inches wide by 12 inches long. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log with the seam side down. Slice the dough into 8-12 even pieces.
  6. Line 1 or more sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the buns approximately ½ inch apart so that they aren't touching but are close to one another
  7. Proof at room temperature for 75-90 minutes or until the pieces have nearly doubled in size
  8. (You may also put the shaped buns in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before baking, make sure to allow 3-4 hours for the dough to proof before baking)
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  10. Bake cinnamon rolls for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown
  11. In a separate bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest and milk
  12. when buns have cooled drizzle fondant glaze over the buns.
  13. Enjoy!

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  • Hi! I don’t see shortening on the ingredient list but the first step is to mix the shortening with the butter and sugar. Is there an ingredient missing or added? Thanks!

    • Hi there – thanks for finding that error. I appreciate it. You’re right. There’s no shortening….it should have said “butter”. My apologies for the inconvenience!!

      • Hello! One more question – the time for the recipe doesn’t add up to what the recipe card says. Two hours for the initial proof plus up to 1.5 hours proofing after rolling and then 30 minutes baking is up to four hours. Is it that the 2.5 hours doesn’t include the roll proofing time or should there be different instructions?