This is the best cinnamon roll recipe, ready to enjoy in just an hour! These easy, amazing cinnamon rolls are surprisingly quick and easy – even though they require a little yeast.

Get the secret that makes them better than the rest! They are gooey, decadent, and feel so special for a weekend morning.

Homemade cinnamon rolls are a treat that no one can resist! Learn how to make these incredible, easy cinnamon rolls.

best cinnamon roll recipe
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I’m always watching my weight, even if it’s just watching those tastes, drips and drizzles going into my mouth. If I’m going to “spend” calories on a sweet treat, it needs to be worth every calorie!

I love a good cinnamon roll, but it seems they’re few and far between. It’s just not worth it to waste those calories on one that isn’t worthwhile, friends.

I won’t name names, but I find that a lot of cinnamon rolls are dry and boring. I’ve been on a quest to bake the best cinnamon roll for a while and I’m happy to announce that I’ve nailed it!

More than once I’ve forgotten to start it the night before and had to come up with an alternate plan in the morning. That’s how these babies were born!

Don’t forget to pin and save this recipe for later! I can’t wait to show you what sets these apart from the rest.

yeast cinnamon rolls in cast iron skillet

The BEST Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from an old recipe we had in a cookbook, these light and fluffy rolls are, dare I say… the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.

Yeast cinnamon rolls are easy with my simple step-by-step instructions.  I’m all about being fuss-free, especially in the morning. (PS if you want a no yeast shortcut, you’ll love these Easy Cinnamon Rolls, too!)

  • Minimal Ingredients
  • Ready to Serve in an Hour
  • Favorite of Kids and Adults
  • Every Bite Tastes like the Center of the Roll!

Making cinnamon rolls is easy! There are a couple of “secrets” to these delectable yeast cinnamon rolls – the most important is covering them in cream before baking them.

You won’t regret it, I promise! While you can bake them in a traditional baking dish, I love them in the cast iron skillet. It cooks them evenly and feels like they’re fresh from my Grandma’s farm.

best cinnamon roll recipe

Cinnamon Rolls: Ingredients and Substitutions

Dough

  • Milk – Use at least a 2% milk, or Whole Milk if you have it.
  • Butter – Unsalted butter is generally recommended for baking.
  • All-purpose flour – For the fine texture of these rolls.
  • White granulated sugar – To perfectly sweeten them.
  • Salt – To balance out the sweet!
  • Active quick rise yeast – This is important! Read more about yeast below.
  • Egg – For binding.

Filling

  • Butter – Melted, for spreading across the dough once it’s stretched.
  • Brown sugar – Packed. I use light brown sugar but if you’ve got dark, that works too.
  • Cinnamon – Good quality ground cinnamon is imperative here!
  • Heavy cream – This is the secret of all secrets! Don’t skip it!

Icing

  • Cream cheese – Softened. Learn how to soften cream cheese quickly!
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted (your choice based on preference) softened
  • Powdered sugar – this soft, fine sugar is always best for frostings. Learn how to make powdered sugar here, if you ever run out and have a baking emergency!
  • Heavy cream – Heavy whipping cream is delicious in this icing, but you can substitute milk if necessary.
cinnamon rolls in cast iron

Variations

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add milk and butter, stirring until melted.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients as directed. Add yeast and lukewarm milk mixture, combining with egg.
  3. Knead the mixture while gradually adding in the remaining 1 cup of flour, until the dough forms.
  4. Let dough rest. Preheat oven as directed.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out dough. Spread melted butter and sugar mixture as directed. Cut into strips, and roll and place in a baking dish. Easy homemade cinnamon rolls recipe in about an hour
  6. Turn oven off, place the rolls in the warmed oven to rise. Remove from oven, preheat again. Cover rolls in cream and bake until golden. The secret to THE BEST cinnamon rolls
  7. Mix icing ingredients and drizzle over rolls.

Tips

  • I use this beautiful cast iron skillet for just about everything – it’s so versatile!
  • Don’t skip the heavy cream pour before baking. It makes every single bite taste like the very center of the cinnamon roll!
  • Pour icing over the cinnamon rolls directly out of the oven so it can seep into the rolls. Don’t skimp!
  • Switch up the icing if you’d like. See below for all the best options.
  • Scaling up, down or substituting? You’ll love this printable Measurement Conversion Chart!
yeast cinnamon rolls in skillet

Frosting Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns?

They are very similar, with many overlapping ingredients! Cinnamon buns tend to contain nuts like pecans. Cinnamon rolls traditionally do not contain nuts.

Why are my homemade cinnamon rolls so dry?

They should never be dry! This is often caused by too much flour in your dough.

What’s the difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast?

Active dry yeast and instant yeast can be used interchangeably.  Active dry yeast will be slower to rise, so if a recipe (like these amazing rolls) calls for instant yeast and active dry yeast is used instead, you may need to add an additional 10 – 15 minutes to the rise time.

cinnamon rolls drizzled with cream cheese icing
Need help with yeast? I’ve got a complete guide that will take you through the steps of baking with yeast! Don’t miss these fabulous tips and tricks!

Dietary Considerations

  • Vegetarian
  • Nut Free
  • Use gluten free flour to make these cinnamon rolls gluten free

To Store 

  • Room Temperature – Up to 2 days covered or in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate – Up to 5 days covered or in an airtight container.
  • Freeze – In a freezer bag or airtight container, up to 3 months.
Homemade cinnamon rolls in a cast iron skillet

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Homemade cinnamon rolls in a cast iron skillet
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Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Amazing cinnamon rolls in under an hour with a secret ingredient that makes them incredibly moist!
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 10
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Ingredients  

For the Rolls

  • ¾ cup milk
  • cup unsalted butter
  • cups all-purpose flour Divided – hold one cup back.
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active quick rise yeast
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

For the Icing

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream can substitute milk

Instructions 

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add milk and butter. Stir until melted and remove from heat.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine 2¼ cup flour (holding remaining cup back), sugar, salt. Add yeast and lukewarm milk mixture, and combine. Add egg until just combined.
  • Using the dough hook attachment on your mixer (or hands), knead while gradually adding in the remaining 1 cup of flour, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the edges of the bowl.
  • Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350℉.

Fill

  • On a floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle. Spread melted butter on top. Combine cinnamon, sugar and sprinkle on top. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut 10 strips. Roll and place in a baking dish or cast iron skillet.
  • Turn oven off. Cover rolls with a damp towel and allow to rise for 25 minutes inside the warmed oven. Remove from oven, preheat again to 350℉. Cover rolls in ¼ cup heavy cream. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until slightly golden.
  • Icing
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together to combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and heavy cream until smooth. Drizzle over rolls.

Julie’s Tips

To Store 

  • Room Temperature – Up to 2 days covered or in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate – Up to 5 days covered or in an airtight container.
  • Freeze – In a freezer bag or airtight container, up to 3 months.
Calories: 590kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 351mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving & are as excited as I am for the holidays! We’re kicking off the season with a train ride – I can’t wait!

Originally published November 2014, updated October 2018.

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59 Comments

  1. Hi Julie. I’d love to try this recipe in a week. I was wondering, how much dry active yeast do I use in terms of tbsp?

  2. Little confused here. You say “Turn oven off. Cover rolls with a damp towel & allow to rise 25 minutes. Remove from oven”, so does the dish go in the oven at this point?

      1. Okay this was SO confusing to me. Turn off oven? So it rises for 25 min, in a warm oven. Okay, I think it could be worded differently! I thought it was a typo !!

  3. These look delicious! I’m planning to make them for Christmas but was wondering if it could be done the night before? Could I do everything up until baking, then put them in the fridge overnight? Thanks!

    1. Cameron, I would prepare them & cover with plastic wrap – they will rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator & let them rise to desired size, about a half hour, then bake.