Soft, gooey and warm, these golden, doughy spirals are brimming with cinnamon and buttery brown sugar and blanketed with a satiny, vanilla glaze. From the sweet canopy to the ultra-soft core, these are the best cinnamon rolls you will ever make and they only require seven ingredients. Plus, since we take advantage of a store-bought shortcut, they’re ready in half the time it takes to make traditional cinnamon rolls.
Here are some tips for making the easiest homemade cinnamon rolls.
Use store-bought pizza dough to make your rolls
Pizza dough is the absolute best substitute for homemade yeast dough, and I promise you won’t detect the swap. The only difference is the amount of time you’ll save – no kneading or waiting for the yeast to proof. Pizza dough is sold in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores – from Whole Foods to Trader Joe’s to your local market. Your neighborhood pizza shop might sell it too. If you can’t find it, just ask. Oddly, my store puts the pizza dough next to the sushi. I didn’t ask why. Choose regular or whole wheat, both work great. I haven’t tested gluten-free pizza dough, but if you’re a fan of a particular variety, give it a whirl.
The process is easy, but you can’t dive in right away. Yes, we’re saving time by utilizing ready-to-use pizza dough, but the dough still needs to proof. This “second rise” allows the dough to increase in size and puff up before baking. We want soft, doughy cinnamon rolls, not hockey pucks, so don't skip this step.
For the second rise, cover the cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap and a warm kitchen towel (warm the towel in your clothes dryer for a few minutes). Yeast responds to warmth, so place the cinnamon rolls somewhere like a sunny window or the top of a warm oven. The ideal temperature for proofing is between 75 and 95 degrees, which is warmer than many homes in the colder months.
Not your average roasted potatoes:Try the viral crispy garlic and Parmesan spuds
Roll your dough out on parchment paper
This isn’t mandatory; it’s more of a suggestion. While a lightly floured surface suffices, rolling the dough out onto parchment paper will guarantee it doesn’t stick to your work surface. Plus, it makes cleanup a breeze.
How to size and shape cinnamon rolls
You'll need to decide what type of cinnamon roll you want while rolling out the dough. The ideal thickness for cinnamon rolls is really a personal preference. If you roll the dough out to ½-inch thickness, the rolls will be more bread-like. If you roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness, the rolls will have more sugary spirals, which means they’ll be gooier, which is how I prefer mine.
Another trick? Cut the dough into slices before rolling it up. Most cinnamon roll recipes instruct you to roll up the entire batch of sugar-coated dough jellyroll-style. You must then use unflavored dental floss or a very sharp knife to cut the dough into individual cinnamon rolls. Sounds easy enough, but, in my opinion, too much filling still oozes out. We want the filling twisting and turning throughout the dough, not on the counter.
Just be sure to roll them up tightly. When you’re rolling up your strips of dough, roll them tight enough to maximize the number of cinnamon-sugar coils, but not so tight the filling squishes out. Tighter rolls also hold their shape better when baking.
How to make “overnight cinnamon” rolls
This isn’t just a morning time-saver, chilling the cinnamon rolls before baking (instead of letting them rise on the counter) produces “cold fermentation”, a process where the yeast releases carbon dioxide more slowly, creating a more complex, full-bodied flavor.
To make overnight cinnamon rolls, assemble them as directed, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Pull the pan from the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before baking to allow the rolls to come to room temperature.
This buttery, vanilla dough does it all:Here's the only holiday cookie recipe you need
Be sure to under bake your cinnamon rolls
Yes, under bake them. Stop baking when the dough is just golden, not dark brown. This is the ultimate tip for cinnamon rolls that are soft and pillowy in the middle.
Add the glaze when the rolls are warm, not hot. When you pull the cinnamon rolls from the oven, let them cool for 10 minutes before you frost them. Hot rolls will melt the glaze. Don’t wait too long though, if your cinnamon rolls are cold, the glaze will clump, not spread out.
How to save leftover cinnamon rolls
You can freeze cinnamon rolls right after baking. Bake them as instructed and let them come to room temperature. Do not glaze them. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to one month.
When you're ready to serve them, thaw the cinnamon rolls at room temperature and then reheat them in a 350 Fahrenheit oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Glaze the cinnamon rolls just before serving.
Wrap leftover cinnamon rolls in plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container (you can store the entire batch or wrap them individually). Freshly baked cinnamon rolls will last up to two days on the counter or up to five days in the refrigerator.
Reheat individual cinnamon rolls in the microwave for 30 seconds or reheat the whole batch in a 350 Fahrenheit oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
No frying necessary:How to make crispy honey garlic chicken wings
Recipe: Easy homemade cinnamon rolls and icing
Makes: 12 cinnamon rolls
For the cinnamon rolls:
16 ounces of store-bought pizza dough
Flour, for dusting
4 tablespoons butter, softened
⅔ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons half-and-half, cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coat an 11x7-inch baking dish with cooking spray or a thin layer of butter. You can also use a 13x9-inch pan, or a non-standard baking dish, such as 12x8 inches. My pan was 12x8 inches.
Line your counter with parchment paper or dust with flour. Roll the pizza dough into a 13x9-inch rectangle. The dough will be about ¼-inch thick.
In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and mix until well blended. Spread the mixture all over the dough to within ⅛-inch of the edges (I find using the back of a spoon simplifies this process).
Starting from the longer side, slice the dough into 12 even strips. Tightly roll up the strips and place them side-by-side in the prepared pan, cut-side-up. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and a warm kitchen towel and let the rolls rise in a warm place for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the plastic wrap and towel from the cinnamon rolls and bake for 22 to 28 minutes, until light golden brown (remember, we want them slightly undercooked in the middle so they’re super soft). Remove the pan from the oven and let the cinnamon rolls cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, two tablespoons of half-and-half and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. If you prefer a thinner glaze, whisk in more half-and-half. Drizzle or spoon the glaze over the cinnamon rolls and serve.
Questions or comments? Email the culinary team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Make this cinnamon roll recipe with just 7 ingredients. Here's how