Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

How to make classic cinnamon rolls that are full of cinnamon with a touch of orange zest to brighten the flavors! These homemade classic cinnamon rolls are easy to make at home!

Classic Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

My ‘To be baked’ board on Pinterest is chock full of recipes that I want to get around to baking and customizing.  Thanks to my oldest sons love of all things cinnamon’, I have pinned recipes for cinnamon coffee cakes, cookies, bread, and, yes, a few classic cinnamon rolls. I have played with so many recipes and have come up with the very best classic cinnamon roll around!


Classic cinnamon rolls proofing

How to make these Classic Cinnamon Rolls

There are a couple of techniques that I use to make these Classic Cinnamon Rolls soft and gooey.

Heating the wet ingredients

First, heating the milk, water, and butter before adding it to the dough contributes to a soft dough. I have seen people use the tangzhong method, which would also heat some of the flour with the liquid ingredients. I’ve experimented with both my method and the tangzhong method and there is no difference in the end result.

Make sure that the liquid ingredients are cooled to between 100℉ and 105℉ before adding them to the flour/yeast mixture. The warm liquids will activate the yeast and encourage a slightly faster proof. But if the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast so watch the temperature carefully!

Batch baking your Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Batch baking simply means to bake items close together so that they touch while they bake.

By placing your cinnamon rolls next to each other and allowing them to rise and bake as one, the dough stays soft and the filling stays gooey.

If you were to bake the cinnamon rolls individually, the outsides of each roll would dry out more easily while baking and in storage so I strongly recommend batch baking!

The Secret Ingredient

The second technique that I use to keep these classic cinnamon rolls gooey is heavy cream. Pouring some heavy cream over the rolls just before they go in the oven keeps the rolls soft and gooey.

During the Cinnamon Roll Challenge on the Great American Baking Show, Paul was sitting on the stool at my station. He was watching my every move and he saw me go for the heavy cream.

He looked at me with the most incredulous look on his face and said, “Heavy cream?!”

I said, “Yep, it keeps them soft.”

He said, “Heavy cream?!?!”

I said, “Yes, heavy cream, Paul.”

He said, “HEAVY CREAM?!?!”

To which I replied, “Trust me on this.”

He walked away. And of all the bakes in the tent that day, the two with the highest marks were mine and Alex’s. We both used the heavy cream method.

If you want to keep up with Alex and his baking exploits, check out his blog! Here is the link to his cinnamon rolls that are almost the same as the ones that got him a Paul Hollywood Handshake!!

Icing the Cinnamon Rolls while warm

Slathering the icing onto your cinnamon rolls while the rolls are still warm is another way to keep those rolls soft and gooey!

The icing will melt just a bit and will seep into the crevices of the rolls. This helps to keep the rolls soft and creates a gooey filling in your classic cinnamon rolls!

Make a paste for your filling

Some recipes for cinnamon rolls will say to spread butter on the rolled out dough and sprinkle that with sugar and cinnamon.

I prefer to make a paste with very soft butter, cinnamon and sugar and spreading this on to the dough. This ensures even and complete coverage so that you don’t have some areas without filling.

I mean, who wants a cinnamon roll without any filling?!

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Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time


First Proofing Time

60 min

Second Proofing Time

30 minutes


  • For the Dough
  • 560 grams all purpose flour

  • 12 grams instant yeast

  • 9 grams salt

  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 155 mL water

  • 155 mL whole milk

  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) coconut oil

  • 60 grams unsalted butter, diced

  • 1 whole large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

  • 80 mL heavy cream

  • For the Filling
  • 113 grams unsalted butter

  • 150 grams light brown sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • For the Icing
  • 113 grams unsalted butter

  • 100 grams brown sugar

  • 60 mL milk

  • 350 to 400 grams powdered sugar, sifted


  • In a small saucepan, heat the butter, coconut oil, milk and water until butter and oil are melted and ingredients are combined. Allow to cool to about 100℉.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  • Briefly beat eggs with a fork in a small bowl. When the milk mixture has to cooled to 100 ℉, add the eggs to the milk and stir to combine.
  • Turn the mixer on low with the dough hook attached and mix the dry ingredients together. Slowly pour in the cooled milk mixture. Allow the mixer to run until the dough comes together in a ball and all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Turn dough out onto floured countertop and knead for 3 to 4 minutes. Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with cling film. Set in a warm place for 40 to 50 minutes or until doubled in size. Timing will depend on the temperature in your room. The colder the room, the longer the proofing time.
  • Preheat oven to 350 ℉. Spray a 9×13 pan with pan spray.
  • Make the filling: Melt the butter then stir in the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and orange zest. Mix until completely combined.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, flour the countertop and dump dough onto flour. Gently roll and stretch the dough to a 12inch x 18 inch rectangle. You can use a rolling pin but I prefer to use my hands to shape the dough.
  • With an offset spatula, spread the filling over the dough in an even layer.
  • Roll up along the long edge. The long roll should be about 18 inches long. Cut the log in half, then cut each of the halfs in half again. Then cut each of the 4 shorter logs into 3 even pieces. You should now have 12 even cinnamon rolls.
  • Lay the cinnamon rolls in the prepared pans with the swirl facing up (and down). Cover the pan and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Bake for 22-28 minutes, until browned.
  • While the rolls are baking, make the icing.
  • Heat the milk, brown sugar, and butter in a saucepan until butter is melted and ingredients are combined.
  • Remove from heat and add 200 grams of the sifted powdered sugar. Whisk until combined. Continue to add a little more powdered sugar and whisking until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Spread the icing on the rolls while they are still warm.

Be sure to check out some of my other Breakfast Bakes!


  1. Great recipe! I’ve been meaning to try these for so long!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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