Soft and Easy Cinnamon Scrolls
These fluffy, soft Cinnamon Scrolls are absolutely amazing and so darn easy to make at home! I was skeptical as to why they’re so popular, it’s not my style of dessert, but after trying them, testing and perfecting this recipe, I’m a total convert. Essentially, they’re an ooey gooey, soft cinnamon hug. Sweet rolls packed full of delicious cinnamon goodness which pairs perfectly with the dreamy cream cheese frosting on top. A flavor match made in heaven and surprisingly not overly sweet!
If you’ve never made these before and you feel intimidated by the rolling and spreading and overall look of these, don’t be! These are easy to make! I’ve got step by step photos in this post to take you through everything, from making the dough, rolling them all the way to baking and making the easy frosting.
You can make cinnamon scrolls as a weekend baking project, make them for an event (they stay fluffy and soft for days) or even make them a day in advance for holiday get togethers to take the stress away. Personally, I love having them in the freezer as an on-demand dessert when I want something sweet.
If you’re looking for more spiced sweet goodness,
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I’m a total convert!
I had never had cinnamon scrolls. We have them here in Australia, they’re sold in stores but Americans (rightly so) absolutely love them! And I can see why. Here’s some of the realizations I came to after making these!
- These are surprisingly easy to make.
- So soft, fluffy and tender – and they stay that way for days!
- Great make ahead, freezer friendly bake that you can have ready for your holiday get togethers.
- The cinnamon filling helps make these even richer! The addition of flour in the cinnamon filling is a tip I picked up from Erin at Cloudy Kitchen and stops the butter in the filling from seeping out too much. The result is a filling that compliments the sweet bread in such a gorgeous way.
Ingredients You Need To Make Cinnamon Scrolls
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
- Milk – I used whole milk. Plant based milk would work too. Warm your milk up to just above lukewarm. It’ll help activate the yeast and create the best environment to create gas bubbles for a fluffy bread.
- Granulated sugar – regular white sugar works here.
- Active dry yeast – is a dry yeast that needs to be activated before using. In this case we add it to warm milk with sugar to activate it, but instant dry yeast will also work and can just be added to the dough ingredients along with the warm milk and sugar without needing to wait for it to activate and froth.
- All-purpose flour – also known as plain flour.
- Salt – I used fine salt.
- Egg – I used large eggs. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature.
- Vanilla Extract – Always use good quality vanilla extract when baking, it makes a huge difference. I have a great recipe here for it if you’d like to try your own!
- Softened Butter – I used unsalted butter. Make sure your butter is softened for both the dough and for the frosting, not melted. You want it to be soft enough that a finger goes through with some resistance. I soften my butter in the microwave by microwaving for 10 seconds, then turning the butter around or mixing if it’s cubed, then microwaving another 5 seconds. I repeat this until it’s softened. If you don’t have a microwave, you can fill a large bowl with hot water, empty it and dry it. Then place the bowl over a bowl with the butter and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Brown sugar – light or dark will work.
- Cinnamon powder
- Cream cheese – make sure your cream cheese is softened. You can use the same technique as the butter to soften it.
- Powdered sugar – also known as icing sugar.
How to make Cinnamon Scrolls!
- Mix the milk, sugar and active dry yeast to a jug
- Rest for 5 minutes until frothy
- Add the flour, salt, milk mixture, egg and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and knead on low speed.
- Keep kneading for 15 minutes until the dough is really smooth and slightly sticky.
- Allow to rise in the fridge overnight or 1 hour in the fridge until doubled in size.
- Roll out to 60 x 40cm / 24 x 16-inch rectangle.
- Mix cinnamon butter filling ingredients together in a mixing bowl using a spatula
- Spread over the rolled out dough. Using an offset spatula to do this makes it an easier process.
- Carefully and slowly roll the dough on the long end.
- Cut the log in half and place on a cutting board.
- Place in a fridge to chill for 20 minutes. 10 minutes in the freezer.
- Once chilled, use a sharp knife to cut each half into 6 pieces. You’ll end up with 12 scrolls.
- Brush a 33cm x 22cm / 13 x 9-inch baking dish with butter.
- Place the scrolls into it, Spacing them out as evenly as you can keeping in mind they will spread.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 40-60 minutes until doubled in size.
- Bake until golden in color.
- To make the frosting, add the softened cream cheese and butter to a bowl and cream together until fluffy.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the powdered sugar, milk powder and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed and then as soon as no dry ingredients are showing, up to high speed
- Until smooth and pale in color.
- Spread on top of the warm scrolls if you want the frosting to melt through or on top of cooled scrolls f you want it to stay on top.
Which yeast is best for Cinnamon Scrolls?
There are two types of yeast you can use for this recipe. One takes slightly longer to use than the other, but the result is the same. What you want is a yeast that’s active. I keep mine in the fridge because it’s kind of a living substance that when activated, causes little gas bubbles that help baked goods rise.
- Active dry yeast – is a dry powdered yeast that needs to be activated in a warmed liquid like water or milk. Adding sugar in with the liquid helps feed the yeast so that it can activate and begin to grow. This is called ‘proofing’ the yeast and takes about 5-10 minutes to work when left in a warm spot.
- Instant Dry Yeast – doesn’t need to be activated before being used. You can add it to your dry ingredients, and it will be activated as soon as a warm liquid is added to it.
Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!
- Measure out using kitchen scales – measuring ingredients out by weight and not cups is the best way to get consistent and great results every time!
- Make it extra special! – Add some chocolate chips on top of the cinnamon filling for a chocolate hit. You can even add your favorite dried fruit cut into small pieces or chopped nuts for added crunch!
- You can spread the cream cheese onto the rolls while they’re warm if you want the frosting to melt into the scrolls, making them even soft and gooey.
- A quick chill of the rolled dough in the fridge or freezer will stiffen them up so you can easily slice them nice and neatly.
- Make the dough a day in advance and let it slow rise in the fridge for an even better tasting sweet roll.
- For the second rise – let them rest in a warm spot and rise until doubled. How long this takes depends on how warm the spot is. Typically, this will take between 40-60 minutes.
- Make sure your butter is softened before adding to the dough ingredients. Make sure it’s not melted for the filling otherwise it will seep out of the dough when baking.
- Sprinkle your workbench with flour to make sure your sticky dough doesn’t stick to the bench as you roll out.
- When rolling the dough, go slow and as neat as you can for ultra-neat looking scrolls. I like to start on one end and make my way over as I roll.
- When cutting the chilled dough logs into scrolls, use a ruler and score out even sized pieces to ensure each scroll is the same height. Not necessary, but they look even and bake even!
Frequently Asked Questions about Cinnamon Scrolls
How do I store these Cinnamon Scrolls?
Serve these warm or col, either way they’re delicious. To store, place in an airtight container and chill in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Warm in the microwave or thaw to room temperature if you can wait!
Can I freeze the cinnamon roll dough?
Yes! You can make these all the way up to rolling and cutting them with the cinnamon filling then freezing. Take out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature to thaw and rise before baking as normal. They should double in size before they’re ready to bake.
Can I freeze the rolls with frosting on top?
Yep! You can freeze with the frosting on top. Let it thaw at room temperature until completely thawed before serving. You can even blast them in the microwave for a couple seconds to warm them up which gives you a melty oozy frosting experience.
Can I make these dairy free?
You can replace the milk in the dough with full fat plant-based milk like almond milk. You can replace the butter with vegan butter and make a simple glaze for the top instead of a frosting.
More spiced desserts!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @thescranline on Facebook and Instagram!
Soft and Easy Cinnamon Scrolls
- 375 ml whole milk (warmed to 43C / 110F)
- 45 g granulated sugar
- 7 g active dry yeast (or instant dry yeast, see notes)
- 525 g all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 tsp (10 g) salt
- 1 (53 g) egg lightly beaten
- 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 85 g unsalted butter cubed and softened
- 125 g unsalted butter softened (see notes)
- 200 g brown sugar
- 2 tbsp (15 g) cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp (15 g) flour
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 125 g cream cheese softened
- 30 g 30g unsalted butter softened
- 75 g powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
- Add the warm milk, sugar and yeast into a large jug and stir to combine. Let it sit for 5 minutes in a warm spot. It will froth slightly.
- Add the flour, salt, milk mixture, egg, vanilla extract and softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and fit the machine with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed for 15 minutes or until the dough is very smooth.
- Lightly grease a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight. It will double in size. Allowing it to rise in the fridge overnight helps develop a better tasing dough which is what I like to do.
- Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix using a spatula until a paste like texture is formed.
To Form The Scrolls
- Grease a 33cm x 22cm / 13 x 9-inch baking dish which is 7cm / 2.5-inches in height with butter or oil spray. Set aside.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a 60 x 40cm / 24 x 16-inch rectangle. The neater you get the shape, the neater your scrolls will look.
- Evenly spread the butter mixture on top using a spatula or spoon. Carefully roll up from one end, making your way to the other. Going slow is the best way to get things looking neat. Carefully use a sharp knife to slice the log into two pieces and place on a baking tray. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
- Use a large knife to slice each log into 6 even sized pieces (using a ruler to do this will give you even sized scrolls).
- Place the scrolls into the baking dish, spacing them out as neatly as you (keeping in mind they will double in size in the next rise) and cover loosely with plastic wrap that’s been sprayed with a little oil. Set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour. They will double in size and will puff up.
- 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat a fan-forced oven to 170C / 340F (190C / 375F for no fan). Bake rolls in the middle rack of your oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until rolls are golden brown in color. The cinnamon filling will bubble and caramelize at the bottom making it slightly crispy.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- While the rolls are baking, make the cheesecake frosting by adding the softened cream cheese and butter to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use an electric hand mixer to beat until creamy and well combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until no dry ingredients are showing, then up to high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. If you want a thinner frosting add a couple tbsp of milk. This type of frosting will soak into the scrolls if applied when warm, but keep it's shape if spread when the scrolls have completely cooled down.
- Add the frosting on top of the baked and warmed scrolls and spread. If the scrolls are warm, it will melt and soak into the scrolls. If you don’t want it to melt wait for the scrolls to cool completely before frosting.