Very few things in life are as pleasurable as biting into a warm, soft cinnamon roll, and I have the perfect easy small batch cinnamon roll recipe for you! These cinnamon rolls are the best I've ever had (Cinnabon doesn't even come close), can be made by hand, and are incredibly soft, moist, and delicious. You guys NEED to try this recipe!
THE STORY BEHIND THESE CINNAMON ROLLS
To be honest, I have never been a fan of Cinnabon. I find their rolls to have a strange artificial flavor, and think they are often too dry. In order to understand the hype, I wanted to make my own cinnamon rolls. So I tried the popular recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, and thought, okay, these are in fact very good!
However, the recipe left just a little bit to be desired. With melted butter, the dough was a bit too sticky to work by hand, bread flour was not always available, and I felt the rolls needed to be a bit more moist and soft. So I went into trial mode and made several iterations before landing on the PERFECT recipe!
WHAT MAKES THIS THE BEST CINNAMON ROLL RECIPE?
I think my recipe needs no further improvement because:
- It uses simple ingredients - no need for bread flour, all purpose flour will give your scrumptious rolls
- It can be made by hand - by using softened butter instead of melted, this dough is workable by hand (although still sticky). Don't want to knead by hand? No worries, you can use your stand mixer
- It follows a no-fuss method - you will see how I simplify the process of making the rolls in the method below!
- It is a small batch - the dough is a manageable quantity and gives you 6 large cinnamon rolls. Want smaller ones instead? No issues - divide into 9 rolls and bake in a 9x9" pan!
- It makes incredibly soft and moist cinnamon rolls - the secret is to drench the rolls in heavy cream before baking! You may have seen others do this too, and it really works wonders
Don't believe me? Here are just a few reviews I have received from people who have tried it so far:
Broooo I made em today and turned out AMAZING!!! The dough was too sticky but the buns turned out extremely soft and fluffy😍😍😍👌@riihana_.
They really were pillowy soft with the perfect cinnamon taste and icing. ❤️@momina_musings
JazakAllah for the flawless recipe, I just made these ❤️@sadafaliwaqas
HOW TO MAKE EASY SMALL BATCH CINNAMON ROLLS
Let's walk through the easy process of making these cinnamon rolls! You can also watch the detailed video I have made below:
1. Activate the yeast
Simply mix the active dry yeast with warm milk (it should be warm to touch, but not scalding. 20-25 seconds in the microwave will do the trick). Stir, and let sit for 10 minutes until it starts to foam up.
If you are using instant yeast, you can skip this step and just mix everything together all at once!
2. Make the dough
It doesn't get easier than this: just dump everything else into the same bowl you activated the yeast in.
Some recipes ask you to fold in the softened butter later, like a brioche, but I find that unnecessary and add the butter with everything else
3. Knead until the dough is smooth, soft and stretchy
First, use a large wooden spoon to mix the ingredients until the start to form a dough. Then, lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Using clean hands, start working the dough in a "push, pull" motion.
Now, here's the deal: this WILL be a sticky mess. The dough has a lot of liquid content (which is how the rolls become so soft), but don't be discouraged and don't add more flour. Turn on your favorite show / podcast, and keep kneading the dough for a good 8-10 minutes.
A scraper like this one will be very useful in pulling the dough off the surface and keeping things clean. As you knead, the flour will absorb more liquid, develop more gluten, and become stretchy.
To know the dough is done, look for these three markers:
- Smooth. Use clean hands to touch it, and it should not stick to your hands anymore
- Soft. This one is self-explanatory. Just make sure you don't add more flour as you knead!
- Stretchy. You should be able to stretch and pull the dough into a very thin sheet without tearing!
If you are using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (this KitchenAid is my favorite), look for the same markers!
4. Proof the dough
This is the first rise. Transfer the dough to a clean, oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap, and rest for ~60-90 minutes. It should double in size, and, when poked gently, spring back part of the way.
5. Shape the cinnamon rolls!
This is the fun part!
For the filling, simple mix softened or melted butter with brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. I know many recipes ask to spread the butter and sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon, but that takes so much more time and gets your hands dirty. And we are all about simplifying things here.
Roll your dough into a 12x14" rectangle. The dough will be so soft that it will do most of the work for you. Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Now here's another fun tip: instead of rolling up the entire sheet and then cutting it, cut into 2" strips FIRST and then roll them up individually. Why? Because this is extremely soft dough, and this is the best way to get clean edges with minimal mess. I know many people are proponents of the "floss" method, but even that makes a mess and doesn't give you perfectly round rolls. Seriously, try this, you won't regret it!
6. Time for the second rise
Transfer your 6 large rolls to your baking pan (lined with parchment), and place in a warm place for 30-45 minutes for their second rise until they look more puffed up (they won't fill up the entire pan yet, that's okay - see the before and after below).
I find that an eighth pan is the perfect size for these cinnamon rolls! But you can use any kind of pan you want. If making 9 smaller rolls instead, a 9x9" pan will be perfect.
7. Drench in cream
Right before putting the rolls in the oven, drench them in heavy cream. Why? The cream will absorb into the rolls and make them extra extra moist!
8. Bake the cinnamon rolls
Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes until the rolls are a light golden color.
9. Make the cream cheese frosting for the cinnamon rolls
The frosting, like everything else, is also simple! Mix the room temperature ingredients in one bowl until they are creamy. I like to add a little heavy cream to the cream cheese frosting as I like the frosting to be a bit on the runnier side (kind of like a thick icing) so it is easy to spread.
Slather the frosting on the cinnamon rolls while they're still warm.
Throw out your calorie counters and enjoy these cinnamon rolls. They are worth every calorie. Trust me 😉
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, instant yeast can be substituted for active dry yeast in the same quantity, and you don't need to first activate it. Simply throw everything together and knead.
Yes! I have shown a no-mixer method because not everyone has mixers, but I totally recommend using a mixer if you have it. Why spend all the extra energy? 🙂
Simply mix room temperature cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar, and heavy cream in a bowl with a hand whisk or electric mixer until the ingredients are well-combined and form a thick icing.
You can make a simple glaze to frost the cinnamon rolls! Just mix 1.5 cups of powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of cream until you get the consistency you desire.
The cinnamon rolls should develop a light golden color when they are done baking. In addition, try picking up one roll with a fork and knife, and look at the edges where it was touching the other rolls. Do they look cooked, or do you see specks of raw dough?
Yes! If you do, use a 9x13" pan to bake them.
You can store cinnamon rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Any longer than that, store them in the fridge and microwave for 10-15 seconds before enjoying.
Now let's get to it!Print
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