Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe (No Knead)

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These are truly life-changing! This Easy Cinnamon Roll recipe doesn’t require a stand mixer or hand mixer, and needs absolutely no kneading! These dessert sweet rolls rise high — they’re big and fluffy with sweet cinnamon centers and the most luscious cream cheese frosting.

If you’ve never made homemade cinnamon rolls before, don’t worry – we’ll walk you through each step with all the details!

Cinnamon roll on a plate

This EASY Cinnamon Roll Recipe Is Life-Changing

These are the best cinnamon rolls! They’re ridiculously big, ultra soft, wonderfully flavorful, and perfectly sweet with the best gooey centers. 

And while taste always reigns supreme in my recipe creation, these also happen to be the easiest cinnamon rolls to make. This no-knead bread recipe is consistently made more than any other bread at my home because it is just so simple! I adapted that recipe to make dinner rolls, and now I wanted to create a recipe using similar concepts, but this time, focused on cinnamon rolls.

So let’s break down the “magic” of these cinnamon rolls:

  • No stand or hand mixer needed for the dough
  • Mix the dough by hand with just a spatula (yes, really!).
  • No kneading is required.
  • Cinnamon rolls can be made ahead of time and baked when needed or prepared the same day.
  • A “secret” ingredient ensures ultra gooey cinnamon rolls (we brush heavy cream over them before baking — this is a game changer!)

Below are step-by-step photos and detailed instructions, so you can make this easy cinnamon roll recipe — even if you don’t have much baking experience. 

Process shots: Whisk milk, yeast and sugar; let stand; combine butter, eggs and vanilla; whisk to combine

How To Make Easy Cinnamon Rolls

We’ll break down this Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe in four steps below:

Step One: Warm the milk and proof the yeast.

  • Warm the milk to 105 – 115 degrees F. 
  • Next, we proof the yeast, which means that we activate it. To do this, add yeast and sugar to warm milk, whisk it together, and let it stand for 5-10 minutes.
  • Activated yeast will have a bubbly foam on the surface. If you don’t get the foamy yeast, you’ll need to start again or you’ll end up with dense cinnamon rolls. The two most common reasons for the yeast not activating are old/bad yeast, or the milk being too hot. 

QUICK TIP

Why do they call it ‘proofing’ the yeast? Just think about it: yeast that doesn’t rise won’t make good bread. So, when you put the milk, sugar, and yeast together, you’re proving that it’s all fresh. And that’s proof! To be grammatically correct, we should probably call this process ‘proving’ instead of ‘proofing!’

Process shots: combine flour, sugar and salt; mix and create a well in the center; add egg and yeast mixtures; mix to form a thick, shaggy dough

Step Two: Combine Ingredients For The Dough On This Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together melted (but not hot) butter, eggs, and vanilla.
  • In a separate very large bowl, combine floursugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the butter mixture and then the egg mixture. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of these two mixtures into the flour.
  • Use a strong, sturdy spatula to mix everything together to get a thick, shaggy dough. No kneading! (Shaggy dough? That’s another way of saying dough isn’t smooth and soft. There will be chunks hanging off and an uneven texture. Don’t worry; the shaggy dough will turn into wonderful soft cinnamon rolls!)

Process shots: Cover dough and let rise until tripled in size; roll into a rectangle shape; brush with butter

Step Three: Let the dough rise, then roll it out!

  • Cover dough and let rise about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours— in a warm, draft-free environment. (The ideal rise temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.) Higher temperatures might kill the yeast and keep the dough from rising while lower temperatures will slow the yeast activity (which will increase rise time).
  • Use that sturdy spatula to scrape the dough onto a flour-coated surface. Add more flour to the top then roll it out to a 15×12-inch rectangle. Here’s where the magic happens — butter and cinnamon sugar! Top the dough with both, then roll it up tightly and cut into rolls.
  • Here’s how we like to cut the rolls for this easy cinnamon roll recipe: using a very sharp serrated (bread) knife, cut the log in half. Then cut each half in half again, for a total of four pieces. Now cut each piece into three individual cinnamon rolls — voila!

Process shots: sprinkle on brown sugar and cinnamon; roll tightly; cut in half; then cut into smaller pieces

Step Four: Second rise, the “secret” to gooey cinnamon rolls, and baking

  • Once rolls are cut and in the (greased) pan, let them rise again. This rise time is much quicker — anywhere from 20-45 minutes. We’re looking for an increased volume of about 75%.
  • Now here’s the secret to a “gooey” cinnamon roll recipe: brush the rolls with heavy cream! This makes them irresistibly gooey after being baked! Once they’re coated in cream, they’re ready to bake.
  • While they’re baking, whip together the frosting to spread on the warm rolls.
  • And voila! Easy cinnamon roll recipe win!

Process shots: cut dough into individual rolls; add to the pan; let rise again

Giant Fluffy Cinnamon Roll Recipe Tips

  • Easy Cinnamon Rolls don’t require much in the way of kitchen tools, but this sturdy spatula, pastry brush, and ceramic baking dish are nice to have!
  • Roll the dough as tightly as possible — this maximizes the number of cinnamon-sugar layers and helps the rolls hold their shape when being baked and served.
  • Generously grease the baking pan!
  • The perfect cinnamon rolls are a beautiful golden brown — when pressed gently in the center rolls should feel firm, not squishy. (Internal temp about 190 degrees F)
  • Let cinnamon rolls cool 5-10 minutes before icing or the icing will ooze right off into the bottom of the pan.

Process shots: Brush heavy cream over unbaked rolls; bake; frost and serve

Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe FAQs

1Are cinnamon rolls easy to make?

It depends who you ask, but they can be notoriously time-consuming and difficult for many. That’s why this recipe is so exciting! We’re removing so much of the guesswork and hands-on time by eliminating the kneading and mixer to form a dough. I consider this to be the easiest cinnamon roll recipe I’ve ever made!

2What's the difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns?

Both start with yeasted dough that is rolled into a rectangle and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar.

Cinnamon buns are rolled into pinwheels while cinnamon rolls are sliced into rolls.

Cinnamon buns typically have pecans or nuts in them while traditionally, Cinnamon rolls are nut-free.

3Why are my homemade cinnamon rolls hard?

A few possible culprits:

  • Dead yeast
  • Too cold of a rising environment (so the dough is unable to rise)
  • Too little rising time (or too much)
  • Mis-measured flour — too little and the rolls won’t have enough structure as they rise (they’ll be soggy and dense) and too much flour you’ll get dry, tough rolls.

4What is the icing on cinnamon rolls made of?

While icing is great, I don’t think anything beats this Cream Cheese Frosting which is why we use a (reduced) batch of that on this Easy Cinnamon Roll recipe.

The ingredients include:

  • cream cheese
  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • salt
  • cinnamon (optional)

5How do you keep cinnamon rolls moist?

Honestly, cinnamon rolls are always best eaten warm from the oven on the same day they’re made (as with most yeasted baked goods.) That said, there are a few steps to take to keep them from getting dry and hard:

  • Don’t refrigerate (the cool air will make the rolls go stale and dry).
  • Cover each cinnamon roll individually in plastic wrap.
  • Warm leftover rolls in the microwave for 8-10 seconds before enjoying.

6How do you make gooey cinnamon rolls?

The two secrets to the best gooey cinnamon roll recipe is to (1) avoid using too much flour in the dough and (2) brush heavy cream over the rolls before baking.

Closeup view of a Easy Cinnamon Roll on a plate

STORAGE

Storing This Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Cinnamon Rolls are definitely best the same day they’re made–this is true with most home-baked yeasted bread.

It’s important to fully cool the rolls before storing them. Once cool, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature (cool air from the fridge will make them go stale quicker) and re-warm for a few seconds in the microwave before enjoying.

QUICK TIP

Because this is a bit of a unique/non-traditional cinnamon roll recipe, we recommend watching the quick video tutorial and giving the recipe a quick read before starting!

More Ways To Use Leftover Yeast:

(By the way, this is my favorite yeast (not sponsored). I empty the bag into a container in the freezer — this way it stays good for ages!)

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Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe

5 from 1 vote
These are truly life-changing! This Easy Cinnamon Roll recipe doesn't require a stand mixer or hand mixer, and needs absolutely no kneading! These dessert sweet rolls rise high -- they're big and fluffy with sweet cinnamon centers and the most luscious cream cheese frosting.
Print Recipe

Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe

5 from 1 vote
These are truly life-changing! This Easy Cinnamon Roll recipe doesn't require a stand mixer or hand mixer, and needs absolutely no kneading! These dessert sweet rolls rise high -- they're big and fluffy with sweet cinnamon centers and the most luscious cream cheese frosting.
Course Breakfast, Dessert, treat
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12 cinnamon rolls
Calories 517kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $7.23

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons instant yeast (can use active dry --see Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, separated
  • 1-1/2 cups warm milk (we use whole)
  • 4-1/2 cups white, all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping rolls
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs

Filling

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted then cooled
  • 1-1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt, splash of vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon

Instructions

  • BUTTER: In the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl and set aside to come to room temperature.
  • YEAST: Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl add warmed milk (Note 2). Sprinkle 3 teaspoons yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar right on top. Whisk and let sit 5-10 minutes (It should look creamy/foamy after 5 minutes (see photo). If not, you'll need to begin again or cinnamon rolls won't rise. (Either the yeast is dead or the milk was too hot.)
  • BUTTER: To the melted butter bowl, add in 2 tsp vanilla, and 2 large eggs. Whisk until smooth and completely combined.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: In a very large bowl add 4-1/2 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 tsp salt. Whisk. Make room in the center to add wet ingredients. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of the butter mixture and then the yeast mixture into the middle of the flour bowl. Stir with a strong rubber spatula until a shaggy/thick dough forms with no dry streaks of flour (see photo -- should be sticky/wet). Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Two options for how to proceed:
    MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS TODAY: Let dough rise in a draft-free environment (~70 degrees F) for 90-120 minutes or until nearly 3 times the size. (This is 90 mins at my home.) At this point, also melt the 8 tbsp butter (in the microwave) for the filling. Set it aside to cool and harden to softened butter for easy spreading later! (See note 3)
    MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS TOMORROW: Let dough rise in a draft-free environment (~70 degrees F) for 30 minutes. Then place in the bottom shelf of a fridge and refrigerate for 8 hours up to 12 hours (no longer). Remove and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or until dough is about 3 times the initial size.
  • SHAPE CINNAMON ROLLS : Spray a 9x13-inch pan generously with cooking spray. Sprinkle a large clean work surface with flour then tap all your fingers in flour. Tap spatula in the flour. Use flour-dusted spatula to scrape all the dough onto floured surface. Shape dough into an even-sized ball (use flour as needed so it doesn't stick to you). Use a rolling pin to roll it into a wide rectangle, 15x12-inches (15-inch side facing you).
  • FILL CENTER: Smooth the softened butter evenly over the dough in an even layer. In a small bowl combine 1-1/4 cups brown sugar with 2 tbsp cinnamon and stir. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over dough and then gently press into dough. Tightly roll up the dough into a cylinder. Using a very sharp serrated knife cut cylinder in half. Cut each half in half again to have 4 pieces. Cut each piece into 3 individual rolls for 12 total cinnamon rolls. Place rolls spaced tightly together in prepared pan. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place gently over rolls. Let rise for 20-30 (up to 45) minutes or until about 75% larger in size.
  • BAKE: While cinnamon rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once rolls have risen, remove plastic wrap. Warm 1/3 cup heavy cream in microwave for 20 seconds then use a pastry brush to gently and evenly brush over all the rolls. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the surface is a golden brown and rolls sound hollow when tapped (45 mins in my oven). Remove from oven and let slightly cool 5-10 minutes before frosting.
  • FROSTING: Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the room-temperature butter and cream cheese until completely smooth. Mix in the vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the powdered sugar and then beat until the frosting is smooth (it will seem like you need more liquid, but just keep beating; it will come together! Spread over slightly cooled cinnamon rolls and enjoy them warm!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Yeast: Instant yeast is best here, but you can use active dry. Just note that rise times are typically a bit longer with active dry yeast. This is my favorite yeast; I empty the bag into a container in the freezer -- this way it stays good for ages!
Note 2: Milk temperature: Drizzle a few drops of the warmed milk onto the inside of your wrist. If it is warm and comfy for you, it will be perfect for the yeast. If it is not warm and instead feels hot, it will be too hot for the yeast. Too cold and the yeast will simply remain dormant. (I take milk straight from fridge and microwave it for 45 seconds before using.)
Note 3: Butter: We melt the butter when the dough is doing its first rise -- this way the butter will have cooled and hardened to a soft consistency. This will enable you to spread it more evenly over the dough and avoid waste of butter spilling out. (If you use warmed melted butter, it leaks out of the rolls during cooking, leaving you with a dry filling.)
Storage: These cinnamon rolls are best the same day they're made. It's important that the rolls are fully cooled before being stored. When they're fully cooled, you can store them. Wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature (cool air from the fridge will make them go stale quicker).

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 75.2g | Protein: 7.7g | Fat: 21.1g | Cholesterol: 85.6mg | Sodium: 451.5mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 41.4g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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