Cinnamon Rolls

Light and fluffy with an irresistible cream cheese glaze, cinnamon rolls are a family favorite! Especially in mine!

Every since moving to Hong Kong I haven’t found a light, fluffy and full of cinnamon cinnamon roll. It sounds funny to hear, a cinnamon roll without the cinnamon. But let me tell you, it’s possible to find one in Hong Kong. Despite that, many of the cinnamon rolls here are flaky danish pastries with a handful of raisins. Those are delicious too but, it really can’t beat the soft fluffy rolls you’d find at your nearby Cinnabon.

This recipe is super simple to make and most of the time taken to make it is just simply waiting. So it’s a perfect recipe to make, leave is aside and get some work done, then going back to it.

Cinnamon rolls are one of my most favorite things in the world and cinnamon has always been my favorite spice. Not afraid to admit it, I’m pretty picky with my cinnamon rolls. It has to be the prefect texture, not too moist, not to bready and with just the right amount of cream cheese icing to cinnamon ratio.

And as I speak, I’m constantly glancing over at the cinnamon rolls on the table…


When these cinnamon rolls popped out of the oven piping hot, I was so happy. I previously made a few batches which failed. Wasting so many ingredients, I threw them all away. That’s the part not many people know about baking. It’s trial and error. These recipes don’t just develop over night. It’s thought out, changed and modified to finally be presented to the public.

Looking at a couple different recipes, I kind of mashed them all together. Some spread the softened butter, sprinkle the cinnamon then the brown sugar. Other’s mix it all together. So I decided to spread the butter and mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together before piling it up on the dough.

I made the dough by hand but if you’ve got a stand up mixer with a dough hook, that will save your arms some strength and cut the time in half. But I mean, it could be the 10 minute arm workout replacement. (Then of course you deserve a delicious cinnamon roll after.)

Now, some people are confused between active dry yeast and instant yeast and which needs proofing and which doesn’t. I know I was… To clear things up, active dry yeast DOES need proofing while instant yeast DOES NOT. Instant yeast can be stirred directly into the dry ingredients while active ry years needs about 5-10 minutes proving in some warm milk or water. Active dry yeast should create a surface of foam once proofed.

My initial plan was to make larger cinnamon rolls. But after the last trial, my cinnamon rolls expansed a lot more than expected in the oven. As a result, these ones became mini, bite size cinnamon rolls. But don’t be hesitant! This does not take away their fluffiness. Just be sure not to bake them as long as regular sized cinnamon rolls and they’ll be exactly the same, just smaller.

When you pop these in the oven, it’s so satisfying to see the cinnamon brown sugar mixture bubble on the surface of the cinnamon rolls. Along with the lovely smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls floating to every corner of your house, you’ll be creating a cinnamon wonderland. I live in an apartment and I’m sure the smell of cinnamon lingered into neighbouring apartments as well.

And not to mention, this is a sneaky way to eat dessert as breakfast!
Cinnamon Roll Dough:
  • 1/2 cup warm Milk
  • 1 1/8 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 14 cup All Purpose Flour + extra for dusting
Cinnamon Roll Filling:
  • 1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
Cream Cheese Icing:
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup Icing Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
Cinnamon Roll Dough:
  1. Add yeast and sugar to warm milk in a large bowl. Gently stir to combine and allow the yeast to proof for 5-10 minutes. It should create a foamy surface on the milk.
  2. Once the yeast has proofed, stir in melted butter, salt, eggs and flour. Mix until well combined.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a buttered or oiled large bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and allow to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
Cinnamon Roll Filling:
  1. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll thickness to about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Spread the softened butter over the dough.
  3. Stir brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle generously all over the buttered dough.
  4. Roll the dough tightly beginning at the long edge.
  5. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch slices and place onto a lightly buttered sheet pan.
Baking and Icing:
  1. Preheat over to 190 degrees Celcius.
  2. Allow the rolls to rise for 30 minutes on the sheet pan.
  3. Place the rolls into the oven baking for about 10-15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and the dough is cooked all the way through.
  4. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting by creaming together butter, icing sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and salt.
  5. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow to slightly cool for a few minutes.
  6. Still warm, spread the cream cheese icing over the cinnamon rolls and serve.
  • The dough can be made in a stand mixer with a dough hook once the yeast has proofed. Simply follow the same instructions and use the stand mixed with a dough hook to knead for about 6-8 minutes. The dough should become elastic and smooth.
  • For the cream cheese frosting, my family and I prefer it to be less sweet so the ratio of icing sugar to cream cheese is 1:1. Adjust it to your desired sweetness by adding less or more icing sugar.

Author: Nicole

Hello! My name is Nicole and I’m a home baker and the occasional chef for the family. Starting with pre-mix cake boxes and now baking everything from scratch, I spend most of my time day dreaming about the numerous things I could be baking. I’m definitely the one who has the biggest sweet tooth! Along with my passion in the culinary world, I love sharing all the delicious creations I’ve made! I hope you enjoy my recipes and give it a try yourself!

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