This clone of a Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipe is one that you're going to want to keep on hand forever. Pull it out to impress guests, around the holidays, or whenever the mood strikes. It's so gooey, sweet, soft, and practically melts in your mouth!
I could go on and on about this clone of a Cinnabon recipe here, but I think it's better to just show you why it's great instead. They're soft, gooey, flavorful, rich and topped with a homemade whipped cream cheese frosting that will have you licking the bowl clean afterward.
With a family of 4, these dozen rolls don't last long. My husband usually eats a few at a time (and he isn't a big sweets person). So that alone should tell you that this bread machine cinnamon roll recipe is pretty irresistible!
Why This Recipe Works
- By hand or by machine. You can make this Copycat Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll recipe by hand or in a bread maker depending on what you feel like using!
- Simple ingredients. We don't need anything too fancy to whip up a batch of the most delicious cinnamon rolls you've ever eaten. Most of the ingredients can be found in the pantry.
- You can make them in advance. Check out the tips and tricks below for making these rolls in advance. They're perfect for an easy Christmas morning breakfast, just place on the counter and bake when ready.
For the dough, you will need:
Warm milk- You will need some warm milk that is 110 degrees F. Warm water could be used instead, but milk adds more flavor to the dough.
Eggs- These add richness and a nicer texture.
Butter- Adding butter to the dough will make it richer in taste and a lot more flavorful.
All-purpose flour- The gluten structure and base of this recipe is all purpose flour.
Salt- This is a natural flavor enhancer.
Sugar- Adding sugar to the dough will feed the yeast and help it to rise and proof.
Yeast- You will need some instant or active yeast. Bread machine yeast works great (even if you aren't using a bread machine).
For the filling, you will need:
Brown sugar- You will want to use brown sugar for added sweetness and depth of flavor.
Cinnamon- You will need a lot of cinnamon to give these cinnamon rolls that iconic spiced flavor.
Butter- for added richness and flavor, use butter.
Salt- This is a natural flavor enhancer.
Heavy cream- This is added separately and just before baking, but adding warmed heavy cream over the rolls will give them a gooier center when baked.
For the frosting, you will need:
Cream cheese- This is the base of the frosting recipe and gives it a creamy, flavorful consistency.
Butter- Adding butter helps to make the frosting taste even richer.
Powdered Sugar- this is what makes the frosting sweet while keeping it nice and smooth.
Vanilla Extract- A flavor enhancer.
Salt- This is a natural flavor enhancer and can be omitted if you use salted butter.
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
🍽 Equipment Needed
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- Stand Mixer *optional
- 9x13 Baking Dish
- Bread Machine *optional
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Mixing Bowls
- Electric Mixer
Check out how to make Cinnabon copycat cinnamon rolls with these simple step-by-step instructions:
In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook attachments, combine the warm milk with the yeast and let rest for 5 minutes.
Add in the eggs, melted butter, salt, and sugar. Mix until combined.
Slowly add in the flour, working in 1 cup of flour at a time until it’s all been combined. You may or may not need all of the flour.
Mix the flour until the dough is barely combined and looks shaggy. Let rest for 5 minutes. Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and dough hooks (or wooden spoon).
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes or until it’s elastic and smooth. You can knead the dough with your dough hooks in the bowl on medium speed if desired, but note that it’s easier to overwork the dough this way.
Spray a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and then place the ball of kneaded dough inside.
Cover with greased plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm spot until doubled in size.
In a small bowl, combine your brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Roll the dough out into a thin rectangle about 14x18 inches and ¼ inch thick.
Spread your softened butter or margarine evenly over the top of the dough.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough and then spread it out with your hand to get it to cover the entire surface of the dough.
Starting from one long side of the log and working your way towards the other, form a tightly rolled log.
Slice off both of the ends of the log and then slice the log of rolled dough into 9 or 12 evenly sized pieces, depending on how many rolls you want from this batch.
Place the cut rolls into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap and place into a warm location to rise until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Warm your heavy cream until it’s slightly warmer than room temperature and gently pour it over the top of the rolls, trying to get as much coverage as possible. Pour slowly so it doesn't go over the sides of the baking dish. You may not need all of it.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown.
When the cinnamon rolls are removed from the oven, begin making the frosting.
In the bowl of the stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer and beaters, add all of the frosting ingredients together and beat on high for 8-10 minutes. Don't skimp on the time!
Spread your whipped cream cheese frosting over the tops of the warm cinnamon rolls.
Spread the frosting around to cover the tops of all of the rolls. You may have some frosting left over. This is okay (just place it in the fridge for later!)
Wait a minute or two for the rolls to cool down, and then dig in and enjoy!
🍴 Recipe Tips
To prevent darkening
Okay, so the cinnamon rolls will begin to brown around the 14-minute mark when baking if you don't want them as dark as my pictures show, make sure to keep an eye on the rolls as they bake.
When they reach the desired color, take a piece of foil and gently lay it over the top of the rolls as they finish baking. You don't need to tuck, bend or do anything fancy just lay a sheet over the top and you're good to go.
Be careful though as the oven is hot, and they go from gold to brown in the blink of an eye.
A more authentic taste
For more "Cinnabon-like" cinnamon rolls, make sure to use margarine in the dough filling as that is what they use. Cinnabon also uses a different variety of cinnamon that you can't find in stores.
So if you want a more authentic flavor, order some Makara Cinnamon and use it. Otherwise, this is about as close as you can get to what's in grocery stores.
🍞 How to Knead Bread Dough
Kneading your dough with an electric mixer using dough hooks is simple and easy, but my favorite method is to do it by hand because you're far less likely to overwork the dough when doing it this way.
Knead the dough by hand by placing it onto a floured surface and using two hands to roll it out into an oval, pull back half, so it's sandwiched together, and repeat.
Smoosh the dough as you roll it back out into an oval, and bring it back. Every few times, rotate the dough about 90 degrees so that you can get all of the dough worked into the process.
When the dough is smooth and elastic, it's finished. This takes about 10 minutes by hand, faster if you're quick, but there are a few good ways to tell when you are finished.
- The dough should not tear easily. This means that if you stretch a chunk of the dough between your fingers, it doesn't tear apart like paper and creates jagged edges.
- The dough should be elastic. You should be able to poke the ball of kneaded dough with your finger and watch the dough quickly try to bounce back and fill in the hole you made.
🥖 How Long to Proof Dough
The time needed to proof dough truly varies from person to person. It depends upon the weather, climate, wind drafts, temperature of ingredients, age of the yeast, and more.
On average, it can take anywhere between 1 hour to 3 hours for the dough to proof properly, but some people can see it happen in as little as 30 minutes.
The goal is not waiting to a specific time but instead looking for a specific response from the dough. We want the dough to be doubled in size, and whether that takes one hour or more, we shouldn't jump straight into the next step before completing this one.
You should expect that it will take about 1 hour for your dough to double in size and proof, but here are some tips for getting it there.
- Cover the bowl of dough with greased plastic wrap. This helps to prevent the dough from drying out and helps to trap the heat. The cooking spray on the plastic wrap helps to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
- Store it in a warm location. I like to preheat my oven to 200 degrees F for 2 minutes and then turn it off. Then I place the bowl in the oven and let it rise until doubled.
Other locations to place your dough include:
- Inside your closed microwave
- Inside a closed oven with just the oven light turned on
- On a hot and sunny day, your kitchen's countertop can work well too
⏲️Make Ahead Instructions
You can prepare these cinnamon rolls up to the second rise and cover the top with plastic wrap before placing the rolls into the fridge overnight for a slow 8 hour rise or freezing them for up to three months.
For overnight fridge rises, simply place the pan on the counter for an hour as the oven preheats and bake as directed. Do not let the rolls rise in the fridge for more than 12 hours.
For freezing unbaked rolls, once frozen solid, you can place them into an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or for several hours in a pan on the counter until doubled. Bake as directed.
With either method, make sure to let the pan of cinnamon rolls sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes to one hour before baking. I like to set my baking dish out as the oven preheats.
This is especially important if you are using a glass baking dish- you don't want it to explode in the oven from going from a cold environment to a hot one too quickly.
If your cinnamon rolls have been frosted with the cream cheese frosting then I highly recommend keeping them stored in an airtight container in the fridge for food safety reasons. They can last up to 5 days this way, but we all know cinnamon rolls taste best when fresh!
If you want them to feel fresh and warm again 30-45 seconds in the microwave should do the trick!
Bread machine yeast is an active yeast sold in stores in little glass jars in the baking aisle. Sometimes it's a cheaper option than buying the packets individually but it's exactly the same thing as what's in the active yeast packets, and you can use either.
The heavy cream is an optional ingredient and step, but it helps to give the cinnamon rolls that golden brown color and the gooey centers. It helps to keep the moisture in the pan so that they turn out a little lighter and fluffier. But once again, totally optional. I make it both ways and they're great with and without.
Yes, you can! Bread flour may even give you a little fluffier of a bread roll when it's done too. All-purpose flour is great because it's so easy to get your hands on, but bread flour is awesome when it comes to baking bread.
Okay, maybe you can skip a few minutes- but the goal is to get it light and fluffy. You know Cinnabon has those little containers of whipped frosting to buy and that they cover their rolls in it too, so why wouldn't we try to get ours to as close of a match as possible?
More delicious Cinnamon Rolls recipes to try!
- 20+ Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipes
- Air Fryer Canned Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Waffles
- Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread
Clone of a Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Recipe
- 2 large Eggs, room temp ($0.16)
- 1 cup Warm milk (about 110 degrees F) ($0.19)
- ⅓ cup Butter, melted ($0.47)
- 4 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour ($0.36)
- 1 teaspoon Salt ($0.10)
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar ($0.11)
- 2 ½ teaspoon Active Instant Yeast ($0.51)
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 1 cup Brown Sugar ($0.35)
- ⅓ cup Margarine, softened ($0.47)
- 3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon, Plus more ($0.20)
- ¼ teaspoon Salt ($0.02)
- ½ cup Warm Heavy Cream ($0.10)
Cream Cheese frosting
- 4 ounces Cream cheese softened ($0.99)
- ¼ cup Butter ($0.36)
- 1 ½ cup Powdered Sugar ($0.34)
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract ($0.01)
- ¼ teaspoon Salt ($0.02)
Proof The Yeast
- In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook attachments, combine the warm milk with the yeast and let rest for 5 minutes.
Make the Dough
- Add in the eggs, melted butter, salt, and sugar. Mix until combined.
- Slowly add in the flour, working in 1 cup of flour at a time until it’s all been combined. You may or may not need all of the flour.
- Mix the flour until the dough is barely combined and looks shaggy. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and dough hooks (or wooden spoon).
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
- Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes or until it’s elastic and smooth. You can knead the dough with your dough hooks in the bowl on medium speed if desired, but note that it’s easier to overwork the dough this way.
Rise Until Doubled
- Spray a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and then place the ball of kneaded dough inside. Cover with greased plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm spot until doubled in size.
- In a small bowl, combine your brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Roll the dough out into a thin rectangle about 14x18 inches and ¼ inch thick.
- Spread your softened butter or margarine evenly over the top of the dough.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough and then spread it out with your hand to get it to cover the entire surface of the dough.
- Starting from one long side of the log and working your way towards the other, form a tightly rolled log.
- Slice off both of the ends of the log and then slice the log of rolled dough into 9 or 12 evenly sized pieces, depending on how many rolls you want from this batch.
Rise Until Doubled
- Place the cut rolls into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
- Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap and place into a warm location to rise until doubled in size.
Bake Cinnamon Rolls
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Warm your heavy cream until it’s slightly warmer than room temperature and gently pour it over the top of the rolls, trying to get as much coverage as possible. Pour slowly so it doesn't go over the sides of the baking dish. You may not need all of it.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown.
- When the cinnamon rolls are removed from the oven, begin making the frosting.
Make the Frosting
- In the bowl of the stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer and beaters, add all of the frosting ingredients together and beat on high for 8-10 minutes. Don't skimp on the time!
- Spread your whipped cream cheese frosting over the tops of the warm cinnamon rolls.
- Wait a minute or two and then dig in and enjoy!
Bread Machine Instructions
- Add everything for the dough to your bread machine in the order of your bread machine manual. My machine does liquids, dry, and then yeast last but yours could be yeast first. Double check so that you do it accurately.
- Set your bread machine to DOUGH setting and let the machine do the work, wait for it to finish. If needed add 1 tablespoon of water while it's mixing to help remove loose flour from the sides.
- Turn out your proofed dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes then follow along with the instructions starting from rolling the dough out into a rectangle.
- Keep a close eye on the cinnamon rolls as they get to the 14 minute mark while baking because the tops can darken quickly and you may not want the bread to look too dark. After they've reached your desired color, place a loose piece of foil over the top to prevent them from browning further.
- For more authentic taste use margarine in the filling instead of actual butter. You can even buy and use Makara Cinnamon, as that is what the Cinnabon stores use instead of storebought cinnamon.
- What yeast to use. Bread machine yeast is my favorite because it can be kept in the fridge for months at a time but you can use any active yeast, including the packets found in the baking aisle. Note that because it says "bread machine yeast" doesn't mean that you can ONLY use it in your bread maker. It works great with homemade doughs too!
- About the heavy cream. We add heavy cream to the pan of cinnamon rolls before baking because this makes them much more gooey and delicious. It is optional (but recommended).
- Flour replacement. Bread flour can be used in place of all purpose flour.
- Whipping the frosting will give you a light and fluffy result just like what you'd find at cinnabon and it is well worth the time spent.
- Keep your cinnamon rolls stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 5 days.
- Reheat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds for a warm and delicious experience.