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Best Homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

February 21, 2018 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

Need some stress relief in your life? If you’ve got some yeast, brown sugar, butter, flour, eggs and cinnamon, you’re ready to make some of the best homemade brown sugar cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had! Whip these up then let them rise (twice) for a hands-off recipe that makes a beautiful baking dish full of warm, gooey, comforting, delicious cinnamon rolls.

This is my Mom’s cinnamon roll recipe, adapted a little to make a smaller batch. When I was a kid, she reserved these for snow days when we were all at home. Waiting for them to rise was agony.  I remember watching her roll them out on the counter, let them rise over the warm oven, cut them precisely with string, stuff them tightly together in the pan and then wait in intense anticipation as the house fills with the fragrance of winter baking. They remind me of snow days off of school but also of ski vacations! We made them recently when we were in Sun Valley at a big ski house. Those rental houses are the absolute best because they always have nice kitchens with hand out spots all around. I don’t want you to think that these are just for winter – oh no. They’re for any time of year. They’re lovely in the spring for family get-togethers or those cooler days stuck at home. They’re a perfect grab-and-go summer treat and they’re so warm and comforting in the fall and winter. You really can’t go wrong.

During the crazy Corona virus situation, everyone was snapping up all the baked goods. Keto fell aside and there was no flour or yeast to be had. My Mom saved us by sending yeast in the mail and we got some flour in the bulk aisle. I taught my husband how to make cinnamon rolls and it was the best experience and way to spend a long evening at home.

Best Homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Roll Add-ins

I’m a cinnamon roll purist. I don’t like nuts or raisins in them and this recipe delivers that. Just pure, doughy, chewy goodness with a light cinnamon-vanilla flavor. You could put anything you want in these, adding it to the simple filling. Chopped dried fruit, chopped nuts or even extra spices like cardamom or even almond extract would be incredible in these. But I like to keep them simple. Think about starting off with just the basics and working up from there.

Making the Best Homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

These actually are simple but they take some time and I’ve got some tips for you as you work through them. Start off with the yeast, butter and water. If you’ve got a mixer, that’s the best bet because otherwise it will be a lot of work for you. The water should be about 100-110 degrees. If it’s any hotter, you risk scorching the yeast. The first step is getting that water and butter the right temperature.  Then you mix in the yeast and sugar so the yeast has some food to make it happy and excited.

It’s so much better in this recipe to use a mixer because otherwise, you’ll be working really hard to add in all that flour. The dough should be light and fluffy and easy to handle when you put it in the bowl to let it rise. Try setting it over a warm oven or somewhere without drafts so it has plenty of love to help it rise.

There’s definitely some butter in this recipe in a couple of steps and it makes it very rich and delicious. Spreading it on the surface of the rolled out dough is fun. Feel free to rub in extra cinnamon or extra sugar but again, I like to keep it simple. Cut them with dental floss then let them rise again in the pan. I actually love them a little gooey so if you don’t then let them bake a little longer.

I hope you absolutely love these!

If you need any other comforting recipes to bake right now, try my thumbprint cookies, haystack cookies (no bake!) or black bean brownies.

Best Homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

Best Homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

This is the most delicious, simple, rise-twice cinnamon roll recipe around. You'll never want to buy one from a bakery again.
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Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: cinnamon bun, cinnamon roll, holiday desserts
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Ginger Hultin


  • 3/4 cup butter divided (or vegan butter alternative)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water 100-110 degrees
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 whole eggs at room temperature, beat
  • 4 cups bread flour plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Simple Topping

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy or oat milk
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Melt 1/4 cup of butter in the hot water. Add the sugar and package of yeast. Whisk it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs then mix in the flour with a wooden spoon, 1 cup at a time. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Form the dough into a ball and set it in a bowl greased with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, cover it and let it rise for an hour, util it's doubled in size.
  • Use the other 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to grease a large 12x9 glass baking dish. Punch down the dough then lay it on a floured surface and roll it out to a large rectangle (12x28). Spread the additional 1/2 cup butter onto the surface, brushing it with a brush or spreading it with your hands. In a separate bowl, blend the brown sugar and cinnamon then spread it on top of the butter with your hands until the whole surface is covered evenly. Roll the dough up, loosely, lengthwise then use dental floss to cut it into pieces, about 2-inches wide each. Set each piece in the prepared pan, 3 wide, until there's 9-12 pieces in the pan. Cover it loosely, set it in a warm place and let it rise for another 60-90 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has about doubled, preheat the oven to 375. Uncover the rolls and bake them for 30 minutes. If they're starting to brown on top, cover them with foil and bake them for another 5-10 minutes. Set them aside to cool and after 20-30 minutes, make the topping and drizzle it on top of the cooling cinnamon rolls.
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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

An award-winning, nationally recognized nutrition expert and media spokesperson.

Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll find cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.

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