Better-Than-Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve said it…I’ve staked my claim…my cinnamon rolls are WAY better than Cinnabon’s. The cinnamon roll craze began with my dad. At least a few Sundays each month, he and I would spend the afternoon making cinnamon rolls and binge watch the Back to the Future Trilogy. Dad’s specialty is anything involving dough. His call-sign when he was in the Air Force was Dough Boy. Although, for years I assumed that was due to his love of donuts, pastries, bread…all things sugary and yeasty. It wasn’t until much later when I realized it was also because his name is Doug H…Dough. Apparently I am not as quick witted as I claim to be at times.

Anyway, back to the goodness that is cinnamon rolls. After having tweaked and perfected this family recipe over the past 20 years or so…I am here to loudly, proudly claim…they are the shrimp and grits compared to Cinnabon’s!

This recipe is SO simple my 10 year old can make them. I’ve even made this recipe with orange roll filling instead of cinnamon. The basic dough recipe is perfect for it. It is semi-sweet and light and airy. I’ve included the orange roll variation as well.

Better Than Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Rise Time: 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 36 cinnamon rolls
Calories 266 kcal


  • electric mixer
  • Paddle Attachment
  • Kneading Hook Attachment
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Small Mixing Bowl
  • Dental Floss
  • Baking Pans



  • cups warm water warmest tap water available
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6+ cups all-purpose flour


  • 2 cups brown sugar packed
  • 5 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature


  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 3 tbsp milk plus more
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



  • In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the water, yeast and ¼ cup of granulated sugar. Mix slightly and then let stand for 15-20 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  • Add in the eggs, vegetable oil, salt, and ½ cup of granulated sugar. Mix together on low until combined. Add in 2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix on medium until the dough is smooth. Add in 2 more cups of all-purpose flour and mix on medium again until dough is smooth.
  • Remove the paddle attachment and replace with the hook attachment. Add in the rest of the flour a ½ cup at a time until the dough begins to come together to form a ball and the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. One the dough is finished forming, place in a large mixing bowl that has been coated with oil to prevent the dough sticking to the sides. Place in a warm spot (I usually preheat my oven to 200° and then turn the oven off when I put the dough in the oven) for 45-60 minutes to allow the dough to rise.


  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until completely combined. Once the dough is finished rising, on a floured surface, begin rolling out the dough until it is approximately 2mm thick. The more rectangular or oval the shape of the dough, the better. When rolling the dough is complete, take the room temperature butter and spread evenly over the rolled dough. Sprinkle evenly, the cinnamon sugar mixture over the spread butter.
  • Press down slightly the cinnamon sugar mixture so it sticks to the butter, then begin rolling the dough with the cinnamon sugar on the inside of the dough. Roll the dough with the long ends. Once the dough has been rolled into a long log, take the dental floss and cut the dough into 1 inch sections. The place in an oiled baking pan. Don't squish the rolls together, they will rise again and fill in the pan.
  • Once the dough has been cut and placed in baking pans, place again in a warm area for 45-60 minutes to allow the dough to rise and spread out in the pan. Once the rising is finished, place in a preheated 375° oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the dough begins to brown slightly. When finished baking, let cool completely before icing the tops of the rolls.


  • In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix again until combined. Add in the last cup of powdered sugar and mix. You will want a thick syrupy consistency. Add more milk 1 tsp at a time until it is the consistency you want. Spread over the top of the cinnamon rolls, serve immediately. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.


Serving: 1rollCalories: 266kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 47mgPotassium: 62mgFiber: 1gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 262IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

These are a definite family favorite. And with this recipe, the size of each roll is at least the size of a baby’s face. Making cinnamon rolls for Christmas Breakfast has become the tradition in our house. The amigos look forward to it every year.

Baking cinnamon rolls can be a tedious task, multiple steps and many rising of the yeast sessions; but the end result is SO worth it. The taste just melts in your mouth and watching your loved ones take their first bite with utter joy on their faces is just about the best.

Do you have any family traditions that involve food? Almost every one of our family traditions must have food. It’s just who we are! Hope y’all are having an amazing week.

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    • admin

      Good question, I prefer unsalted; but I have used salted in the past and it doesn’t seem to alter the flavor. I use unsalted just because I like to control the amount of salt in almost all of my recipes for heart-healthy reasons. If you do use unsalted, you don’t have to add in salt to make up for the flavor. The salt in the dough makes up for it.

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