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Cinnabon Style Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Monday peeps, it’s a cinnamon roll kinda day today! This is a recipe long time coming I’ve actually been working on it for a while and been wanting to share it for ages! but of course when the time comes to make them and take pictures….the pictures turn out awful!  :/

I’m trying to force myself to just post the recipe and I’ll just remake the rolls so that I can retake the pictures. It’s alot harder than it looks! My OCD is really kicking in.

Let’s just get right into it shall we 😄

This recipe is very much like my easy, one rise cinnamon rolls recipe. In fact it’s pretty much the same except that one is adapted to make a smaller batch and only one rise. Today’s rolls are a tribute to the famous Cinnabon cinnamon rolls which have managed to make their way into the hearts of millions all around the world. Did you know that it’s actually a father and son team who founded the franchise and they hired a very talented baker to create the Cinnabon roll recipe. She spent ages trying to come up with the best recipe and until this day, people everywhere are trying to recreate those treasures.

I actually strayed away from those who try to ‘clone a Cinnabon’. See my thought is that we already have that awesome recipe and no matter what you do, you can try everything, you’re never really going to create that exact same cinnamon roll. I spent months trying to, I made batch after batch, played around with recipes, researched the web to get as much info as I could to re-create those gems. There are a few solid leads with plenty of resources that can be credited to have fabulous similarities to the original recipe.

Many people think adding buttermilk to the dough is what takes them over the top. I agree that buttermilk is amazing in cinnamon rolls but when I added it to my dough, I didn’t like how it turned out. The main ingredient in classic Cinnabons is water. Their dough is more ‘bread like’ than overly soft/fluffy so I knew you must have plenty of water instead of milk in the dough but when I paired it with buttermilk, it just didn’t work for me. I ended up using a mix of milk and water.

That’s how I decided to make these Cinnabon Style not Cinnabon clones/copycats 😄

Key Ingredients

Let me just take a few moments to discuss the ingredients quickly. Since we’re going all out and making big, tall Cinnabon like rolls, I encourage everyone to get the best quality ingredients as possible. They really make a huge difference!


Cinnabon uses Makara cinnamon that is found in Asia. Some Cinnabon branches sell it and if you’re lucky to be close to one of those then by all means go get some! For all us not-so-fortune folks, please buy the highest quality cinnamon/cassia powder you can find. This is the first and foremost important ingredient and tip to make an amazing roll. Cinnamon is the star of the show after all.


There are alot of credited sources which show that Cinnabon uses oil in their dough. This is very likely since, like I mentioned above, their dough is quite ‘bready’ so oil will help to achieve that texture. Honestly most of the times when I’m making cinnamon rolls I use oil in the dough, in all my recipes, to save the butter for my filling and frosting but there is a textural, also amazing, difference when using butter. I do love butter though and use that when I’m making rolls to give away or if I’m having people over and in today’s recipe, if you don’t want to use oil, I recommend using melted butter for similar texture but with that extra buttery flavour.

For the filling, Cinnabon uses margarine instead of butter because margarine has a lower melting point than butter so it should make the rolls gooey-saucy-melty. Let’s face the fact that most people have butter on hand more than margarine so I don’t think you need to go out and get some just for today’s rolls. Butter works just fine and that’s what I use. Please do get a good quality butter! 

Brown Sugar vs White Sugar

It is claimed that Cinnabon uses mostly soft brown sugar in their filling to make it extra gooey. So in trying to be as authentic as possible, I did use soft brown sugar but personally I love using white sugar in my cinnamon rolls because white sugar melts quicker so the rolls become more saucy which is how I like it. Plus the flavour of white sugar in cinnamon rolls is great too. My ultimate filling is a mix of both white and brown sugar. You can play around with what you like, Brown sugar = gooey, white sugar = saucy.


Some sources claim that Cinnabon uses some sort of vanilla flavour in their dough. That’s why there are some recipes that call for vanilla pudding. I honestly don’t really think the dough needs the extra addition but I did want to make these rolls similar to Cinnabon so I used vanilla extract in my dough. You can use vanilla bean or you can leave it out altogether if you want.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ahh yes the cherry on top if you will 😄 According to some sources Cinnabon uses an egg white based glaze to slather on their rolls and while you could very well do that if you like, I decided to just go the easy route and use a classic cream cheese frosting to make it more Cinnabon-y, add in a little corn syrup and even a splash of fresh lemon juice for that extra tang but I usually leave out the lemon. Theses are Cinnabon style not copycats remember.

And finally..

Roll Size

It’s no surprise that Cinnabons rolls are big and tall. That’s the beauty of them really so to achieve that height, you need to make more dough. I played around with how much dough, how big to roll the dough, how to cut and I finally settled on the dimensions written in the directions below. Each roll comes out tall! and also makes 12 which is what I was going for. Alot of recipes make more so you need a bigger pan or two pans even but I wanted enough to fit only in a 9 x 13 inch tin without having to use something else for the extras. Of course if you find yourself having more dough than me, everyone has different results, then please do use a bigger pan or more than one because the rolls do need space to rise.

You need to try and use some with tall sides because that helps shape the rolls as they rise and bake and have have that height when they’re done.

Another tip from Cinnabon is to add some cornstarch to the filling to prevent it from spilling out. They obviously use some other type of ingredient but cornstarch does the trick too. Also, after you’ve spread your filling, you need to push it into the dough by rolling over it with your rolling pin like I showed you here. This makes the rolls extra delish and gooey/saucy.

I like to make my rolls at night then place them in the fridge to rise slowly so that by the time morning comes, they’re ready to bake and are warm, fresh and delicious! I do this all the time with my breads and rolls and what this does is give the rolls time to develop and intensify their flavour and texture. This technique is called retarding. Look at all this wonderful cinnamon sugar butter that seeps out 😉 the rolls are pretty much taking a bath in it which will then thicken up and become all nice and syrupy!

Okay I’ve been blabbering on for way to long now! Here’s the recipe, I hope you guys enjoy the Cinnabon-y cinnamon rolls and please tag me with your pics if you do make them and all other dutch baker bakes on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @dutchbaker blog 💙

Make sure you invite your family and friends because you will become a super star after they eat these babies 😉 they disappear in moments!

Cinnabon Style Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe rating: N/A
Recipe by Linda @thedutchbaker


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  • 1/3 cup (80 mls) warm water

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant/fast acting/rapid rise yeast

  • 1/2 cup (100 gms) white sugar

  • 3/4 cups (180 mls) milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup (80mls) oil or 1/2 cup (100 gms) melted butter

  • 4 1/4 – 5 cups (500 – 600 gms) flour

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • For the filling
  • 1/2 cup (100 gms) softened butter

  • 1/2 cup (100 gms) soft brown sugar, more if desired

  • 1/4 cup (50 gms) white sugar, more if desired

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch/cornflour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • For the frosting
  • 1/4 cup (50 gms) butter

  • 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) cream cheese

  • 1 – 1/14 cups (125 gms) icing sugar

  • Optional 1 – 2 tablespoons cream or milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Optional 1 tablespoon corn syrup, splash of lemon juice


  • In a large bowl, pour warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Add in about 2 tablespoons of the sugar and set aside for 5 – 10 minutes until thickened slightly. (See here for pictures of this step).
    Once yeast is ready, add in the rest of the sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla and oil/butter and whisk until well combined.
  • Whisk together 4 cups of flour with the salt and add about 2 cups of the flour mix to the liquids. Whisk fast for a few seconds until mixture is smooth. Add in the rest of the flour until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface or use a dough hook on a mixer and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until a smooth, soft and slightly sticky dough forms. Try not to add too much flour because the dough needs to be soft, elastic and slightly sticky. If you add too much, rolls will be tough. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, cornstarch and salt, set aside. Once dough has doubled, punch down the dough and roll out into a large 20 × 12 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter all across the dough leaving a slight border around the edges. Sprinkle on the filling evenly all across the dough then using your rolling pin, roll on top of the rectangle a couple of times horizontally then vertically pushing the cinnamon sugar into the dough. (Visuals of this step here).
  • Roll the rectangle into a tight log starting from the longer side. Shape into a log and using your hands, squeeze it up and down it’s length to make sure it’s all the same thickness. Cut off a small piece from each end to remove the round doughy parts. Slit 12 slices across the dough using a serrated knife then cut each roll and place onto a lightly floured 9 × 13 inch pan. Cover well with plastic wrap and either place in the fridge to rise overnight* or in a warm place for about an hour until puffy. You can brush the rolls with melted butter, before baking, if desired once they are risen and ready to bake.
  • Bake rolls in a preheated 180C oven for 20 – 22 minutes until cooked through and golden brown. As soon as the rolls are out of the oven, spread the glaze on top so that it can seep into all the cracks. Cool slightly and serve. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
  • For the frosting
  • Whisk together all the ingredients adding some cream or milk until desired consistency is reached.
    Add in vanilla and salt to taste. Pour over hot cinnamon rolls.


  • *If you are making these overnight then follow the steps through step 5 but place in the fridge after rolling. When you’re ready to bake, remove rolls from the fridge and set at room temperature for an hour then bake as stated.
  • Recipe by the dutch baker.

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