Homemade CinnaBuns- The easy way!


These cinnamon rolls have power behind them – real power. You could pretty much get anything you wanted if you showed up toting a plate of these babies, warm with icing oozing down the side. Regardless of their power, though, I want you to try to use them only for good. Rather than taking over the world (which I am waiting ’til I get both kids in school to do because I just don’t have the time needed to run it until I have at least another hour free each day), you can use them as wonderful gifts of gratitude and tokens of caring. I especially love that I can make these ahead of time and put them in the fridge to pop in the oven first thing in the morning – which makes your gifts of gratitude and tokens of caring all the more easier to provide!

I have been making these for years but only in the past few have I started using the shortcut method. While it’s fun to make the dough from scratch, its much more time consuming and not that easy on your hands (especially if you have arthritis ~raises hand~). Using store bought bread dough as opposed to making your own makes these super easy for anyone, regardless of experience in the kitchen, to turn out these supremely impressive cinnamon rolls.

If you have a loved one who is a devotee of the cinnamon rolls in the mall, expect them to become your number one fan the moment these come out of the oven.

In fact, my husband prefers them!

Of course, since I do have two ways of making these, I’m going to give you my easy way and then my homemade dough recipe at the bottom of the post just in case any of you want to try out that method as well. The tutorial will focus on the easy way, though. Life is complicated enough. :)


To make these the easy way, you’ll need: White bread dough (1 loaf),  a stick of margarine, cinnamon*, cream cheese, brown sugar, and confectioner’s sugar.

*Note: I’m using super cheap cinnamon. I paid all of .50 cents for it. You can pay a small fortune for a jar of cinnamon these days but I guess my tastes have never been refined enough to tell the difference.~grins~

Now, my confectioner’s sugar and brown sugar are in little sealed containers. I got tired of dealing with bags and such so I picked those up on my last trip to the grocery store. For those of you who know me and fear I may be ill – because this seems almost organized and that is soooooooooooo unlike me- rest assured this is a random act of organization and I don’t plan on making a habit of it. ~exhales in relief~ Yeah, that kinda scared me for a minute there, too!

This I promise… ~stands up and places a hand on her lapel in Abe Lincoln style~

I will always remain true to myself. You have my solemn vow that there will always be several piles of unfolded laundry, a pantry that looks like a tornado hit it most days, and empty coffee cups sitting near my computer along with various other assorted messes not just in one room, but throughout my entire house.

Don’t worry folks, I won’t let ya down!


Get out one loaf of bread dough and sit it on a plate at room temperature to thaw. This will probably take about an hour.

Just go check on it every now and then and poke it a bit to see if it is still frozen in the center. We need it completely thawed because we’re gonna take our rolling pin and put some elbow grease into flattening and stretching that puppy out!


In a small bowl, place brown sugar and cinnamon.


Mix those up.

I used one of Katy Rose’s “golden forks” for this. She was pretty proud of that.


Place your thawed bread on a floured surface.

I always roll out a bit of waxed paper to do this on for easy clean up.

I think more sentences in my life should include the words “Easy” and “clean up” together. Especially this time of year.



Now, putting some elbow grease into this, roll out your dough.

My original recipe called for it to be rolled out to about 16×21 but that was when I was making the dough from scratch. When I use a loaf of dough, I roll it out to about 9×16. It comes out just the same but you just don’t have as many spirals to your cinnamon rolls.

I hope I’m making sense here…been a pretty stressful morning :).


Take half of your stick of melted butter and spread it over your dough.


Sprinkle your brown sugar mixture over it and pat down lightly. I leave a little bit of edge on each side to help it seal when we roll it up.


Carefully begin rolling it all up into a log.


Like this. Press that together just a little bit.


Using a serrated knife (because that is what works best for me, but if you prefer some other type feel free!) cut one inch slices all down your log.


Place the slices in a greased 9×13 pan.

I am using metal but you can use glass if you prefer, whatever you have on hand.

You really can’t mess these up.


Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, which could take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on the temperature.

Sometimes it’s hard to find a warm place in your house in the winter time. In the summer, I go put them in the garage.

In the winter, I dry a load of clothes and set them on top of the washing machine, near the dryer. ~grins~

At this point, you can also put them in the refrigerator and let them rise overnight. They will rise much more slowly in the fridge so get up about an hour before you want to bake them because you may need to sit them on the counter for about an hour to let them finish rising.


Looky there! Isn’t that beautiful? See how easy this is?

Hint: Don’t be going bragging about how easy it is to your family because if they don’t know, you’re pretty much a sure thing for a sainthood nomination when you make these.

Remove cling wrap and bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Meanwhile, back at the Duke place, Boss Hog developed a wild hankerin’ for some cream cheese icing. Being bighearted, Daisy decided to make it for him.

I watched way too much Dukes of Hazzard as a child…


Apparently, Ricky did too because when he saw the General Lee at a mall in Nashville this past weekend he about had a dying duck fit wanting me to take his picture by it.

Where was I? Oh ..yeah…Boss Hog wanted some cream cheese icing..


Place 1/2 brick cream cheese (recipe calls for 3 ounces, half of an eight ounce brick works for me!) and the other half of the stick of  margarine in a mixing bowl.


Add confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon

The cinnamon gives your icing a bit of oomph!


Mix that up until smooth and creamy.


Ooooh…all ready!


Now I don’t put icing on mine in the pan, I serve them and let people put their own icing on.

I eat mine without any icing (I know, that is awful! But I can’t have the sugar and I still very much enjoy the cinnamon roll!) and my husband would pretty much put the entire bowl of icing on his if I let him…

Ooooh Lawdy, isn’t that gorgeous? These heat up well, too. I made them last night for dessert and we heated some for breakfast this morning. Delicious!

Homemade CinnaBuns

Homemade CinnaBuns


  • 1 loaf frozen white bread dough (such as Rhode's)
  • 1/4 Cup butter or margarine, softened (Filling)
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed (Filling)
  • 3 Tablespoon ground cinnamon (Filling)
  • 3 ounce cream cheese, softened (Icing)
  • 1/4 Cup butter or margarine, softened (Icing)
  • 1-1/2 Cups confectioner's sugar (Icing)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional, I usually just leave it out) (Icing)


  1. Place loaf of dough on plate and let sit at room temperature until thawed. Once thawed, roll out onto floured surface to a size of about nine inches by sixteen inches. Spread 1/4 C margarine over dough.
  2. In small bowl mix together brown sugar and 3 T cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of cinnamon roll, stopping about 1/2 an inch away from the sides so it will seal (see photos). Carefully roll up cinnamon roll into a log and press lightly to seal. Slice into one inch slices with serrated knife. Place in greased 9x13 inch pan and cover with cling wrap. Place in warm spot and allow to rise until doubled in size. Remove cling wrap and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until done.
  3. Icing: Mix all ingredients together and beat with electric mixer until creamy. Spread over cinnamon rolls.


From Scratch Dough

*This dough replaces the frozen loaf of bread dough. Use the rest of the recipe as written above.

  • 1 Cup Lukewarm Milk
  • 2 Large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/3 C unsalted butter or margarine, cut up
  • 4  3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1  3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant or bread machine yeast

Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order listed. Program the machine for dough or manual and press start. After about ten minutes, check the doughs consistency. It should be smooth, not too sticky and not too dry. Adjust it’s consistency with additional flour or water if necessary to allow the machine to complete the kneading.

*If not using a bread machine, combine all of the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until mixture becomes cohesive. Transfer to lightly oiled work surface and knead by hand for five to eight minutes or until it is smooth. The way I think of smooth is…~looks around to make sure no one is listening~ it needs to be like a baby’s bottom.

Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for one hour, until it is nearly doubled. Transfer to floured work surface and roll into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread with 1/2 stick margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Complete using recipe above.

Don’t count the days-make the days count.

~Muhammad Ali

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  1. Mel in FL says

    I just made the cinnamon rolls and put them in to rise. Before that I fried slices of link sausage and added it to a cabbage and started it to boil. The smell of the sausage and cabbage filled the house about the time I was knee-deep in cinnamon and brown sugar. My husband wanted to know what I was making. You could have heard a pin drop when he could smell cabbage and sausage (a favorite) and I answered cinnamon rolls (another favorite.) I realized his problem about the time I got to the living room to see what the problem was. Talk about a nervous look on his face. He wasn’t sure what to say about the cinnamon rolls that smelled like cabbage. It was better than asking him if “that dress” made my behind look big. I was so proud when he didn’t say, don’t blame it on the dress.

  2. Nancy Hearell says

    Do you think these would be good with raisins in them? My grandma used to make the best homemade cinnamon rolls when I was a child and she always put raisins in them. I like cinnamon rolls with raisins in them but you can’t ever buy them that way anymore.

    • says

      I think they would be WONDERFUL that way. What I would do is take about a cup of raisins and soak them in hot water for five minutes before putting them over the filling. That way they’ll be nice and plump! :) Let me know how they turn out. I want to try that now! You’re right, you really don’t see that anymore!

  3. Ann in TN says

    I made two pans of these and took them to work this past Monday morning. They were gone in no time flat! Delicious and so easy. I still have more bread dough so I may make more tomorrow. Might also try adding raisins. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. Remy says

    I’ve been making homemade cinnamon buns for about a year now, and although I’ve never tried this recipe, I wanted to share a few tips!
    1) If you have a problem cutting the log into rolls, and they keep getting all squished and misshapen, use a piece of string to cut them instead of a knife. Just wrap it around the log where you want to cut it and pull it tight–it’ll slice right through and leave them perfectly round. (I do the same thing to make perfect spiral cookies!)
    2) I’m not a huge icing fan, but I love my cinnamon buns sweet and gooey. So instead of mixing up icing, I melt together equal parts butter and brown sugar in a saucepan on the stove to make a wonderful “goo.” You can either put the goo in the bottom of the pan when you bake them, and invert them once they’re done, or just pour it over the tops when they’re done. I feel like it gives them a more old-fashioned, traditional feel. Enjoy!

  5. Vicki says

    You are right! These have power for sure! Powerfula flavor and taste! Just made these this evening and took them over to my parents who are 79! Dad’s almost 80 and loves cinnamon rolls. They will be having them for breakfast for several days! Thank you again so much for all of the wonderful recipes! P.S. I used the shortcut method with Rhodes loaf of bread! LOL

  6. Melody says

    I have to try these this Saturday morning. My husband will love them!!! He called me almost in tears last month to tell me that the Cinnabon at our mall had closed. He was so upset, I thought at first his sister had died. He will love me forever if I can reincarnate his favorite treat! Thanks for the great recipe ideas. I love that this one has an easy way! And the pictures help a lot!!!

  7. Nancy L. says

    I have to tell you – I doubled the from-scratch version of this recipe last time I made it (not on purpose – I accidentally doubled one of the ingredients so went ahead and doubled everything – my heavy duty KitchenAid didn’t like it, but she mixed it anyway). Anyhoo – I rolled them and and froze half of them. About a month later I thawed & baked the frozen ones. They were even better! I don’t know if the cinnamon had time to really soak into the rolls or what, but it was FABULOUS!!

  8. Tracy N. says

    This looked too easy to be good…. but was I surprised! I got nothing but raves from my family and church members who said they tasted like Cinnabon rolls! I made them think I slaved all day and night to make them! This is great!!!

  9. Angie P from KY says

    This is exactly the way I have been making my cinnamon rolls for a few years now, except the icing…. I usually take some of the whipped cream cheese, add some powdered sugar, some buttermilk, and a touch of lemon juice. Sorry, I usually don’t measure, I just guess on the amounts. This year my sisters and their husbands stopped by my house on the way to my mom’s for Christmas and we had a little brunch and I made these. I have a feeling I am going to HAVE to make them again next yr! (And BTW, I am the “Angie Blanton” from your Facebook page. Loved the crock pot lasagna and trying the chicken and dumplings tonight along with a surprise for the hubster– bread pudding!).

  10. Dawn says

    I can’t tell you how much we love this recipe. I use Ideal Brown Sugar instead of normal brown sugar and only make half of the sugar mixture per loaf and it turns out amazing!!! and for the Icing I use the Ideal Confectionarys Sugar too. I”m so glad someone finally came out with a SF powered sugar, its not calorie free.. but its sugar free :)
    I love your posts and everything I have tried so far has been wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us!!!

  11. Kelly H. says

    These look delicious! Is there a way you can make them like the Caramel Pecan rolls that they have at Cinnabon? That’s my family’s favorite. (We also love the Pillsbury Caramel Rolls that come in a can, but those are impossible to find in Northern Virginia.) Thanks for sharing this recipe! : )

  12. Marsi says

    How can I freeze? In the long roll, thaw and cut? Flash freeze after I cut into individual rolls? Please advise! I am making for our family annual beach trip so I need A LOT and I wanted to prepare ahead. THANK YOU in advance!

  13. says

    Remy, I just read your review on the cinnamon rolls i would like to try your goo how much butter and brown sugar for a 9 X 13 pan, thanks in advance, also Christy I love this site , I’ve enjoyed it very much since I started getting it.

  14. Rebecca says

    These are amazing! To make them even gooier, I melt a cup of vanilla ice cream and drizzle it over the top of the dough before wrapping the pan up and refrigerating them overnight. The ice cream soaks into the dough or something – you can’t tell it’s there after baking but it sure gives a nice texture and flavor. I was told to make sure to use a decent quality ice cream, though. I imagine a scummy layer of gum arabic wouldn’t be too appetizing!

  15. Adelyn says

    Hi Christy, If I use the From Scratch Dough, the dough needs to be left to rise. After spreading the cinnamon/sugar mixture, do I still need to leave it to rise again? Tks!

  16. linda hughes says

    hi christy…love all your recipes! i have been making cinnamon rolls like this for years using my friends mothers homemade starter….when i make out my rolls i let them rise uncovered in a oven with just the light on. the light gives out just the right amount of heat….i’m going to try the cinnamon in the icing…what a great idea!!

  17. rachael says

    Very important step “remove cling wrap” — I overlooked this step because my toddler was “helping”. Oops. Trying again tonight! Should be much better without a plastic casing!

  18. Sharla says

    Does anybody know if you can use Rhodes white dinner rolls? My local Wal-Mart does not have the frozen Rhodes loaf bread. I was so disappointed! My heart was set on making them. Any advice???? TIA

  19. Wendy says

    If you make them with the frozen bread dough, can they be refrozen before cooking for later use? I’m worried about how the dough would hold up to thawing, refreezing, and rethawing before letting them rise. I would love to make a bunch up to take to Beach Week.

  20. Lana says

    If you ask hubby to stick them in the oven in the morning while you are applying your face upstairs be SURE to tell him to take off the plastic wrap!! Guess how I know? Plastic coated cinnamon rolls–ugh!

  21. says

    Okay… cinnamon rolls are really wonderful… only hitch… I should not bake and eat a whole pan at one time! Would love to have them fresh every day but do not have that kind of time… How about some freezing information- pre-bake?

  22. Jodie says

    Christy… HELP!!! I made these last night. 4.. count them 4 pans. I let them rise, they were BEAUTIFUL!! Beautiful pans of Cinnabuns. I put in icebox after they rose to cook this morning. This morning, I open icebox and ALL 4 pans are FLAT!! *crying* Hoping they rise again… going to go ahead and cook them in about 1.5 hours after they get room temp and see what they look like. *crying again* HA HA LOL 4 pans of beautiful Cinnabuns…. *sniff* RIP…

    • says

      Oh my hearts just sank with you when I read this. I’ve done the same thing and I was so disappointed in myself I actually cried because I had been so proud thinking of sending them to people.
      It sounds like your dough was allowed to rise too much, more than double in size, then overnight it quit rising and started dying off once it reached the limit of how large it could become. I’m hoping, praying, and crossing my pinky toes that it rises some again for you.
      The good news is that your rolls are still bakeable/edible, it’s just that they will be harder -but I’m a trooper, I ate them anyway. ;)
      I wish I could get in my cat (or caR even, since my cat is quite lazy)and come right over there to make cinnamon rolls, drink coffee, and giggle the morning away with you. I’d make you giggle, I promise!

  23. Elysium says

    Hi Christy! I’ve always made my cinnamon rolls from scratch. Xmas morning I am tired! I’ve been up wrapping all night, kids are excited to open gifts so they wake me at the crack of dawn, and making cinnamon rolls is about the last thing I want to be doing. ;)

    This year I want to try the easy method. What is your favorite way to do them Christmas Eve before bed? Do I let them rise before putting in the frig, or do I just make and pop in the frig? Just need to get the rise timing down on them. You don’t know my gang when they are waiting for Xmas morning buns! It makes a cross country car trip of “are we there yet?” sound good.

  24. says

    Hey Sugar!

    You said “*Note: I’m using super cheap cinnamon. I paid all of .50 cents for it. You can pay a small fortune for a jar of cinnamon these days but I guess my tastes have never been refined enough to tell the difference.~grins~”

    Shame Shame Shame on you honey. You’ve never tried Watkins Cinnamon then, because it is the only PURE Cinnamon that the FDA allows to say it’s pure. And you can TASTE the difference darlin’. Get yourself some of that Watkins Cinnamon, stick your finger into your cheap stuff and taste it, clean your palate and then taste the Watkins Cinnamon. I’m telling you Sugar, you’l TASTE the difference and I’m not liein’

    Love Love Ya,

    Rita K

  25. Sherry Hyer says

    These came out just wonderful – the only change I made was to add the juice of half a lemon to the icing, which thinned it down a little, but cut the overwhelming (to me) sweetness of the powdered sugar, and eliminated the cinnamon which wasn’t listed in the ingredients on the actual recipe.
    I make the same icing for my pineapple cake (no cinnamon there!), but it has even more powdered sugar for its thicker consistency, so I always add lemon juice to it. This worked out well for me!

  26. April says


    I have made these twice now and neither time have the risen! I’ve put them in the laundry room as suggested and in my kids room where it’s the warmest in the house. Suggestions?

  27. Sandy says

    Ms. Christy…..several people have asked this same question…..and I keep looking for your answer……..PLEASE tell us….and we freeze this “wonders’ before baking……..in my house there is only two of us and we can not…or should not eat all of these at once….don’t get me wrong would love to but watching our weight…..and they be frozen and then take out a few…let them rise and then bake?????will this kill they from rising properly…Please help us out!!!!!!
    KEEP the awesome recipes coming!!!!!….Sandy

    • says

      I actually contacted the head of Rhode’s test kitchen to get their help on this one. Unfortunately, freezing them before baking at any time will cause them to deflate and not rise again. However, you can freeze them after fully baking and then reheat :)

  28. Mary says

    Oh gosh these would be heavenly to take to our next Church Dinner, they don’t have to stay warm when we’re all together everything tastes so good we all could care less if the food is hot or cold.
    Also these would be good to prepare on a Saturday night, put them in the oven the next morning when you’re almost finished dressing and eat one right before you leave for Sunday morning Church.
    Thanks so much for this recipe Christy

  29. Emily Townzen says

    I just live reading your posts! I have a strong feeling thay we could have one heck of a good time on a big porch with a pitcher of tea or lemonade and maybe a snack for the afternoon. Thanks for whay sounds like another great reciepe!

  30. Krystal West says

    In the visual instruction you say to add cinnamon to the icing for zing. However, I do not find that measurement…only for the filling. I am waiting for mine to rise right now, so I will add to taste. Just thought you might like to amend the recipe. I made the Easy Orange Rolls earlier, they were a huge hit. Over the weekend, the kids and I made AND canned your Crockpot Apple Butter. It is AAAAAMAZING! Thank you so much for this site, it brings back so many memories of my Great Grandmother and me cooking together.

  31. Danya Goss says

    PLEASE HELP!!! I have tried making these a few times but they have never risen!!! I have put them on the stove top or on the island across from the stove (heated to 200* and door open) but nothing. Is it me or the frozen dough????

      • Danya Goss says

        Its the Rhoads (sp) frozen bread usually from Walmart but occasionally from Homeland. I attempted the cinnamon rolls again this weekend AND made a loaf of bread just to see if it would rise. It did after several hours but only a few of the cinnamon rolls tried to rise. Could I be overworking the dough when rolling it out? I’d love to make big fluffy cinnamon rolls for the family instead of cinnamon hockey pucks!

        • Eileen says

          Being obsessed with the Dukes is no problem, they were actually mentioned in my Great Aunts Eulogy last week, and she passed away at 95! As were Cheech and Chong, but, that’s a different story. Lol.
          Now if only I could channel her to recreate her meatballs! Her secret was mint, apparently not her only secret, I haven’t had meatballs like hers in my life.

  32. Wanda Becatti says

    My Mom shared this with me to have a warm area to raise dough. Turn on your oven light only and put your bowl of dough to rise in the oven. DO NOT heat the oven. Just use the oven light. Works every time and can be used during summer or winter!

  33. WiffytoJ says

    I’ve never actually made these with frozen bread dough, but I make a similar from scratch recipe. I make 2 batches a week or so before Christmas. I roll them out, cut them up, place them in a pan sprayed with no stick spray and then freeze them right then, before they even rise once. I just pop on a lid or foil and stick them in the freezer. Then Christmas eve, I take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge. On Christmas morning, I get up and turn the oven on to 175* or so and let them rise and fluff up. When they’re the right size (maybe 45 minutes?) I take them out of the oven, preheat the oven, and then bake them like normal. Then on New Year’s eve I do the same thing with the second pan and we have *fresh* cinnamon rolls on New Year’s Day as well.
    If I’m baking them the same day I make them, then I turn on the oven for exactly 2 minutes, turn it off and let them rise in the oven. I don’t like things rising on the counters or a cat would probably get into them. ;)
    PS-they do look really scrawny and like they will never rise but they always do rise and fill in all the empty places. But that is a from scratch recipe with regular yeast.

    Christy, I love the idea of adding cinnamon to the frosting. YUM!
    Thanks so much for all your recipes and your inspiring posts.
    -Christy (I like your name, lol)


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