Cinnamon Rolls

Classic, homemade cinnamon rolls made from a favorite cardamom-flecked, buttery, yeast dough with a generous cinnamon-sugar swirl.

Cinnamon Rolls

I make a version of these cinnamon rolls nearly every year for Christmas. The first time I made them was in 2010, inspired by the version in Lotta Jansdotter's book. They're beauties. Everyone LOVES them. The base recipe is for a version of Lotta's beautiful, homemade, hot from the oven, loaded with sugar and spice, golden, buttery, classic cinnamon rolls.
Favorite Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Cinnamon Roll Basics

To make cinnamon buns you start by making a buttery yeast dough. I know some of you shy away from yeast-based recipes, because of perceived difficulty, but these really are fun to make. One thing to know, they do take time. You'll need to let the dough rest and rise at various points, but most of that time isn't active, so don't let that deter you. Also, once you get the hang of things, you can play around with all sorts of different fillings in future batches. If you want to explore something beyond cinnamon sugar, the filling can be anything from jam, a sweet compound butter, a flavored cream cheese filling. Have fun, experiment, and use this recipe as a jumping off point.
Favorite Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls: The Process

Making cinnamon rolls goes like this. Mix the dough. Let it rise. Roll it out. Put down the filling. Roll. Slice. (Freeze here, if you're going that route). Another rise. Bake. Lotta sprinkles her cinnamon buns with pearl sugar before baking, which gives them a nice crunchy top, but I know a lot of people like a thick slathering of icing - to the horror of some Swedes, I might add. Sometimes I serve these w/ raw sugar on top and icing on the side, and often use the icing from these hermit cookies
Cinnamon Rolls being Filled with Cinnamon Sugar


I've made little tweaks over the years reflected here. Above you see a version of the cinnamon rolls topped with icing. Alternately, you can do a simple sugar sprinkle before baking. I include instructions for both below. You can also play around with the flour. I've done versions with a percentage of rye and also whole wheat flour, for a kiss of rustic-ness. There are some great insights in the comments as well.
Favorite Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Make Ahead Magic

One of the great things about these cinnamon rolls, is that you can prepare them ahead of time. You can even freeze the pre-baked rolls. The night before you're ready to bake them, leave them to thaw, covered, on your counter, and bake them in the morning. 
Cinnamon Roll Swirl Loaf

To Make A Cinnamon Swirl Loaf:

This is an easy tweak to the below cinnamon roll recipe & results in a beautiful, braided loaf. Don’t be intimidated - it looks much more difficult than it is. Promise! The basic jist is this: instead of slicing your two tubes of tightly rolled cinnamon roll dough into individual buns, slice each tube lengthwise with a sharp knife and arrange them side by side, cut side up. See the illustration below to understand how to braid the strands. You should now have four “strands.” If you are having trouble slicing, try getting your knife a bit wet, and clean between each cut.
Cinnamon Roll Swirl Loaf

To braid: Pinch the top ends together. Now, take the left strand and move it over two strands (to the right) and under one strand back to the left. Switch to the other side: take the most right strand and lift it over two strands to the left and back under one strand to the right. Repeat, alternating from left side to right side until the loaf is complete. I find it easiest to say out loud, “over two under one, over two, under one.” Pinch the ends together and carefully lift and tuck into a 9x5 loaf pan. It really doesn’t have to be perfect, just aim for a reasonably tight braid.

Continue with the recipe as written, allowing the twisted loaf to rise in a cozy spot. You’ll bake at the same temperature noted in the recipe, but for longer with the twisted loaf - closer to 30 minutes. And with a loaf like this, where you run the risk of a doughy interior if you under bake, I like to use an instant read thermometer to make sure the interior hits about 190F. If the top of your loaf darkens before the dough is cooked, tent a piece of foil over the top for the duration of the bake.
Cinnamon Roll Swirl Loaf - close-up

More Ideas:

There are a lot of way to go from classic cinnamon rolls to something else. Here are some of the ideas that have come up over the years. For the vegans out there, Shannon notes, "1 cup wheat whole wheat flour and used coconut milk and a flax egg. Topped with nutella and whipped cream." I make a version of the icing with creme fraiche, always a hit, but buttermilk is great too, and easier to come by.

Danielle had this to add," I added 1 tsp of a medicinal masala chai spice blend I ordered on etsy, and it put these over the top!" I love this idea, and heartily encourage experimenting with other spice blends as well. I make these at times with a cinnamon, rose petal, sesame blend. Also, hard to go wrong by using a bit of lemon zest in the bottom of your baking dish.

Hope you love these as much as we have over the years! If you're looking for breakfast recipes don't miss this healthy granola, or the best waffle recipe (seriously!), these classic pancakes, a loaded frittata, tofu scramble, Herb Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs, and the baked oatmeal is always popular.

More Holiday Recipes

101 Cookbooks Membership

Premium Ad-Free membership includes:
-Ad-free content
-Print-friendly recipes
-Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest recipe collection PDF
-Weeknight Express recipe collection PDF
-Surprise bonuses throughout the year

spice herb flower zest
weeknight express

Cinnamon Rolls

4.42 from 29 votes

If you plan on freezing any of the pre-baked cinnamon rolls, here's what you want to do. Freeze them for an hour on a baking sheet or until they'll hold their shape, then drop them into a freezer bag, squeeze out any air and seal well. The night before you want rolls for brunch, thaw them overnight on your counter top, covered with a clean dish towel, and bake per the instructions below any time the following morning. 

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (105F to 115F / 40C to 46C)
  • 3/4 cup / 100g brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup / 125g unsalted butter, barely melted
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 cups / 600g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup / 60g brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup / 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • large grain raw sugar or pearl sugar for sprinkling OR icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk or heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Dough:
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk in a large bowl. Add a pinch of the sugar and stir to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for a few minutes or until foamy.
  2. Add the remaining sugar, the egg, melted butter, and cardamom. Stir until smooth. Stir the salt into the flour, then gradually add the flour to the bowl, a bit at a time, incorporating the flour after each addition. Transfer the dough to a floured counter top and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn it to coat with oil, and cover with a kitchen towel or equivalent. Let the dough rise in a sunny or warm place until doubled, about an hour.
  3. Cut the dough in half on a floured counter top and form each piece into a ball. One at a time, roll each piece into a rectangle 12 inches/30cm and 1/2 inch/12mm thick. See the photos up above if this is confusing.
Make the Filling and Shape the Rolls:
  1. Start by combining the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Spread half of the butter evenly over one rectangle of the dough. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture evenly across the butter. Roll the dough up tightly lengthwise, then turn it so that the seam side is down. Cut the roll into 12 equal slices, a serrated knife works best. You can bake these, cut-side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet, in cupcake liners, or in a buttered baking dish. I used a well-buttered standard pie dish. Unless you are using individual cupcake liners, you want to arrange the slices about 1/2-inch from each other on the baking sheet or in the baking dish. They rise and expand, and end up nice and snuggly in/on the pan. Repeat with the remaining rectangle of dough and filling. You can freeze any slices you aren't going to bake at this point.

  2. Cover the rolls you are going to bake with a dry towel and let rise in a sunny or warm spot until doubled, about an hour. The timing is pretty flexible here - you can go a few hours depending on what is convenient.
  3. Heat the oven to 400F/ 205C with a rack in the top third. Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar if you like. Bake the buns until golden brown, roughly 15-18 minutes. Don't over bake, the buns will dry out = not as good. Remove from the oven and serve warm if possible, plain or with a slather of icing* on top of each bun.
  1. Whisk the powdered sugar with the buttermilk, salt, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Stir until smooth, let sit for a few minutes, then adjust with more sifted powdered sugar if you want a stiffer icing, more buttermilk to thin it out.If icing your cinnamon rolls, spread a bit on each individual roll before serving or serving the icing on the side with a palette knife for individual spreading. 


Adapted from the Cinnamon Bun recipe in Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style by Lotta Jansdotter.

Prep Time
2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 50 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment

Recipe Rating


Has anyone tried using a 1:1 gluten-free flour? My mother loves cinnamon buns but is gluten-free. What a nice surprise for her if it works with this recipe. Thank you!


    If you try it let us know! I can update the recipe notes. xx!

    Heidi Swanson

Are these supposed to quote dense? Mine didn’t rise up to light fluffy pastry , but perhaps this recipe is for a more dense bun? I made sure my yeast was active and the dough rose in the bowl. I left it in the fridge overnight and then left them out to rise /warm up for an hour. They didn’t double in size though. Suggestions ?

Stephanie Mathern

    Hi Stephanie - they're definitely more of a bread than a muffin or cake - which I tend to think of more as fluffy. My guess is that they might have needed more time to rise after refrigeration depending on the temperature of your kitchen and where they were rising....

    Heidi Swanson

Adding these to my list of things to make this month!

Maurizio Leo

I'm so glad that you are back. I'm terribly sorry for your loss and as a long-time reader of your website and books, I'm glad to see you back for your recipes were greatly missed. Best wishes Heidi!


    Thanks for the kind note Nicole - it has been a tough stretch :(

    Heidi Swanson

I posted a comment about flour weight (that maybe is still waiting to be approved before being posted) and wanted to edit to add, as I now see while 120g is most often used as the standard conversion, some sources call for 150g for a cup of flour, that when measuring by weight I came up with an immensely dense and over-floured dough by 500g of flour. I had been continuing to add flour against my instincts for dough, as I didn't think it would make sense to be so under the weight (especially since it's very humid where I live), but stopped around 500g as it just felt it was too much. All of which is to say, Heidi, thank you for this and all your recipes. I apologize I jumped to calling it an error and listing a different conversion. It does seem, though, that maybe in the case of this recipe 600g flour is too much and 480g (a 120g per cup conversion) would be better?


    Hi Sarah, thanks for this! I made them again this weekend with an eye toward your question. Ended up needing about 575g for the dough this times. It can vary from bake to bake. And I think it often depends on the brand of flour and weather as well. Sometimes I need more, and other times quite a bit less - depending on how "thirsty" the flour is. I think your inclination to go with your instinct is spot on - if your dough is on the dry side, add a bit more liquid, and if it is a bit wet, a bit more flour is welcome. xx

    Heidi Swanson

I have had my eye on this recipe for a long time but kept postponing due to a busy schedule. I had never made cinnamon rolls before, and thought that now that I am working from home because of the Corona virus I’d have more time, but it then took weeks before I was able to find yeast in the stores again! :-) However, I finally made them today and they are absolutely fantastic! Glad I have a second batch in the freezer!


Made these this morning and they were amazing! Loved the good dose of cardamom directly in the dough. The dough was also super easy to work with and roll out thanks to the butter. I was concerned adding 3/4c sugar directly to the yeast would make them unhappy, and maybe it did (much slower to rise than my usual experience; yeast was happy when bloomed), but it didn't really matter in the end. They puffed up beautifully with baking. Made an orange cream cheese frosting to finish. Thank you for the motivation to make and share such beauties!


These sound - and look - heavenly, Heidi. I'm bookmarking to make on Sunday for a family get-together, where I know they will be appreciated. Otherwise I risk eating them all between just two of us! Have a fabulous New Year.


Absolutely delicious. 1 cup wheat whole wheat flour and used coconut milk and a flax egg. Topped with nutella and whipped cream, thank you for the wonderful recipe!


    Thanks for the vegan notes Shannon!

    Heidi Swanson

Your overnight hack has firmly put these in our repertoire of festive breakfasts! They are on the table here too.


    Love hearing it! :)

    Heidi Swanson

Hi Heidi, Where can I find the Moroccan Baharat-Cinnamon Rose Blend ? San Francisco misses you


    I think I picked mine up on a trip at Epices Roellinger, but I'm not seeing it on their site anymore...:(

    Heidi Swanson

Has anyone tried these with bob’s redmill gf flour?


These were amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe. I got up early to make them on Christmas. The dough was easy to work with and rose beautifully. Everyone loved them. I will definitely be making these again.

Professor .Shaka

Try cutting back on the yeast; this recipe has so much that it will dry the dough out. When my children were small, I made cinnamon buns (by the seat of my pants) often. Since both were home for Christmas this year, I decided to make them again, and really couldn't recall how I'd done it before. So I began experimenting; starting with the recipe from "The Breadbaker's Apprentice," and with a whole lot of reading from other sources. It is common for enriched doughs (sweet doughs) to call for more yeast. (I'm sure this is the reason for the American habit of frosting cinnamon rolls -- to hide their dryness). Elizabeth David, in "English Bread & Yeast Cookery" writes in the section on brioche that too much yeast makes for a dry bread, and that's exactly what I've discovered. Yeast doesn't scale the way most ingredients do; you need enough to inoculate the dough, but not so much that it's competing for the resources in the flour. I'd try this exact same recipe, with a scant teaspoon of instant yeast, and an overnight proof in a cool room or the refrigerator after the initial proof and shaping. The finished bread will seam moister, flakier, and have a better crumb. It just might take a bit more time to proof; but that also means better flavor.

Rebecca Zicarelli

Making these today for Christmas breakfast! Instead of freezing, I’ll refrigerate the rolls after forming them. Thanks Heidi!

Andie Brands

Hey! So I am thinking to bake these on Christmas morning for my fam! I was wondering if doing from fresh, could I let them sit out overnight - i/e "Cover the rolls you are going to bake with a dry towel and let rise in a sunny or warm spot until doubled, about an hour. The timing is pretty flexible here - you can go a few hours depending on what is convenient." - or should I prepare a few days in advance, freeze them and then let them defrost overnight? Thank you!! FYI I'm very excited to try these.

Hi Samantha, I'd put them, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. And then literally, first thing in the morning (before brushing my teeth ;), move them to a warm cozy spot for an hour before baking. Hope that makes sense! OR you can prepare them ahead of time, and freeze the pre-baked rolls. The night before you're ready to bake them, leave them to thaw, covered, on your counter, and bake them in the morning.


As suggestions for other fillings, since I love chocolate, I usually go with a nutella layer, or other similar chocolate/hazelnut spreads :)


I just made these cinnamon rolls this weekend for a family brunch, they were amazing! I added 1 tsp of a medicinal masala chai spice blend I ordered on etsy, and it put these over the top!


I have made these twice. TASTY! Both times, I used einkorn flour and just reduced the amount of milk by about 15 percent. Thank you for this recipe and all the others. You are an inspiration.


Made these with a barely-sweet cranberry sauce and butter filling, and with icing on top they had the perfect amount of sugar! I also used a cup of eggnog instead of milk in the recipe, and used eggnog in the icing as well. Everyone loved them. Thanks so much for this recipe. Will definitely make these again!


Hello Heidi! I am going to try these, they look amazing! Someone above asked a question, and your answer was this: "HS: Hi Katie, you could try Kim's rolls, and swap in a cinnamon sugar swirl. Hers are scone-like, no yeast. December 21, 2010" Where can I find Kim's rolls recipe? Thank you so much! Love your blog and your recipes! Kathy

HS: Hi Kathy: These are the rolls I was referring to - from Kim Boyce. Enjoy!


These were amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe. I got up early to make them on Christmas. The dough was easy to work with and rose beautifully. Everyone loved them. I will definitely be making these again.


Second rise after freezing should take place in the pan they're going to bake in, right? Otherwise, awkward to move them? Btw, biscottini from a Near and Far are amazing.

HS: Exactly~!

Leslie B.

I am so looking forward to making these! With super-limited free time, I love bread recipes that aren't too particular with rising time. BTW I just made your Swedish Rye cookies for the office and they turned out delicious! So pretty but not too sweet. Too bad that spice shop has closed...the mix you mentioned sounds heavenly.


These are delicious! I baked them twice this Christmas, both times I had to stick them in the fridge for a few hours during the rising, and they still came out perfect. Thanks!


I just wanted to note that the baked ones reheated beautifully and may have even been better than they were fresh!


Heidi~ Too good for x-mas only~I LOVE your idea for freezing half and will make these yummy cinnie buns often. I hope my ass doesn't get any bigger, lol! I try to go low-carb with my recipes.... woohoo! Thanks Heidi, for yet another GREAT recipe! Lisa xo

Lisa @

Thank you Heidi for this great recipe. I made them on the 23rd for Christmas morning and froze them per your directions. It was a bit warm here in Southern California and when I uncovered the cinammon rolls on Christmas morning, they had risen with the sun and were ready to go in the oven. Next time, I'll plan for that, however, I don't plan on waiting for next Christmas ~ too delicious!


I make something very similar to these myself sometimes, Its basically the same recipe only you bake them so they stand up. They're called korvapuustit in Finnish, 'Smacked Ears', I didnt know Americans make this sort of stuff at all.


I "vegan-ized" these for Christmas morning and they were FANTASTIC! Thank you!


Printed the recipe immediately, when I read it yesterday, pract. ran to the kitchen and after 2 days I'm through now with three badges and made a lot of people happy. Very happy, actually they talk of addiction. Thank you. 2011 wanted to start with cinnamon and now I'm out of it..


Made these over the holidays and they were a rousing success. Of course, I couldn't seem to follow directions on this one and somehow ended up mixing the cinnamon, sugar, and butter together and spreading it across the dough before rolling. I think this gave a nice even coating. I will probably make this mistake again. Making the rest of my freezer stash for desert tonight to be served with vanilla ice cream.


Best cinnamon buns ever. My only regret was that I didn't double the recipe so I could have a bigger stash in my freezer. I used both bourbon and vanilla in the glaze (only 1 tbsp bourbon instead of 2) and it was awesome.


This is a Christmas morning classic in my family as well, along with tangy grapefruit and very strong very strong Swedish coffee. My mom's recipe has potato in the dough to make it extra moist. And I'm going to go ahead and vote for the icing. I don't think there is anything vulgar about icing if it is done properly-- homemade with real butter, vanilla bean, almond extra and just a squeeze of lemon juice to cut the sweetness. Mmmmm. We usually cook them in bunt pan which looks all the more elegant with a nice drizzle of frosting.


This looks utterly delicious! Wish I had more patience with baking from scratch to actually do this! Beautiful photos...yummy!


Heidi, thanks for sharing this recipe! I made these buns for Christmas morning with coffee ... ahh they are to die for. Also conquer my fear of knead and rolling out dough!

Valerie Kuan

I made cinnamon buns with wholemeal spelt flour. Of course they didn't look as good as yours but still tasty. Made double the amount of dough and made parmesan buns as well.

Longtime reader, first time contributing. I made these Christmas Eve with my sister and they were absolutely fantastic. They made Christmas morning. Alice


Heidi, these were amazing and I have loads more in the freezer just waiting to be cooked up and devoured!! Thanks so much. We also loved the creme fraiche icing. I have to confess that these aren't the only 101cookbook creations to feature in my christmas baking...gingerbread angels and itsy bitsy choc chip cookies also made an appearance. Thanks again.

Kitty B

I cannot WAIT to make these :) I was hoping for Christmas morning but alas, it was not meant to be. Soon, hopefully! I can smell them now... Heidi xo

Heidi - apples under my bed

I had cinnamon rolls Christmas morning too! I never thought about skipping the icing and opting for raw sugar. I don't think that would go over well with my family. We're icing people.

The Feast Beast

These were so amazing christmas morning! I delivered a batch (since this makes nearly 3 batches) to a friend who had family over for the holidays and they loved them too! That icing was just incredible on these. We have made these a new tradition in my family and this recipe will be tucked away for next year! Thank you for having such reliable and delicious recipes!


Thank you so much for this idea, I believe a new tradition has begun! My brother and I had a great time preparing them and we baked them up on Christmas morning as suggested. What a wonderfully intoxicating smell, a most special, tasty, homey treat!

Julianna Starr

I made these for my family on Christmas. The cardamom in the dough makes it a version of what Finnish people (my ancenstors) call "pulla." My Dad loved them so much that I made them again on Sunday. I baked them separately on a baking sheet and also wedged together in a pie pan, and we definitely prefer the latter method. I'll make them again next year.


Thanks for this recipe. We enjoyed them Christmas morning, they were delicious and easy to make. I cut the cardamom to 1 tsp. because my kids are not crazy about it and I didn't get such a big second rise but they were very yummy and I will make them again. xo


I made these delicious rolls for Christmas morning. For our first Christmas abroad it was a lovely way to start a new tradition. Since I wanted to fill the baking pan it made far too many so we shared with our neighbours. It was also my first attempt at yeasted dough and it was a great success. Muchas Gracias!

Jenn O

I tried these yummy treats out for my first Christmas with my boyfriends family. They were a big hit! Thanks for the recipe.

Samantha Chipman

I love it when my worlds come together like this. I just got this lovely book for Christmas and spent yesterday leafing through it. Will be trying these soon, along with the savory birthday cake!


I made these on christmas eve and let them rise all night long in one large quiche pan. When baked in the moring they became huge and really moist. I served them hot with the icing. They were so good!


We made these for Christmas morning, and they were amazing! I think it will be a new tradition. Also, I got your cookbook for Christmas, so it was quite the 101coobooks holiday. Thanks for all you do!


We made these for Christmas morning, and they were perfect! So yummy! One note: I found the dough to be too wet to knead and ended up adding another cup or so of flour before kneading, then kneading even more flour into the dough, which worked great. Regarding the icing, we used the powdered sugar recipe you suggest here, and added a little orange zest, along with a squeeze of orange juice, and it was delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!


Made a 1.5 batch on Christmas Eve and kept half in the fridge overnight, let rest on the counter for 2 hours, then baked for Christmas morning. Delicious!! I still have half in the freezer. I also added a hint of maple extract to the dough, maple syrup to the butter, and pecans to the cinnamon mixture. Served with a maple cream cheese frosting and a brandy glaze. Huge hit at brunch! Thanks so much for this idea and the perfect recipe to go with it.


I love cinnamon rolls those look so delicious and rustic!

Kate @ahealthypassion

I made these on Christmas morning! Just perfect! Added some pecans to the cinnamon sugar mix....Thanks!


I love home made cinnamon rolls. My father makes hermit cookies every year...never had them iced though. Sounds good!

Jen @ keepitsimplefoods

You can never have too many Christmas traditions...especially when they look this good!

Liana @ femme fraiche

Thanks for the amazing recipe Heidi. I've made them twice since you posted it. I had done the freezing method both times. Worked out perfectly. Thanks again, hope you had a great Christmas. HS: Glad you're enjoying them Kimberley! People on this end loved them too. Esp. my little nephew.


I made these Christmas Eve to bake for my family Christmas morning. I followed the recipe up to putting the buns in two buttered pie dishes and letting them rise some more. I then put them in the fridge overnight and pulled them out to bake in the morning. They were a hit - perfect to have with breakfast, because they were not overly sweet. Thanks for the delicious recipe!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! mmmm now let me just stare at these cinnamon buns a little longer ;)

Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel

I made these for Christmas morning, I added some raisins and smashed dates and used white wholewheat flour (less 1 T per cup). They were very good. After being frozen, they didn't rise at all overnight, so I put them in the oven for an hour to proof, and they rose enough. I have the other half of the dough still in the freezer - these are rolled with a vanilla pear compote instead of sugar cinnamon.


Your pictures are so pretty, seriously, and I love cinnamon buns! This look delish. Your recipes are always so special and original somehow! Thanks! -Amalia


Instead of cinnamon/raisin, a nice flavour twist on buns is to go cherry/almond. They look really pretty for Christmas season too! Use the same dried-candied fruit mix that you would put in a fruit cake. Mix some into the bread dough, the rest you spread on the rolled-out dough, along with marzipan or slivered almonds. Serve with cream cheese icing spiked with amaretto or almond extract.


I love cinnamon rolls! Great recipe. I'm wondering though... if I wanted to add some shredded apples or another type of fruit, would that make sense to do so and would I just add it to the dough? Also, what other fruits could be added?

Neema F

Made this for christmas morning! They were absolutely delicious! Thanx


Being Swedish I find it somewhat vulgar to put icing on cinnamon buns (that is why you did not find it in this Scandinavian recipe). Pearl sugar is just perfect for bringing a little extra sweetness and crunch without masking the beauty of the simple bun itself. Icing on a cinnamon bun to a Swede is like what someone in France probably would think about Ketchup on foie gras. We do use icing on more greasy pastries though (hey, they are vulgar already ;) - such as "danish pastry". Sometimes we use pistachio-paste in the filling of cinnamon buns - very tasty! I would also recommend rolling the dough a little thinner - so you get more layers in the bun. Looks delicious this way too though! In fact, the charm of cinnamon buns is that they look different from each person that do them. They are supposed to be a bit rustic and simple.


These were amazing!! This was my first time ever making cinnamon rolls and they turned out perfectly. My fiancé loves cinnamon rolls so he was really excited. I made them about four days ado and froze them and then took them out and let them rise last night! Thanks for helping us start a new Christmas tradition!!


thanks! These are wonderful. Only problem was we couldn't stop eating them! I omitted the icing-- definitely not needed.


Fantasic recipe - thanks!! No icing, but for batch two I think I will try a little sugar and cinnamon in the bottom of the pan. Beautiful recipe.


What a beautiful recipe! Just perfect for a holiday morning too. Going to give this one a go with gluten-free goodies.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

These are fantastic! My first time making cinnamon rolls - I am more of an instant gratification baker :). I made them yesterday and placed the raised rolls in the fridge overnight to bake this morning - perfect! Another excellent recipe, Heidi!


Thank you so much for posting this! i grew up in a family that had cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, and i just made the dough and froze it.. i especially like the addition of cardamom. I'm excited to smell them baking tomorrow morning :) (i substituted vanilla almond milk for the whole milk b/c i'm lactose intolerant. as far as i can tell it worked out nicely.)


My son requested cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast, too, this year. Dough is rising in my proofbox (microwave) right now... but I missed the cardamom. Once I find it amidst the mess, do you think adding it to the filling would be acceptable? Thanks for posting, and Merry Christmas!

Kasha the FarmGirl

I just made these - I did a trial run a couple of days ago and used dark muscovado sugar which didn't really work as they didn't seem sweet enough. This time I only made 1/2 the recipe and used normal brown sugar, leaving them to rise overnight and baked first thing this morning - yummy! Next time I'll try them with a few raisins in the middle


Made these this morning for Christmas Eve brunch and they came out great! Also, I was able to do them without eggs by using a little flax seed meal and water as a replacement. Thanks for the tasty recipe!


Merry Christmas. I made these for Xmas morning and have just had several with a cup of coffee. They were divine- and my 2 year old loved them. Now I just need to hide the leftovers from the rest of the family.

Jane from NZ

Even better than starting a new tradition in our family, you REVIVED an old one. My husband's mother and grandmother, Swedes, made cinnamon bullar. He grew up eating them and I was the lucky beneficiary of bags and bags of them, from his mother, who would bake and then freeze them (never as good as straight out of the oven). I have wanted to keep up the tradition but was put off by the timing. I compared the recipes and a few others from a Daughters of Sweden cookbook (1955) and they are very similar. I made them earlier today and they are in the freezer now. I divided the dough into thirds and did one third of it in a roll like you do, and the other 2/3 I twisted the dough strips and coiled them into what my mother-in-law called rosettes. Can't wait to taste them. Thank you so much!

Martha W.

I have the same basic question as JM--if we are forming a rectangle with the dough, what is the dimension of the short side? (You say 12" long but no other dimension other than thickness.) Or, do you mean a square rather than rectangle? Thanks, and Merry Christmas! HS: I'd say maybe 14-15 inches? Something like that.


This dough is resting and rising on my countertop right now. The cardamom smell is fantastic! These are going to wonderful, I'm certain. Merci again!


Every year on Christmas morning it is our traditon to make sticky buns. We have used the same recipe for years. After reading this, we just might have to go out of our comfort zone and give it a whirl, especially with the pearl sugar sprinkled over top and bourbon icing. Delicious!

Dave Krajovic

cinnamon buns and christmas morning just belong together!! love, cathy b. @ brightbakes

Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes

I have just made these - they are in the freezer and ready to go for Christmas morning. Thanks!!


YUM! These look spectacular! Maybe i'll make them for my Christmas morning as well! Thanks for the recipe! Seasons Greetings -John


Making these today. Thanks Heidi! Merry Christmas. :)


I always like eating cinnamon buns but making one at home seemed tedious till now. I usually get from cinnabons store but I like the sound of making this at home, specially on Christmas morning! Lovely.

Pam @ Kitchen Cookware

I am going to try to make these for Christmas morning! I can already imagine the warm cinnamonny smell filling up my home. My hubby has a sweet tooth and will definitely enjoy these.

Lisa Mazur-White

This is such a lovely idea and perfect for my first Christmas away from home! I am so excited to it out. Happy Holidays.

Samantha Chipman

This is a great recipe. I did add my own twist to it however. I changed the filling with sugar, pecans and egg whites. I also made a simple caramel sauce that I drizzled over the top rather than the original glaze as described. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to future posts.

Chef Ricky

I had just finished making a different recipe for cinnamon buns from a christmas magazine when I saw your post. I tried freezing mine to see how they would turn out and I have to say my results were dissappointing. Mine didn't seem to have a second rise on thawing and cooked up like little solid bricks. I am determined to have beautiful cinnamon buns on christmas morning, so I will give this recipe a go instead! Wish me luck :)


I used 1/4 cup of butter for the filling instead of 1/2 cup...still turned out delicious!


I have a feeling I'm going to make these tomorrow! They look fabulous!!

Declutter Your Life

These look great! Hmmmm... what if you were to make them Christmas eve day and then bake them Christmas morning? Do you think they would hold up in the refrigerator okay? What do you suggest? Thanks!


I have been dreaming about our Christmas morning cinnamon buns now for weeks. I was planning actually to do a recipe with a goats milk cajeta sauce. But now, hmmm....I think we will be having cinnamon buns on January 1st as well. Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad. Katharine gastronomy and everyday life in Spain

Katharine @

Thanks, Heidi, for another year of fabulous recipes. I look forward to your email in my inbox each week. I wish you, Wayne, and your family a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year! All best!


These buns look amazing! Great recipe :)


They really look yummy! This is another recipe I'm going to try this Holiday season! You really are a good tweaker of recipes.

Andrew @ Blogging Guide

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. You read my mind! I promised my 3 & 1/2 year old son I'd make him Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas and now I can try your recipe. I'm going to make a sugar free (alternative) vegan variation.

tamara da silva

Cinnamon Buns definitely are Christmasy. And I cannot believe I haven't had any with jam in between - that sounds ingenious! As soon as I get my hands on some fresh strawberries to make strawberry jam, I know what I'm trying first!

Kristen | Menuism

I made these this evening actually and they turned out wonderful. The only thing I did differently than you was I made and icing using milk, organic powder sugar, and vanilla. I usually make these sorts of yeasty recipes around special occasions such as Christmas.


This is a unique way of baking the cinnamon bun all together in a pyrex circle glass. You always come up with delicious way of executing food Heidi... Have you done an extra rare Pavlova?

The Artist Chef

What a fabulously festive treat. :-) Mandy

Mandy - The Complete Cook Book

This looks like a perfect way to indulge on Christmas morning!

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}

My mother-in-law always makes cinnamon buns from a can for xmass. These look so much better! I am going to have to make the real thing!


Gorgeous recipe. Thanks for reminding me of what I am sure I would have never thought of! I will surely be baking some for my niece and nephew.

Lisa Walker-

We have been gorging ourselves on your sparkly ginger chocolate chunk cookies and ginger amaranth shortbread, might as well add one more of yours to our holiday repertoire. My children will be soooo excited.


Ooh, very nice! I put cardamom in everything, but never cinnamon buns, thanks for the recipe, and the spice tip!

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

Thank you for this recipe!! Most definitely making these - I love cinnamon rolls. These would be good with some finely chopped pecans or walnuts in them. (Also, if anyone hasn't made the Chocolate Loaf Cake, do it. I have it in the oven right now. It's my favorite dessert, which says something coming from a sweets lover!)


I like that you can prep the most part in ahead of the time and have freshly baked buns whenever you want. Merry Christmas to you, too.

Kitchen M

Argh, I was hoping for a fantastic whole-grain version! Ah well, next year. Also, a big thank you for posting a recipe that I might actually make on Christmas morning. Everybody and their grandmothers have been telling me to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas, but then simply provide a recipe with a typical 4-hour-wait. It'd be mid-afternoon by the time I got my act in gear. Holding my breath for the whole-grain version!


I know what I'll be making for my mom & me this Christmas! These look lovely, and I really enjoy the aesthetics of the large grain sugar on top. Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

These cinnamon buns look delicious! I love how you use cardamom as well. Thanks for sharing!

Happy When Not Hungry

As a yeast bread baker, you can also make these the evening before- should you not have other things happening :-) and let the rolls or the loaves of bread rise slowly in the fridge. Do cover them with plastic wrap. But the slow rise in the fridge makes for an even more tender bread.

Constance Plank

Great idea about freezing the cinnamon rolls and then taking them out the night before. We always have the store bought cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast because no one wants to make them Christmas morning. I am going to surprise everyone this year with homemade cinnamon rolls. Thanks!


if my in-laws will permit it, i might be whippin these up christmas eve as well! great idea :)

heather @ chiknpastry

if you don't have time to roll and bake the dough on the same day you can skip the first proofing stage and refrigerate it overnight, or even 3 days. the dough will slowly proof in the fridge and when you roll out the dough it's much easier to work with. my only change here, as a baker, would be to work the salt in with the flour. having salt & yeast be in such close quarters is dangerous, as salt kills yeast. I especially love that you baked these in a pyrex pie plate. i like to bake mine in a cake pan because they get all cozy. HS: Shuna, that reminds me of the Peter Reinhart Pizza Napoletana dough recipe w/ the overnight rise. I love a good overnight dough. Makes life easier for sure. Also, good call on the salt. Thx. xo

shuna fish lydon

Have you tried baking with soy? My infant daughter can't handle any dairy at all right now, so I'm having to avoid it too. It's making plans for x-mas dinner a bit challenging, but I really want to bake for Christmas breakfast! We tried making pancakes with soy and they were a bit too heavy and thick.


These look delicious! Has anyone tried with a substitute for the egg? I read about the success with soy milk/Earth's Balance, but would like to make completely vegan. Heidi, your blog is a constant inspiration, thank you.


That reminds me of a comment by my Franco/Lebanese cousin about American food: she said she tried cinnamon rolls hot from the oven and thought they were the best thing she had ever had...I could see how this recipe could be a great template for all sorts of interpretations. Happy Holidays!


@marie, I have made cinnamon buns with soy milk and smart balance or earth balance before, and found them to still be yummy and rise properly, etc. In fact, I automatically make those substitutes and was planning to for this recipe as well. I don't celebrate Christmas, but I'm always in favor of a good cinnamon roll recipe!


Oh. My. God. I can TASTE these from the if I can only successfully make these, it will cement the idea in my kids' psyches that their mom actually can cook...and another childhood memory will be mine! Oh, it's diabolical! Really, I'm trying these today. Wish me luck, and stay tuned... Happy Holidays, Heidi! Thanks for your blog! it's an inspiration.

Bad Home cook

"Might I suggest a splash of bourbon as well?" ... But of course! It isn't holiday baking at my house without it! Have to admit that I never would have thought to put it in the frosting for cinnamon buns though... double yum! Thank you for pre-testing the freezing capabilities for us. That took these from "maybe making them" to "definitely making them"... Merry Christmas!!


I've made a similar recipe and done the second rise overnight in the fridge -- works well if you just want to make them the night before (no time/need to freeze them first, but still is quick in the morning). Take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before putting them in the oven (use some of this time to preheat your oven). I would guess it would work similarly here. I really like your suggestions for filling modifications; I need to play around with some of those!


I've made cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast for years. I make the rolls on Christmas Eve and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight. I'll try freezing them this year and letting them thaw instead. One trick my guys like is when I make them in a cast iron pan. You get a great crust and caramel goo on the bottom that way. It also keeps the rolls warm a bit longer.


Mom loved making cinnamon rolls. She put raisins in with the cinnamon sugar and made a sticky caramel sauce with butter and brown sugar under the rolls. After baking, let the pan sit for just a minute, then cover it with wax (or parchment) paper and a cooling rack. Flip it all over and the sticky caramel runs down over the rolls. Cardamom sounds so tasty and different from hers. I'm gonna have to try this.


mmm, nothing better than hot cinnamon buns on Christmas morning! yum!


Sorry, too quick a trigger finger. I also wondered if the milk should not be scalded? My understanding is that milk contains a protein that inhibits the yeast, and that it is denatured if you scald the milk first. Does anyone who is a better baker than I know?


Really? A tablespoon of cardamom. Seems like a lot.


This recipe is just what I've been looking for--I bet your home smells divine! Quick question: is 4 teaspoons of yeast one or more packets? Thanks! PS Your raw kale salad has become a family staple!


Like you I love cinnamon buns (or a coffee cake) for Christmas morning along with fresh fruit and a simple quiche. Oh yeah and not to forget the mimosas! I like the freezing and unthawing over night. So much cooking in so little time can make one tired and cranky! Anything that can be done in advance I am in favor of. Love it.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

Sounds like the beginning of a wonderful family tradition! And I like the part where you got to make two test batches!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

The smell of cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) is always the first thing I notice when I return home to Sweden. Here we eat them all through the year! I've got lots of traditional Swedish recipes translated into English on my website if anybody is interested. This post has made my heart warm. Tack! x


these look *amazing*. when i was a kid we always had blueberry muffins fresh from the oven on christmas morning. cinnamon rolls might make a nice change... call me a dork, but do you think you could sub whole wheat pastry flour, or would it destroy the texture? HS: Hi Laura, I haven't had a chance to work out any sort of whole-grain flour version of the cinnamon buns, but I have some ideas. I'm thinking a rye flour version, or maybe one with white whole wheat flour. Prob.some sort of a blend. For next year!

laura @ alittlebarefoot

Do you think you could let these do the second rise in the refridgerator overnight? I, too, have been thinking a lot about cinnamon rolls for Christmas, although I plan to make the filling with cardamom rather than cinnamon. However, I'm traveling home for Christmas and won't get back early enough to warrant freezing and defrosting, so I'm looking for alternatives for the second rise. Thanks!


That looks really good! I love Cinnamon Buns!

Azia Graham

Drool. I've been looking for a cinnamon roll recipe worth the work. looks like I found it. Thanks for posting!

kristi @ veggie converter

One tablespoon cardamom? I will be transported to heaven immediately upon first bite! Oh, thank you.


My dad has been making these every Christmas morning since we were little, and I've carried on the tradition when I'm not home for Christmas. I like the addition of cardamom to the dough, I'll be adding a few of your twists this year.


I'd assumed these were whole wheat, since most of your recipes are! I made whole wheat cinnamon rolls once, but they were scraggly. I new recipe is in order!

A Teenage Gourmet

Really? I can mix in all the dough I want then freeze, thaw them after and still bake beautifully??? Wow! Thank you so much for that tip! Cinnamon buns are my favorite. Perfect for any mornings!

boiled sweets

I'm all in for new Christmas traditions. This is the first Christmas I'll spend away from my original family and with my 'new' acquired one, and we are struggling to find common traditions :) Well, let's start with new ones completely. In both family we eat a lot at lunch so breakfast gets a bit overlooked, but this is too special a treat to miss.


We always had cinnamon buns christmas morning. They were always out of those "whomp" cans full of crazy fats and way too much hf corn syrup. I am going to make these today, squirrel them away in the freezer and have them ready for christmas morning. It will be such a treat!


Great recipe ! I wanted to make these since a long time. If we were to change dry yeast with instant yeast how much you think we should use ? So far I am only used to working with instant yeast unfortunately.


These look so warm and inviting. Perfect breakfast for Christmas morning.


Just made Easy, and so delicious. I froze the unused portion and now have Christmas morning taken care of. Thanks again Heidi for another great, classic recipe. Happy Holidays HS: Glad it went smoothly Lynn!


My Mother-in-law makes Cinnamon Rolls every year for Christmas. And when we lived far from her for a time, I started making them for Christmas also. We love the Cinnabon clone recipe, but they are very rich. I will have to try these. They look delicious! (And that Moroccan Baharat-Cinnamon Rose Blend is very tempting!)


Lovely! I was looking for a light cinnamon roll recipe a few months ago and this looks perfect. While I like the yeasty-cinnamonness, most cinnamon rolls are too sweet and rich.


My husband is going to go bonkers over these. Thanks for the recipe and the possible new tradition.

Caroline Shields

Love the idea of cinnamon rolls on demand! I'll make these for the neighborly drop-ins on Christmas Day. And since more is more with me, I think I'll roll up chopped apples, raisins and pecans in the dough to gild this bakery lily. Okay and maybe a little maple syrup icing glaze to top this culinary celebration. Thanks Heidi, Merry Christmas!

Tom @ Tall Clover

These look amazing! Does anyone know how I would alter the baking time for altitude? We'll be at about 6300 ft (Lake Tahoe) for Christmas. I'm a total beginner baker so I wouldn't really trust myself to try to just figure it out, then have a house full of disappointed and hungry friends!


Addendum to my previous post: the orange filling is grated orange peel with sugar AND butter. Of course, you can't forget the butter!


Thank you for this recipe and tip on freezing the rolls! You really did read my mind as I've been debating with myself about how to make cinnamon buns work for Christmas morning. The tradition in my house was to have cinnamon rolls which my mother would shape like a Christmas tree. We would snack on them after ripping opening our gifts and the sugar high would keep us going until our afternoon meal at Grandma's house. Sometimes we'd have orange filling instead of cinnamon, which I also adore. It's just grated orange peel mixed with sugar. Yumm.


This dough is easily made in the bread machine on the dough cycle, you fill and shape the rolls, arrange them in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. They will be ready to pop into the oven in the morning. Also with a glass baking dish, need to drop the oven temperature 25º from the recipe temp. Best in a metal pan to go from fridge to oven directly. Other wise u can also use a ceramic pan or square pyrex pan. Make sure you have a pan that can go in the freezer without cracking. Disposable aluminum pans from the supermarket are good for freezing doughs. The photo shows the rolls a bit flatter than what will usually come out...They will usually bake up almost to the rim of the pan. I wonder what type yeast heidi used. The dough looks like the correct consistency.


Looks super yummy! I will definitely be making this Sat. morning for everyone. I love the smell of cinnamon buns on the holidays- so comforting! Great job! Can't wait to give these a shot :) Happy Holidays!


Can't wait to try these out! Quick question about freezing them: when you say to thaw them overnight, do you mean to keep them in their freezer bag, and just put them in the fridge? Or on the counter? HS: Hi Steph, I arranged them in the baking dish straight from the freezer, then left them out on the counter overnight covered with a clean dish towel - baked them at about 10:30 the next morning.


These must be subliminal fresh out of the oven. I especially like the coarse sugar sprinkled on top. Happy holidays!


these look delicious and they would be perfect to surprise my best friend on Christmas day. I dont think I can find dry active yeast around where I live. Would the standard white powder variety do or should I swop for active baker's/fresh yeast? thanks so much!


Ideal not only for Christmas morning but for every morning. I could swear I can smell those just by looking at the pics. I prefer the light sprinkling of raw sugar on top rather than icing. You can taste the cinnamon so much better without it. Magda

my little expat kitchen

ooohhh. Definitely one of those recipes that make me wish I could eat yeast! Any ideas for a non-yeast risen, but still tastes like cinnamon buns, recipe? Mouth watering as usual Heidi! HS: Hi Katie, you could try Kim's rolls, and swap in a cinnamon sugar swirl. Hers are scone-like, no yeast.


Well they look absolutely perfect. But this pregnant belly only wants eggs in the morning :-)

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Would these work with soy milk/ earth balance in place of the milk and butter? Or is the whole milk needed to get the yeast to behave? These look delicious, and I would love to try a dairy-free version.


I had the same notion last week, and now you have done all - ALL - of the homework for me. Thank you for the most prescient Christmas gift! (If I knew you personally I'd be over with my power drill and rubber mallet to help with that storage unit in return ...) Thank you as well for all the inspiration in 2010 and wishing you and yours a joyous holiday!


Sounds like your family will be happy on Christmas morning. There is something so comforting and indulgent about fresh cinnamon buns. Thanks for the recipe. Happy Holidays!

The Bounty Hunter

If you substitute sultanas (golden raisins) for the cinnamon-sugar mix, or perhaps half and half, you end up with what are called Chelsea Buns here in the UK - these are never iced but always sprinkled with sugar, as in your recipe. Both recipes delicious, although I think Americans prefer more cinnamon to we Britons.

Mrs Redboots

Yum! I'll be making cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning as well. Another flavoring idea for the icing: add a tablespoon or two of very strong coffee/espresso.


we are going to visit my hubby's family for I know exactly what i'm going to make them to keep everyone smiling! :)

Heather (Heather's Dish)

This is EXACTLY the recipe I have been needing/wanting all of these years, but was too busy to track down. I and my five kids thank you and wish you a wonderful Christmas filled with many blessings-and cinnamon rolls!


Ooh, sometimes I wish we had wintery Christmases - those buns seem like such a festive thing, but for a colder climate - not that I can complain, I will be at the beach with my family and I can't wait! Have a lovely Christmas and enjoy your cinnamon rolls!


I had already planned on cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, but wanted a new recipe! These will fit the bill perfectly. Would these work with spelt or whole wheat flour, or maybe a combo? HS: I can imagine an apf / spelt blend working nicely, but haven't tried it yet.


Heidi, I totally agree that cinnamon buns for Christmas morning is a tradition worth starting. Mine will be a bit different, tho, as only 1/3 of the kids will be here Christmas morning. Maybe my tradition will have to be cinnamon buns for the morning AFTER Christmas! Buon natale!


Cinnamon...scent of Christmas ! Great blog. I'm following...


This is a great idea and so christmassy! I was just thinking to myself, 'hmmmm how will I go about breakfast on christmas morning' then I opened up your blog and you've given me the answer! When I was a kid I would just eat the chocolate, satsumas and walnuts in my stocking instead but I'm in love with sweet cinnamon buns and I think all that chocolate would make me feel sick nowadays! The kitchen is so busy on christmas day so the second rise overnight after thawing is really clever. Thanks for the lovely idea and recipe!

Hayley Harland@thedelectablediary

I can't think of *anything* better for Christmas morning! Except maybe delivery to me in bed. With tea. And presents ... Now that's my kind of family tradition!

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic

Just to double check that I've read this right... you freeze the slices BEFORE the second rising part, and then you just let it thaw/rise overnight, and then you can pop it straight in the pan and in the oven? Thanks so much for this. I'm excited to make these. HS: That's exactly right Aimee. Happy holidays.


More Recipes

101cookbooks social icon
Join my newsletter!
Weekly recipes and inspirations.

Popular Ingredients

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of its User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

101 Cookbooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Any clickable link to on the site is an affiliate link.