Every bite of these best gooey cinnamon rolls is filled with warm homemade sweet bread, and packed with classic cinnamon-spiced, rich buttery flavor. These melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon buns are sweet, moist, and dare I say it - even better than Cinnabon!
These cinnamon rolls are ooey-gooey delicious. You will feel like a rockstar in the kitchen when everyone is raving about them! Trust me, I know they are a time commitment, but it's worth it because the payoff is huge!
There’s plenty of quick and easy recipes out there. But when it comes to the best gooey cinnamon rolls, it pays to take your time. Yes, they are a labor of love. But man, oh man, do they pay back in all the right kind of ways.
We love a good breakfast recipe! Some of our other breakfast recipes worthy of holiday mornings and weekend brunches are Blueberry Muffin Cake, Sheet Pan Breakfast Pizza, German Pancakes, or Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole.
These best gooey cinnamon rolls require a number of pantry staple ingredients. But the most important thing to remember is when it comes to naturally cold items like butter, milk, eggs or cream, that you are bringing them to room temperature or warm temps before adding to your dough!!
- Warm Milk
- Softened Salted Butter
- Room Temperature Eggs
- Instant Dry Yeast
- Brown Sugar
- Softened Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
- Maple Extract
🍳 Step-by-Step Instructions
Make the Dough
Firstly, in a stand mixer or a large bowl add your warmed milk and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Next go ahead and add your warm butter, sugar, and room temperature eggs. Let that mix on low for just a minute till the butter is dispersed throughout.
Then it is time to add your flour, salt and cinnamon. Mix the dough ingredients together either using your hand mixer or stand mixer until they are just barely combined. Next, scrape off any dough from the beater(s) and let your dough rest for a few minutes to allow the moisture to get soaked up by the flour.
When you are ready to move on to kneading the dough, you can do it either by hand or with the dough hook on your stand mixer. You will want to knead it for 5 minutes. If the dough is still too wet or sticky you can add up to half a cup of flour as needed.
The ideal dough is smooth and elastic. It should be able to hold its shape when in a ball while still being a little tacky.
Once your dough is ready spray a bowl with non stick cooking spray and transfer the dough to it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a moist warm towel. Then set your dough aside in a warm place to rise for roughly 30 minutes, or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured pastry mat using a rolling pin. It needs to be roughly a 24" x 15" rectangle (does not need to be perfect). Then prepare the filling mixture to spread across the dough as evenly as possible.
When done slowly and carefully roll the dough loosely into a “log”. If it is rolled too tightly your best gooey cinnamon rolls won’t be able to rise like they should.
Once the dough is rolled I like to cut an inch off the ends since they don’t have a ton of filling and aren’t very even. Then I cut my dough into 12 even pieces, or 15 if I want to make smaller sweet rolls.
To get even rolls I like to make my first indention in the middle of my dough log. Once halved I mark each side into thirds, then score each third in half again. After marking and making sure I’ve got twelve equal pieces, I cut my roll with dental floss or a dough cutter.
Add Secret Ingredient
In a parchment lined 9x13 dish place the rolls evenly, so they are not touching each other or the edges of the pan.
For the best gooey cinnamon rolls it is important to you warm the heavy cream first! Your dough has been rising in a warm environment and the last thing we want to do is shock it by pouring cold cream over the top.
I like to warm my cream in the microwave for about 20ish-30 seconds. Once warm pour it over the top of your baking dish. If you don’t have heavy cream on hand, you can also use evaporated milk, coconut cream or half and half. As long as it is a higher fat milk you should be good to go!
Rise and Bake
Now it is time to let your rolls rise for the second time. It only takes about 20 minutes for them to double in size. Just make sure they are in a warm, moist environment for the best rise possible.
After they have doubled in size place the pan in the oven and bake at 375 F for 20-22 minutes. When the rolls are golden brown and the center of each spiral is cooked through they are done. When done remove them from the oven.
In the last few minutes of bake time prepare the icing by adding the room temperature cream cheese and butter with the powdered sugar and maple extract. Using a hand mixer beat everything together until combined.
Spread your cream cheese frosting over your best gooey cinnamon rolls right out of the oven. Slathering the frosting on immediately gives these rolls one last chance at adding some extra moisture. This will give the sweet rolls their best chance at achieving ooey-gooey deliciousness.
💭 Top Tips
Activating your Yeast
For this recipe specifically it is important to make sure you are using an instant yeast. Using an instant yeast means that “proofing” the yeast before adding it to the recipe is not necessary. And it also means that the dough will be able to rise faster.
But no matter what kind of yeast is used, yeast needs two things to be truly successful. Moisture and warmth. The more warm and humid the room, the better. If your room is cold or naturally dry it may mean you need to give your dough a little extra help. This can be done by creating a warmer and moister environment for it to rise in.
To make sure your dough has the best chance at rising to its full potential and getting your best gooey cinnamon rolls here are a few things to do.
- Warmed Milk and Butter – Use warm milk and butter to activate the yeast. The ideal temperature for both is between 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything warmer than that runs the risk of killing the yeast. Anything colder won't get the yeast going.
- Room Temperature Eggs – Using room temperature eggs is important to prevent the yeast from getting shocked by cold out of the fridge eggs. So, pull out those eggs before grabbing all the other ingredients to give them time to warm up. Or you can warm your eggs up quickly by putting them in a glass of warm water for a few minutes.
- Give it Moisture – Then once your dough is ready you'll want to place it into a greased bowl. Then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, a tight seal will help keep moisture in.
- Add a Little Heat – Place your dough in a warmed oven, on top of the dryer while running a load of laundry, or on top of a warmed heating pad.
What makes these best gooey cinnamon rolls so incredibly unique and delicious is 3 simple secret ingredients.
- Cinnamon in the Dough - Adding cinnamon to the dough itself and not just adding it to the filling makes sure that every bite is full of that warm, fragrant flavor we all love.
- Heavy Cream - When you pour heavy cream over the top of the rolls something truly magical happens. As your rolls bake all that rich creamy liquid gets soaked up making the sweet bread so soft and tender.
- Maple Extract - Cream cheese frosting is delicious all on it's own, but add a dash of maple extract and you won't even know what hit. Those maple tones are what helps balance all that tangy sweetness just perfectly.
🍽 Preparing Ahead
If you have an early morning and want to prepare your gooey cinnamon rolls the night before you totally can! Cinnamon rolls are also extremely freezer friendly if you prefer to whip up a double batch and save some for later.
To make your sweet rolls ahead of time follow the instructions through to placing the rolls in the pan. Stop just before pouring in the cream, and allowing them to rise a second time. Instead of adding the cream go ahead and cover the pan and pop them in the fridge till you are ready for them.
Then when ready to bake them just pull out of the fridge. They should have risen overnight while sitting in the fridge. If they did rise, go ahead and warm your cream and pour it over the top of the rolls. Then allow the pan to sit on the counter for a bit to warm up and take the chill off before baking. 30 minutes should do it.
If your rolls don't rise you want to pull them from the fridge, add the cream and let the pan sit out at room temperature so the rolls can have time to get that second rise. This will likely be about an hour or so depending on how warm the room is.
Freezing Cinnamon Rolls
These gooey cinnamon rolls are great for saving and baking later! You will prepare the rolls the same as directed but after cutting place them instead on a baking sheet making sure that they are not touching.
Afterwards, cover the pan with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer. Once the sweet rolls are frozen through place each roll into a freezer safe container to store until ready to enjoy.
Then when ready to enjoy pull them from the freezer and put in the fridge overnight to thaw. The next morning remove the rolls from the fridge, pour warm cream over the top and allow to rise in a pan at room temperature. Once risen bake as normal!
What does dough need to rise?
No matter what kind of yeast you use, yeast needs two things to be truly successful. Moisture and warmth. The more warm and humid the room, the better. If your room is cold or naturally dry it may mean that you need to give your dough some extra help by creating a warmer and moister environment. Read all about how to do this above in our Top Tips section!
Why aren't my cinnamon rolls gooey?
There are lots of reasons you may be getting dry or dense cinnamon rolls. Usually the biggest culprits are using too much flour or not letting your yeast activate properly. But don't worry, we have several top tips above to help with this! And by adding the secret ingredient before baking you are sure to achieve the gooiest cinnamon rolls of your dreams.
Can you prepare cinnamon rolls in advance?
If you have an early morning and want to prepare your gooey cinnamon rolls the night before you totally can! Above we share all about how to prepare and store your rolls overnight in the fridge for quick baking in the morning.
Cinnamon rolls are also extremely freezer friendly if you prefer to whip up a double batch to freeze and save some for baking at a totally later time.
Can you freeze cinnamon rolls?
Yes! Cinnamon rolls are very freezer friendly. When it comes to freezing these best gooey cinnamon rolls you really have two options.
You can either choose to freeze raw cinnamon dough spirals just before adding the cream and allowing to rise for a second time or you can go ahead and bake the rolls and freeze before adding icing to warm up and enjoy later. Making it super easy to grab a cinnamon roll and pop it in the microwave to enjoy on a busy morning.
- 1 cup milk, 2% or whole
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon clove
- ½ cup salted butter, softened
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup salted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ tablespoon maple extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- In a stand mixer or large bowl add the warm milk and sprinkle yeast over the top.
- Add softened (almost melted) butter, room temperature eggs, and sugar to the bowl. Mix on low till combined.
- Add salt, cinnamon and flour to bowl. Mix on medium till just combined. Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes so flour can absorb the liquid.
- Scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl and using the dough hook or by hand knead the dough for 5 minutes. If needed add up to ½ a cup of additional flour to get dough to an elastic and smooth state. Dough should still be tacky to the touch but not so wet that it sticks to your hands.
- Spray a large clean bowl with non-stick cooking spray and transfer dough to bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a warm wet towel.
- Set bowl with dough aside in a warm environment and let rise for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
- Prepare the filling mixture by combining the softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and clove in a bowl.
- Lightly flour a pastry mat or flat surface and roll out the dough using a rolling pin into rectangle roughly 24"x15".
- Spread the filling mixture across the rolled out dough evenly to the edges.
- Roll the dough starting at the long edge into a log or tube shape. Pinch the edge so the roll stays tight.
- Using floss or a dough cutter slice the log into 12 roughly even spirals. Place each spiral into a greased 9"x13" baking dish so that the rolls are not touching the sides or one another.
- Pour the warmed heavy cream over the rolls so that it soaks into and around the rolls in the pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a warm wet towel and let rise for 20 minutes or until they have almost doubled in size.
- While rolls are rising preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Remove the cover from the pan and place in the oven to bake for 20-22 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through the center.
- In the last minutes of bake time prepare the icing by combining softened cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer on low speed.
- Add powdered sugar, extract and salt to the icing mixture. Using mixer combine till icing is formed and at desired consistency for spreading.
- Remove pan from the oven and immediately spread icing over the top of the hot rolls. Allow to cool a little in the pan before serving and enjoying.
- Make certain that milk, cream, eggs and butter are all warm or at room temperature to create best environment for the yeast to work.
- If desired you can add nuts or dried fruits like raisins to the rolls after spreading the filling over the dough and before rolling into a log shape.
- If wanting smaller rolls cut dough log into 15 slices and place in a larger pan for baking.
- If you do not have heavy cream you can substitute for evaporated milk, half and half, creamer or whole milk.
- These gooey cinnamon rolls can be easily prepared in advance or frozen to be baked later. Look for instructions on how in the post above!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 660Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 441mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 9g