Sinfully delicious and only 10 minutes of hands-on time (with a shortcut), these super easy cinnamon rolls are a huge treat for any occasion. Warm, fresh, sweet, buttery, nutty, make-ahead and semi-homemade.
Make them the night before and pop them in the oven for a decadent breakfast the next day.
This is a cheater recipe because I use a dough that I buy at my local grocery store bakery. I just ask for the dough for a loaf of bread (not yet baked).
I can’t tell the difference and I don’t think anyone else could either. They taste amazing.
I make these easy homemade cinnamon rolls every year on Christmas morning. My family will not hear of changing this tradition. It’s non-negotiable despite lots of pleading to try something new.
But I do love that I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to have something this yummy for breakfast. The ease and the aroma in the house – well, perfect.
What you can expect…
Perfect cinnamon rolls with a delicious gooey sticky topping that will have the whole family anxiously awaiting their appearance from the oven.
You’ll love the convenience of this easy cinnamon roll recipe. It uses store bought dough and a few other simple ingredients without the hassle of preparing homemade dough.
Obviously, these decadent cinnamon rolls are great for any special occasion breakfast or brunch. But they can also be served as a dessert at dinner parties.
Ingredients…tailored to your taste
Premade bread dough: Available at most local bakeries or grocery stores.
- Substitutes: You can make your own bread dough if you prefer. Here’s a recipe for white bread dough and another for challah (my favorite for this recipe). Ignore any seeds added.
Filling: We used a basic filling of butter, white granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Add-ins: Try adding dried cranberries or raisins. Or make chocolate orange cinnamon buns with 1 cup/170 grams chocolate chips and the zest of one orange added to the filling.
Topping: The topping – butter, brown sugar and pecans – starts at the bottom of the pan. Once the cinnamon rolls are baked, you flip the pan upside down and the topping is on top!
- Variation: Glaze the rolls with an orange glaze (icing or powdered sugar, orange juice and zest).
Step by step instructions
- Time to rise: To make the best cinnamon rolls, you have to give them time to rise. Dough rises faster and more efficiently in a warm spot away from drafts. The rolls will slowly rise in the fridge, but you need to give them at least 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Cutting the dough into pieces: The cinnamon dough roll is going to be soft. Use a very sharp knife or serrated knife for a clean cut.
- If you’re serving a crowd: I make these into mini cinnamon rolls by rolling out the dough into a longer log and then making two thinner rolls instead of one fatter one.
You can certainly freeze baked cinnamon rolls. Just wrap them well in plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container and freeze for up to a couple of months. When ready to serve, just thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat them in the microwave for a few seconds.
If you let the dough rise like it should and, instead of a soft and fluffy cinnamon roll, yours come out dense, the main reason is because the dough was past its expiration date.
What to serve with cinnamon rolls
These cinnamon rolls are fairly sweet with the sticky topping so a fruit smoothie or simple, fresh tropical fruit salad would be refreshing choices. For heartier options, I have included some other delicious breakfast recipes below.
- Using store bought fresh bread dough as I did in this recipe is a huge time saver.
- Once the buns are ready to bake in the pan, you can refrigerate them overnight, lightly sprayed with oil and covered loosely with plastic wrap (leaving room for rising). The buns will rise in the fridge.
- In the morning, let them sit on top of a warm oven to come to room temperature for half hour or so before baking while you preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Then bake, flip them over and serve.
Other delicious breakfast ideas
- apple French toast casserole
- simple Dutch pancake recipe
- Montreal bagel recipe
- sous vide poached eggs (with easy hollandaise sauce)
- lemon blueberry pancakes
- ricotta pancake recipe with caramelized bananas
- pumpkin spice pancakes
- make ahead breakfast burritos with caramelized onions
If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!
Easy Cinnamon Rolls (10 min prep!)
- 1 bread dough to make one loaf (I buy a challah dough, but any bread dough will do. Or make your own, Note 1)
- 1/3 cup butter, softened (about 2/3 of a stick)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark brown sugar)
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces (use more or less as you like); whole pecans are ok too.
- 2 tablespoon soft butter (I use salted) unsalted butter is fine too
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- PREPARE PAN: Spray sides of a pyrex (or microwavable) 9 inch/23 cm round or 7×11 inch (18×28 cm) baking dish with oil. Note 2.
- MAKE STICKY TOPPING: Put butter and brown sugar in pan. Microwave, stirring once halfway through, until mixture is well blended and sugar dissolved, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle pecans evenly over mixture.
- PREPARE DOUGH AND FILLING: Stretch dough into a 12 x 7 inch (30x18cm) rectangle. Spread butter evenly over the surface. Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl, then sprinkle mixture evenly over the buttered dough.
- MAKE THE BUNS: Starting at the longer side of the dough, roll it lengthwise into a log and pinch tightly to secure the cinnamon filling inside the dough. Cut log into 12 even slices. Place buns flat (cut side down) in pan. Note 4 – To make ahead the next morning. If not making ahead, let the cinnamon buns sit on top of a warm oven to rise for 1 to 1.5 hours to double in size.
- HEAT OVEN to 350 degrees F /177C.
- BAKE AND SERVE: Bake uncovered for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then invert onto a plate or tray. I cover pan with a larger tray, then flip both over. Make sure to scrape any remaining sticky toffee onto the rolls! Serve warm.
- To make your own dough, here’s a recipe for white bread dough and another for challah (my favorite for this recipe). Ignore any seeds added.
- If you don’t have the proper size pan that is also microwave safe, use a separate microwave-safe dish for the topping mixture, then our into into your baking pan. Alternatively, cook the brown sugar-butter mixture in small pot on medium-low heat on stove, then pour into pan.
- Variation: Make chocolate orange cinnamon buns by adding 1 cup/170 grams chocolate chips and the zest of one orange to the filling. You can even glaze the buns with an orange glaze (icing sugar, orange juice and zest).
- To make ahead and bake the next morning. Once the dough is cut and placed into the pan, lightly spray the buns with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap (leaving room for rising). Refrigerate overnight. The buns will rise in the fridge. In the morning, take them out of fridge and let them sit on top of a warm oven to come to room temperature for half hour before baking while you preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Bake for 23-25 minutes until golden brown.