Sinfully delicious and only 10 minutes of hands-on time (with a shortcut), these easy cinnamon buns are a huge treat for any occasion. Make them the night before and pop them in the oven for a decadent breakfast the next day.
It’s hard to beat warm, fresh, sweet, buttery, nutty, make-ahead and semi-homemade. This is a cheater recipe because I use a dough that I buy at my local grocery store bakery. I can’t tell the difference and I don’t think anyone else could either. They taste amazing. Go ahead, though, and make your own dough by hand or with a bread maker if you prefer.
I make these easy cinnamon buns 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.
Obviously, they’re great for any holiday breakfast or brunch. And I’ve served them for dessert at dinner parties many times to happy guests.
- Using store bought fresh bread dough as I did in this recipe is a huge time saver.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Make a great variation by adding 1 cup chocolate chips and the zest of one orange. You can even glaze the buns with an orange glaze (icing sugar, orange juice and zest).
Make Ahead Easy Cinnamon Buns
- 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. Then bake, flip them over and serve.
Easy Cinnamon Buns
- 1 bread dough to make one loaf (I buy a challah dough, but any bread dough will do. Or make your own)
- 1/3 cup butter, softened (about 2/3 of a stick)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces (use more or less as you like); whole pecans are ok too.
- 2 tbsp soft butter (I use salted) unsalted is fine too
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- PREPARE PAN: Spray sides of a pyrex (or microwavable) 9 inch round or 7 x 11 inch pan with oil. Note 1.
- 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 rectangle. Spread butter evenly over the surface. Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a small 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. Cut log into 12 even slices. Place buns flat (cut side down) in pan. Note 2 - 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 the oven to 350F.
- 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 buns! Serve warm.
- If you don't have a microwaveable dish the right size, use a microwave dish you have then pour mixture to pan. Alternatively, cook in small pot on medium-low heat on stove, then pour into pan.
- To make ahead 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. Bake for 23-25 minutes until golden brown.
Here’s a similar shortcut cinnamon roll recipe you might like (only 30 minutes)