April 18, 2015

The Perfect Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Recipe (10 Years in the Making)

Most people don’t know the exact Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipe but for a decade, both Aaron and my mom have been intermittently attempting to crack the code, making various tweaks to their pastry-baking-marathons. They’ve been close but never hit upon a recipe that was indistinguishable, in our opinion, from the Cinnabon franchise version.

Until tonight. It finally happened. Jackpot. Victory achieved. By modifying and adjusting several different past Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipes from the Internet and – believe it or not, an unintentional mistake or two – the final product turned out far in excess of expectations. We will never look for another classic cinnamon roll recipe in our entire lives.  The entire process was meticulously documented so that it could be reproduced.  I’m sharing the bounty with you fellow foodies out there so you get to collect the dividend from their work.  Go forth and enjoy.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Recipe

After ten years of trying, Aaron and my mom finally managed to hit the perfect replica of the Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipe. It is flawless. They are absolutely worth the nutritional sacrifice - they have to be well over 500 to 750 calories each. I managed to take a quick snapshot as they were in the process of having the icing poured on the cinnamon rolls. I would have presented a beautifully staged photograph of a finished cinnamon roll but, alas, they were all eaten so quickly that there wasn't time. Maybe the next go around ...


Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Dough
1 cup warm milk 
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted 
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 package yeast (1/4 ounce) 

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Filling 
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Spread for Cinnamon Roll Dough
1/4 cup butter, softened

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Icing
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt 

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Recipe Instructions

Microwave the milk for 45 to 60 seconds. Then, dissolve yeast in warm milk in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour. Mix well. Dust your hands lightly with flour and then hand knead the cinnamon roll dough into a large ball.

Put the ball of dough into a bowl that is sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for roughly 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.  We turned the oven on and then put the cinnamon roll dough on top of the stove.  The heat generated caused the dough to rise.

Once your dough has risen, it’s time to move on to the next step.  In a new, small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.  Mix them well.  Spray a flat surface with cooking spray or sprinkled flour.  Roll out your dough ball into a 16″ x 21″ rectangle roughly 1/4 inches thick then spread a 1/4 cup of softened butter on the dough.  Next, sprinkle the rolled, buttered dough evenly with the sugar/cinnamon/butter mixture you prepared in your small bowl.

Roll up the dough starting with the longer side and cut into fourteen (14) cinnamon rolls (or more smaller rolls, if you prefer). Place the cinnamon rolls in a lightly greased 11″ x 15″ glass baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and let the cinnamon rolls rise until nearly doubled, which should take around 30 minutes.  Note that in our Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipe, we had made two (2) of the fourteen (14) cinnamon rolls consist of the “end” pieces that weren’t as developed or good as the other twelve (12).  

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.  Once your cinnamon rolls have risen, bake them in the preheated oven until golden brown, approximately 18 to 20 minutes (we used a professional General Electric gas-range oven at 20 minutes exactly).  The dough should still be soft, though fully cooked, especially toward the center of the rolls.    

As your cinnamon rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt for the Cinnabon cinnamon roll icing.  The icing should be spread on your cinnamon rolls when they are still warm, shortly after being taken out of the oven so that the frosting melts into the cinnamon rolls.  This is reportedly part of the official Cinnabon process according to some of the employees.  

When the cinnamon rolls are still warm, serve, and enjoy!  

  • http://www.facebook.com/Alam.Suhaib Suhaib Alam

    ‘Spread for Cinnamon Roll Dough1/4 cup butter, softened’
    what was this for?? you dont mention using it in the process.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Green/24301654 Aaron Green

      Hey Suhaib!  You’re right, no cinnamon rolls have been made at that point – only the cinnamon roll dough.  I’ll make a change to the sentence so that it reads more clearly.  Thanks for pointing that out!

      • niecy

        How ’bout suhaib uses context clues..

  • Karla

    Oh. My. Word.  I have a recipe for cinnamon rolls that I have used for a looooong time, and I am pretty attached to it, but we made these yesterday for my son’s birthday.  They were absolutely fantastic!!  And I even made a mistake with the dough (accidentally added too much melted butter) and they still turned out great!  I think I may have to make the switch to this recipe.  My son is taking these rolls to school tomorrow for his birthday treat to share with his class!  Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe–you definitely have a winner here!!

    • Joshua Kennon

      Welcome to the site!  I’m glad you found it as enjoyable as we did!

  • Adeebajafri

    This recipe was so well-organized!I just had to try it. They turned out wonderful. Thanks

    • Joshua Kennon

      I’m glad you liked it!

  • Rose

    Just finished making this cinnamon bun recipe and omg,  it’s absolutely delicious….  I made a different recipe three days ago but it turn out so I thought I’d try different recipe and I happen to chose this one to try.  It’s a good thing too… thank you for this wonderful recipe.  it is now bookmarked, printed to pdf for future reference.

    • Joshua Kennon

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked them. It’s been a couple of months since we made a batch, as I was reminded a few days ago by my father who is demanding them at the next family dinner ;)

  • Scott O

    Fantastic recipe, I am a gourmet pastry chef and the funny thing is I have never made cinnamon rolls before.. odd I know. LOL This will be my go to recipe for life! Thanks so much:-)
    Helpful tip for cutting: use a price of dental floss to cut the rolls, perfect cut everytime without smashing the rolls.

    • Joshua Kennon

      Glad you loved it, and thanks for the tip!

  • Camila_elizabeth

    Hi, this recipe sounds smazing, though i have a question- How much is in a ‘packet’ of yeast (as written in your ingredients list)? Where I live it comes in a bigger (100gram) bag.

    • Likexsoxlovely

      A Packet of yeast is 1 and 1/4 teaspoon.

      • BxbyDxll

         one 8g pkg is equivalent to 2 1/4 tsp.

    • Joshua Kennon

      I will double check with Aaron when he shows up to the office to find out exactly what he used and ask him to respond to you on here.

    • Aaron Green

      The packet of yeast we used was Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast, which weighs 1/4 ounce (roughly 7.08 grams) and converts to 2 1/4 teaspoons.

  • Briana

    Would it be possible to refrigerate these over night and bake them in the morning?

    • Joshua Kennon

      I’ve never tried. I can’t imagine it would hurt the recipe too much.

      • Beate

        That is what I did, and it worked out perfectly. :)

        • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

          Thank you for letting me know!

    • http://www.facebook.com/megan.downes.5 Megan Downes

      You can refridgerate them for up to two days. Bake them right out of the fridge (they slow rise overnight) or allow to reach room temperature. Either way is just fine. Freezing won’t effect the recipe. They can be frozen for up to 1 month. Just make sure you allow 10 – 12 hours to thaw at room temperature and rise before baking.

    • Terry Lee

      Dough may be refrigerated after it has been formed into the desired
      shape. For best results cover shaped rolls tightly and refrigerate up to 24
      hours. Remove from the refrigerator, partially unwrap, and let rise
      until the dough passes the “ripe test”. Bake according to the recipe directions

  • SassyBlonde

    I had been wanting to make homemade cinnamon rolls for some time but shyed away from it. But last week I decided to try my hand at it. I went surfing looking for just the right recipe. Found one and made them. They were ok…not great…just ok. So I went searching again and came across your recipe. OMG…they turned out wonderful!! Since that first pan for the family I have made 7 more batch!! For our church children’s department sleepover, for our church teen’s for Sunday breakfast, tonight for our Wed nite refreshments, and 1 more tomorrow for a friend! I got to tell you each time they got rave reviews! Thanks so much for the recipe. I know I will be making more.

    • Joshua Kennon

      Welcome to the site! I’m glad you and everyone there loved them.

      (One perk of this blog is our somewhat obsessive recipe tinkering benefits others and they get to enjoy the culinary proceeds; makes me feel less guilty about the time and financial investment when we get obsessed with a particular dish, haha!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/zara.plakakis Zara Plakakis

    Thank you thank you thank you! My first time ever making homemade cinnamon rolls and it was a sweet success! My husband is super picky (only because he cooks so well himself) loved them and said they will always be made this way. They really do taste just like Cinnabon at the mall!!

    • Joshua Kennon

      Welcome to the site! It took us years but I am so glad it finally turned out so well and is easy for everyone to replicate; I’m glad your family enjoys them as much as we do. My latest obsession is fruit confit drizzles. I post new recipes from time to time when we come up with something truly spectacular so you may want to check back in the future for new ideas =)

  • Jamie

    Whe you bake the rolls, do you leave the foil on or bake them uncovered?

    • Joshua Kennon

      The foil needs to be removed before baking.

  • Elaine

    The Cinnabon icing included a little lemon extract as well……if you want to be authentic.

    • Joshua Kennon

      That would be interesting to play around with … thank you so much for that tip!

      • http://www.facebook.com/alicia.hublou Alicia Hublou

        You know I didn’t know they used lemon extract in the icing before now…. but I was already doing it because I love the taste due to the way it compliments and brings out the cream cheese flavor…. awesome!

      • paintinc56

        Found a GREAT recipe for Cinnabon Icing.
        2 Sticks unsalted butter
        1 8oz package cream cheese
        1lb box powdered sugar
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        1 teaspoon lemon juice
        Butter & cream cheese should be at room temperature. Using your mixer cream butter & cream cheese until well blended. Slowly start adding powdered sugar while beating & continue for 12, yes 12, minutes. Add the lemon & vanilla when you have a few minutes left & continue beating until your time is up. This is light but very rich frosting, just like Cinnabon. Enjoy!

  • Ldlred

    Are you supposed to bake the rolls with the aluminum foil still on? It doesn’t specify if it is to be removed after rising.

    • chairmangreen

      You will need to remove the foil before you bake the cinnamon rolls.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.christian.vidal Kevin Christian

      I’d really like to know too!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Green/24301654 Aaron Green

        You’ll need to remove the foil before you bake them.

  • Anna Engman

    Do they turn out good if they are baked individually too or do they get too dry then?

    • Joshua Kennon

      I wouldn’t bake them individually.

  • Lui

    hi does is affect the rising process if i melt the butter in the milk than dissolve the yeast in it? please let me know.. thank you!

  • Paula

    OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! THANK YOU!! My friend will now be able to spend his money on better things, and I will make him the perfect cinnamon buns!! They turned out beyond amazing!! (somehow my finger keeps finding its way into the topping icing :) YUM!!

    • Joshua Kennon

      I know, right! Some of the readers who have sent me messages about this double or triple the icing component and drizzle it on everything. Part of me wonders if I could change the chemistry and come up with a donut glaze. Maybe that is one of the next projects I’ll work on for desserts …

  • http://www.facebook.com/thilaga.ambigabadi Thilaga Ambigabadi

    Can I omit the eggs and replace with more milk? Some of my friends are vegetarians. Please advise. thanks

    • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.betthauser Nathan Betthauser

      use apple sauce or bannanas as alternative to butter

      • Veganmama19

        Or use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, that’s what I used. Sometimes Applesauce or Bananas can be too overpowering in a dish. Earth Balance worked like a charm and its Vegan.

    • Joshua Kennon

      We have never attempted the chemistry of a vegetarian version. When it comes to the things we develop or modify, most of them took years to get perfect and I don’t want to ever recommend anything that is less than you-want-to-secretly-break-into-your-neighbors-house-to-get-the-recipe good. I’m not sure how to replicate the taste without the egg. I wish I could be more helpful :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/mchoate Michelle Choate

      Vegetarians Eat Eggs And Milk And Butter. Vegans Do Not. Just As An Fyi (19 Year Vegetarian)

      • mimi dee

        Indian vegetarians do not not eat egg fyi. Religious beliefs.


    This is probably a sill question, but i have never cooked with yeast before. Which one do i use, the dry active or the fast rising? Thanks!

  • April

    Hey Joshua…I do a fare share of baking and your recipe has been THE BEST Cinnamon Rolls that I’ve ever made…Much Mahalo to you! I’ve tried so many recipes in the past and yours has been by far the best ever. My family and neighbors thank you!

    • Joshua Kennon

      Welcome to the site! Glad to be of service =)

      We’re pretty nuts about obsessively tinkering with these things until they are perfect. From time to time, when we stumble on something great, I post the recipe. There is actually a fairly large minority of regular visitors on the site who don’t care one bit about finance or investing but write me about food tips and new things to try so I’m always excited to meet someone else who loves great food!

  • April

    While in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago my girls spent way too much at the Cinnabon place saying it tasted better than the Cinnabon stores on the mainland. Returned home and did my research before I attempted to make cinnamon rolls. I read all your reviews before attempting your recipe and WOOT! WOOT! SOOOOOOO HEAVENLY!!!!

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Happy to hear it!

  • http://twitter.com/MakingLimonada None Ya

    So glad I found this recipe when I wanted to make cinnamon rolls for the first time! Thank you for tinkering with it and making it perfect. My family couldn’t believe I made them. Made the dough in a bread machine. Thanks!

    • Joshua Kennon

      I’m glad they turned out well for you and your family! Welcome to the site =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/niccole.gonzalez Niccole Gonzalez

    Thanksgiving morning is a tradition I make cinnamon rolls… and this year I am making them from scratch!!! Do you think I can make the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge overnight? I am super excited about this… I’ll return with remarks!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.rydzak Carol Rydzak

    I don’t have a glass baking dish — it met with a tragic accident a few months ago! : { Do I need to change the temp I bake them at if I use a metal (coated with ceramic) baking pan? So looking forward to seeing if they turn out well when I make them! : ) I had them at a friends house a few weeks ago and they were delicious! Thank you in advance!

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      I’m not sure, Carol. Please let me know how they turn out so if people ask in the future, I can share your experience.

      I’m glad you like the recipe =) Welcome to the site!

  • Tony Tolentino

    Most convenient place I’ve found to let dough rise is the oven with only the oven light on.

  • http://twitter.com/micheltje123 michel

    I had these in the US during my holiday and love them so much. Made them straight away. Thank you for the excellent recipe. Just wondering one thing. Should you cover all rolls with the icing even if you don’t eat them all at once? Of should you cover one before putting it in the microwave. If so what is the best way to store the icing? In the refridgerator it would become too hard. Eitherway you would have to reheat it twice. Putting it on the hot roll outside the oven and later heating the roll in the microwave. Hope you get à chance to respond.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      In our case, we found that the best solution was to ice all of the cinnamon rolls at once. Then refrigerate the rolls that weren’t eaten.

      When you are ready to serve a refrigerated roll, you can put it in a microwave and reheat it for a short amount of time and the icing will soften back to its previous state. Depending on your model of microwave, you may need to mess with the settings to make sure you don’t burn it.

      We have not stored the icing separately and wouldn’t recommend doing that. Part of the appeal is that when the icing is applied while the rolls are hot, both are warm enough that the liquid icing works its way down into the cracks and crevices of the cinnamon roll, coating areas that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1450566139 Stefan Holler Sørensen

    Found this recipe and had to try it. We live in Denmark and love copycat recipes of famous food.This was the first time we have made cinnamon rolls at home, and what a succes. They are awsome. Thank you for that recipe, we will spread it all over Denmark to family and freinds
    this christmas. Merry christmas to you all, and with viking greeatings from Denmark.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Hello back (and a belated Merry Christmas) from the United States! I’m glad you enjoyed the cinnamon rolls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/speedycole Speedy Cole

    Im SO gonna make them!!!
    Just one request, could you kindly, translate it in to grams and celcius….?

  • http://www.facebook.com/createdbeauty Molly Lamb

    Another thing to make them even more like Cinnabon? Put cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar on the bottom of the pan… this gets the bottom gooey like cinnabon! :D

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Good suggestion! I’ll have to try that sometime.

  • Ilian

    omg!!! It’s the 5th time I make these cinnamon rolls in one week hahaha This recipe is amazing!! Great Job Aaron and your mom!!! And for the record I ate 7 of these babies in one sitting because I couldn’t stop!! OMG Thats like 5000 calories!!! :(

    I too have vegetarian/vegan friends so sadly I wasnt able to share these beauties with them LOL so tomorrow I will be forced to play with your recipe and substitute the eggs with egg substitute (for baking) and I have not decided what I will use instead of the milk and butter but I’ll let you know whether it was a disaster or a success :D Thank you soo much!!

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Let me know how your vegetarian experiments turn out if you find any acceptably close replicas of our recipe. I know what you mean about making them frequently … if we make one batch, we inevitably have to make them for days as people stop by and demand more to take with them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mariam.metwally.9 Mariam Metwally

    So it’s 1.20 am and I am considering whether I’d be able to make this and still catch a few hours of sleep If I made it! Unfortunately we don’t have Cinnabon in Australia but i fell in love with it whilst overseas!

  • annie

    Can you please explain which yeast? Is it instant one or the dry active yeast?

  • Kat

    Is the yeast dry active yeast or quick rise?

  • kebiewj

    These came out great!! Exactly as Cinnabon – thanks for sharing. I will never look for another recipe! I made for a brunch for 20 ladies, it was the star of the party. I used Penzey’s Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Wonderful! I’ve have heard nothing but amazing things about the cinnamon you mentioned. People talk about it like it is a religious experience. I’m hoping to get to my local Penzey’s sometime this month and pick some up to test with a few other recipes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luanne.champion LuAnne Fryover Champion

    Thank you Joshua! We just finished eating our 1st cinnamon roll, straight from the oven. Our tastebuds have been to heaven and back! This is an amazing recipe. I baked them, my husband is still smacking his lips and went for seconds.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      You’re welcome! I’m glad your family liked them =)

  • anon

    these were great i had to use a different pan and made 12 instead of 14 though. i did have a problem however i used a metal pan with waxed paper on the bottom as i didn’t have a large enough glass pan. the bottom quarter inch of the rolls ended up burnt. is that because of the metal pan or is there something else that would prevent that. thanks

  • aisyah sharif

    i found everyone saying this recipe is perfect. but i found it a little too sweet due to the icing. can i do anything to make it not too sweet?

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      To my regret, I can be of no help to you here. Saying a cinnamon roll is too sweet is like saying, “The pope is a little too Catholic,” “Sex is a little too enjoyable”, or “I think I have too much money.” There’s no such thing. ;)

      • paintinc56


  • Alejandrina

    Can I bake them in the disposable foil containers? And if I can, what size do I use? I’m thinkin of making them for a yard sale tomorrow. :)

  • marclar

    re: the yeast. sorry to be the 3rd one to ask, but have been yearning to make these for such a long time! still no answer about the yeast. for those of you who have made the recipe, please advise: which yeast you have used? is it the yeast found in the refrig. section of the grocery store? or the yeast in the packet found in the dry goods section? thanks VERY MUCH!!! :-)

    • Aaron

      We use Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast in the packets. I think they come in a set of 3.


    • paintinc56

      Use regular, dry yeast, it is better for double rise recipes. The Rapid Rise is more suitable for quick breads/one rise recipes.

  • Brandy

    My daughter and I made these for Easter breakfast they were fantastic we added 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice to the icing drizzled them with caramel and toasted pecans. They were gone as soon as they hit the table thank you for the recipe!!!!!!

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      I’m glad you enjoyed them =) The caramel, toasted pecan, and fresh lemon juice additions sound delicious; I might have to try that variation!

  • renohd

    i just made these and they dont taste like cinnabon. made them exactly as it says. they werent gooey like cinnabon.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Then you screwed up. Badly.

  • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

    Haha! You sound like someone after my own heart (double the frosting recipe).

  • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

    Awesome! Glad we could be of service and that you love our recipe =)

  • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

    I like how you think, haha!

  • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

    I wish I could help. If more than 100 people make the recipe, and we’ve made it dozens of times ourselves, and it always turns out correct, something on your end went wrong. It’s basic chemistry. Something can’t work for everyone else but fail for you unless you did something differently or used a non-compatible ingredient.

    My first suspicion was maybe a sea level issue but I checked the satellite image of where you are, and you should have no problems with that. The next option would be if you were using a very old electric oven or cooking in a house without air conditioning in a hot, dry area (which would have much more dry heat – excessive dry heat could have caused more evaporation).

    If you make them again, photograph and document the process before sending me the pictures using the contact form. I’ll have them try to replicate whatever you did and figure it out for you. They should be so gooey, especially in the center, you can smoosh them. Even the edges are soft when baked properly.

    • Aaron

      If the milk was too hot when you added your yeast, you may have killed it. Without any active yeast the dough will not rise and will not be fluffy and gooey by the time you take the rolls out of the oven. I’ve made this mistake one before, so I always measure the temperature of the milk prior to adding it to the yeast. Around 105 degrees is ideal and don’t go over that.

  • stacy

    amazing recipe ! i have shared this with a number of my friends its that easy and good! though i had to add a wee bit more flour maybe half a cup as the dough was really sticky

  • kadeem

    Omfg.. you are my new best friend next to my bong these taste amazing! The mall is like 20 miles away and that crap is overpriced after tasting these! After I perfect the dough its over bro.

  • Tina

    Salted or unsalted butter?

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Always unsalted … you shouldn’t use salted if you are creating a recipe because different brands have different salt content and it won’t be consistent from preparation to preparation.

  • Shauna

    Wow, I must say the ten years were well spent, as these were perfect! Thank you so much!

  • pa-anonymous

    how long do you kneed the dough?

    • Aaron Green

      Not very long, honestly. Just a few minutes to work it into a smooth ball and to make sure all the ingredients were thoroughly mixed.

  • Starsha

    I was a manager at Cinnabon for years, and still have the recipe memorized. The frosting however, is not quite correct. We never added salt, but instead we added lemon juice. For a 10 pound recipe, it was only a couple of tablespoons, though. The cinnamon roll was made with a specific ‘base’ ingredient, and nobody ever told us what was in that. I’m looking forward to trying your version of the cinnamon roll. Thanks for posting this! :)

  • Laura

    I live in Scotland and my friend and I haven’t had a Cinnabon since 2004! There isn’t one in Scotland so I’ve always wanted to give making them a go. I am about to attempt your recipe but could you tell me if the eggs should be medium or large and exactly what kind of brown sugar you used? We have lots eg Demerara, soft light brown, dark brown muscovado and prob a few others I don’t have in the cupboard!
    Many thanks.

    • Aaron Green

      We used large eggs and Golden Brown Sugar by C&H. Good luck!

  • Aaron Green

    Sorry! I just now saw your message. We use Philadelphia’s block cream cheese. I believe it comes in 8 oz.

  • Marleen

    I moved to South Africa this year and discovered Cinnabon there. As I am only in SA for a year and I became a real fan of the cinnamon rolls, I was afraid I would not taste them ever again when I would return home (where we don;t have a Cinnabon!) . And then I spotted your recipe. I just made them and I love them. Thanks a lot for posting this.

  • Donna

    Hi, I’ve been trying so hard and my dough isn’t rising the second time( when you arrange the rolls and cover them with aluminium foil! Help please!!!! What could have happened?

  • J. Adams

    I just made these and my family is going nuts over them. They literally said that they are better than Cinnabon! Thank you so much!

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Glad you like them =)

  • triniwoman

    so i decided to give these buns a try …. please note, I am NOT a Pro when it comes to baked goods….. read some of the comments from people that tried out your recipe…… i got worried about the dough not rising by using the milk too hot ( guess it wasnt) …… it turned out perfect….my daughters whom i made it for said it tasted like the one from the mall (Cinnabon) . someone said there they found it a bit too sweet, i reduced the amount of sugar for the filling and they were ok :) thank you. it was delish :) This is the first time that i made buns

  • LoveBakingMakingFood

    is it plain cream cheese that needs to be used for the topping? Please specify

  • Disney Dolly

    We love cinnabons and my 14yr old is in charge of making them, I can’t find the recipe we’ve used in the past, so we’re looking forward to cooking thigs for our visitors this weekend, who are just as crazy about them as us! ( The other recipe we’ve used had pudding in the mix…?)

  • Camilla

    THESE TURNED OUT PERFECT!! I just made these after I was hit by a sudden, intense craving for cinnamon buns. Took me about 3 hours though cause my yeast wouldn’t proof so I had to go to the store to get new yeast…. and got stuck in traffic. Super worth the wait though! The bread is spot-on and the frosting too, but I found the filling to be a bit overwhelming so maybe next time I’m just gonna lessen the sugar. Saving this recipe for sure!! Thanks to your mom and brother for all their hard work at perfecting this recipe!

  • Bonnie F.

    These are the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made! I get very nervous when there is yeast involved so I made it in my bread machine on the dough setting; liquids on the bottom, dry ingredients on the top, yeast on the very very top. I didn’t have any vanilla extract (how does that happen?), but I did have some vanilla beans left from my short lived cupcake phase. It was a very tasty substitution if I do say so myself.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Glad you liked them! =)

  • The Machine

    Wow!!!! You guys are the greatest!

    Thanks so much for the hard work and perfect results.

    Also, for all the other mouthwatering dishes.

    Keep up the super effort. you are making all of us
    delightfully, deliriously and orgasmic…lee, Palate…ous! (Palate)…

  • Judi

    Hi. I made these today and they turned out perfect! My mom, who hardly ever eats sweets, gobbled hers up and scraped her plate clean! I followed the directions exactly and used a metal pan. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

  • Rheena

    Am making these now — dough is rising. Probably too late to ask for this batch, but, did you use light or dark brown sugar?

  • Cinnabon-fan :)

    Great recipe!!!!!! :) Tip: I reduced the amount of sugar in the dough, the filling and the icing as well. It still tasted great :)

  • CD

    I was in a baking mood and decided to search out a cinnamon roll recipe and came across yours. It was well received and gone in two days!! Even my little one who only usually takes a bite of the real Cinnabon rolls and says no more asked to have one all to herself! What a great recipe!! Thanks for your hard work in coming up with the recipe!!!!

  • David

    My wife just made this recipe! OH MY GOODNESS! I think I went into sugar shock heaven! After finishing two, I went to buy stock in diabetes supply companies, because I’m going to need it. Thanks for sharing your hard work of recipe goodness.

  • Matt

    I spent a fortune on these ingredients and wasted my whole weekend on this fail recipe. Followed it exactly but it didn’t work for me. The dough had no taste at all, maybe too much flour.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      I hate that you wasted money so here’s what I’m thinking …

      For every few hundred messages I receive, I get one like this and there is only one explanation: You screwed something up. At this point, the recipe is so established, and been baked so many thousands of times by so many different people under different conditions, it’s the only possibility as chemistry doesn’t change (and that’s all baking is).

      Since there is zero probability of the recipe being the problem given the sheer size of the sample data (and my own experience having made them countless times), we have to identify what went wrong.

      1. Document everything you do, as you do it, and take a picture describing the procedure you used as if you were finishing a lab assignment. This includes brand names.

      2. Send a link to it through the contact form so I can see it.

      I promise I’ll try to clear off some time to have several people attempt to re-create what you did and identify the culprit. I’ll pay for all of their ingredients out of pocket, send them home to do what you did, and try to isolate the problem.

      There are several possibilities, but it’s impossible to tell without your detailed notes.

      1. Forgive me as this is probably a stupid question, but on the off-chance you don’t bake – you did use sifted flour in the measurements, right? When baking desserts, flour amounts are always sifted, you never pack flour into a measuring cup and use that amount. This is so basic I feel almost insulting for asking it, but if this is your first step into cooking, you might not know that. In that case, it would have radically increased the ratio of flour to the recipe, causing what you describe.

      2. The flour could have been past its ideal freshness, leading to staleness and flavorlessness in the cinnamon roll itself.

      3. The cinnamon could have lost its potency or been weaker than the gourmet version we use, which infuses quite a bit of flavor into the roll.

      4. Did you use unsalted butter? Recipes should always be prepared with unsalted butter as the ratio of sodium to butter varies by brand, making it impossible to recreate recipes exactly.

      5. If you are in the UK, was the butter and other dairy (milk) pasteurized? By law, almost everything is pasteurized in the US leading to very different flavors if you don’t use a US-equivalent dairy as that is how the recipe was formulated.

      6. Are you using an older electric model stove? Electric stoves generally bake dryer than the gas versions we used in the formulation, which could require a variation in the baking time. For another person who ran into this problem six months or a year ago, this was the culprit as she lived in the desert at a higher altitude.

      7. What type of yeast are you using? Did you proof the yeast or not? If so, what ingredients, in what proportion did you use for the task prior to adding it to the recipe?

      Get me the data, and I’ll (actually, we’ll, since I’ll bring in several people) solve it for you.

  • Len Pacleb

    Hi Joshua!!! Thank you for posting your recipe. It’ll my first time baking cinnamon rolls. I was wondering about the yeast. Do I put the yeast in milk then add the sugar, butter, salt and flour immediately? With other bread recipes, they say to wait for bubbles on the yeast. I’m sorry this question may seem stupid. Thanks so much.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      We mix the yeast in the warmed milk (100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit) until it is dissolved and then add the sugar, butter, salt, and flour. However, to make sure your yeast is active, you can certainly mix it with the warm milk and a little bit of sugar prior to adding the other ingredients. If you see bubbles, your yeast is alive and ready to make tasty cinnamon rolls! If there are no bubbles after ten minutes, throw it out and get new yeast. Good luck!

  • Joey

    I used to work at Cinnabon and this is not even close to the receipie. Just an FYI use lemon extract and clear vanilla extract in the frosting. For the dough water needs to be added. I found the center to be more bread like than gooey! That may help. Also never put them in the fridge. 2 days on the counter or 30 days in freezer. Ohh and for the filling don’t add butter to it, just put butter on the dough before spreading the sugar on it.

  • M. Teresa

    So so so excited to try this…Cinnabon rolls are definitely one of my very favorite treats (maybe even *the* favorite) and nowadays I NEVER get them because I can’t afford them…but now it looks like I will be able to indulge…THANK YOU!!!

  • Toodie Boo

    I see some haters are coming out of the woods smh… Well I’ve tried These rolls and they are AMAZING!!! I’ve made them twice so far and I’m debating on whether I should make another batch today or wait until my husband comes home from his tour overseas lol Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it is truly the perfect cinnamon roll recipe :)

  • BG

    Do you knead/mix the dough just until it forms a ball? …or do you keep hand kneading it until the dough feels like bread dough (maybe like 10-15 more minutes or so)? The difference in kneading time would make a difference in the chew, no? Would a mixer with a dough hook be helpful in this case? Thanks!

  • 111mmm

    I mad it today but it came out a little dry may be i left in the oven for too long but they taste good

  • lanetw

    I just made these. I went 1 1/2 on the filling and the frosting. They are the best I have ever tasted. Thank you so much for sharing! Yummmmmmmmmmmmy!

  • marta

    Hi, I must comment on your wonderful recipe. I have made it twice, and it was delicious. The rolls are so tender, and the filling just right. Your time to perfect it is appreciated, as I do not document my cooking very well, and you saved me experimenting. Cudos to you.

  • Justine

    Hi, we don’t have a microwave. Can i just heat the milk in the pan? Will that change the milk too much? Also, what kind of milk did you use?

  • David

    I followed the recipe. The cinnamon rolls turned out perfectly delicious. Thanks for posting an easy to follow recipe that yields excellent results. Merry Christmas.

  • Nate Chrysler

    Unreal! So bad… but so very, very good!

  • MikeMoskos

    Does anyone know how hot the milk should get? The recipe calls for microwaving for 60-90 seconds, but I’m not sure how hot it should get (important because you’re adding yeast).

  • Carrie

    These really are the best!

  • Sana Khan

    Best recipe! Tried it fr first time… n they turned out perfect thanks joshua :)

  • JP

    i have used these over a year and am amazed everytime i make them but one thing has bugged me about them slightly. when you get cinnabon it has a gooey syrupy mess at the bottom that is amazingly tasty and this recipe didn’t really get that well. I’ve tried increasing the butter in the filling but it never really got it right. this time i made them i think i made a breakthrough. after i spread the 1/4 cup butter on the flattened dough i place a decent amount of corn syrup across it as well. got that wonderful gooey syrupy mess at the bottom although i think i might need to do more experimenting to perfect the amount of corn syrup.

  • Kristin Adams

    I had been making a different cinnamon roll recipe from the internet for a while, and really liked it but it was a recipe that for some reason liked to flop every other time I made it (and changed nothing)… SO, I decided to hunt for a new one, and found this one.

    Where I live, the sea level we are at must require extended baking… I baked these for 18 minutes, still not done, 20, not done, 22, partially done… I took them out at 23 for fear of burning or drying out… I however, wish I left them in for about 25, because most of the rolls are just slightly doughy.

    They also seem to be much sweeter than my other recipe, which uses water to activate the yeast… and actually calls for the same quantity of sugar. Seeing as milk is sweet, that may be the issue, but I think I will extend the baking time and add half the sugar next time…

    Overall, one of the best cinnamon roll recipes, and really spot on to the cinnabon flavor.

  • Beate

    I used your recipe for our Christmas Eve brunch. I usually make cinnamon rolls, and they are usually good, but yours are out of this world! Thank you for sharing the recipe. We enjoyed it!

  • Mike!

    These buns were by far the best I’ve ever had, including cinnabon! I’m one of those people who doubled the frosting and used all of it! Oh, and after I buttered the dough I sprinkled the cinnamon/ butter/ sugar mixture then spread that evenly too. They were 2 die 4!!! Thank you!

  • Cinnabonlvr

    You forgot one thing. They use lemon extract in the icing. Well they did when the made it themselves anyway.

  • Kara

    FYI: I’ve watched them cut the cinnamon rolls at Cinnabon and I see them discard the “ends”.

  • Gary White

    Hey Josh, thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this recipe, i can’t wait to try it out :) Though i was wondering if there were any alternatives that will allow me to swap out butter for something healthier such as canola oil? or any other ingredient that i could use instead of butter, which hopefully won’t sacrifice too much taste? Because i’m a huge health guy and i definitely won’t be able to forgive myself after the amount of calories i will have consumed as i haven’t used butter in my cooking for more than 3 years. Thanks Josh and i’m looking forward to your reply, have a great day :)

  • cassandra Waters

    best cinnamon rolls ever!! Is there a pin link? I can’t find it. I would like to save it and share with friends. Thanks!

  • Micki Finn

    Have mercy! This is the real deal!

  • Barbara Pappas

    Such an amazing recipe, I’ve made it three times and it’s been perfect every time. I did want to offer my two cents, however, on some clarifications you posted: Regarding sifted flour, I have been baking for over 25 years and I’ve never seen that sifted flour is the standard. Most recipes, if they want flour sifted, specify this. I did a quick google search on measuring flour and most just said to fluff and scoop (which is what I do, at 100 miles an hour). Regarding the butter, it is also my experience that salted is the norm, with unsalted being specified only when it is integral to the recipe. I used salted on this recipe as well and I am still in awe of these cinnamon rolls… not only is this the best recipe out there, it’s also so easy! The only reason it’s time consuming is because of the rising times. I’m guessing that those who didn’t have good luck, had bad yeast… I bake enough that I use freshly purchased yeast every time (the Rapid Rise), as sometimes even when the packets say you have months left, it just doesn’t work.

    Thank you again. :)

  • Nat

    How much is 1 cup in mililiters? Can I replace dry yeast with fresh ones?

  • Jo

    Delicious! We don’t have Cinnabon in Australia and, since a visit to LA late last year, I have been craving them. Turned out really well…kids so excited because it tastes ” exactly the same”.

  • Elizabeth Berry

    Hands down the best “clone” recipe out there. There are four kids here that will agree!! Have made these three times now and they disappear as fast as I can make them. Thank you for such an easy recipe. Some of the other recipes require you to refridgerate the dough for 6 hours! Not here. Easy and scrumptious!

  • Hana

    Hi there! These tasted JUST like the Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls! So yummy and my family enjoyed them =) I made the dough using a bread maker and it turned out just great. Thank You!

  • Jack Cook

    Hi, I quite enjoy baking but have only gone as far as a Victoria sponge! Really want to try this but have always worked in grams/ounces. What exactly is a cup? 1/3 cup etc? How big it said cut or is it an actual measuring tool?

  • anon

    What is, how do you use, and what is a good alternative for cooking spray? Also, what does it do?

  • Lisa

    Hi….I’m trying to post this on pinterest and having SO much trouble. It’s telling me that pinterest can’t find an image but there’s plenty on your site. Do you have this recipe up on pinterest?

  • Bre Jenkins

    For some reason mine won’t cook. They’ve been in the oven on 350F for 40 minutes and are still dough-ey.

    • christina

      Your yeast was bad or water temp was off. Mine didnt rise either the first time. Get a thermometer and check the date on the yeast. Turn oven to 160° then turn off once ig preheats. When dough is ready to sit put in oven with damp cloth over. You should notice the difference after it rises. Its worth the effort to try again. Ive made them about 4 times now and theyre delicious and worth the work

  • Alyysa

    You should get makara cinnamon. Cinnabon uses that

  • Bprincess

    It’s the third time I’m baking these cinnabons using this recipe!!!! This recipe is truly a hit around here!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Angelique Roux

    This is the most amazing recipe in the world :) thanks for sharing it with us. :)

  • Sweet2th

    Made these today after having this page as a favourite for a year. My only regret is waiting this long! These are amazing, and just like Cinnabons! Thanks for a well-written, easy to follow recipe, and for the 10 years hard work that makes it so easy for the rest of us!

  • RMC

    I’ve seen some recipes for Cinnabon’s call for bread flour. What is the difference between all purpose flour and bread flour? I like my cinnabons a little flakier and not as chewy. Thank you.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Different flours are based on protein content, which influences the gluten and texture of the final product. Bread flour has the highest protein at 14-16%, which is why it is dense and heavy, all-purpose is next in the 10-12% range making it good for a variety of uses, pastry flour is next at 9%, and cake flour has the lowest at 7-8%. The lighter you want a recipe, the less protein you need in the flour, though it may make you adjust other parts of the recipe to compensate as you’ve changed the chemistry.

  • Jennifer

    Some tweaks I’ve made to the recipe that have given me godly cinnamon rolls each time!
    Keep the dough the same.
    Use only 2 tbsp of cinnamon instead of 2.5
    For the spread, use half the amount of butter.
    Make the dough in the morning and let poof for 3-5 hours.
    After forming the rolls, leave them covered on a counter until night time
    Leave them in the fridge overnight.
    Make them fresh in the morning and they’ll turn out amazingly gooey!

  • RMC

    Can the milk be 2%?

  • Beckbeck

    The official icing also has a little lemon flavoring in it.

  • Melody Kane

    THIS IS AMAZING!! Great job!

  • christina

    Amazing. Absolutely, positively amazing!

  • Wendy

    I was an exchange student in the US two years ago and haven’t had a single Cinnabon since I came back ’cause we don’t have Cinnabon here in Finland. And my god these turned out great! They tasted just like the Cinnabons I used to eat back in the States and I’ve missed them so much!

    Thank you so much for the recipe. It was much appreciated!

  • Patricia Ahdoot

    Simply amazing!!! Did a non dairy version using rice milk and Toffuti cream cheese. Come out perfect!

  • Aisha

    I have made these around 5-6 times using your recipe and each time i get better. Ive realized each line of instruction is necessary and as i tend to skim over stuff, i used to miss out something before.
    You’ve made me famous in my family with this recipe :) Thank you very very much!!

  • mh83-baker

    I was just reading other recipes and found a few comments from people who work at cinnabon and in the filling they say they use margarine instead of butter, and for the icing they also use lemon and fondant icing sugar instead of powdered. Hope this helps. I’ve made this recipe a few times before and love it, but going to try it again with these few changes to see what difference it makes. Thanks for an amazing recipe :)

  • richhughes67

    How long is the knead time? Or are we just simply forming it into a ball? Thanks

  • Taylor-22

    Fantastic recipe,,i love love love this cinnabon cinnamon rolls ,,,,thank u for sharing

  • Natalie Grace

    Hi Joshua or Aaron,
    I really, really want to bake these, but at my house there are no 11×15 in. pans, only 8×8 in. or 13×9 in.
    Will one of those work?

    • Aaron Green

      Yes, either size pan will work just fine, but you’ll likely have to split the batch into separate pans. We use the 11×15 because it will hold them all. Please let us know how they turn out. Happy baking!

  • tagsweekly.com

    Thanks for the great recipe. Try incorporating some powdered mashed potatoes which im told is part of the cinnabon recipe.

  • new-baker

    I made these today and they were amazing! I used my bread machine on the “dough” setting, and once it had risen in the machine, followed the recipe instructions for the remainder. The only problem is that maybe I took them out of the oven a couple of minutes too early, as the rolls in the center of the pan sort of collapsed when I put on the frosting. But they were gooey-delicious anyway.

  • Alanna

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! My 11-year-old son chose to make cinnamon rolls for his ‘New Experience’ project at school. He had so much fun making these (with his auntie :) ) and the rolls were delicious! The instructions were clear and easy to follow. We can’t wait to make them again to share with his teacher when he presents.

  • Floridagirl

    I am currently in the process of making these and my dough came out really sticky, is that normal? I followed the recipe exactly, but no one else has mentioned their dough being that consistency. Also, I used regular yeast because the type wasn’t specified in the ingredients, will it still work the same or do I have to wait longer?

  • Lif is Sweet by Evelyn

    This recipe is amazing . It is spot on for a copy of the cinnabun. Recipe easy to follow .

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      I’m glad you enjoyed it =)

  • Turuk

    this was my first time making cinnabons, and everyone loved them.. thnks for this recipe

  • guerra

    These are soooo good, I made them yesterday and managed just to eat an edge or two that tore off when I was wrapping some for the kids. I only had a small piece this morning……but then I had two this evening and want another. I guess I’m going to have to give the rest to my neighbors, can’t afford that many calories just lying around the house. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  • Ray W

    I’m very much a novice–does it make a big difference if I use unsalted butter instead of margarine? Thanks!

    • Farhat K.C.

      Yes it does make a diference. It becomes better.

  • Turuk

    I prepared these today, becuase I made them 2 weeks ago and they were a huge hit, and couldn’t believe they were not from the cinnabon store (As i put some pecans aswell on top of the icing, which i think compliments the sweetness..)

    So I prepared them again today for some guests, should I bake them immediatly after they have risen, or can I cook these tonight ? I want them to remain fresh and soft. Thanks


    Made these and I have a question. Did you guys steal this recipe from Jesus?

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      Ha! I’m up working late and I didn’t expect that. Thank you for the laugh. No, it wasn’t Jesus. It was just a lot of hard work and trial-and-error. Jesus would have been easier but I figure the payoff was worth it in the end.

      I was actually thinking about making a fresh batch for a baby shower we’re attending tomorrow when your comment showed up … I’ll take it as the universe sending me a sign that I should just go to the grocery store to get the ingredients.

  • Willem Willemse

    Hi Joshua
    I just tried your recipe but the dough came out extremely dry, not sure what went wrong.

  • Farhat K.C.

    Thanks a ton for this recipe!

    I had previously made cinnamon buns 4 times. They were nothing special and I had to force myself a tad bit to eat them but I couldn’t seem to keep my hands away from these. Tasted exactly like Cinnabons. I read it in the comments someone suggesting to spread some of the filling on the baking pan and I wholeheartedly agree; gives you a squishy and sweet bottom :D.

    Though I did use the amount of sugar to taste in the frosting since I’m not a fan of anything tasting very sweet.

    There were many things I did wrong like 1)accidentally melting the butter instead of softening it, 2) not using powdered sugar (it’s gonna dissolve anyway), 3) stretching out the dough non-uniformly blah blah. Basically my advice: DON’T PANIC. Just roll with it.

    Thanks for sharing this off-the-charts recipe dude.