Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls With Vanilla Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls With Vanilla Frosting

The Spruce 

Prep: 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Servings: 14 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
475 Calories
29g Fat
52g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14
Amount per serving
Calories 475
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 38%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 156mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 3g
Calcium 97mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cinnamon rolls may look the same from the outside, but they do come in a few different varieties. Some have a basic vanilla glaze, while others are topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. Some have raisins, while others simply prove that butter, cinnamon, and sugar make the perfect filling. Two cinnamon rolls may have similar ingredients only to have totally different textures—one gooey, the other crumbly. As long as you start with a solid cinnamon roll recipe, you can alter it to your liking.

This recipe is the perfect base for trying out new flavors and fillings. Feel free to replace the raisins with any type of chopped nut—you can even do away with the cinnamon filling altogether and use jam, citrus curd, or chocolate. For the perfect autumnal twist on this recipe, add nutmeg, cloves, and allspice to your filling, and replace the milk with apple cider. No matter how you customize this recipe, your kitchen will smell like your favorite bakery in no time.


  • For Rolls:
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water, about 105 F
  • 1/2 cup shortening or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 4 cups sifted flour (or more or less as needed)
  • For Filling:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted (or more or less as needed)
  • 1​ cup light brown sugar (or more or less as needed)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Optional: raisins
  • For Vanilla Icing:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cinnamon rolls
    The Spruce
  2. Grease a 10-inch cake pan or a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the active dry yeast into the warm water and let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    Active dry yeast in water
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  4. Place the shortening in a large heatproof bowl. In a heavy-bottomed pan, scald the milk over medium heat, then pour it over the shortening.

  5. Stir in the sugar and salt with a wooden spoon, and let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Stir in the dissolved yeast and the beaten egg.

  6. Add the flour cup by cup, mixing thoroughly after each addition. The dough should be soft but firm enough to handle.

  7. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board or surface until the dough is elastic and smooth. Avoid adding more than a few tablespoons of flour. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

    Cinnamon roll dough
     The Spruce

Fill, Roll, and Bake the Rolls

  1. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface or board again. Pat or roll out into a 16 by 10-inch rectangle. Brush generously with the melted butter, then cover with the brown sugar.

    Dough brushed with butter and covered in sugar
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  2. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and the raisins, if using, in an even layer over butter and brown sugar.

    Dough sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins
     The Spruce
  3. Starting from one of the long ends, roll the dough into a tight spiral.

    Dough rolled into a log
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  4. Use a sharp knife or dental floss to cut the log into approximately 14 pieces, each 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.

    Dough sliced into individual cinnamon rolls
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  5. Place the slices in the greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for another hour or until rolls have doubled in size. During this second rise, preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Cinnamon rolls rising in a greased pan
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  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check on the rolls after 15 minutes; if they are browning too quickly, tent with a piece of foil.

    Baked cinnamon rolls
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  7. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the rolls to a serving plate before frosting.

    Baked cinnamon rolls on a serving plate
    The Spruce

Make the Icing

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Frosting ingredients
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  2. Place the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir in milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture has a thick, yogurt-like consistency.

    Vanilla frosting for cinnamon rolls
    The Spruce

Finish the Rolls

  1. Spread the icing over the warm rolls.

    Frosted cinnamon rolls
    The Spruce
  2. Serve warm with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate.


  • If you'd like to break up the steps of this recipe over several days, feel free to refrigerate the dough overnight during its first or second rise. This may even enhance the flavor of your cinnamon rolls.
  • It is best to frost the cinnamon rolls while they're still warm; the heat will allow the icing to spread evenly.

How to Store Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls have a tendency to dry out, so it is important to store them in an airtight container to keep them soft. They can be kept at room temperature for two to three days and in the refrigerator for about a week.

For longer storage, cinnamon rolls can be frozen. It is best to wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and then place in a zip-top bag; if you'd prefer to keep them in the pan, you should wrap it in two layers—plastic and then foil—before freezing. The rolls will stay tasty when frozen for about four months.