Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls With Vanilla Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls With Vanilla Frosting

The Spruce 

  • Total: 3 hrs
  • Prep: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 14 rolls (14 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
475 Calories
29g Fat
52g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14 rolls (14 servings)
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.)

Like snowflakes, no two cinnamon rolls are alike. 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 even look identical, only to have totally different textures, one gooey, the other crumbly.

This recipe is the perfect base: Just a few tweaks and modifications will turn these simple rolls into your own perfect breakfast creation. You can replace the raisins with any type of chopped nut—you can even do away with the cinnamon filling altogether, if you'd prefer 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 butter)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups sifted flour (more or less as needed)
  • Hot coffee for serving (optional)
  • For Filling:
  • 1 cup butter, melted (more or less as needed)
  • 1​ cup light brown sugar (more or less as needed)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Optional: raisins
  • For Vanilla Frosting:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (or cream)

Steps to Make It

Make the Rolls

  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. Sprinkle active dry yeast into warm water and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    Active dry yeast in water
    The Spruce
  4. Place shortening in large heatproof bowl. Scald milk, then pour over shortening. Stir in sugar and salt with a wooden spoon, and let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Stir in dissolved yeast and beaten egg.

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

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

    Cinnamon roll dough
     The Spruce
  7. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface or board. Pat or roll out into a 16 x 10-inch rectangle. Brush generously with melted butter, then cover with brown sugar.

    Dough brushed with butter and sugar
    The Spruce 
  8. Sprinkle cinnamon and optional raisins in an even layer over butter and brown sugar.

    Dough sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins
     The Spruce
  9. Starting from the long end, roll the dough into a tight spiral.

    Dough rolled into a log
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  10. 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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  11. Place slices in the greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour or until rolls have doubled in size again. During this second rise, preheat oven to 350 F.

    Cinnamon rolls rising in a greased pan
    The Spruce
  12. 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
    The Spruce
  13. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer rolls to a serving plate before frosting.

    Baked cinnamon rolls on a serving plate
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Make the Frosting

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Frosting ingredients
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  2. Place 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
  3. Spread the icing over the warm rolls.

    Frosted cinnamon rolls
    The Spruce
  4. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.


  • If you'd like to break this recipe up 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.