Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Buns
Cathleen Cawood / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 18 cinnamon rolls

This classic cinnamon rolls recipe is always a hit. They're especially nice for holiday mornings and weekends. Take a pan of these along to the office or to a morning meeting and you'll be the designated hero. You can also make them into a cake.

Feel free to add some chopped nuts and/or raisins to the cinnamon filling mixture.


  • For the Dough:
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105 F to 115 F)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (1/2 cup if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/3 cup shortening, or margarine or butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg (room-temperature )
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (if using self-rising flour omit salt)
  • For the Cinnamon Mixture:
  • 2 tablespoon margarine or butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, shortening, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth.

  3. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

  4. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours. The dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched.

Make the Cinnamon Mixture

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

  3. Note: The butter will be used when the rolls are assembled.

Assemble the Rolls

  1. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

  2. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 18x9 inches.

  3. Once the dough is rolled out, spread it evenly with 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine.

  4. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the rectangle. Roll up tightly, beginning at the wide (18-inch) side. Seal well by pinching edges of the roll together.

  5. If desired, refrigerate the roll or put it into the freezer to firm up. It will be easier to slice.

  6. Slice the roll into 1 to 1 1/2 inch rounds. Place them on greased pan or cookie sheet, leaving a slight gap between them. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Bake the Rolls

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 

  2. When rolls have doubled, bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

  3. Make the glaze while rolls are baking.

Make the Vanilla Glaze

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth and pourable. If too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more confectioners' sugar.

  3. Spread rolls with the glaze while they are hot out of the oven.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Variations

Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins and Nuts

  • Sprinkle about 1/2 cup each of raisins and finely chopped pecans or walnuts over the cinnamon layer mixture.
  • Roll up and proceed with the recipe.