1-Hour Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting — It’s possible to make soft, light, fluffy cinnamon rolls from scratch in 1 hour! These are yeast cinnamon rolls topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting.
Quick Yeast Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
I love a good challenge. Like making cinnamon rolls, 100% from scratch, in 1 hour. Think it can’t be done? It can. With soft, fluffy, incredible results.
Lots of photos follow. Hopefully they’ll help twist your arm about what you should be doing the next hour. I loathe taking step shots, but with yeast recipes, everyone says they’re really appreciated. You’re welcome.
These quick cinnamon rolls are made with yeast, and while plenty of recipes exist for baking powder-based rolls, they always taste a little bit off to me. A yeast-based dough is really the only way to go for a truly authentic tasting cinnamon rolls.
To make them, I adapted and combined elements from Overnight Buttermilk Soft and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls and One-Hour Soft Buttery Breadsticks in coming up with the dough and method (to my madness).
Buttermilk is one of the main reasons why I like my Overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe so well. It’s instrumental in helping the dough stay light, fluffy, soft, and tender. In that recipe there’s the luxury of letting the dough rise overnight if you want.
However, in this recipe buttermilk is key in helping the dough rise without actually setting aside any time to rise, and it’s a must-use item, no exceptions.
This is not the recipe to play around with trying to make your own buttermilk with a squirt of lemon juice or vinegar into regular milk or try using Powdered Buttermilk. Use the real thing.
When I made the One-Hour Breadsticks, I only allowed the dough to rise for about 20 minutes and they were still soft and fluffy. It got me thinking, maybe I could skip the long, drawn out rising and waiting times typically associated with cinnamon rolls. Turns out, yes, I could skip it.
If you’ve made cinnamon rolls from scratch before, you know that typically you’re looking at a 2+ hour initial rise, and after punching down the dough, rolling it out, and shaping the rolls, they rise in the pan for another hour or so, before being baked.
With this recipe, you make the dough, immediately roll it out, put it in the pan, and bake it immediately.
I was told that these rolls are my best ever. The text I received, “Cinnamon rolls should be illegal. The best. I ate all the rolls but one. I am going to get chubby.”
They’re soft, light, fluffy, and you’d never know the dough didn’t rise for hours on end. There’s plenty of cinnamon and spice, and the sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting is a heavenly complement.
There’s no reason to buy refrigerated dough-in-a-tube rolls or go Cinnabon for your fix. DIY is always best. And now, you can DIY in 1 hour.
What’s in 1 Hour Cinnamon Rolls?
To make the homemade cinnamon roll dough, you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Instant dry yeast
- Granulated sugar
For the cinnamon roll filling, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
And to make the cinnamon roll frosting, you’ll need:
- Cream cheese
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Cream or milk
How to Make 1 Hour Cinnamon Rolls
To make the dough, add everything all at once into your stand mixer, and let it knead for about 7 minutes. You can of course do this by hand with elbow grease. You’ve earned your rolls after hand-kneading.
I bake with King Arthur All-Purpose and sometimes King Arthur Bread Flour. Bread flour creates a chewier, thicker, denser result, more bagel-like. I wanted to keep the rolls softer and fluffier, and opted for all-purpose.
I strongly recommend KA flour because the protein levels are generally slightly higher than in other brands. In baking, this lends more structure, translating to puffier cookies, stronger cakes, and better rising bread. Cheap flour is cheap flour. Spend an extra two bucks for good flour. The results are worth it.
I only use Red Star Platinum Yeast. It’s the best yeast I’ve ever tried and it never lets me down. If you’re new to bread-making or working with yeast, consider this yeast your insurance against goofs because it’s very forgiving. Since it’s an instant yeast, you don’t have to proof it (let it stand with warm liquids for 10 minutes or until foamy). You simply add it with the rest of your dry ingredients.
After kneading, the dough will be smooth and it’s not overly sticky.
Roll it out into a 9×14-inch size. Grab a 9×13-inch pan and just eyeball it so the dough is a little longer than the pan.
Spread a stick of butter over the dough.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Starting with the 14-inch side, roll it up into a tight log.
Slice it using dental floss. It’s truly the best way to slice rolls so they don’t get squished and lopsided. I’ve tried fancy bench scrapers, really expensive knives, and two cent’s worth of dental floss is the best bet.
If you make 1-inch slices, you’ll end up with 14 rolls. Nine rolls comfortably fit in a 9-inch pie dish. You’ll have 5 extra. I baked those in a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
I could have baked everything in a 9×13-inch pan, but I was obsessed with baking in a round pie dish because that’s how my grandma made her cinnamon rolls, and I have a nostalgic predisposition to wanting my cinnamon rolls baked in a round pan. If you don’t care, using a 9×13-inch pan is probably easiest.
You can also slice them about 1 1/2 inches each, and bake 9 big rolls in a pie dish. They’ll be Cinnabon-sized, whereas the rolls I made are like premade-dough-in-a-tube-sized.
I baked for exactly 20 minutes. Watch them closely so you don’t burn them.
The dough is so white and will fool you into thinking it’s still raw when it’s not.
While they’re baking, mix up the (mandatory) cinnamon roll frosting. Cream cheese, sugar, splash of cream. Nothing fancy, but I want to eat it by the spoonful. Instead of cream, you could use eggnog, maple syrup, Baileys, Kahlua, orange juice, or whatever strikes your fancy.
I put some frosting in a small sandwich bag, cut the corner, and made swirls. I would have never done this if I wasn’t taking pictures. I would have smeared it on fast and super thick with a spatula. And that’s what I did after the photos.
How Long Do Cinnamon Rolls Last?
Extra cinnamon roll frosting will keep airtight for many weeks. These quick yeast cinnamon rolls are best eaten warm and fresh but will keep airtight for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in microwave before serving if desired.
I’m comfortable storing frosted rolls at room temperature, but if you’re not, frost only the portion you plan to consume immediately.
Can You Freeze Cinnamon Rolls?
Yes! These 1 hour cinnamon rolls may be made, cooled completely, put in a Ziplock (don’t frost them) and frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temp, frost, and serve.
Tips for Making Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch
Bread flour may be substituted for all-purpose flour. Note that the 1 hour cinnamon rolls will be firmer and chewier rather than softer and fluffier. You may only need 2 1/4 cups bread flour.
Based on the brand of yeast used, the temperature you need to warm the buttermilk to will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for a warmer temperature than most, 120 to 130F; other brands are much lower, about 95 to 105F.
Warm buttermilk according to the yeast manufacturer’s recommendations on the packaging. This takes about 1 minute in a glass measuring cup in my microwave. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is recommended, but if you’re not, make sure the water is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don’t kill the yeast.
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- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + extra flour if needed, see directions*
- 1 cup buttermilk, warmed to manufacturer’s directions, see directions
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), very soft
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese, very soft*
- about 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- about 2 to 3 tablespoons cream, half-and-half, or milk (eggnog, maple syrup, orange juice, Baileys, or Kahlua may be substituted if desired)
Make the dough:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9-inch pie dish (holds about 9 rolls) and a 9×5-inch loaf pan (holds about 5 rolls) OR prepare a 9×13 pan by spraying with cooking spray or grease and flour the pan(s); set aside. See blog post above for explanation about pan sizes.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or large mixing bowl and hand-knead), combine all dough ingredients and knead for about 7 minutes, or until dough is soft, smooth, and has come together in a firm mass. If hand-kneading, you may need to knead a few minutes longer. Note – Dough should be smooth, not overly sticky, and fairly easy to handle. If your dough is very wet, moist, sticky, or gloppy, add flour in 1 tablespoon increments until it comes together easily.
- Turn dough out onto a Silpat-lined or cooking sprayed work surface.
- Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle that’s approximately 9×14 inches. Use a 9×13 pan and just eyeball it so the dough is a little longer than the pan.
Make the Filling:
- Spread butter in an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1/4-inch margins around edges; set aside.
- In a small bowl, add sugars, cinnamon, and stir to combine. Evenly sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough.
- Starting with the 14-inch side, roll dough up into a tight log.
- Make approximately 1-inch slices using plain (not mint) waxed or unwaxed dental floss. It’s the best way to slice rolls so they don’t get squished and lopsided.
- Place rolls into prepared pan(s).
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through and set. I baked for exactly 20 minutes. Watch rolls closely so you don’t burn them. The dough is so white and will fool you into thinking it’s still raw when it’s not. Rolls continue to firm up as they cool.
- While rolls bake, make the frosting.
Make the Frosting:
- Combine all frosting ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk until smooth and combined. Based on desired frosting consistency, you may need to play with the sugar and cream ratios slightly.
- Apply frosting to rolls as desired. I placed some frosting in a small sandwich bag, cut the corner, and made swirls. Smearing it on fast and thick with a spatula is what I prefer to do when not photographing them.
Flour: Bread flour may be substituted; rolls will be firmer and chewier rather than softer and fluffier; you may only need 2 1/4 cups bread flour.
Buttermilk: Based on the brand of yeast used, buttermilk temperature will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for a warmer temperature than most, 120 to 130F; other brands are much lower, about 95 to 105F. Warm buttermilk according to the yeast manufacturer’s recommendations on the packaging. This takes about 1 minute in a glass measuring cup in my microwave. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is recommended, but if you’re not, make sure the water is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don’t kill the yeast.
Cream cheese: Light cream cheese may be substituted, but it’s runnier and you may want to skip the cream.
Storage: Extra frosting will keep airtight for many weeks. Rolls are best eaten warm and fresh but will keep airtight for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in microwave before serving if desired. I’m comfortable storing frosted rolls at room temperature, but if you’re not, frost only the portion you plan to consume immediately. Rolls may be made, cooled completely, put in a Ziplock (don’t frost them) and frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temp, frost, and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 111mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 5g
More Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipes:
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls — Favorite cinnamon roll recipe with a make-ahead/overnight option. This makes a bigger batch and is a 4+ hour process rather than 1 hour. The rolls taste closer to Cinnabon’s because they’re big, jumbo-style rolls, drenched in frosting
The Best Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls — Super soft, fluffy pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls topped with a cream cheese glaze! Move over, Cinnabon, these are better!!
Overnight Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls – The SOFTEST and FLUFFIEST cinnamon rolls with an overnight MAKE-AHEAD option and eggnog frosting adds the perfect touch!! If you like Cinnabon rolls, you’ll LOVE THESE!!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bake — Every bite tastes like the super SOFT, gooey CENTER of a cinnamon roll!! Spiked with pumpkin and flooded with icing, this EASY recipe is an automatic WINNER!!
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Roll Bake — This cinnamon roll recipe with apples and caramel sauce is easy, ready in 30 minutes, and you don’t even have to make scratch cinnamon roll dough.
Nutella Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze — Nutella Cinnamon Rolls are a decadent and ridiculously easy way to enjoy homemade cinnamon rolls in a hurry.
Copycat Cinnabon Soft Pretzels — These are the easiest and fastest soft pretzels because they start with a tube of Pillsbury Grands Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls!