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Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

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If cinnamon rolls are a Christmas tradition at your home, you need to give these perfect cinnamon rolls a try.

They are pretty awesome and just may be the world’s best cinnamon rolls. However, I don’t feel I have tried enough cinnamon roll recipes to call this recipe the world’s best.

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls | realmomkitchen.com

There are several things that are different with this recipe from all of my other cinnamon roll recipes.

This recipe starts with a sponge. A sponge is a prefermentation.It is made when some of the ingredients of the yeast dough are mixed together before the whole dough is made. This sponge mixture is allowed to ferment for a period of time before the rest of the ingredients are added. This process creates more depth of flavor and also produces bread with a lighter and fluffier texture.

The other major difference with this recipe is that in addition to yeast, it also uses baking powder and baking soda. I did some research on using mutiple leaving agents in bread.

According to Pillsbury home economist, usually these are older recipes. It includes both to make sure the bread would rise because leavening agents weren’t as reliable back then as they are now. However, my philosophy is if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. I left this recipe as is using all 3 leavening agents.

When you let the dough raise before shaping, it will look a little more on the wet and sticky side. You should be able to shape the dough into a ball with some sticky residue on your fingers. DO NOT add any more flour if your dough is at this point.

Once the dough goes throigh it’s last rise, you will find that the dough is no longer sticky and it is very workable. One thing I have learned while working in the school lunch room, is you never flour your surface when making bread. You spray the surface with non-stick spray. This makes the dough workable without the addition of flour. Adding more flour could ruin the tenderness and softness of the dough.

The last thing I want to tell you about these cinnamon rolls is it has one amazing frosting. It’s the perfect hybrid of a cream chesse frosting and a butter cream frosting.

Can these be made ahead of time?

These rolls can actually be made a day ahead and still taste great on day two. I actually think they taste even better. They don’t even have to be warmed in the microwave.

Freezer Method

You can freeze cinnamon rolls after they have been baked, frosted, and completely cooled. Place the rolls one by one into a quart-size freezer bags or 4 into a gallon sized freezer bag, seal and freeze. When ready to eat, remove the rolls from the bag while still frozen. Then microwave for a minute or so on 50% power until warm.

Make ahead – Rise/bake the Next Day

If you want to make them ahead of time, but then bake them fresh this is what you do. Instead of spraying the baking sheet with non-stick spray, line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the shaped rolls on the baking sheet. Then cover them with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cook spray. Do not let the rolls raise. Place them directly into the refrigerator. You can keep them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, you will neet to let the rolls raise on the counter for 2-3 hours until double in size. Then bake as directed. However, if you don’t want to wait the 2-3 hours for them to raise to have fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast there is another option.

Quick Make a head – Rise/bake the Next Day

In the morning, take the rolls from the refrigerator and remove the pastic wrap. Place in pan in a cold oven. Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook rolls for the amount reqired on the recipe. This method only works if your oven takes the approximate 10 minutes to preheat. If you have a rapid preheat, this will not work. You may sacrifice some of the lightness and fluffiness to the roll. However, it will still be amazing.

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls | realmomkitchen.com

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

Real Mom Kitchen

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Course Breads
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings


For the Sponge:

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast

For the dough:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon

For the frosting:

  • 2 oz cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar


  • In a microwave safe bowl add the milk. Now you are going to scald the milk in the microwave. Microwave for 30 secong intervals, stirring after each one, just until steam begins to rise from the milk or it reaches 170 degrees. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl to mix by hand), add the sugar and oil. Pour in the scalded milk and mix. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes or so until it is warm but not blazing hot.  You don't want it hotter than 138 degrees.
  • Add the 4 cups flour and sprinkle the yeast on top of the flour. Mix until no dry streaks remain. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. The dough will be loose and wet-looking. Cover the bowl and let the sponge rest until puffy and doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the sponge. Mix until the flour is completely incorporated and the dough looks smooth. It may not necessarily clean the sides. Only add additional flour only if it is too sticky to handle or a small piece of dough won't form a ball in your hands. Some doughy residue on your fingers is ok.
  • Scrape the dough into a lightly greased bowl or container, cover, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  • On a counter sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, roll or pat the dough into about a 18X12-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter evenly across the dough.
  • Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Sprinkle evenly across the top of the butter. Pat down very lightly.
  • Starting with one of the long sides and roll the rectangle into a log without pulling and stretching on the dough (but still rolling as tightly as possible). Roll the seam to the bottom. Pat the log into an even thickness.
  • Cut the log into 12 even pieces. Place on a 13 x 18 sheet pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, about an hour.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-25 minutes until lightly golden and baked through. Allow to cool to warm before frosting.
  • For the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl. Whip with a handheld (or stand) mixer until creamy. Add the milk or cream and vanilla. Mix again. Add the powdered sugar and whip until light and creamy.
  • Spread the slightly warm rolls evenly with the icing. Serve immediately or let cool completely and serve at room temperature. Makes 12 servings.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This recipe is adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

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