These homemade 1 hour cinnamon rolls with knock your socks off! Layers of tender cinnamon roll dough swirled with cinnamon sugar and topped with a cream cheese icing. They taste just like Cinnabon – maybe better!

prepared cinnamon rolls in baking pan topped with cream cheese icing

Cinnamon rolls in 1 hour and they taste like Cinnabon! 

The only way I know how to describe these swirled rolls are that they are dangerous and deadly. For someone that loves making a big deal out of weekend breakfast, without a whole lot of work, these are perfect. You don’t have to wait around for them to proof for hours on end. Sure, you could reach for dough that comes in a can, but homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting are undoubtedly better.

Perfectly swirled with cinnamon sugar and rolled up in hot buttery dough, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s a tangy, sweet cream cheese icing that just melts down the sides of these hot rolls. 

I’ve made countless trays of cinnamon rolls since sharing the recipe a few years ago and I kid you not, I always have to call everyone I know to come take them off my hands because I can’t be trusted around them!

warm baked swirled cinnamon roll with icing on a white plate with fork

What do you need to make 1 hour cinnamon rolls dough?

  • Butter: adds flavor, tenderness, and moisture to the rolls. When we add melted butter to the rolls the fat coats the flour and ensures that less gluten is formed so the rolls are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
  • Milk: warm milk is added to the cinnamon roll dough which hydrates the dough, adds structure, and strengthens the dough. The natural sugar in milk helps tenderize the rolls. It also helps give cinnamon rolls a golden brown color.
  • All-purpose flour: The protein content of all-purpose flour is ideal for making cinnamon rolls.
  • Sugar: used as food for the yeast. But it also helps keep the cinnamon rolls tender by absorbing the liquid and slowing down the formation of gluten so that the rolls are more tender.
  • Kosher salt: adds flavor to the dough.
  • Instant yeast: ferments the sugar that we use in the rolls. It also helps the dough to rise by releasing carbon dioxide.
  • Powdered Milk: gives homemade cinnamon rolls a bakery-style flavor, texture, and tenderness to the final product. One that you can’t pinpoint while eating but you know that there’s something special about these rolls. If you can’t find it in stores, you can purchase it here
  • Eggs: help strengthen the structure, as well as increase leavening.
the dough process, and cinnamon sugar process of preparing cinnamon rolls

How to make the perfect 1 hour cinnamon rolls:

The dough for homemade cinnamon rolls is very easy to make. We’re using instant yeast, so that means you don’t have to sit there and wait for the yeast to activate. We’re also not spending hours allowing the dough to rise. 

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and allow for it to combine. Be sure to do this step so you don’t end up with lumps of powdered milk. You want to mix it thoroughly, then add in warm milk, melted and cooled butter, and the eggs. Let the mixer run for several minutes until the dough comes together. That’s it!

What if I only have active dry yeast, can I still make your homemade cinnamon rolls recipe?

You can use active dry yeast to make these cinnamon rolls. You’ll just want to keep a couple things in mind:

  1. You’ll need to activate the yeast. This can be done by combining the warm milk (110-115ºF) with a few tablespoons of the sugar and yeast, stirring, and allowing it to sit for 5-10 minutes or until it starts fizzing at the top. 
  2. The dough will take much longer to rise. Once you’ve prepared the dough in a mixer, you’ll want to transfer it to a well-oiled bowl and allow the dough to rise covered in a warm space for 1-2 hours or until it doubles in size. Then, once you’ve rolled, added the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and cut pieces, again you’ll need to let the dough rise. The second rise will take roughly 40-60 minutes.
the rolling, butter, cinnamon sugar, and cutting process of 1 hour cinnamon rolls

Why did you change the baking temperature for 350ºF to 375ºF?

Because I didn’t think I could make it any better until I changed the baking temperature on my chocolate chip cookies and learned how even a small 25º temperature change can activate the Maillard reaction.

Maillard reaction: is a reaction that occurs between sugar and a protein resulting in browning. Because it occurs at 356ºF, baking the rolls at 350ºF would technically never take them to their full potential because the sugars won’t caramelize. When sugar caramelizes you’re left with a golden brown hue and a more flavorful end product.

close up of unbaked cinnamon rolls showing texture of dough and cinnamon swirl

Let’s talk about the cream cheese icing for cinnamon rolls:

I played with the cream cheese icing quite a bit before settling on the recipe I’m sharing with you today. I used the traditional ratio of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla and no matter how much I played with it, I couldn’t get it to have that tang I love.

And then I tried… lemon juice.

Now, let me just say, if you don’t like things that have buttermilk or a tang to them, you might not like my icing. And you can certainly replace the lemon juice with additional milk, but if you’re into a more balanced approach to cinnamon rolls, a little tang helps cut through some of the sweetness and complements all the other flavors.

Do you have to use cream cheese icing on homemade cinnamon rolls?

This is totally your call. A lot of people prefer a simple icing made with powdered sugar, milk, and/or water. And you can certainly do that if you’d like. I prefer to have the tang and depth of cream cheese frosting and I could never make these without it.

prepared cinnamon rolls in a baking dish on white marble surface

Secrets to the best 1 hour cinnamon rolls recipe:

  1. Use room temperature butter for the filling. Using melted butter is messy and you end up losing a lot of it from the sides when you roll the dough.
  2. Make sure the milk is warm but not hot. I use a food thermometer to ensure that the milk is between (110-115ºF) anything warmer than that and you run the risk of killing the yeast.
  3. Add additional flour in small increments. You’ll need at least the 4 cups I have written. However, how much more than that you’ll need depends on the humidity and temperature of where you will. In places like Houston, I sometimes end up adding an additional ¾ cups! It’s important to keep a close eye on the dough, you want it to come together but not be dry. So I measure out ¾ a cup and add 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the dough just comes together.
  4. Proof the dough at the correct temperature. The ideal temperature for yeast growth is between 75ºF and 95ºF. If its the summertime, you can allow the dough to rise on the counter for 10 minutes while the oven preheats. But if it’s winter, I usually like to heat the dryer on warm for 5 minutes. Then, turn the dryer off, cover the dough with plastic wrap, and place the bowl inside. Don’t turn the dryer on again. The warmth will help the dough rise quickly.
  5. Use just a tad bit of flour when rolling the dough. Once you’ve prepared the dough, keep any leftover flour to the side and use that for rolling. I typically sprinkle just a tablespoon or so on a clean work surface and use a teaspoon or two on the rolling pin itself.
  6. Use good quality cinnamon when you’re making these rolls. During recipe testing, I used cinnamon from a bulk-sized container and I couldn’t taste it at all. Saigon cinnamon works best here but it is quite expensive. Use the best quality cinnamon that you can and I promise these will be delicious!
  7. Slice the cinnamon rolls using floss instead of a knife. Yes, the stuff you clean your teeth with! You get much cleaner cuts and the rolls hold together better too.
  8. Cut the dough into equal portions so that they bake in the same amount of time. I cut the ends off (optional) then, divide the cinnamon roll in two, then four. Once they are in four pieces, divide each into another 3 even pieces. Voila, 12 almost equal, portions!
  9. Check the rolls for doneness. If you’re not sure whether the rolls are done or not, use a food thermometer to help you determine doneness. I like to check a roll that’s in the center of the baking dish as the ones on the sides get more heat in the oven. You want to get a reading between 190-200ºF.
close up of cinnamon roll dripping with cream cheese icing in a baking dish

If you like this cinnamon roll recipe, you might also like:

close up of 1 hour cinnamon rolls oozing out melted cream cheese frosting
Yield: 12 cinnamon rolls

Outrageous 1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

These homemade 1 hour cinnamon rolls with knock your socks off! Layers of tender cinnamon roll dough swirled with cinnamon sugar and topped with a cream cheese icing. They taste just like Cinnabon - maybe better!

Outrageous 1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup warm milk (110-115ºF)
  • 4 - 4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temp

Filling:

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon 
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional

Icing:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, room temp
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 ⅓ cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. DOUGH: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, yeast, and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Add the warm milk mixture, eggs, and melted butter. Mix on medium-low speed to combine for 5-7 minutes. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl after the first 4 minutes, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side (up to ¾ a cup.) Remove dough from hook and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  2. FILLING: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg, set aside. 
  3. ROLLS: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 16 x 10-inch rectangle. Use an offset spatula to spread the softened butter over the surface evenly. Sprinkle with the prepared cinnamon brown sugar mixture and press it into the butter. Roll up the dough tightly, tuck and pinch the end, and cut into 12 pieces using dental floss or a sharp knife (see pictures.) Place the prepared pieces in a lightly greased or parchment-lined 13x9 baking pan. Turn the oven OFF. Cover the dough loosely with a damp tea towel and place the baking pan inside the oven for 20 minutes to rise.
  4. BAKE: When the dough has risen, remove from the oven and set aside on the counter. Place a rack near the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 18-22 minutes. Tent with foil if the rolls start browning too quickly during baking. Rolls are done when they are golden and cooked through to 190-200ºF when tested with a meat thermometer. Prepare the icing while the rolls bake. Remove and let cool on a wire cooling rack for a few minutes before icing.
  5. ICING: in a medium bowl with a whisk, whip the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and mix on the low setting until smooth. Pour a tablespoon of milk at a time until the icing reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle the prepared icing over the warm cinnamon rolls and spread using an offset spatula. Serve warm!

Notes

    • Sometimes the icing has tiny grains because of the lemon juice and depending on the brand of cream cheese, and that’s okay!

Have you made this recipe?

I’d LOVE it if you could take a second to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR 🙂

image of cinnamon roll for Pinterest

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