Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Over the past 12 years I’ve made a lot of different cinnamon roll recipes. I’ve tried different types of dough, some fillings with nuts, some without, different frostings and glazes… this Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon rolls recipe is the BEST recipe. The dough is so fluffy and light it rises quickly and makes for the softest pull-apart bready portion of the roll. But the filling is gooey enough that while the outside layers of roll are bready and light, the inside is gooey and dripping with melted cinnamon/sugar/butter mixture. Also a cream cheese frosting is a must, but I’ve found it’s best to make it a little differently than a traditional cream cheese buttercream—so it melts better on the top of each roll. Okay now that I’m salivating (!) I’ll get into the recipe.
First off, I start with the Lion House roll recipe for the dough. Of any dough I’ve made this is ALWAYS the best. It has an egg and melted butter and powdered milk in it so the dough is super soft, and I add extra yeast so it rises quickly and softly. Don’t roll the dough too thin so the cinnamon rolls stay fluffy. And be sure to frost when warm so that frosting runs down into the center. Drooling!
*New technique I just tried in 2018 – for the filling, I mix the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon into a paste before spreading on the dough. This keeps it from falling out and keeps the filling THICK!
Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
The best tried and true cinnamon rolls using the Lion House rolls dough recipe and a sticky and thick filling. Topped off with delicious cream cheese frosting, you cannot go wrong!
- 4 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 c. warm water
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. melted butter
- 2 tsp salt
- 2/3 c. nonfat dry milk
- 1 egg
- 6 c. flour
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1/3 c. butter, softened
- 1/2 package cream cheese, softened
- 2-3 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6-8 tbsp milk, as needed
Dissolve yeast in warm water for 2 minutes. Add all ingredients except 3-4 cups of flour in a stand mixer, and mix with dough hook until smooth.
Gradually add the remaining flour and mix until just combined.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead gently until dough is soft and incorporated. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
Making the Rolls
After dough has risen, punch down and knead into ball. Roll out onto floured surface. Roll into a large rectangular shape. *Many recipes tell you to roll the dough as thin as possible to get as many layers of cinnamon roll as possible, however I’ve found that by leaving the dough a little thicker it rises much better and stays much fluffier throughout the 2nd rise and baking process. Leave a little thickness to it.
In a separate bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon into a paste. Spread the mixture over the dough evenly. Roll dough firmly into vertical log.
Cut dough at approximately every 1 inch to make 12-18 rolls depending on how big each roll is. Place in a pan that is coated with cooking spray.
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes on top of stove. Meanwhile set stove to 200 degrees F to keep the area around the rolls warm.
After they’ve risen, place them in the 200 degree oven for 5 minutes, then turn the temperature up to 350 degrees F and bake for 15-18 more minutes (don’t open the oven door when you raise the temp).
Cream Cheese Frosting
While the rolls are baking, prepare your frosting. In a stand mixer whip butter and cream cheese as hard as the beater will go. Cream cheese is finicky and you have to beat it hard to get the lumps out and make sure it’s fully incorporated into the butter and whipped.
Then turn down the speed and add the powdered sugar slowly, alternating with a bit of milk. Add vanilla. Continue adding powdered sugar and milk until you get a smooth consistency, slightly thinner than traditional butter cream. You want the frosting to melt easily on the rolls so it will almost be a mixture of icing and frosting—not too thin but not too thick.
When the cinnamon rolls are very slightly browned on top they are done. Remove and frost immediately!
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