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Sticky Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Over the past 15 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 I’ve found. 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. Alright, 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!
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!
- 3 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 c. warm milk (can also use 2 cups warm water + 2/3 cup powdered milk)
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. melted butter, unsalted
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 5 1/2 -6 c. flour
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1/3 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6-8 tbsp milk, as needed
Warm milk in microwave, until just bathwater warm (not scalding). Dissolve yeast in warm milk 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. Add just enough flour for it to come together.
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.
Spread the very soft butter (can be melted) over the dough. In a separate bowl mix brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the the cinnamon mixture over the dough evenly. Roll dough firmly into vertical log.
(A cheese knife works great at cutting them without pinching the dough down!)
Cut dough at approximately every 1 inch to make 12-18 rolls depending on how big each roll is. Place in a baking sheet or pan that is coated with cooking spray or parchment paper.
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes on top of stove. Meanwhile set oven 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). When the cinnamon rolls are lightly browned on top they are done. (If they aren't a little brown on top, they won't be cooked enough inside.)
Remove and frost immediately!
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 buttercream. You want the frosting to melt easily on the rolls so it will be a cross between an icing and buttercream frosting—not too thin but not too thick.
Instructions for Preparing the Night Before
Follow all instructions above through rolling the dough into a vertical log and cutting the rolls and placing on a greased baking sheet.
Once you’ve done this, spray the tops of the rolls with cooking spray. Cover with saran wrap and seal well around the edges. Make sure no air gets in there so the rolls don’t dry out.
Place in the fridge overnight, up to a day.
Remove from fridge 2 hours before you’d like to bake them. Keep them covered, but let them sit on the counter untouched. They need to get to room temperature, and the dough needs to start to rise a little more before they go in the oven.
Once they’ve come mostly to room temperature (they can be a little cold, but not freezing), and have risen slightly, follow the baking instructions.
Place them in a preheated 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).
When the cinnamon rolls are lightly browned on top they are done. Remove and frost immediately!
*You can make the frosting the night before and store in an airtight container. Then just frost as soon as they come out of the oven!
Also be sure to click here if you’d like to check out my other recipes.
Happy baking! Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make these Cinnamon Rolls!