Soft Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
Feb 17, 2023, Updated Sep 26, 2023
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Here is the soft glazed cinnamon rolls recipe of our dreams! Get all of the tips and step-by-step instructions for soft, pillowy rolls. No mixer needed, easily expands for more!
Sometimes, or maybe even lots of times, I realize that I’m making recipes I LOOOOVE and keeping them all to myself. Well, it’s not that I’m eating the results all myself, but there are go-to recipes I have developed that have not yet made it here for YOU. I feel sheepish about this! That’s because I know, thank you so much, that you want any and all “best of” recipes I have for you. There are many here! Many more to come!
On most major holidays and the holidays we make out of any given weekend, I have cinnamon roll needs. Come Fat Tuesday, for example, I start thinking already about Easter and the many treats I’ll get to make and eat and share at the end of the long, tough road to get there (here, we practice Lent). Soft rolls rise to the top of the treat pyramid (every pun intended!).
For feasts of every sort, I turn to my fluffy, soft cinnamon roll recipe. The glaze is simply divine, with the gentle flavor of rose and orange blossom (or sub vanilla!). The recipe is so do-able, this I promise, in a quantity that’s manageable and expandable. Here’s how:
Ingredients to Make These Cinnamon Rolls Extra Soft
No, it’s not the viral heavy cream pour-over that’s a thing right now. And it’s not making them so giant that they could not help but be soft because they barely bake through.
Three magical ingredients deserve our big-eyed, mouthwatering adoration.
- Yogurt. Laban. Labneh. Greek Yogurt. Whichever of these baking magic-makers you pick, the result is going to spell S-O-F-T. Read more about baking with yogurt here.
- Bread flour. This flour is different than the all-purpose flour we use for, well, all purposes. Bread flour has a higher protein level, which produces more gluten. Gluten is responsible for the light, chewy texture we’re after in a great cinnamon roll recipe.
- Rapid Rise Yeast. This yeast does just what it says it will do: rise your dough high and quickly.
The other ingredients for the dough are straight-forward:
Granulated Sugar. For the dough.
Eggs. To further enrich the dough. These must be room temp.
The filling is made simply, with melted butter, brown sugar (light or dark), and cinnamon. Toasted chopped nuts are an easy add-in (unless you’re in my family, where the nut is considered an intrusion).
For the simple glaze, you’ll need:
Rose Water, Orange Blossom Water, and/or Vanilla extract
How to Bake with Yeast
I hear from some that yeast is the thing that keeps them from diving into the baking projects of their dreams. So many questions—all answered with ease. Get your yeast and let’s go!
Which yeast should I use? There are three primary types of yeast available in the grocery store. Here are the types and how they’re used:
Active Dry Yeast. This yeast comes in bulk in little jars or pre-measured in little packets. Active dry yeast is dissolved in warm water at 105- to 110- degrees F. (or milk, depending on the recipe) before adding it to other ingredients. This short process is “proofing” the yeast, or “activating” the yeast. In about 10 minutes the yeast mixture thickens, becomes creamy, and some small bubbles form. I always add a pinch of sugar too, because the yeast loves sugar almost as much as I do and uses it to activate swiftly and thoroughly.
Rapid Rise Yeast. This yeast is handled the same as Active Dry Yeast, with a proofing process. The difference is that rapid rise yeast works overtime to help your dough rise faster. This is desirable when time is short or when dough is heavily enriched, as with Lebanese ka’ik cookie dough.
Instant Yeast differs from the others because it needs no proofing process. Instant yeast is added to the recipe along with the other dry ingredients. We used instant yeast almost exclusively when I was in culinary school. So much to do, so little time! Instant was helpful.
Steps to Make Soft Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
- Proof the yeast (see above!).
- In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, eggs, butter, salt, sugar, and proofed yeast mixture.
- Add one cup of the bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups flour and stir until a shaggy mass forms.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead for about a minute, until a cohesive dough ball forms. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes. This feels like a long time. Try to enjoy it and get into the rhythm of pushing the dough away from you with the palms of your hands, flipping and repeating.
- Place the dough in a bowl that is brushed with oil. Coat the dough by flipping it around in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
- Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with parchment, or coat with oil. I make six large rolls that don’t touch each other in this size pan. To make rolls that connect and pull apart, use a smaller 9-inch round or square pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- On a dough mat or lightly floured surface, roll the risen dough into a 10×20-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar mixture.
- Roll the dough into a log, starting at the short, 10-inch end.
- Cut the log into six equal pieces (make five cuts).
- Place each piece swirl-side-up several inches apart in the prepared baking pan and let rise.
- Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden.
- Mix the glaze and pour over cooled rolls.
Tips for Making Great Cinnamon Rolls
- Make sure the liquid used to proof the yeast isn’t too warm. Hot liquid will kill the yeast and prevent the dough from rising. By feel, think warm bath water.
- Make sure the yogurt, eggs, and butter are all warm/room temperature. Your dough performs much better when the ingredients are not cold.
- A simple trick to bring cold eggs to room temperature: immerse them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
- Use bread flour rather than all-purpose flour for a fluffier roll! Bread flour can be found in most every grocery store right near the rest of the flours.
- No mixer is needed for this recipe! I love the manageable quantity of dough in my recipe and I enjoy mixing and kneading this soft dough by hand. But if you have a mixer and would like to use it, by all means do. Reduce 10-minute kneading time to 5 minutes.
- A rolling pin is useful for rolling the dough into a large rectangle. If you don’t have one, you can gently stretch, pat out, and pull the dough to make the rectangle. Or try a wine bottle as a substitute! No rolling pin shouldn’t stop you from making these rolls!
Substitutions for Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
Can you use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour? Yes, the world won’t end! You’ll still have delicious rolls, just not quite as soft and fluffy.
How do you make these rolls in advance? Best thing to do is take the recipe all the way through rolling and cutting into the six pieces. Place those in the prepared pan, cover well with plastic and then foil and refrigerate for up to a day or freeze for up to three months. From frozen, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and then rise until puffy.
More Recipes for Yeasted Breakfast Treats
Soft Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough:
- 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise or active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 110° F)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, very softened
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon olive oil to oil the bowl
For the filling:
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teasoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
For the dough:
- In a small bowl, add the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, and the warm water. Stir and set aside until creamy and bubbly (about 10 minutes).
- In a large bowl, add the remaining granulated sugar, yogurt, salt, 4 tablespoons very soft butter, and 2 eggs. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
- Add 1 cup of the bread flour and stir. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of bread flour and stir to make a shaggy mass. Turn this out onto the counter and knead to form a ball, about one minute. Allow the dough to rest 10 minutes, then knead for 10 minutes to create a smooth, soft dough ball.
- Clean out the mixing bowl just used and brush all over with the teaspoon of oil. Add the dough and coat entirely with oil by flipping the ball around the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, 60 minutes to 2 hours.
- In a small bowl stir the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll out the risen dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 10"x20" rectangle. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. Starting with the short side, roll the rectangle into a log. Pinch the open ends together.
- Use a large, sharp knife to cut the log into six equal pieces (make five cuts).
- Place each piece swirl-side-up several inches apart in the prepared baking pan. Make the pieces even and round by shaping them here and there where needed. Cover loosely and set aside to rise until puffy and large, about 60- to 90-minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350° F.Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden with an internal temperature of 200° F (take the temp the same way you would a piece of meat). If the center of the rolls pops up higher than you'd like, simply pat them down gently with a flat metal spatula during baking.
- Mix the glaze in a small bowl by whisking the confectioners’ sugar, flower waters, and a touch of water. The glaze should drizzle slowly from the spoon.
- Allow the rolls to cool for 10 minutes, then pour the glaze evenly over each roll. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.