Homemade Cinnamon Rolls -A Christmas Morning Tradition

Ohhhh Dear…would you look at this. THIS is pure torture for a gluten-free gal. I just can’t think of anything I would rather sink my teeth in, Ladies! Ha! It’s the yeasty, gooey, warm, cream cheesy, cinnamony combination that can send a GF girl like me over the edge…lol. 

On Facebook this week, I asked you to share some of your family Christmas traditions. What a great responses you gave! I’m going to have to steal some of those ideas!  These cinnamon rolls have been on the menu since as long as I can remember. In fact, my mom used to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning when I was a little girl.

So, even though I cannot partake in the “eating of the rolls” I still enjoy making them for my family…a very special treat for the special people in my life. 

Don’t be intimidated -these are not hard to make! By preparing the dough the night before and sticking them in the refrigerator saves tons of time in the morning. Just pop em in the oven and voila! Freshly baked cinnamon rolls!

This recipe comes from one of my favorite Chefs…Alton Brown… Love his cooking.  

4 large egg yolks and 1 large whole egg….room temperature. I placed cold eggs in a bowl of luke warm water to get them to room temp. 

Beat together sugar, butter, and “buttermilk” {I used regular milk and added 1/2 tsp of white vinegar}

Add 1 package of instant dry yeast and salt. Oh, would you look at that…gluten free. Bahaaa!!!!!! 

Also add in 2 cups of flour and beat until combined. 

Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead. You can use a mixer attachment or your good ole fashioned hands on a floured surface. Just push forward and roll back until combined.

Roll dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Oil the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap and let sit to rise for 2 hours. It will double in size.

On a floured work surface, roll out dough into a horizontal rectangle. Make your cinnamon filling but combining brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Brush dough with butter everywhere but the outer edges. Sprinkle filling onto of dough.  

Flour your hands and slowly roll up into a cylinder. Even thicker parts by squeezing with your hands.

Slice with a serrated knife into 1 1/2 inch rolls. 

Place cut side down in a buttered 9×13. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove rolls from the refrigerator and place in your oven {don’t turn your oven on}. Place a bowl of boiling water on the rack below. Close the door and let those rolls rise for 30 mins. Remove the rolls and the bowl of water. Pre-heat oven to 350. Bake for 30 mins until golden. Ahhhh…. 

Start making your frosting by combining cream cheese, milk, and powdered sugar. Beat well until nice and creamy. Guess what? I can eat frosting, it’s gluten free….If I remember correctly, I think I fought a child to lick one of those beaters! hahaha…

Spoon on frosting when the rolls are still nice and hot. 

Then it melts…perfectly…over the rolls… 

Enjoy with your families this Christmas morning and for many Christmas mornings to come…

{My dining room table adorned with Easy Ham and Cheesy Quiche, Soft Sugar Cookies, Linzers, Cut outs, Cracker Toffee, Sausage Gravy over Biscuits, hashbowns, bacon, and fruit salad.



5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • Dough:
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature {you can also use regular milk and add ½ tsp of vinegar OR lemon juice to your milk}
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour,plus additional for dusting
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2¼ teaspoons
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar, approximately
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Icing:
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  1. For the dough: Beat together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk.
  2. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; beat until moistened and combined.
  3. Add all but ¾ cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes-you can do this with your hands or if you are using a stand up mixer, change to a dough hook.
  4. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl.
  6. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2½ hours.
  7. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
  8. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
  9. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish.
  10. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  11. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you.
  12. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle.
  13. Brush the dough with the ¾-ounce of melted butter, leaving ½-inch border along the top edge.
  14. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a ¾-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough.
  15. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder.
  16. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.
  17. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1½-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
  18. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off.
  19. Fill a shallow pan or bowl ⅔-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes.
  20. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
  21. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  22. When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.
  23. While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy.
  24. Add the milk and whisk until combined.
  25. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.
  26. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.



  1. Julia from Australia says:

    These sound delish! I’m definitely adding them to my Christmas morning menu 🙂 It’s just my hubby & me, but I think we’d make a good go a devouring all of those rolls (14 I counted in your pic??!) Hehehe!
    Just a thought – if I wanted to add some fruit (e.g. blueberries) to these, would you add them to the dough & knead gently or sprinkle them on with the cinnamon/sugar mixture once the dough is rolled out?
    Also, presumably gluten free flour could be used in place of ordinary flour? We have some GF sensitive (not GF free) members in our extended family who would love these too.
    Thanks Janelle, blessings to you & your family 🙂

  2. You’ve inspired me. I think I will make a Christmas morning breakfast to match your picture this year!!!

  3. I was just thinking this morning about cinnamon roles for Christmas! You’ve sealed the deal for my family -they’ll thank you for encouraging me. Of course, I think I just gained five pounds looking at the picture…

  4. This is fabulous! Thanks for posting this recipe. I constantly look for scratch recipes. This was the 2nd cinnamon roll recipe in my inbox today. The other one started with “Start with one package of refrigerator rolls…” NOT! Thanks so much for posting recipes that are made from scratch!

  5. Made these yesterday!!! Delicious! Thank you for breaking the recipe down to manageable steps w/photos to match! Intimidation factor that kept me from making cinny rolls for years vanished. Husband loved them, too. Will make them for my girls when they come for Christmas! Thanks, Janelle! God Bless.

  6. dayum girfriend!!! are you single? Holla

  7. Quick question. Did you use the complete envelope of yeast or just one packet of the three in the envelope? I have tried this recipe twice only to not have it rise at all at any point. Tried changing yeast brands etc. Help please?

    • 1 package – if they aren’t rising out of the refrigerator, let them sit room temperature a little longer. Are you putting them in the oven with water underneath?

  8. Baking Dad says:

    Mine didn’t rise either before the water in the oven trick. Should we activate the yeast with a little warm water before blending to get larger rolls?

    • hmmm…you can certainly try that method. Perhaps your refrigerator is on a cooler setting. I would take them out of the fridge a little earlier. Are you letting them rise in the oven?

      • Baking Dad says:

        I gave them 45 minutes of rising with the steam bath, but they didn’t change in size and were kind of tough when we ate them. I am trying again today with active yeast and will be more careful with my flour. The dough didn’t double last time either, so perhaps the yeast was dead.

        • Baking Dad says:

          I also upped the butter to a stick to make them moist. Much tastier and they rose more with active yeast.

          • Yea, Baking Dad! I admire how you tried different methods and kept at it to get those rolls the way you wanted them to turn out! Now THAT is “Comfy!”

  9. pinkdeadlykiss says:

    Do you have to refrigerate over night before the second rise? What’s the least amount of time

    • No, they will rise quicker outside of the refrigerator- this method allows the baker to have everything prepped. These rolls should rise 1/3 of the time outside of a refrigerated area!

    • pinkdeadlykiss says:

      Yay great news….. I don’t have time for that part….

      • Pink- Are you insistent upon making homemade, then? Why not buy Rhodes cinnamon rolls or even Pillsbury? I sure have on busy occasions- they’re still delicious.


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