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I’m not gonna lie, I love cinnamon rolls. Lucky for me our kids love them too, so over the years I have made a lot of cinnamon rolls. Even luckier for me, they are SO EASY to make – especially if you have a bread machine. I tinkered with this recipe for years and it is always a hit. This time I changed it up a bit for Fall and just when you think something cannot get any better, it does! When I made these last night, I decided to add a layer of pumpkin pie filling to the rolls. Oh my word! They are delicious with just the right touch of pumpkin.
Now that we are (pretty much) empty nesters I could not risk having 12 cinnamon rolls in the house, so I gifted four to two of our friends- I hope they love them! I stopped baking for a few years because my oldest daughter is a pastry chef who had her own small at-home bakery business. She has since changed careers and I started baking again. I forgot how much I enjoy it! Perfect timing for the upcoming holidays. I see a lot of treats in our future. 😉
Ok, back to the cinnamon rolls. This recipe is great for a number of reasons – one is, of course, the taste. They are *very* similar to Cinnabon, only a little smaller, and the frosting is a.maz.ing. Reason #2 is they are so easy to make. Not “pop open the can and throw them in a pie dish” easy, but for homemade cinnamon rolls, they are super easy. I struggle with bread and dough. My mom and daughter make amazing breads and I usually make flat wannabe loaves. Years ago I was reading a recipe for bread and it was suggested to make the dough in a bread machine so it mixes and rises perfectly. Once the dough has risen, you can make whatever bread you want. MIND BLOWN.
Now guess who is a bread maker? Meeee! You literally dump the dough ingredients in the bread machine, set it to “dough” and walk away for like 2 hours. Perfect. dough. every. time. EVERY TIME.
I have an older Oster bread machine like this one and highly recommend it. I like that it is a large capacity machine that makes a 2lb loaf because I can make two loaves of bread from one dough. (If you do purchase a bread machine other than this one, be sure it has a “dough” setting.)
No bread machine? No problem! You can still make this recipe and it will come out just as good. (My daughter used this recipe all the time and didn’t use a bread machine.)
The third reason this is a great recipe is that you can (and should) make it the day or night before you bake it. Who wants to wake up at 5am to have fresh cinnamon rolls on the table for an 8am breakfast? Not me. By making them a day in advance, this is a great recipe for weekend mornings, when you have house guests, Thanksgiving morning, Christmas morning, any holiday morning, really- you have enough to do without worrying about breakfast! After you assemble the cinnamon rolls they need to rise more, which is why they go in the fridge for at least a couple hours or overnight. In the morning, pop them in the oven for 30ish minutes and breakfast is served! This is one of my favorite recipes to make for birthday and holiday mornings- it’s always a hit!
Cinnamon Rolls Recipe + How to Make Them Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I am going to post the recipe for regular cinnamon rolls and put the pumpkin option in the notes. But I am going to SHOW you how to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls because that’s what I made for these photos.
Let’s get started! First, you’ll gather the ingredients for the dough- milk, sugar, yeast, flour, salt, eggs and butter.
Begin by heating the milk to 110F to activate the yeast. Once the milk is 110F (up to 115F) add the yeast and 1 T of the sugar. Gently stir and set it aside for a few minutes. This will get the yeast started. You can see in the photo below that the yeast starts to get bubbly when it becomes active.
Once the yeast has activated, whisk the eggs and starting with the flour, pour all of the ingredients in the bread machine. Give it a little stir to mix it all up, close the lid and start the “dough” cycle. Now you have about 2 hours to do whatever you want. 🙂
Once the dough cycle is completed, lightly flour your countertop or table and turn the dough out onto the surface. Am I the only one who can’t grasp the concept of “lightly” floured?
Every time. My husband says I don’t do anything small…
Next, roll the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 20″ x 14″. I used a pizza wheel to trim the edges to about 14×20″. Melt the butter and using a basting brush, spread the butter all over the dough.
For Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
If you are making the pumpkin cinnamon rolls version, this is when the pumpkin goes in.
Using canned pumpkin, like you would for pumpkin pie, mix 3/4C of pumpkin and 3T sugar together. Spread the pumpkin mixture over the dough.
Next Steps for Regular Cinnamon Rolls or Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Whether you are making the regular version or the pumpkin version of these cinnamon rolls, the rest of the recipe stays the same.
Next, spread the brown sugar over the dough (either over the butter or over the pumpkin) and then sprinkle the cinnamon on top of the brown sugar.
Starting from either of the 20″ long edges, roll the dough into a log shape. Cut it into 12 equal parts and place each roll, cut side down, into a lightly greased 9×13″ baking dish.
Bake in a preheated over at 350F for about 30 minutes. The cinnamon rolls are done when a thermometer inserted into the doughy center reaches 160F. (Tip: Bread is cooked when it reaches 160F!) While the rolls are baking, take the butter and the cream cheese out of the fridge so they can soften to make the cinnamon roll icing.
Don’t they look so good? Wait – they get even better! It’s time to make the frosting while they cool a bit.
While the rolls are cooling, gather together the ingredients for the icing: powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt.
Using a hand mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together and then add in the vanilla, salt and slowly the powdered sugar. If you need a hand mixer I bought this 5 speed Kitchen Aid mixer a few weeks ago and I LOVE IT. I have never had a hand mixer, and wasn’t sure how I would like it compared to my big Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but it works great! Once the frosting is mixed, spoon it equally over each roll and spread.
How good do these look?! The frosting is SO yummy! Do you see why I had to give 10 of the 12 away? I cannot have all of this yumminess in my house at once!
Here is the inside of the cinnamon roll – you can see the pumpkin and brown sugar inside.
My only advice is if you make these either make them for a crowd or plan to donate some to friends because it’s too easy to eat more than one!
Want some more delicious breakfast recipes? Then take a look at these posts!
Blueberry Breakfast bake with Lemon Glaze
Breakfast 10 Quick, Easy & Healthy Ways
Baked French Toast with Berries
Sweet & Easy Strawberry Muffins with Streusel Crumb Topping
And, because who doesn’t want to start their day Happy- here’s 10 Things You Can Do to Start Your Day in a Fantastic Way!
Also, be sure to check out our Breakfast – Wake Up Happy! board on Pinterest for over 1000 breakfast ideas!