A rich recipe for yeast cinnamon rolls with a delicious and sweet cream cheese frosting. These cinnamon rolls take three hours from start to finish!

Cinnamon roll on a black plate with a fork

Cinnamon rolls are well-loved, but rarely made around here. They are an exciting, special breakfast treat that should only be made once in awhile, to Boyfriend’s great dismay. I say this because they’re time-consuming and not exactly friendly on the waistline.

But they’re so, so good. Seriously, is there anything better than a warm cinnamon roll, oozing with butter, slathered with sugary cream cheese? No. And if you say otherwise, you’ve obviously never had a good yeast cinnamon roll. I’m just sayin’.

I used Paula Deen’s recipe to make the dough, but I have my own way of doing the filling and frosting. I’m a rebel that way.

How to Make Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

So I whipped up the dough, then rolled it out about a 1/2 inch thick.

yeast cinnamon roll doll rolled out on the counter

Then I spread my filling aaaaall over it. For my filling, I prefer to use softened butter instead of melted butter. I think it’s easier to spread and more of it stays in the middle of the cinnamon roll. It still gets nice and melted in the oven, but it’s not squirting out everywhere while you’re trying to roll it. You can yell at me about this if you want- I welcome a debate!

Anywho. Softened butter is mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon and spread all over. I could eat this stuff by itself. But I won’t, because I understand that would be socially unacceptable. This would be the time to add pecans or raisins if you like it like that.

yeast cinnamon roll dough with cinnamon sugar mixture spread over the dough

Then roll it up! I find this part to be the most challenging and I tend to work pretty slowly and precisely. Whatever gets the job done!

Yeast cinnamon roll dough rolled up

Then cut the roll into 1 1/2 inch thick discs. This is easiest if you use a very sharp knife. I always, always, always underestimate the size of the dish I need for this. You’ll want a 9×13 inch dish. Got it? 9. by. 13. inch. I know it doesn’t look like you have that many rolls, but they will grow a lot before they go in the oven.

Arrange the rolls in a buttered 9×13 inch dish (Remember? Say it with me: 9×13, 9×13, 9×13…) with a little bit of space between them and let them rise for an hour or so.

Yeast cinnamon rolls in a yellow baking dish

Then bake ’em!

Baked cinnamon rolls in a yellow baking dish

And when they’re done, you get to do the best part of the whole process: frosting! As long as you didn’t eat it all before they were done. I couldn’t blame you if you did.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese

Pour yourself a nice big cup of coffee, and enjoy!

After you’ve mastered this classic cinnamon recipe, it’s time you’re promoted to trying my Bacon Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls or Cheesecake Stuffed Waffles.
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Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours



  • 2 ½ tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/2 cup 1 cube butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Walnuts, pecans, or raisins (if desired)


  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar and set aside.
  • In a KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment or large bowl, mix milk, melted butter, salt, and egg.
  • Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.
  • Knead dough with dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • To make the filling, whip together the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  • When dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the rolled dough. If using walnuts, pecans, or raisins, sprinkle them over the filling.
  • Beginning at one of the long edges, roll the dough into a long tube and pinch the edges closed. Cut the tube into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices with a little bit of space in a buttered 9×13 inch dish.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the rolls and let rise for 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tops are browned.
  • While the rolls are baking, whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla and whip until well-combined. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the frosting has reached desired consistency.
  • When rolls are done, let them cool for about ten minutes. When they’re warm, not hot, spread the frosting evenly over the tops. Let set for a few more minutes before eating.
Cuisine: American
Course: Breakfast
Author: Chelsea Cole
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