This Copycat Cinnabon Recipe Makes Cinnamon Rolls Even Better Than the Food Court

You can replicate the sweet, squishy, everyone's-favorite cinnamon roll—including that incredible Cinnabon frosting. Just follow our copycat Cinnabon recipe!

No trip to the mall is complete without a visit to Cinnabon. The mouthwatering aroma of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls—dripping with spice, brown sugar and cream cheese frosting—can steal us away from shopping every time. It’s no wonder that more than 100 million Cinnabon buns are sold each year.

Good news: You can recreate the experience at home, thanks to our copycat Cinnabon recipe.

How to Make a Copycat Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

The signature flavor comes from the company’s trademarked Makara cinnamon, yeasty dough and brown sugar-sprinkled center, and. our homemade Cinnabon recipe duplicates those notes. If you’re a purist to the Cinnabon experience, Cinnabon sells its frosting by the pint. But we think our Cinnabon frosting recipe is a solid dupe—and it’s easy to make.

This copycat Cinnabon recipe makes approximately 16 rolls.

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (110° to 115°F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted, divided

Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Here’s a pro tip for the best cinnamon rolls: Use room temperature ingredients.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the dough

Step One for making copy cat cinnabonsTMB Studio

The foundation of your cinnamon bun is a tender, yeast-puffed dough. To get started, dissolve the yeast in warm milk. After a few minutes, it should be frothy and ready to use.

In a stand mixer bowl, combine sugar, butter, eggs and salt with the yeast mixture and 2 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (the dough will be sticky).

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled; it will take about an hour.

Here’s what happens when the dough is rising!

Step 2: Roll out and add the filling

How to make Taste of Home's contest winning Best Cinnamon Rolls recipe; step 2 of 5; roll out the dough and add fillingTMB Studio

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Punch down the dough and divide it in half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough into an 11×8-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons of butter, then sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture to within 1/2 inch of the edges.

Step 3: Roll and slice

How to make Taste of Home's contest winning Best Cinnamon Rolls recipe; step 3 of 5; roll up dough jellyroll style and cut into pieces using dental flossTMB Studio

Roll up the dough up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side, to create the signature Cinnabon swirl. Pinch seam to seal. Cut into eight slices.

Editor’s Tip: Using unflavored dental floss to slice the rolled dough makes a clean cut that doesn’t squish or pinch the edges.

Place each slice in a greased 13×9-inch pan, cut side down. Cover with a kitchen towel.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 4: Bake until golden brown

How to make Taste of Home's contest winning Best Cinnamon Rolls recipe; step 4 of 5; bake until golden brownTMB Studio

It’s time to let the magic happen. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool on wire racks.

It’s important not to eat the hot buns—they won’t have the proper texture until they cool and set a while. (Maybe clean your kitchen while you wait.)

Step 5: Slather with frosting

How to make Taste of Home's contest winning Best Cinnamon Rolls recipe; step 5 of 5; spread baked rolls with cream cheese frostingTMB Studio

It’s not a Cinnabon copycat recipe unless you add cream cheese frosting. Beat butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt until blended. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar.

Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the Cinnabon buns. Be generous! For the best Cinnabon copycat recipe, the frosting should soak into the whorls of the bun, pour down the side and puddle onto your plate.

You can refrigerate leftovers, although we doubt there will be any.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Tips

How to make Taste of Home's contest winning Best Cinnamon Rolls recipe; step 5 of 5; spread baked rolls with cream cheese frostingTMB Studio

Make-Ahead Tips

You can make cinnamon rolls the night before baking, and store them in the fridge overnight. Simply prepare the rolls through step 3. Then, instead of allowing the dough to rise at room temperature, cover the baking pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. (In the cold, the yeasted dough will rise more slowly, but if you leave them much longer than a half-day, the dough can overprove and become sour and flat.) Set the pan on the counter while your oven preheats, then bake and frost as usual.

In a hurry? These are the best ready-made cinnamon roll brands.

How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls

Another way to make cinnamon rolls ahead is to freeze the unbaked rolls. Prepare the dough through step 3, allowing them to rise slightly at room temperature. Then wrap the pan tightly and freeze for up to one month.

When you’re ready to bake, thaw the dough in the fridge overnight, and then set out on the counter for an hour or two before baking and frosting.

You can also freeze leftover baked and frosted cinnamon rolls. Let the rolls cool, then pop them into a freezer bag and stash for up to 2 months. Reheat each roll in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes.

How to Store Cinnamon Rolls

Because cinnamon roll dough is so rich, the rolls do keep fairly well. Store cinnamon rolls at room temperature, preferably in an airtight container. The rolls will keep in the fridge for a week, though the dough might get a little dry; zap them in the microwave to revive.

Can I Make Jumbo or Mini Rolls?

Of course! But you’ll need to adjust your timing. Larger rolls will take longer to bake, and may darken on the outside before the middle is cooked, so check the centers with a knife, and cover the tray with foil if the exterior is browning too quickly. On the flip side, mini rolls will cook more quickly, so check them often so they don’t dry out.

Can I Make Them in a Different Pan or Dish?

Don’t have a 13×9-inch pan? You can also make this recipe in a square or round baking pan, or even a couple of pie pans; if your pan is smaller you may need to bake in two vessels. The main concern is that the rolls touch, so they don’t crisp as they bake, and that they’re not too crowded, so they have room to rise.

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Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.