Gooey Cinnamon Rolls with sweet spiced chai filling topped with a thick, luscious layer of cream cheese frosting.
This fluffy cinnamon roll recipe allows you to easily make soft gooey cinnamon rolls from scratch at home!
Gooey cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls are made from a sweet dough with a chai spiced filling made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and spices.
Cinnamon rolls were most likely invented in the 1700s in Sweden where they’re known as kanelbullar. But now over 300 years later cinnamon roll pastries are commonly served all over the world as a breakfast food with coffee.
I personally love gooey cinnamon rolls that stay soft and fluffy and have the perfect mix of sweet and spice. Like these Gooey Cinnamon Rolls with chai spiced filling and cream cheese frosting.
Like those soft fluffy rolls from Cinnabon that were the mall treat of 90s babies everywhere.
There’s was just something about those big, fluffy, super gooey Cinnabon’s that are irresistable! And now with this cinnamon roll recipe you can make your own cinnamon rolls at home for yourself or for a crowd that are ooey gooey delicious. And, dare I say it, even better-than Cinnabon cinnamon rolls!
How to make cinnamon rolls like Cinnabon
This cinnamon roll recipe makes the gooiest cinnamon rolls that are like a clone of Cinnabon, at home! Combining all the gooey cinnamon roll tricks into one easy from scratch cinnamon roll recipe.
To make soft fluffy cinnamon rolls like Cinnabon start with pillowy soft sweet yeast dough. Then make a cinnamon roll filling from softened butter, brown sugar and spices. Let rise until soft and fluffy. And pour warm cream over the cinnamon rolls. Baking cinnamon rolls in cream helps them bake up fluffier. And creates a creamy caramel sauce in the bottom of the pan that tastes like spiced dulce de leche.
Finally to make sure cinnamon rolls stay soft, fluffy and gooey for as long as possible glaze cinnamon rolls with a thick coating of cream cheese icing when still warm. The icing melts into the nooks and crannies creating a thin layer of icing that seals in moisture. Then when cool, slather icing over the top of the cinnamon rolls for the best cinnamon roll icing.
- Active dry yeast – using active dry yeast for cinnamon rolls means that you must mix the yeast into warm liquids. Instead of mixing directly into the dry like with instant yeast. To substitute instant yeast in this recipe simply add 2 teaspoons yeast instead of 2 ¼ and proceed as directed. Or skip the proofing step and add all ingredients directly to the mixer.
- Butter – for both the cinnamon roll dough and the filling.
- Milk – whole milk, 2% or your favorite dairy or non dairy milk alternative can be used in the cinnamon roll dough.
- Granulated sugar.
- All purpose flour
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy cream – or substitute evaporated milk, half and half, coconut milk, etc. You can even steep chai tea bag in the cream to add even more chai flavor to these chai rolls.
- Chai Spiced Butter – Made from softened butter, brown sugar and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, clove, all spice, and black pepper that add lots of spice to the cinnamon roll filling. These flavors make for a chai spiced cinnamon roll that is more flavorful and interesting than just cinnamon alone.
- Orange zest – optional. A sprinkle of fresh orange zest adds beautiful dimension and flavor to the cinnamon roll filling. Feel free to substitute with lemon zest or omit completely and the flavor will still be delicious.
- Cream Cheese Frosting – this cinnamon roll icing recipe is made with cream cheese, butter and sugar. A classic cream cheese frosting recipe. Cream cheese frosting is the best icing for cinnamon rolls because the tart cream cheese adds tangy contrast to the sweet cinnamon bun. But you can use your favorite plain icing recipe as cinnamon roll icing instead.
Step by step instructions
- Proof yeast in warm milk. When proofed add melted butter, vanilla extract, eggs and remaining ¼ cup sugar. If using instant yeast instead of active dry skip this step.
- Combine flour and salt in a large mixer bowl and slowly add wet ingredient mixture while stirring on low speed. Increase speed and continue to beating until dough gathers on the paddle. Dough will be sticky.
- Cover and rise 45 minutes to an hour.
- Meanwhile make chai spiced butter brown sugar mix.
- Roll dough into a large 16×24 inch rectangle. It should be very soft and smooth and easy to roll out.
- Spread room temperature butter filling evenly over the entire cinnamon roll rectangle. Leaving only ¼″ of space along one of the long edges. Sprinkle with orange zest if using.
- Starting with the long filling covered edge, tightly roll into a large log. Pinch the edge without filling over to seal.
- Carefully cut log in half so that it fits on a baking sheet. Placing seal side down place in freezer and chill until firm enough to cut into neat slices, about 5 minutes.
- Remove chilled cinnamon roll logs from the freezer and slice into 12-16 slices by cutting each piece in half and then cutting each of those pieces into thirds or quarters.
- Place slices neatly into greased 9×13 baking dish. Or cinnamon rolls can be made in whatever round, square or rectangle baking dish available. Cover dish loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. And place in a warm place to rise again, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and warm heavy cream on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Once cinnamon rolls have risen pour warm cream over the tops of the cinnamon rolls in the baking pan.
- Bake cinnamon rolls 20-25 minutes. Or until the tops are golden brown and the creamy caramel sauce bubbles around the sides. When wondering how long to bake cinnamon rolls it’s always best to underbake slightly so they stay soft and fluffy. This recipe calls for baking just until beginning to turn golden brown, about 20-22 minutes.
- Meanwhile make cream cheese frosting for cinnamon roll icing.
- Remove cinnamon rolls from oven and immediately apply half the cream cheese frosting to glaze cinnamon rolls while still warm. Once cool, apply remaining frosting and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon and/or cloves to garnish.
- Serve and enjoy!
Cinnamon roll dough can be easily made ahead of time. Because the yeast flavor and supple texture only intensifies as the dough rests and rises. Making this the perfect make ahead breakfast for Christmas morning, Easter, etc.
To make cinnamon rolls in advance simply make dough and let rise once. Then roll, fill and cut. But instead of allowing to rise and baking immediately cinnamon rolls can be frozen before baking. Or chilled to rise overnight in the fridge.
When ready to bake remove cinnamon rolls from refrigerator or freezer. And bring to room temperature to rise again until doubled in size. Then bake as directed where cinnamon rolls will rise again in the oven.
Cinnamon rolls can also be frozen after baking. To freeze baked cinnamon rolls simply separate rolls into individual freezer bags and pop in the freezer. Then remove from plastic and heat before serving.
This is a cinnamon roll recipe for 12 to 16 cinnamon rolls depending on how thick you slice them.
Slice into 16 even pieces for manageable cinnamon roll servings that are perfect for brunch. Or cut into 12 rolls for a giant fluffy cinnamon roll recipe. The perfect SHOWstopping size for celebrations like birthdays and Christmas morning.
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast or 1 packet
- 1 cup whole milk
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar divided into 1 tablespoon and 4 tablespoon (¼ cup) portions
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chai Butter Filling
- ½ cup salted butter room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar dark brown preferred or light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon orange zest optional
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup cream cheese 4 ounces, softened
- ½ cup salted butter 4 ounces or 1 stick, softened
- 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Warm milk slightly to 110-115 degrees and stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast. Allow mixture to sit until foamy which can take up to 10 minutes. When proofed add melted butter, vanilla extract, eggs and remaining ¼ cup sugar.
- Combine flour and salt in a large mixer bowl and slowly add wet ingredient mixture while stirring on low speed.
- Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes then increase speed to medium and continue to beat until dough is smooth and soft and gathers on the paddle, about 7-10 minutes. Dough will be sticky. Cover and let rest 45 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile make chai spiced butter filling. Combine room temperature butter with brown sugar and spices and whip until light and fluffy.
- Roll dough into a large 16×24 inch rectangle. At this point dough should be very soft and smooth and easy to roll out.
- Spread room temperature sweetened chai butter evenly leaving ¼ inch of space on one long edge and spreading all the way to the edge on the other 3.
- Starting with the long filling covered edge, tightly roll into a large log. Carefully cut log in half so that it fits on a baking sheet and freeze until firm enough to cut into neat slices, about 5 minutes.
- Once firm remove cinnamon roll logs from the freezer and cut each log in half using a sharp knife then cut each piece into thirds to make 12 giant fluffy cinnamon rolls.
- Grease a large 9×13 baking dish, or whatever round, square or rectangle baking dishes you have available, and add cinnamon rolls with cut edges facing up. Cover loosely and all to rise until poofy, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. And warm cream to just above room temperature, on the stovetop or in the microwave and pour over cinnamon rolls in the baking pan.
- Bake cinnamon rolls 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the creamy caramel sauce bubbles around the sides.
- Meanwhile make cinnamon roll icing. Combine room temperature cream cheese and butter and whip until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and salt and whip until combined. Then slowly add confectioners sugar while stirring to combine. Then whip until light and fluffy.
- Remove cinnamon rolls from oven and immediately apply half the icing while still super warm. Allow cinnamon rolls to cool to room temperature and apply remaining cream cheese icing. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon and/or cloves and serve.