Fluffy, gooey, tender, buttery, giant cinnamon rolls that are SO worth the extra time and effort to make from scratch!
It’s holiday shopping season, and you know what that means. You’re walking through the mall, making your list and checking it twice while fighting the crowd and dodging parents who can’t control their unruly children, when all of a sudden — WHAM! — you get smacked right in the face with the intoxicating smell of Cinnabon giant cinnamon rolls.
As the heavenly scent of baking’s holy trinity (butter, cinnamon and sugar, amirite?) wafts from the kiosk and makes a beeline straight to your nose, you do your best to ignore your newfound hankering for big, fat, XXL (yeah, we went there) cinnamon rolls and stick to your shopping list.
Congratulations! You’ve made it home without a Cinnabon roll or BonBite in sight. You push those cravings aside and begin to hyperfocus on wrapping all of the gifts you just purchased. This is your happy place. The lights are twinkling. Tissue paper, ribbon and bows are scattered across the floor. Presents under the tree are seemingly multiplying. Christmas Vacation is playing in the background. But something’s missing …
That’s right. There’s a void in your current state that can only be filled by giant cinnamon rolls. But who wants to go back to the mall and deal with the crowds all over again? Certainly not us. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered! In just a few hours, your house will smell like Cinnabon with giant cinnamon rolls piping hot out of the oven. Give them a generous swipe of cream cheese frosting, then they’re yours for the devouring.
These giant cinnamon rolls have been a staple in our recipe repertoire for years now. Don’t let the yeast scare you — they’re pretty much fail-safe. Also don’t let the amount of butter scare you — they’re not going to kill you. Trust. We’ve made enough batches to know.
Aside from baking these giant cinnamon rolls just for the heck of it, these are also a cinch to prepare ahead of time and make for a delicious Christmas morning breakfast, if we do say so ourselves. Just make the dough the night before, refrigerate overnight, and bake the rolls the next morning. Bam. Soft, fluffy, gooey, giant cinnamon rolls smeared with creamy icing alongside a mug of steamy coffee or a tall frosty glass of milk on Christmas morning. What could be better? Oh, right. Stretchy pants. 😉
Giant Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough
- One ¼-ounce package Red Star Platinum Yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup whole milk scalded
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg room temperature
- 3 ½ cups flour plus more for rolling the dough
For the filling
- 7 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 tablespoon butter room temperature, for greasing the pan
- ¾ cup sugar plus more for preparing the pan
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the icing
- 2 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- Pinch of salt
Make the dough
In a small bowl, proof the yeast by dissolving into the warm water. Cover with a towel and let sit 5 to 10 minutes, or until foamy. Meanwhile, scald the milk by heating in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbly around the edges, but not yet boiling. Combine the scalded milk, melted butter, sugar, salt, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add 2 cups flour and mix until smooth. Add the yeast mixture and remaining flour and mix until a dough ball forms and is easy to handle. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and supple. Place in a well-greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm, humid place* for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
Make the filling
Combine the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside. Prepare a 13-by-9-inch pan by buttering the bottom and edges and coating lightly with sugar. When dough has doubled in size, punch down. Roll onto a lightly floured surface into a 15-by-9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over the surface. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top, massaging into the butter and dough. Beginning at the 15-inch side, tightly roll up the dough into a log, pinching the seams together at the end. Slice into 8 pieces and place close together so the edges touch in the prepared pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let rise in a warm, humid place* for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Alternatively you can place the pan of rolls in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours. If so, the next morning, remove the pan from the refrigerator and let the rolls rise in a warm place just as you did before (or see the recipe notes below for proofing the dough risuntil they are puffy, about 1 to 2 hours.
Bake the rolls
After the rolls have doubled after the second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Make the icing
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the vanilla extract, milk and salt, beating until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Frost the rolls while still warm, allowing the icing to seep into every crevice.
*When in doubt, proof the dough rise: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Meanwhile, microwave a large bowl of water for 5 minutes. Turn the oven off and place the bowl of water on the bottom rack. Place the bowl of dough on the top rack to rise.
These rolls are delicious when served warm and fresh from the oven, and are even better (read: gooier) the next day.