Homemade Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls – big, light, yeasty cinnamon rolls filled with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar, topped with a sweet powdered sugar frosting. Excellent for any special occasion, including Saturdays.
Let me just start by saying let’s focus on being thankful. Especially this month, ok?
But also, it’d be unfair to admit that this past week has been trying. This week has felt like one big continuous emotional hangover. This week. This week feels like history in the making. And this week feels like history has just repeated itself, not for the better, and set us back far too long.
I know this is a food blog, and there’s that weird line of talking about real life things, and just talking about food. But this is LIFE and life is REAL and we’re all real people, living in a real word, dealing with real life emotions. And regardless of political affiliations, we all deserve to feel loved, respected, and at the very least, safe where we are. It breaks my heart in so many ways to know that I walk into my classroom each day knowing that my babies are scared, they’re worried, they’re confused, and they don’t know if their parents, or their entire families, will be sent out of the country.
And all I can tell them is I love them, and I’m there for them. It’s the most helpless feeling in the world.
That being said, we’re going all about COMFORT and THANKFULNESS today. Because there’s nothing else in the world I can think of right now. Let’s focus on the good, and what we can do. And we can all make a big batch of love in the form of Homemade Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls.
And we can all be thankful.
First thing I’m super-uber thankful for? My mother. This woman is my rock. And she also has made my family homemade cinnamon rolls for — well — as long as I can remember. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas morning, fresh cinnamon rolls baked in the oven; they filled the house with the sweet, fulfilling aroma of yeast and cinnamon and sugar and butter all begging to be devoured.
My mother has always appeased my love of tradition and never fails to make these rolls every special holiday morning. Now that I’m back in Minneapolis, homemade cinnamon rolls are an absolute given, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
I’m absolutely so thankful that I’m here, able to celebrate with my family, and enjoy copious amounts of amazing food. And you know what else?! Super thankful that my mom is here to photograph these precious family traditions that are cinnamon rolls with me. >> side note: I did attempt to make these without her. Not. The. Same. So you need a lot of love for these cinnamon rolls. Tip one right there.
Now onto the rest of the details for the cinnamon rolls, because that’s why we’re here, right?!
Like I said, you’ll want to start with a lot of love to really make them extra special. They do need to rest for an hour to hour and a half, so while not being super quick, they are fairly easy to make. And completely worth the time!
Steps for making aaaa-mazing Cinnamon Rolls:
Step one for the cinnamon rolls is to make the dough: proof the yeast, mix the buttermilk with the baking soda, and prep the rest of the wet ingredients. Then mix the wet ingredients into your flour and mix up that dough.
You’ll knead the dough lightly and then let it do it’s first round of resting.
Next up: a little more kneading, and shaping to create the cinnamon roll rounds.
Once you have your rectangle rolled out, you’re going to pour on that butter and spread it around. You may not use all of the butter you melt, go ahead and pour on bit by bit and brush it around. Some days it may soak into the dough more, and you’ll then likely use all of your butter.
Here, the butter isn’t soaking in too much; you want the butter to create a layer on the dough so the cinnamon and sugar will stick.
Once you’ve got your butter layer, ALL THE CINNAMON AND SUGAR!
And now our rolls will form…start rolling them up!
Once the dough is tightly rolled, you’ll start by cutting off the tapered edge. Then begin cutting the dough into 1 inch pieces and place them into a greased 9×13 pan.
The cinnamon rolls will do their big rest now; you’ll let them rest until they double in size (creating the BEST BIG FLUFFY CINNAMON ROLLS). This is where the hour to an hour and a half waiting comes in. So grab a big cup of coffee, catch up on your favorite show, and get ready to consume the most melt-in-your-mouth, light, and sweet cinnamon rolls.
Once they’ve doubled, you’ll bake them for just 18-20 minutes. I always use a glass pan so I can see how done the edges of the rolls are – you want them lightly golden brown; just barely turning golden from the top view.
Then for my favorite part: frosting.
When I was little I would always beg for the middle cinnamon roll, soft all the way around. With these rolls, even the edges are soft and there are no favorite cinnamon rolls here. THEY’RE ALL DELECTABLE!
Anyone else out there eat cinnamon rolls from the outside in though? Unroll them until you hit the extra cinnamon-y middle that somehow seems to always hold all the frosting and is to die for…. yep, that’s my favorite way.
And P.S. it’s totally ok to make extra frosting and really coat yours once it’s plated.
Homemade Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 yeast packets 4 1/2 teaspoons
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg well beaten
- 4 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or maple syrup optional
- Dissolve yeast packets into warm water.
- Combine lukewarm buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 1 beaten egg. Pour buttermilk mixture into this bowl and stir. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine.
- Put 4 cups of flour into a large bowl. Add wet ingredients. Mix well (by hand - I use a wooden spoon). Add 1 cup flour and knead lightly on a floured surface. Add an additional 1/2 cup flour if needed. Return dough to bowl, cover with tea towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Grease 9x13 pan at this point.
- Punch dough down and pour onto a floured cutting board. Roll dough into large rectangular/oblong shape (I use my large 14x20 inch cutting board as my guide). Spread melted butter on rolled out dough - you might not use the entire 1/2 cup of butter. See how the butter is absorbed into the dough. You want a thin layer of butter resting on top of the dough - this is what the cinnamon-sugar will stick to.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle evenly across buttered dough.
- Begin rolling dough tightly, starting from the long end (see photos). Once dough is rolled into one large log, use a serrated knife to slice into 1 inch pieces. Discard the small edges. Lay the sliced rolls on their side in a greased 9x13 pan, leaving room for them to rise between each roll. Cover the pan with the tea towel and let the rolls rise in a warm environment (if my house is not very warm - I will begin preheating the oven and set them on top of the stove). Let rest until the rolls will double in size; approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Bake rolls for 18-20 minutes, until just slightly golden brown.
- Mix frosting by combining powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla or maple syrup (if using). Mix to desired consistency. Drizzle onto rolls. If the rolls are extra warm, the frosting will melt into the rolls (not complaining!). If you want it to stick to the top - either frost cooler rolls or frost again right before serving.
This post was originally published November 2016. The photos (minus the process ones) were updated December 2017.