You guys. These are the best cinnamon buns. Seriously.
They’re the closest to those epic cinnamon buns we used to get as teenagers at the Cinnabon in the mall. You know the ones I mean?
For these cinnamon buns, you start by making a soft, sweet yeast dough. Spread it with a luscious, buttery mixture that’s fragrant with cinnamon and brown sugar.
Then, slather the warm baked buns with a tangy vanilla cream cheese icing. They’re gooey and oh-so-delicious.
Seriously. I can’t even. And the whole shebang makes your house smell a-ma-zing for, like, two days.
Make them for breakfast, brunch, or…really…any old time.
Homemade Cinnamon Buns (Cinnabon Copycat Recipe)
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup milk, warmed up but not hot
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter or olive oil (basically, you want fat here…I used olive oil this time around)
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 cups flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
6 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Yields about 12 cinnamon buns
Make the cinnamon bun dough
Proof the yeast by putting it in your mixing bowl with the warm milk and white sugar.
Whisk it all together to dissolve the sugar. Let it stand for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the surface of the liquid should start to bubble, which means that your yeast is alive and kicking. (If not, your yeast might be dead, which means your buns won’t rise. If this happens, try a new package of yeast.)
Once you’ve proofed your yeast, add the olive oil, salt, eggs, and flour to the bowl. Mix until you have a uniform, semi-sticky dough.
Transfer the dough to a large, greased mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
Form the cinnamon buns
After about an hour, uncover your dough. You’re ready to fill and form your cinnamon buns.
To make the filling, mash the butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar together in a bowl until you have a uniform paste.
Throw a little flour on a board. Plop your dough on the board. Toss a little flour on top of the dough. Pat it into a large, flat rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. You can use a rolling pin for this, but I just flour my hands and pat it into shape. Works just as well and it’s one less thing to wash.
Spread the butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar mixture evenly across the dough. Get it as even as you can, but don’t make yourself nuts. It’s all going to melt together in the oven.
Starting at the long edge farthest from you, roll the dough up into a tube, tucking it under as you go.
Whack the dough into 12 even pieces with a bencher or sharp knife (unflavored dental floss also works great for slicing up soft dough).
Spray a 9×12 baking dish lightly with oil. Snuggle the cinnamon buns together in the baking dish, so they are touching. If they don’t take up the whole dish, no big deal. They’re going to swell as they rise and then bake.
Preheat your oven to 350-degrees F.
Let the cinnamon buns rise for about 30 minutes, until they’ve about doubled in size.
Bake the cinnamon buns
Pop your pan into your preheated 350-degree F oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned all over.
Make the cinnamon bun icing
While your buns are baking, whip the icing together. Put the butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of your mixer (or in a large bowl if you’re beating by hand). Beat until fluffy and uniform.
Ice your cinnamon buns
When your cinnamon buns are baked, yank them out of the oven and place on a rack to start to cool.
Slather the cinnamon buns lavishly with icing. The icing will start to melt and spread out because the buns are still warm. That’s just fine.
Serve, inhale, enjoy!
And, voila! You just made cinnamon buns. Serve warm. They’ll keep well (wrapped tightly) in the fridge for a few days.