Step-by-Step World’s Best Cinnamon Rolls

January 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm (Baking, Recipes) (, , , , , , , , )

Blustery winter days are a great time to bake homemade cinnamon rolls.  Most of us are kind of used to the taste of “poppin-fresh” rolls out of a tube.  They are light and fluffy and easy to pop in the oven, but if you are concerned about chemicals, preservatives, or other additives, or if you simply want to try your hand at making them the old-fashioned way, then this blog post is for you.

These rolls are not as quick and easy as the store-bought shortcut, but they are absolutely delicious.  Once you sink your teeth into the warm, feather-light dough, you will understand that these cinnamon rolls are worth the effort.  The step-by step instructions and the photographs will help guide you through the recipe.


1 Cup milk

1/2 Cup sweet butter

1 Cup warm mashed potatoes  (if you want to make things easy, you can use instant mashed potatoes instead of peeling, boiling and mashing those taters yourself.  I have made this recipe both ways and it doesn’t really seem to make a difference)

1/2 Cup honey

1-1/2 Tablespoons dry yeast

1/2 cup warm potato water (you can use regular water if you wish)

1/2 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons salt

6 Cups white flour (approximation)

1 Cup raisins


1/2 Cup very soft or melted butter

2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/4 Cup brown sugar

1/2 Cup finely chopped nuts (optional)


1-1/2 Cups sifted powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk – enough for desired consistency


In a large saucepan bring the milk just to a boil.  Turn off heat and add the butter, mashed potatoes and honey, stirring vigorously with a wire wisk to blend.  Let sit until lukewarm.


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar.


Let water, yeast and sugar sit a few minutes until frothy.


Add the lukewarm potato mixture to the yeast, along with the ginger, eggs and salt.  Beat well.

Add 2-1/2 cups of the flour and beat 2-minutes with an electric mixer or 200 strokes by hand.  Stir in raisins.


Gradually add more flour.  The amount will vary with humidity.  You will need to add enough flour to make a dough that tries to leave the sides of the bowl when stirring with a wooden spoon.  The dough will be sticky so it won’t leave the sides of the bowl cleanly.


Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.


Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.  You will probably have to add additional flour as you knead the dough, but expect the dough to remain a bit sticky because of the potatoes.  Once the dough has firmed up and become elastic, possibly with blisters appearing on the surface, you can stop kneading.


Brush soft or melted butter in the bottom of a large bowl.  Place the dough in the bowl to coat the bottom with butter.  Turn the dough out and replace upside down so that the buttered side is facing up.  (It is much easier to do it this way than to brush butter over the top of the dough.)

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to proof. (Rise until double)


You can tell when the dough has finished rising by gently poking two fingers into the dough about a half-inch.


The impressions will remain in the dough instead of the dough springing back.


Punch down the dough.  Sounds violent, huh?  Doesn’t have to be.  Just push your fist into the middle of the dough to help it collapse a bit.


Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to press out the air bubbles.


Cut dough in half.


Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes


With a floured rolling-pin, roll each half into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick.

The dough may resist at first.  Keep at it and it will eventually roll out.


Spread each half with soft or melted butter.


Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together thoroughly.  Sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.  Top with finely chopped nuts, if you desire.


Roll up each rectangle tightly, beginning with the long side.


With a sharp knife, slice the roll at about 2-inch intervals.


Place rolls cut-side up on a greased baking sheet.  (I line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil for ease of clean-up.  I have never had a problem with sticking.)  Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter.


Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.  If you are not going to glaze the rolls, you can sprinkle the tops with a bit more cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.


If you plan on glazing the rolls, it is easier while they are still warm from the oven.

Mix together the sifted, powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk to make a glaze in the consistency you prefer.  I like mine thin enough to drizzle over the tops of the rolls.


This recipe makes about 20 to 22 rolls.  You can freeze the rolls before their final rise for baking later, as well as freezing the rolls once they have been baked and cooled.


Try adding dried cranberries instead of raisins to the dough.  Substitute orange extract for the vanilla and orange juice for the milk in the glaze.


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