Sometimes, you just need a classic like this homemade cinnamon rolls recipe to scratch your baking itch and soothe your craving for something sweet, comforting, and oh-so-cozy. These easy homemade cinnamon rolls are pretty fuss-free to make and they’ll disappear in a flash, they’re just that good!
Best Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
One of the criteria I always consider when I want to mark a recipe as “best” is how irresistible the flavor and texture of the food is.
A classic cinnamon roll recipe should have a subtle yeast-y aroma and flavor that’s clearly been laced with butter, sugar, and, of course, cinnamon.
And it should also have a pillow-y, soft, fluffy texture that makes the roll melt on your tongue.
What I never considered prior to trying this recipe from Joy the Baker was the addition of orange zest, dark chocolate, and pistachios.
But man, after trying these, there’s no going back! These are truly some of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had, hands down!
“California” Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
The fact that Joy the Baker used to live in California is one of the reasons I think we are such kindred spirits in regards to our love for these particular ingredients in cinnamon rolls.
Everyone may appreciate chocolate, but I feel like access to some of the best citrus and pistachios in California makes us particularly fond of these ingredients.
That’s why I lovingly refer to these cinnamon rolls as “California” cinnamon rolls.
The combination of these California-favorite ingredients in these sticky cinnamon buns makes this recipe incredible!
So, let’s cover a few pointers before I encourage you to get started baking!
Should I use all-purpose flour or bread flour for cinnamon rolls?
I always recommend using all-purpose flour for a homemade cinnamon rolls recipe.
Even when I make my brioche cinnamon rolls, I use all-purpose flour.
The all-purpose flour just yields a softer, more tender crumb.
How do you roll homemade cinnamon rolls?
The best way to roll homemade cinnamon rolls is to use a typewriter-like motion.
Once your dough has proofed, you’ll roll it out flat into a large rectangle. I prefer rolling my dough out on a large silicone, pastry mat for easy clean-up.
Once you roll out the dough, you’ll add the filling ingredients on top, then you’ll begin to roll the long side of your dough rectangle that’s farthest from you toward you, going from left to right, then rolling right to left (like a typewriter).
Do you put icing before or after baking cinnamon rolls?
You’ll want to add the icing after the cinnamon rolls have baked.
You’ll wait for the cinnamon rolls to slightly cool until they’re just warm (rather than hot), then add the icing on top.
Is it better to bake cinnamon rolls in glass or metal?
Either type of baking dish will work fine. I like to use a 10-inch, dark metal round cake pan because it’s the perfect size for the 8 rolls that this homemade cinnamon rolls recipe yields.
If you use a glass pan, just know that you may want to reduce the oven heat by 15 degrees so that it bakes more evenly (allow the inside to catch up to the outside).
for the dough
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, separated into 2 cups and 1/4 cup (plus more for rolling)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
for the filling
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- cinnamon for sprinkling
for the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp orange juice
- Get started on the dough: Heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a dutch oven or large pot. Heat until it's steaming. Then cool the mixture until it's comfortably warm to hold your finger in without burning. It should measure 105°F to 115°F on a food thermometer.
- Add in the yeast and let the yeast sit in the mixture for about 5 to 7 minutes, until it begins to froth and bubble on the surface.
- Stir in 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the pot. Stir everything until you've got a sticky dough. Cover the dough with the pot lid and leave in a warm place for 1 hour (I like to set mine in the oven, which previously had the warm setting on for 30 seconds before turning off the oven and placing the dough in there).
- After dough has risen, add another 1/4 cup of flour to the dough and stir until incorporated. Then roll the dough into a compact ball on a floured work surface. Flour your rolling pin and sprinkle flour over the dough before flattening out the dough into a large rectangle about 12" by 8".
- Now, for the filling, pour melted butter all over the dough, using a rubber spatula or pastry brush to evenly spread it out. Sprinkle white sugar over the dough, along with some cinnamon, the chopped pistachios, and chopped dark chocolate.
- Slowly gather the long side of the dough that is opposite of you (farthest from you), and roll the dough towards you using a typewriter-like motion, going from left to right, then right to left. Repeat this until you end up with a long, compact roll. Make sure the seam is face down on the work surface. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces.
- Place the pieces in a greased, 10-inch cake pan and bake at 375°F for 15 minutes or so, or until the tops are golden. Allow rolls to cool for about 20 minutes.
- For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla, and orange juice together. You should have a thick glaze that falls off your spoon slowly. Drizzle glaze over buns while they're slightly warm.
recipe adapted from Joy the Baker