This homemade cinnamon rolls recipe will yield perfectly buttery and fluffy cinnamon rolls that are filled with dark chocolate for an extra indulgent touch.
Everybody and their grandmother claim to have the best cinnamon rolls recipe, which is why I won’t make that claim here. All I know is that I adore these homemade cinnamon rolls.
Before I learned how to make cinnamon rolls from scratch, I used the Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipe that came in a can at the grocery store. They were delicious; there’s no doubt about it.
That said, I still believe making your own homemade cinnamon rolls is a superior experience. For one, you can add dark chocolate to your rolls. Who doesn’t love chocolate?
I adapted this recipe from Joy the Baker who originally threw in some orange zest and chopped pistachios as well. It’s a scrumptious combination and very Californian, which I can appreciate as a fellow resident.
I normally don’t have pistachios on hand though, so if I’m lucky I’ll add in the chocolate and orange zest to these homemade cinnamon rolls to give them a unique flair. Most of the time, I simply add in chocolate then some orange juice to the glaze and call it a day.
For some holiday festivity, you could swap out the pistachios for chopped pecans and add in some dried cranberries. Or you could swap out the orange juice in the glaze and do a dash of maple extract.
I won’t lie, though; the orange glaze is one of my favorite parts of this homemade cinnamon rolls recipe. The orange adds a touch of fresh vibrancy to an otherwise warm and indulgent treat.
I want to just point out a few helpful tips to keep in mind when making these homemade cinnamon rolls:
- Be generous with the flour. This dough is incredibly sticky, so be generous with flouring your work surface and the actual dough when you’re rolling it out.
- Use a large surface to roll out your dough, such as a large counter. Some recipes can be made on a wood board, but this dough needs some space to be rolled out.
- Don’t overheat the milk and oil combo in the first step before you add the yeast. If the liquid is too hot, it will kill your yeast. Usually about a minute in my microwave will yield liquid that’s comfortably warm to not only dip but hold my finger in for more than a few seconds. If you have a food thermometer, it should register about 105°F to 110°F.
- Use a pastry scraper if you have one or can buy one ahead of time. It’s not mandatory for this recipe, but I’m telling you that this will make your life so much easier when you’re rolling the dough into the log shape before cutting. The scraper helps nudge off dough from your counter effortlessly and keeps your log looking neat and clean.
Once these homemade cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, you’ll want to give them about 5 minutes to cool down, which is plenty of time to whip up the glaze. The orange glaze is made with powdered sugar, a small splash of vanilla extract, and a bigger splash of orange juice.
These three ingredients get whisked together into a smooth, yet thick glaze that is poured over the warm cinnamon rolls. I’m telling you that these homemade cinnamon rolls are pure heaven!
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
for the dough
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour divided, plus more
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
for the filling
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 oz dark chocolate finely chopped
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- cinnamon for sprinkling
for the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp orange juice
Create the dough
To a large bowl, add the milk, oil, and sugar. Stir together and warm in the microwave for approximately 1 minute. The liquid should feel comfortably warm, so much so that you can hold your finger in the liquid and not feel like it's burning. If it feels too hot, let it cool until you can hold your finger in it. This should register about 105°F to 110°F on a food thermometer.
Stir the yeast in and let it sit for 1 minute.
Stir in 1 1/4 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the liquid. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for 1 hour. Baker's tip: Turn on the oven's warm setting for 30 seconds, then turn the oven off. Place the dough in the turned off oven where it will be slightly warm and perfect for proofing your dough.
After an hour, stir in another 1 cup of flour. Dough will be very sticky.
Flour your work surface generously, then turn the dough out onto this surface. Begin rolling out the dough, sprinkling flour on it as needed to prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle until it's about 1/4" thin.
Add the filling
Melt the butter in a small bowl, then drizzle most of it all over the dough, or use a pastry brush. Reserve some of the melted butter to grease your pan with and brush the top of the rolls with. Usually you'll use about 3/4 of your melted butter for the actual filling part of the dough.
Sprinkle the sugar all over the dough, then follow with the dark chocolate and ground cinnamon.
Now, grabbing the long side of the dough that's opposite of you, begin rolling it into a log in a typewriter-like motion. You'll roll from left to right then right to left and so on.
You should end up with one compact log shape, with the seam side of the dough facing down. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into 8 rolls.
Place the rolls next to each other in a greased 9 inch cake pan, then brush the tops with the melted butter.
Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops have golden edges. Let the rolls cool for 5 minutes.
Make the glaze
While the rolls are cooling, whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla, and orange juice together until smooth yet thick.
Pour the glaze over rolls while they're warm.