The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Search for the Best Cinnamon Rolls/Buns

wongjoey11's picture

A Search for the Best Cinnamon Rolls/Buns

I love looking at recipes on the Internet and there are millions of amazing ones but I'm not sure which  is the best:

Is anyone daring or crazy enough to try out all these recipes? Let me know how they come out! I'm looking for a soft fluffy cinnamon roll, no dense or toughness!

CornerCafe's & Yin's Homemade are using the Tangzhong method, a gelatinized dough that is added to make the bread soft. wonder if it works?

MichaelH's picture

I'll get right on it   : >)

Antilope's picture

A few months ago I wanted to make cinnamon rolls. I looked at about 10 popular recipes and took what I thought were the best things from several of them to make a new recipe that came out quite well.
I calculated the bakers percentage for the dough of those popular recipes so I could compare them for percentage of sugar, fat, eggs and milk. I was surprised that the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls were so popular when the dough only contained sugar and oil with no eggs or butter.
Here are the results for comparison:
Alton Brown's Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
53.94% Hydration
32.42% Milk
0.00% Water
10.00% Sugar
15.00% Butter
21.52% Eggs
1.06% Salt
1.23% Yeast
Betty Crocker Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
62.74% Hydration
52.07% Milk
0.00% Water
14.08% Sugar
12.11% Margarine
10.67% Eggs
1.30% Salt
2.99% Yeast
Bread Baker's Assistant Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
69.70% Hydration
59.40% Buttermilk
0.00% Water
20.30% Sugar
17.20% Butter
10.30% Eggs
1.60% Salt
1.40% Yeast
Cook's Country Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
62.71% Hydration
34.46% Milk
0.00% Water
18.83% Sugar
32.05% Butter
28.25% Eggs
1.72% Salt
1.32% Yeast
King Arthur Flour Cinna-buns
100% Flour
62.21% Hydration
44.12% Milk
0.00% Water
18.08% Sugar
13.54% Butter
18.09% Eggs
1.93% Salt
1.41% Yeast
Paula Deen's Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
62.01% Hydration
26.04% Milk
25.30% Water
10.67% Sugar
15.98% Butter
10.67% Eggs
1.30% Salt
1.49% Yeast
Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
76.48% Hydration
76.48% Milk
0.00% Water
15.67% Sugar
17.56% Oil
0.00% Eggs
1.43% Salt
1.10% Yeast
Saveur's Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
58.21% Hydration
35.50% Milk
0.00% Water
22.43% Sugar
33.02% Butter
22.71% Eggs
1.33% Salt
2.04% Yeast
Todd Willbur Copycat Cinnabons
100% Flour
51.79% Hydration
2.25% Milk
34.84% Water
10.42% Sugar
10.42% Margarine
14.70% Eggs
0.67% Salt
0.34% Yeast
USDA School Cafeteria Cinnamon Rolls
100% Flour
58.84% Hydration
58.84% Non-Fat Milk
0.00% Water
9.75% Sugar
11.12% Oil
0.00% Eggs
2.12% Salt
2.75% Yeast

I used the website below to convert the recipes from volume to grams, so all would be equal. If a recipe listed weights, however, then those weights were used to calculate baker's percentage.

wongjoey11's picture

Great research!! So what is your recipe? 

Antilope's picture

Honey Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12 large cinnamon buns

I created this recipe after reviewing about 10 popular cinnamon bun recipes.
The undiluted evaporated milk along with the buttermilk, butter, eggs and honey make a rich, light, flavorful cinnamon roll.
The combination of all purpose and cake flour make a light, non-doughy cinnamon roll.

3/4 cup (190 g) Evaporated Milk, undiluted
2/3 cup (160 g) Buttermilk
2 Large Eggs, beaten (100 g)
1/4 cup (85 g) Honey
1/2 tsp (2 g) Vanilla Extract
1 tsp (6 g) Salt
1/2 cup (50 g) Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
3-1/2 cups (435 g) All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (125 g) Cake Flour
2-1/4 tsp (7 g) Instant Yeast
1/3 cup (75 g) Butter, softened

1/3 cup (75 g) Butter, softened
3 Tbsp (40 g) Brown Sugar, packed
3 Tbsp (40 g) White Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp (10 g) Ground Cinnamon
1 Tbsp (8 g) All-Purpose Flour

2 cups (240 g) Confectioners’ Sugar
2 Tbsp (30 g) Butter, softened
2 Tbsp (15 g) Milk
1/2 tsp (2 g) Vanilla Extract

Manual Mixing and Kneading Method:
Place evaporated milk, buttermilk, beaten eggs, honey, vanilla extract, salt, potato flakes, flour and instant yeast into the mixing bowl. Mix ingredients, after they come together, add the butter. Adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, if necessary. Mix ingredients and then knead with a dough hook for 10 minutes. Or knead by hand for 10 minutes. The dough should be fairly smooth, only slightly sticky and not dry or crumbly. After the kneading place the dough in a covered greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes.

Bread Machine Mixing and Kneading Method:
Place evaporated milk, buttermilk, beaten eggs, honey, vanilla extract, salt, potato flakes, flour and instant yeast into the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually, liquids first, yeast last). Program the machine for MANUAL DOUGH CYCLE, and press START. After about 5 minutes of kneading add the butter. Check the dough’s consistency. The dough should be fairly smooth, only slightly sticky and not dry or crumbly. Adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, if necessary, and allow the machine to complete its kneading and rising cycle. After the kneading cycle completes, allow the dough to rise in the machine 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough reaches the top edge of the bread mixing basket.

Assembly of Cinnamon Rolls:
Deflate dough, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, allow dough to rest 10 minutes. Roll dough out into an 18 by 15-inch rectangle. Spread dough with the 1/3 cup of softened butter.

Mix the brown sugar, white sugar, flour and cinnamon, and sprinkle it evenly over the dough. Starting at an 18-inch long edge, roll the dough into a log, pinch and seal the seam along the length of the log. Cut into 12 slices. Place 8 buns in a 9 x 13-inch pan and 4 buns in an 8 x 8-inch pan. Cover pans, and allow buns to rise in warm place, until they’re doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes.

Bake the buns, uncovered, in a preheated 350°-F oven until they’re golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes, and the center of a bun reaches 195-F.

In a bowl, combine the sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Spread icing over buns when they are warm out of the oven. Store covered.

wongjoey11's picture

Sounds great! I love how you use honey instead of sugar, a healthier alternative. No Tangzhong?

Antilope's picture

I haven't tried tangzhong on this recipe. I will the next time I make it.

Antilope's picture

I've used the Tangzhong method to make cinnamon swirl bread, which is similar to the cinnamon rolls. It does come out lighter and more fluffy with the tangzhong roux. The difference is very apparent from cinnamon swirl bread not made with a tangzhong roux.

wongjoey11's picture

A lot of people had said the same thing but I guess it depended if you have a good ratio of ingredients so the best cinnamon rolls come out.

Foodzeit's picture

I made some a while ago, but I did not want to end up with something too dry, so I decided to make them with pudding. The result was awesome, the role was fluffy and moist.

The pudding:

Where i live, I cannot get any pudding powder. So I have to make my own pudding using corn starch and eggs. I also use fresh vanilla pods to make  my vanilla pudding as I just love the subtle taste of the fresh vanilla. But you can also use pudding powder to make your vanilla pudding that we need for this recipe. So first of all, you will prepare your pudding and put it aside.


  • 300 g whole wheat flour
  • 6 g dried yeast
  • 1 vanilla pod (or the equivalent of vanilla sugar / aroma or whatever you are having at home)
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 5 table spoons of sugar
  • 100 ml milk (lukewarm)
  • 5 Table spoons of powder sugar
  • Handful of rum raisins
  • Cinnamon
  • A cube of molten butter
  • Half of the above mentioned pudding recipe


Put the milk in a pot on the stove, cut open the vanilla pod. Scrape the mark out of the pod and put it together with the skin of the vanilla pod in the milk which you will cook later. After cooking, take out the skin and put it aside and put the milk aside until it cooled down to be lukewarm. Put the dry yeast, 2 Table spoons and the lukewarm Vanilla milk in a bowl, mix it and put it aside for five minutes. In the meantime put the flour and the rest of the sugar in a bowl. Then add the yeast milk to that bowl and mix it well. Now add the egg and the butter and knead the dough well over 2 – 3 minutes till you got a consistent dough. 

Now cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, put it aside in a warm place (25 degrees) and let it rest there until the dough doubled in size (30 – 60 minutes). Now you roll out the dough on the table with a rolling pin to an equal square, don’t roll it out too thin, should be at least 2 – 3 mm thick still. Now you spread out the pudding on top of the pastry. Don’t overdo it, take a nice evenly layer of pudding and spread it out evenly.

Then add the rum raisins on top and sprinkle some of the cinnamon on the pudding layer. After that roll up the dough from one side.

You have this kind of a roll in front of you now.

Now cut out 2 – 2.5 cm think slices of pudding rolls. Put them like in the picture with the cut side downwards on a buttered baking tray cover this with a kitchen towel and let it rest for another 30 – 50 minutes (the rolls should increase another 50% in size now).

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Take the oven tray, pop everything in and let it bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

Take a brush and brush the molten butter on top of the rolls. Let the rolls cool down 5 minutes.

In the meantime mix the powder sugar and the milk. The consistence should be rich, moist, glistening and firm, not too water. Take the brush and brush this powder sugar mix on top of the rolls.

Here a picture of my result, you can also find it on my blog, just click on the picture link

cinnamon vanille pudding roll


wongjoey11's picture

I've found another recipe. Arghh!!! Why are there so many good ones!!!


I like the use of buttermilk in Averie Cooks but I like the looks of the dough in the allrecipes post(in the video)

pmccool's picture

You try the recipes in this TFL thread:


wongjoey11's picture

Can someone test out all these recipes and give me a review on them >.< They all just look so good!

Antilope's picture

either by the individual that made it and posted it, or some of the recipes even have multiple reviews and comments. 

wongjoey11's picture

Yeah, but they haven't been compared to each other. I need to know for sure which is the best.

pmccool's picture

of the beholder, you are the only one who can decide which is best, Joey.  Looks like you have a lot of fun bakes ahead of you.  Enjoy!


wongjoey11's picture

>.< so much work, I should get right on it :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How about vegetable breads?  Yellow, orange, purple, pink?  Nuts, dried fruit or berries, figs  The combinations are endless...  Cinnamon goes with lots of other flavours.  Try taking one of your favorite bun recipes and turn it into cinn. rolls.   Sticky buns?  Cinnamon palmier?    

aptk's picture

I've not tried all those recipes, but I do take my favorite rich bread dough (one with milk, eggs, oil and sugar in it), and add fresh orange zest and cinnamon to the dough. When rolling the dough to form the rolls I sprinkle with a little extra orange zest, and use dried cranberries and some walnuts if I have them. I also frost them with an orange cream cheese glaze,

mimi7107's picture

Antilope, I'm so happy to know there are other serious bakers out there like myself, who will go to such wondeful and tedious lengths  in the name of recipe research!  And I totally mean that as a compliment.  I've spent weeks on the search for the perfect cornbread, the perfect fudgy brownie, the perfect blueberry muffin, the perfect banana bread, etc. and I truly seem to enjoy the research as much as the baking.  (And that's not even mentioning yeast breads!)  It's a joy to be such an obsessive baker! Have fun and post your results!

dabrownman's picture

means lard and butter for fat, Tang Zhong and yeast water for the CR leaven.  The filling is just as important and making sure the pumpkin pie spices are heavily sprinkled over a layer of Kerrygold butter and associated with plenty of dark brown sugar, bourbon re hydrated; raisins, sultanas,apricots and cranberries, some fin mix of your favorite nuts ( mine are pistachio, hazelnut, pecan and walnut and last, but can't be left out, are the mini chocolate chips and toffee bits.  Any other CR just won't measure up after you have these:-) 

Filling makes for a fantastic banana bread too but those you want to ice with cream cheese, vanilla  and lemon icing.  Forgot ..... you ice the CR too!

This recipe is nsure to save you a lot of time.  No need to bake all the other ones if you start close to this one:-)

Happy baking

hanseata's picture

by Abigail Dodge, from "The Weekend Baker", also published in cookstr, and my take on it:

My husband could have wallowed in them, so good were they!

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Hi wongjoey11

I keep mine simple..............

For the dough

225 g type 55 flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp instant yeast

25g butter (cut into small pieces)

1 egg beaten

125ml warm milk

For the filling

50g butter (softened)

2 tsp Cinnamon

50g soft brown sugar

I like to add nuts to mine & you can also add dried fruit

Make the dough up as usual, allow to double, knock back with a 1 minute knead then roll out to a rectangle 30 x 23cm 

cream the butter, Cinnamon & sugar till light & fluffy then spread on dough leaving a 2.5cm border, now sprinkle over nuts or dried fruit (optional) roll up like a Swiss roll starting from a long edge & press to seal, cut roll in half then each piece in half to end up with 16 pieces, place in tin & cover to rise for 30 minutes or so, bake in a pre-heated oven (190°C) for 20 - 30 minutes, Brush with runny honey or Maple syrup and allow to cool

Enjoy !!!!!

Happy Baking

Sorry cannot upload a photo as the photo is on my computer and it does not want to load, unless someone knows how to?