The BEST Cinnamon Roll Recipe – Frugal Novice

The BEST Cinnamon Roll Recipe


So, I’ll start off 2012 with a confession. I don’t really love the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls.

{pause for gasps}

Let me clarify that I do love many of her recipes, including her amazing salsa that we make on a regular basis.

But her cinnamon rolls? Way too sweet and way too rich for my taste. I like fluffy cinnamon rolls, and hers end up being too gooey for me. Maybe you like gooey cinnamon rolls, and maybe you’re a huge fan of the PW recipe. But if you’re looking for something different, and {dare I say it?} better, then you’ve come to the right place.


  • 6 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 4 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast (for bread machines)
  • 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • Another 6 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Milk


  1. If you have a bread machine, put the butter, eggs, milk, flour, sugar and yeast into your machine and set it to the “dough” cycle, and skip to #6. If you don’t, follow directions 2-5.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large mixing bowl. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it’ll kill the yeast!
  3. Add in the butter, eggs, sugar and salt; mix well until all ingredients are fully combined.
  4. Using your dough hook on your stand mixer, or your hands, add in the flour a little bit at a time and mix well.
  5. Knead the dough for 5 minutes and place the ball of dough back into the bowl; cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise in a semi-warm place for an hour.
  6. Melt the other 6 tablespoons of butter. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Using a rolling pin on a floured surface, roll the dough out into a fairly rectangular shape, about 14″x 21″.
  8. Pour the melted butter into the center of the dough, then spread evenly using a silicone basting brush or the back of a spoon. Generously sprinkle the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture over top of the butter until it’s pretty saturated. You may end up with a little of the mixture left – it’s up to your discretion how cinnamon-sugary you want your rolls to be.
  9. Roll your dough up tightly along the long side (meaning your roll should be about 21″ wide once you’re done). With a sharp knife cut it in half, then in half again. Take each of the four segments and cut them into three equal pieces.
  10. Place the rolls into a buttered 9″x 13″ casserole dish, cover and let rise for 30 minutes. {After this point, you can cover the dish with cling wrap and place in the fridge overnight. This is what we do so there’s not a lot of work in the morning!}
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is golden. Watch the dough in the center of the dish to make sure it’s not doughy before you take them out of the oven.
  12. While the rolls are baking, combine the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract together with a hand mixer in a large bowl. Slowly add milk a little at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency – I like mine fairly thick because it melts once you apply it to the cinnamon rolls.
  13. As soon as the rolls are out of the oven, spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting on the top of each – it will melt and run into all the nooks and crannies.
  14. Enjoy your homemade cinnamon rolls!

Before baking & after:


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  • Dee W January 2, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Those came out awesome. They do look very fluffy.

  • Henrietta January 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I agree with you, While I love many of PW’s recipes, her cinnamon rolls are extremely sweet and not at all fluffy like I would prefer. I make my own homemade ones and like the yeasty fluffiness of them, your recipes sounds delicious too!

    • Christi January 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks Henrietta! Do you have your recipe posted on your blog? If so please share a link – I’d love to give them a try sometime too!

  • Rachel Marquardt January 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Wow, these look amazing!! A must try for sure!!

  • Sherry Poirier January 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    those look delicious!!

  • Brandy Anderson January 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Those look amazing!! Can’t wait to try this.