Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

For the past couple of weekends I’d been thinking about making morning buns, but I didn’t have enough time in the morning to wait for the rise, etc.  It’s a darn good thing I did this weekend because the result was the most glorious cinnamon buns I’ve ever made.

My Grandma and I have been on a quest to make the best (i.e. as close as possible to Cinnabon) cinnamon buns for years, spending a day every summer baking cinnamon buns and making notes on the yearly tweaks we make.  I told her as soon as I tried these that this would be the next version we make.

It’s the first time I’ve full on made icing for cinnamon buns, and I’m VERY glad I did.  The cream cheese adds another layer of richness that you didn’t think you needed.   Also, I HIGHLY recommend you use margarine for the cinnamon filling instead of butter.  As pro-butter/anti-margarine as I am, they honestly just make a perfect bun.  Butter will work, but margarine adds a little something (use butter for the dough and icing though).  They’re gooey and moist and decadent and perfect for a cold January morning.



  • 1 package (8g) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm (not hot) milk
  • 1/3 cup softened salted butter
  • 1/2 cup, plus a pinch granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups flour


  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon


  • 6 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


Warm milk in a saucepan over the stove until lukewarm.  In a small bowl, add milk to yeast, adding a pinch of sugar, and stir.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes until yeast has bloomed in the milk.

In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, flour and salt until combined.  Add yeast mixture and stir with a dough hook attachment until thoroughly combined.  If you don’t have a dough hook, stir in with a wooden spoon and then knead for a couple of minutes until dough is elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Punch down dough to release excess air and on a lightly floured surface, roll out to a rectangle about 16×12 inches in size  and 1/2 inch thick.  Spread margarine all over dough in an even layer.  Mix together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and spread all over the margarine evenly.  Carefully roll the dough from the long edge up until fully rolled.  The roll will be about 18 inches long.

Cut into individual rolls about 1.5 inches thick and arrange on a greased pan.  Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

While they rise, make icing by mixing butter and cream cheese and then adding icing sugar, salt and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350F and bake rolls for 20 minutes, until light golden brown on top.  Spread icing on top and allow the icing to melt onto the rolls. Serve warm.


Recipe adapted from Jo Cooks



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