Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

I just finished devouring a cinnamon bun hot from the oven. A swirl of soft dough, oozing with buttery brown sugar and cinnamon and thickly gobbed with cream cheese frosting. Actually, for the sake of truthfulness, I just finished devouring two. Oops.

(Don’t worry – I ate a carrot straight after to make up for it).

This is what I do when I am supposed to be studying “Advanced Topics in Clinical Nutrition”. With midterms next week, I should probably feel ashamed at being covered in flour when I should be covered in something studious like post-it notes. But really – what would you do if the thought of warm cinnamon buns kept floating into your mind in place of something like Chapter 18: Diseases of the Hepatobiliary. Hmm? Would you think about bile? Or would you think about the cinnamon buns? Come on, you know you’re on my side.

This recipe is from Molly Wizenberg, written for Bon Appetit magazine. It is the best cinnamon bun recipe I have ever tasted. Ever. Since I found it, I ceased my faithful pilgrimage to the local jewish bakery. I like mine better.


Watch a little video my very talented bf made while I was baking:

Done exactly as written, they turn out heavenly every time. I’ve tried making the dough in the breadmaker, and they’re just not the same. I have also tried making the dough and forming the buns a day in advance and refrigerating them overnight to be baked fresh in the morning, but was disappointed. I think they are aware of how good they are, and think themselves superior enough to make demands about how they are treated. However, one trick they will do is freeze. Make a batch, devour a few while warm and gooey, (consume a compensatory carrot), then freeze the rest. Pop one in the microwave for 20 second intervals until warm, and delight in a warm cinnamon bun for breakfast on a Wednesday.


Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
From Bon Appetit.
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3½ cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2¼ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 1 envelope)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
For Filling:
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
For Frosting:
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
  2. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2½ cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.
  3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.
  4. Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  5. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
  6. Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving ½-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about ½ to ¾ inch wide).
  7. Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.
  8. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.
  9. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  • Dolphins


  • guest

     I want to half the recipe, any thoughts on what to do with the large egg. It seems like it would be difficult to half that. lol

    • foodess

      In general you can use “half” an egg by whisking it in a measuring cup and dividing that in two (about 2 tbsp of beaten egg is equal to 1/2 an egg). BUT for yeast recipes like this one, results aren’t guaranteed when you cut the recipe in half. I recommend making the whole batch and freezing half of them, they freeze well and reheat nicely at room temp or in the microwave.

  • Þorbjörn Rúnarsson

    Fantastic recipe! Made them a couple of weeks ago and doing it again today. But these need a quota. Only once a month from here on. 

  • guest

    Can you make them in a 9×13 in dish?

  • Chals

    Mine turned out amazing! Thanks so much for sharing this. :)

  • Beginner

    Well I found your wonderful site and your cinnamon buns look great. I tried this recipe today and my dough didn’t rise. I used the quick-rise yeast. I looked online at the companies web site and I think that I may have added butter and milk first and yeast last. Do you think if I had added dry ingredients first and then the warm butter and milk it would have activated the yeast or am I using the wrong yeast? I am not usually a baker but felt a little adventurous today! lol

  • Carolyn

    SOOO GOOD!!!! <3

  • Marcia

    Yum, I’m going to try these today as they look like the real thing. By the way, for those who have problems with the rising as I have many times in the past, I learned I was ‘killing’ the yeast by putting it into water that was too warm. Must only be ‘Lukewarm’ as in barely warm.

  • amanda

    im going to try these tomorrow but im worried about the dough not rising. should i put the yeast in before the milk and eggs or after? also could i use all purpose flower instead of unbleached flour?

  • Mohammed Mujtaba

    I have tried many cinamon bun recipes but these where by far the best thanks a lot,

  • inlovewiththesebun

    Soooooo good Awesome recipe!

    • foodess

      Glad you liked!! :)

  • ines

    i will allways come back to this turned out amazing! there was only one left for my breakfaste the other day! =)

    • foodess

      Thanks, Ines!

  • kara

    I don’t see the measurements for the cream cheese frosting.

    • talka

      For Frosting:

      4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
      1 cup confectioners’ sugar
      ¼ cup butter, softened
      ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • Cheech

    I am having trouble viewing the entire ingredients list. Can you please tell me how much butter you spread on the dough, and the how much cinnamon and sugar is mixed for the filling. Thank you.

    • foodess

      Thank you for letting me know… should be fixed now!

  • LJ

    how much brown sugar and cinnamon?

  • Martina

    How much yeast are we supposed to use? it says 2 1/4 tsp (2 packages) but my package has that much in it already.

    • foodess

      You’re right, Martina – it should be 1 envelope of yeast, 2 1/4 tsp.

  • cat

    These were great!! But I don’t think I put enough of the cinnamon, butter mixture, so it was more like a cinnamon bread.. but still delicious!

  • belle

    just tried the recipe for the first time…amazing! just a note, i tried leaving my dough next to my fire and it hadn’t risen after 2 hours, so i put it a non stick saucepan with lid and left it in a warm (had been on but now off) oven…success! thank you :)

  • Natasha

    I have a random question! I watched your video and when you doing the filling, you are spreading it with your hands. I sprinkled the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture and didn’t have to spread. Did you do something different? My recipe also only made 16, lol, but I never get the yield’s right!

    • Natasha

      The filling definitely could be doubled as well. But they are delicious!

    • foodess

      That’s just the way my mama always did it! Sprinkling is fine, as long as it’s even!

  • Ruby Davidge

    Made the buns as directed and they are excellent !! Will share the receipt with my daughter tomorrow , sent a sample home with her hubby tonight. Awesome ….Thank You

  • eva

    wow…these look delicious….

  • Diana

    These are More then Amazing!! Made them & all I can say is OMG….So worth cheating on your diet !!!

  • Ashley

    I’ve never had luck with getting dough to rise but I really want to try these! May I ask, why the need to invert the pan immediately out of the oven?

    • foodess

      It’s when the sugar is still hot and liquid, so they look their prettiest when flipped over.

  • hi

    Hi i like cheese

  • mystery popoopbvt,qm

    i make my own filling and have been looking so for a good dough recipe my kept drying up all hard but this dough came out perfect

  • jeff

    these turned out awesome, the only complaint i have is it takes a loong time to make these, about an hour to prepare the dough, 2 hours sitting in the warm place, then 30 min rolling and applying the filling and cutting and placing into the greased pan, 45 min waiting for dough to rise and then, then we bake for 20 min. but its worth it. if anyone has issues with the dough rising, it could be that A: your yeast is old as mentioned below, or B: it could be that the place you have stored your dough is not warm enough for the yeast to come alive, i personally heated the oven for a min on 350F until i could feel it warming up, turned it off then placed my bowl inside the oven, it works for basement apartments or cold houses in the winter months. also C: your dough may not be covered all the way. happy baking!!

  • BensonBot

    I tried your recipe a long time ago, and am happy to have found it again.
    I had got to the point of adding the sugar/butter/cinnamon, but when I went for the cinnamon we were out! It was too late for me to go get any, so I rummaged around to find an alternative, and found cocoa powder. ‘Why not?’ I thought, and tried it……

    They were incredible. I may never use cinnamon again!

  • Barb F

    These are sinfully delicious and straight forward to make. I will NOT lose this recipe, ever! My fiancé and I downed 3 buns each fresh from the oven and had to stop ourselves from eating them all….. Thanks!

  • Jessica

    I found this recipe years ago, and made them all the time! I then lost the recipe and have tried others over the past few years but none have come close. I’m so glad I found this recipe and this time wrote it down AND photocopied it. The dough is rising as we speak! Yum!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Belle

    Delicious and simple recipe ! For those whose yeast didn’t activate , I use a traditional yeast and activate it before hand then add it in when it calls for it, I found it raised 10x better and even tasted better!