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How to Make Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

You just can't beat homemade cinnamon rolls!

You just can't beat homemade cinnamon rolls!

Autumn begins this evening, but our little corner of the world is already knee-deep into fall weather. Leaves are falling and pumpkins are changing from green to glowing orange. In my front yard, squirrels scurry about gathering hazelnuts.

It's time for cinnamon rolls.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

2 hours 30 min

25 min

2 hours 55 min

1 dozen rolls


  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 2 pkg. dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, mix boiling water and potato flakes. Add milk, oil, salt, sugar, yeast and beat well. Add eggs and mix until blended. Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour, one cup at a time, until all flour is incorporated.
  2. Sprinkle remaining one cup flour on board. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Put in a warm place and let rise until doubled, about 1–2 hours.
  3. Punch down dough gently. Divide into two equal portions. Roll each into 10x15-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup softened butter on each portion. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly on each dough rectangle. Add nuts and/or raisins if desired. Roll up, starting at the long edge and cut each roll into 12 cinnamon rolls.
  4. Place cut rolls in a 9x13-inch baking pan or two 8-inch round pans coated with cooking spray. Let rolls rise for 1 hour. Bake at 325˚F for 25 minutes.

How to Knead Bread Dough

How to Shape Cinnamon Rolls

Now that's a big batch of cinnamon rolls!

Changes, Options, Fun Additions and Variations

  • Sprinkle on milk or dark chocolate chips before you roll up and slice the dough.
  • In place walnuts and raisins, use dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  • Or substitute pecans and peeled finely diced fresh apple.
  • What about decreasing the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons, add 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom, and add some peeled, finely diced fresh pear?
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Read More From Delishably

How About Some Frosting?

Personally, I love to enjoy the sweet, spicy taste of a cinnamon roll, the buttery soft dough, the crispy little bits of caramelized sugar on the bottom of the bun. In other words, I don't care for frosting.

But, Mr. Carb Diva wants gobs of frosting on his cinnamon rolls. So, to keep the peace I leave a few unadorned, and the rest get a slathering of this cream cheese frosting:


  • 4 ounces room temperature cream cheese (1/2 of an 8-ounce package)
  • 4 ounces room temperature unsalted butter (1/2 of a stick)
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Are There Health Benefits to Cinnamon?

I am not going to pretend that cinnamon rolls are a health food, but here are some interesting nutritional facts about cinnamon:

  • Reduces Blood Sugar Levels: Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Improving insulin resistance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease.
  • Boosts Cognitive Function: Studies have shown that smelling cinnamon may boost cognitive function, memory, performance of certain tasks and increases one's alertness and concentration.
  • Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. A study conducted at Copenhagen University, where patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
  • Works as a Digestive Tonic: Cinnamon should be added to most recipes. Apart from adding flavor to the food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. It is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity, diarrhea and morning sickness. It is often referred to as a digestive tonic.
  • Is Full of Nutrients: It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

National Cinnamon Bun Day!

Did you know that cinnamon rolls (buns) have their own holiday?

In Sweden, October 4 has been designated "Kanelbullens Dag", or "Cinnamon Bun Day.

Positively Sinful Cinnamon Rolls

Our usual Bible study meeting time is 10:00 a.m. (and we're Lutherans with an ever-present pot of coffee), our gathering centers around the Bible, and brunch. Each of us contributes something—sometimes a homemade coffee cake, or a package of cinnamon rolls from the local bakery, crackers and cheese, or fresh produce from one's garden.

My dear friend Mary was there, and she brought a wonderful treat from a local store—I think it was called "Sin-Dawg" bread—"Sin" for the cinnamon and "Dawg" representing the local nickname for our beloved University of Washington Huskies. How could something advertised as the "healthiest cinnamon roll in the world" (100 percent whole grain) be so amazingly yummy?

The recipe above is the antithesis of Dave's Sin-Dawg bread—a cinnamon roll recipe I've used for years. It's not whole grain, it's not healthy, and although it might show up at next week's Bible study, it certainly isn't manna from Heaven (but it probably has the "Sin" part down pretty good!).

© 2014 Linda Lum

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