Browned butter icing is the ultimate topping for these soft and fluffy homemade cinnamon rolls.
For the dough
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 7 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 large eggs
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the icing
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cinnamon rolls
- Scald milk. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and then add the butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt; stir until butter is completely melted and sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Prep yeast. In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and lukewarm water until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside.
- Mix dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, pour in the milk mixture and 2½ cups flour. Beat well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yeast mixture and 3½ cups of flour (see Note 1). Mix on medium-low speed until the dough starts to come together.
- Knead dough. Remove the paddle attachment (scraping the dough off as necessary) and fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low speed until the dough is fairly smooth but still soft, 6 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and will be slightly sticky. If the dough is too sticky, knead in more flour (a 1/4 cup at a time) as needed. You may not need all 7 cups of flour (see Note 2).
- First rise. Place the dough in a large buttered bowl and shape it into a rough ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm area to let rise until doubled (1 to 1 1/2 hours).
- Punch down. Punch down the dough and let rest a few minutes while prepping the filling.
- Prep filling. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon until evenly mixed. Set aside.
- Roll dough. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 12 by 17 inches. Spread half the softened butter on the dough and sprinkle with half the brown sugar mixture (see Note 3). Roll up the long end of the dough and pinch the seams. Cut into 12 (1¼ inch thick) slices. Arrange the rolls on a 9×13 buttered baking pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Second rise. Loosely cover the pans with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until nearly doubled in size and puffy.
- Prep oven. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake. Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool briefly in pans.
For the icing
- Brown butter. While the rolls are baking, make the icing. Melt butter in a saucepan or heavy skillet over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and watching closely, until butter just starts to turn toasty brown colored and smells nutty.
- Mix. Pour the butter into a small mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar, water, and vanilla; mix well. Allow icing to cool slightly before using.
- Spread. Spread icing over warm rolls.
- Before adding the yeast to the dough, make sure the mixture is slightly foamy which indicates that your yeast is active. If not, re-make the yeast mixture ensuring that your yeast isn’t expired and the water is the correct temperature.
- So I don’t have to keep track of how much flour I’ve used and to ensure I don’t use too much, I measure the 7 cups of flour into a separate bowl and scoop it out from the bowl.
- Make sure the butter is very soft and spreadable before spreading it on the rolled out dough.
- For overnight cinnamon rolls: After shaping the rolls and placing them in baking pans, cover the rolls and place them in the refrigerator. The next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in size. Proceed with baking the rolls as directed in the recipe.
- Recipe adapted from The Tulsa World via my sister.
- Update Jan 1, 2023: I doubled the ingredients for the icing from what I originally posted because that’s how we’ve been making it lately and the extra thick icing really does makes these cinnamon rolls that much better.
Keywords: cinnamon rolls, browned butter, browned butter icing