Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t like cinnamon rolls. However, my kids do, and they keep telling me I make very good cinnamon rolls. Others have asked me for the recipe, so here it is with the instructions on how I do it. If you don’t make your rolls this way, don’t worry. I’m sure there are more than a dozen ways to make them. This is what works for me, and since everyone who has eaten mine wants more, I might be doing something right.

What You Will Need

1 cup of milk. I use 2% but whole will work just fine. I’m sure skim will also work.

1/2 cup of margarine. You can also use butter or shortening. They’ll turn out slightly different, but use what you have.

1/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon of salt. I use sea salt. The original recipe had 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but I thought that was a little too much.

3 teaspoons of dry yeast. That’s 1 envelope.

1 teaspoon of white sugar. This will go with the yeast and warm water.

1/2 cup of warm water

1 egg, well beaten

4 1/2 cups of white flour. I used unbleached but any regular all-purpose flour will do.

Making the Dough

Step 1: Put milk, margarine, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt in a sauce pan and warm until the margarine is melted. Stir to mix ingredients. Then remove from heat and let cool. It’s vital that this is only lukewarm, not hot, or it will kill the yeast.

Step 2: While the mixture in Step 1 is cooling, mix warm water with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a large bowl. This will be the main bowl where you’ll mix the dough. Stir to ensure it mixes, then let stand covered for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Use a whisk and mix the yeast mixture. Then add the milk mixture from Step 1. Whisk this together, then add the egg and mix it.

Step 4: Add 2 cups of the flour and whisk that together. Switch to a wooden spoon or spirtle and mix in the remaining flour (2 1/2 cups). This will still be a little sticky. That’s okay.

Step 5: Dump the dough on a clean countertop dressed with flour and knead for 5 minutes. Add flour to reduce stickiness. Once you make this a few times, you’ll know how the dough will feel when it’s ready. It will be slightly sticky, but not too much. You don’t want to add a great amount of flour, just enough to keep it from sticking to everything. Too much flour will make it heavy.

Step 6: Put a thin layer of grease (I use lard, but you can use olive oil, butter or margarine) inside the bowl and put the dough in, cover (I use a plate) and let sit for 10 minutes.

Step 7: While you’re waiting those 10 minutes, mix together 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Set this aside.

THINKING AHEAD: While soft tub margarine can be spread on the dough, I try to remember to take out block margarine or butter (whichever I’m using) at least an hour beforehand so it has time to soften. If I forget, I sometimes pop it into the oven in a bowl for a few minutes on the lowest temperature.

PANS: Use what you have. I have 2 x 9 inch ceramic pans. I have made these cinnamon rolls in steel pans, too, but I like using ceramic and that’s what we got 25 years ago when we moved into the house. But any pan will do as long as it has a lip of at least 1 inch and is large enough to accommodate the rising dough. I suppose a pizza pan would do, if that’s all you had.

Step 8: Grease those pans. I use lard because that’s what I have. I don’t use vegetable oils of any sort. I’ve used ungreased pans as an experiment. The buns don’t stick that much, but I found they rise better when the pan is greased. Less friction, I guess.

Step 9: I make a medium size cinnamon bun. If you want larger or smaller, adjust your cuts accordingly. I cut the large dough in two equal parts. It makes it easier to handle. Then I use a rolling pin (put flour beneath the dough, so it won’t stick) to flatten the dough to make roughly a 12 inch by 12 inch square. It won’t be exact, and it won’t be a perfect square. That’s okay.

Almost ready to go into the oven

Step 10: Spread the soft margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle about half the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture evenly over the margarine. Roll the dough up to make a ‘tube’. Cut this as equally as you can into 10 pieces. Unless you want larger rolls, then cut less. Set these in the greased pan. I gently spread the rings apart. Not a great deal, but a little to ‘show’ them how they will expand. Repeat this step with the other half of the dough in the bowl. Now you have two pans of buns. Or one large pan or… however you panned them.

Step 11: Cover with a tea towel and let rise for one hour.

Step 12: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. My oven bakes fast (it’s a 1972 General Electric that has never failed us), so you might need to leave them in for a few extra minutes.

Step 13: Let cool before glazing.

Fresh out of the oven.

Making the Glaze

In a bowl, put

  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Mix this together. If you find it too thin, add a little more icing sugar. If you find it too thick, add a wee bit more milk. Spread/pour this over the cooled cinnamon rolls while they’re still in the pan.

Cut the buns from the pan and enjoy.

TIP: If you’re making this for Halloween, put orange or green food colouring in the glaze.

TIP: The more you make these, the better you will become. Sometimes, it is hit or miss. Sometimes they don’t rise well, and I have no explanation. However, my kids tell me they taste just as good, large rise or little rise.


4 thoughts on “Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls

    1. Oh, my gosh! You still don’t have power? I just checked the outage map. 5,493 households still don’t have power. Wow. This right here is why I’ll be solar in a few years and not tied into the grid. I hope you get it tonight.


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