Last year I shared my 10-minute Cinnamon Bun recipe and I promised to share my “from scratch” Copycat Cinnabun recipe soon… so one year later, I figured it was about time I actually shared it! And to make up for my delay, I’ve included a video for how to make these delicious homemade cinnamon buns so you can have guaranteed great results.
Homemade cinnamon buns are one of my favorite treats for a special family brunch or for bringing to a bake sale. Like my authentic beignet recipe, they require a bit of work up front (a bit of kneading and rolling out dough) but they are well worth it.
You can even freeze half of the batch after rolling and cutting into servings (before the second rise) if you don’t think your family will go through the generous number of cinnamon buns that this recipe makes, but I’ll be honest – I’ve never had that problem. I tend to gift a few containers of them to family members and before I know it, I’m cutting the last one in half for Miss G and I to share.
These cinnamon buns are soft and chewy with crunchy, caramelized edges. There’s a decent amount of cinnamon-sugar filling in each one, topped with a maple-vanilla cream cheese frosting that brings just the right amount of tartness to your cinnamon buns for the perfect balance of sweetness.
I may have called these “copycat cinnabuns” but these are way better than anything you can buy!
There are a few ways that my cinnamon bun recipe differs from other cinnamon bun recipes out there – and the first is the inclusion of buttermilk. It brings that delicious “country-style” flavor that I find missing with so many other homemade cinnamon buns. I know there are “baking hacks” out there to swap regular milk + vinegar for buttermilk… please, just don’t do it for this recipe! Those hacks are great for reproducing the acidity and fluffiness of buttermilk in baking, but they won’t replace that distinct taste.
Next, we use regular flour for a softer bun. Bread flour can make things more dense than they need to be and who needs a second bag of flour cluttering up their baking cupboard?
REAL BUTTER. (It needs no explanation, right?)
Cream cheese and maple syrup are both essential for that out-of-this world frosting. If you’re not sure, make half a batch and try it on one cinnamon roll. After tasting, I guarantee you’ll agree with me. (And real maple syrup – none of that Aunt Jemima stuff..)
To see just how easy it is to make these homemade cinnamon buns, check out my step-by-step video here and then scroll down to grab your printable recipe for these decadent buttermilk cinnamon rolls:
Ingredients to Make Homemade Cinnamon Buns
You will need:
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 1/2-5 cups all purpose flour
For the cinnamon spread filling:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the cream cheese drizzle:
- 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (half a brick)
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, to taste
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful:
- Stand mixer (I usually say a hand mixer is great, but a stand mixer comes in handy for kneading)
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 9″x12″ casserole dishes
- Rolling pin
- Pastry scraper
- Offset spatula
How to Make Copycat Cinnabuns
Place the water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar in a large bowl. Stir and proof for 5 minutes.
Once mixture looks bubbly and frothy, pour in remaining sugar and salt. Stir on low for 15-20 seconds. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil and egg.
Pour egg mixture into the water and yeast mixture. Stir another 20 seconds and then add 2 cups of flour and stir until incorporated. Add remaining flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough forms a cohesive ball that doesn’t stick to the bowl.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, grease and replace back into same mixing bow. (Note: I’ve always greased the bowl but a friend recently showed me how it’s easier to grease the dough and it works just the same!)
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a dish towel and let rise 1-2 hours, until dough has doubled in size.
In a medium size bowl, stir brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together until combined. Set aside. (Note: you can combine the butter at this point or press the sugar-cinnamon mixture into the buttered dough – it’s personal preference.)
Remove the towel and plastic wrap to punch down dough.
Sprinkle flour over a large clean surface and roll the dough out to approximately a 20″x30″ rectangle, adding more flour as needed.
Trim off uneven edges and set aside for “scrap buns.”
Spread the softened butter over dough and spread the brown sugar mixture over, leaving about 1″ at the long ends of the rectangle clean and free of any sugar.
Lightly press the sugar mixture into the butter using a rolling pin.
Tightly roll the dough up into a log towards the “bare edge” and press to firmly seal the sugar inside.
Score the cinnamon roll log every 2 inches and then slice your rolls using those marks using a sharp knife of pastry cutter and place into parchment paper lined, greased pans.
Cover pans with plastic wrap and dish towels and let rolls rise another 1-2 hours, until they are almost doubled.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree for 17 minutes, or until tops start to brown.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the maple cream cheese frosting by whipping the cream cheese and butter together, and then adding the vanilla and maple syrup.
Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you achieve your desired taste and consistency.
Let the cinnamon buns cool slightly before frosting. Serve warm.
Pin this easy Copycat Cinnabun recipe to make homemade cinnamon rolls that taste even better than what you can buy at the mall!
What is your go-to recipe for a special family breakfast?