Our Homemade Cinnamon Buns are hands-down my favorite brunch recipe, and while they are perfect for the holidays, I couldn’t help but bring a festive twist to them with these Gingerbread Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting!
These sweet rolls have all of the flavor of a gingerbread cookie plus all of the best parts of a cinnamon bun combined together to make the ultimate Christmas brunch treat – a fluffy roll, sweet cinnamon-gingerbread filling, crispy caramelized tops smothered with cream cheese frosting.
You could even thin out the drizzle with a bit of eggnog to bring this recipe into a whole new sphere of festive flavor.
If you want fresh cinnamon buns in the morning without waking up super early, you can prep the cinnamon buns the day before and let them do their final rise in the fridge. Let them come almost to room temperature before popping them in the oven in the morning.
These gingerbread cinnamon buns would be such a treat during the holidays and they make sooo many – perfect for entertaining, or gifting a few to coworkers, neighbours or friends.
(And I’m just noticing that I may have a bit of an obsession with gingerbread breakfast recipes – this is our third! We’ve previously shared our Gingerbread Pancakes and our Slow Cooker Gingerbread Lattes.)
Check out just how easy these Gingerbread Cinnamon Buns are to make – and then scroll down to the bottom of this post to grab our free printable recipe!
Ingredients for Gingerbread 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
- 2 Tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
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
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
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
Tip: you can replace the vanilla extract with 2 Tablespoons of eggnog for a thinner eggnog-flavored drizzle.
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 <– I love these Pyrex ones that come with a sturdy lid
- 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.
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