45 Minute Cinnamon Rolls {From Scratch}

 Too often I get a huge craving for a fresh, made from scratch, warm out of the oven cinnamon roll but so often I don't want to wait the 3 - 4 hours it takes to prepare them with all those tedious and lengthy rise times. Yes, I love a good yeast based cinnamon roll, but is the yeast absolutely necessary? Well, I decided to find out for myself. 

Recently, I've been reading through the "The Quick Recipe" from the Editors of Cook Illustrated Magazine and came upon their recipe for Fastest Cinnamon Buns. I knew I had to try it for a number of reasons. First off I'm yet to be let down by Cook's Illustrated. If you are looking for a cookbook that you will likely love and cherish for life, I'd recommend any of the Cook's Illustrated cookbook collections. They are fabulous. And second I'm a cinnamon roll addict so if it can be done in anywhere under the usual 3 hours, then I'm in.

Normally when I try someone else's recipe I like to make quite a few of my own changes, but this time around I mostly just made minor changes. The changes I made from their recipe were using a little more cinnamon as well as nutmeg instead of cloves (I just like it better), I used light-brown sugar instead of dark-brown sugar (because I rarely have dark brown on hand), I used the buttermilk substitute I listed because I was out of buttermilk, also I used salted butter instead of unsalted (I'm a salted butter baker) and I replaced their glaze recipe with my own because I thought it could use a little butter. 

I'm telling you, this recipe is amazing! Not only is it the fastest batch of cinnamon rolls I've ever made but they also tasted spectacular. The texture was slightly different from that of a yeast based cinnamon roll. It didn't have the same stretch you get from using yeast, but other than that not a whole lot of difference. I will definitely continue to make My Favorite Cinnamon Rolls (the other cinnamon roll recipe I've posted) but when I don't want to wait that long I will always turn to these. I should also mention Cook's illustrated listed the total time to be 55 minutes, which included 5 minutes of cooling in that time. I say they were being generous with the time they allotted  I had these prepared and out of the oven in just under 45 minutes. Just be sure to make the glaze while they are baking to save time. Enjoy!

45 Minute Cinnamon Rolls

Yields 8 


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

6 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt, divided

8 Tbsp salted butter, melted

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/4 cups buttermilk*

1 recipe Cream Cheese Glaze, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a 9-inch cake or pie pan with 1 Tbsp melted butter, set aside. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt, set aside. 

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together light-brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 tsp salt. Add in 1 Tbsp melted butter and blend mixture together with your fingertips or a fork until mixture is well blended and evenly moistened, set aside. 

Measure out buttermilk into a liquid measuring cup and stir in 2 Tbsp melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms and liquid has been absorbed, then knead mixture in bowl by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds (dough will be sticky). 

Sprinkle a clean work surface with a fair amount of flour. Pat the dough with your hands into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Brush top of dough with 2 Tbsp melted butter then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture, coming within a 1/2 inch of the border on all sides. Press the brown sugar filling into the dough (they stated "firmly press" in their recipe which didn't make sense to me because then you are flattening your dough and releasing some of the rise the baking powder has already given so I only lightly pressed). Starting on the long side, roll dough (using a bench scraper or metal spatula to loosen dough from work surface if necessary. I didn't need one) snugly and gently to opposite end. Pinch the end seam to seal. Roll the log seam side down and cut dough into 8 equal portions. 

Place 1 roll in the center of the prepared baking dish, then place remaining 7 rolls around it. Brush tops of rolls with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake in preheated oven 22 - 25 minutes until edges are golden brown. (After baking you can invert the rolls using a plate onto a wire rack but I just served them without flipping). Serve warm drizzled with Cream Cheese Glaze. Store in an airtight container and reheat in microwave if desired.

*If you don't have buttermilk you can use 1 cup + 3 Tbsp milk and 1 Tbsp vinegar, whisk it together and let rest 2 minutes. That's actually what I did this time around because I was out of buttermilk.

Cream Cheese Glaze


3 oz cream cheese, softened

3 Tbsp butter, softened

1 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk 

1/4 tsp vanilla extract


In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium speed, blend together cream cheese and butter until well combine and slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until well combine. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Source: Cinnamon Roll - adapted from The Quick Recipe, By the Editors of Cook's Illustrated. Fastest Cinnamon Buns, pg 375 - 376. 

Cream Cheese Glaze - Cooking Classy

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