These homemade yeast cinnamon rolls are a delicious treat for special occasions, holidays, and get-togethers with friends and loved ones. They make a substantial amount which is perfect for large gatherings or they can easily be frozen for future treats if you don’t want to halve the recipe. One of my dear friends makes them every year for Christmas breakfast – so yummy!
- 3 cups warm water (80-120 degrees)
- 2 packages yeast
- 3 cups + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 6 cups flour, divided
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups raisins
- cinnamon, liberal amounts
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- milk, to spread
- Mix warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Let stand 5 minutes to proof yeast.
- Add 3 cups of flour and 1 cup of sugar to yeast mixture and mix thoroughly with a whisk.
- Let stand 30 minutes. Mixture will approximately double. Note: I usually cover with a tea towel.
- Beat in oil and salt.
- Stir in 3-5 cups of flour by hand, one cup at a time. Knead last bit of flour on counter. Dough will be sticky but smooth.
- Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with a towel.
- Let rise 1 hour.
- Sprinkle flour on counter or table.
- Dump dough without punching down.
- Use hands to stretch out dough from the middle. Use a floured rolling pin to roll into a rectangle as thin as possible without tearing. Note: if dough tears, then just mush it together to repair the tear.
- Spread softened butter over dough from edge to edge.
- Sprinkle sugar, brown sugar, raisins, and lots of cinnamon over dough.
- Roll as tightly as possible into a log shape. Note: I've started folding all the edges of the dough over 1/2" or so all the way around the rectangle before rolling into a log shape. This helps keep all the goodies from falling out as you roll it up.
- Cut into 1" slices. Note: use dental floss! It is seriously the easiest way to cut dough without stretching, tearing or mangling it. Try it!
- Place in greased pans with room in between as they will rise and end up touching.
- Let rise at least one hour in a draft free, warm place. Rolls should at least double.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Mix frosting ingredients in a mixer and spread generously over cinnamon rolls.
I've made the entire dough (steps 1-8) in a bread machine and also in a mixer with a dough hook. If you have either of those, then it's definitely a time and energy saver.
The dough rolls out into a large rectangle when using the full recipe. If your counter or table isn't big enough to roll the dough out thin, then you can divide the dough in half and do it twice.
This recipe can easily be halved, or make the recipe as is and freeze the extra rolls after slicing from the log, but before rising in pans. Thaw and let rise before cooking as directed.
When my house isn't warm enough to allow dough to rise on the counter, then I often use my oven by preheating it to the lowest temperature and turning it OFF prior to putting the dough in. This makes for a warm and draft free environment to let the yeast do it's job.