My Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls from Lauren's Latest--the best clone out there!Ok, guys. HERE IT IS! I’m pretty sure this is the most anticipated recipe I’ve hyped up in a very loooong time–and for good reason! I’ve been working hard trying to get this recipe as close as I can. To give you an idea of what I’ve been up to and why it took me so long to finally publish this, let me explain my whole process.

First I googled the ingredients of the cinnabon. After a few minutes, I found them. All companies have published their actual ingredients list SOMEWHERE. If it’s not on the web, go into the store and ask. These days, most companies have their nutritional information online. I found Cinnabon’s here. I also found a bunch of ‘cloned’ recipes which had almost NONE of the actual ingredients found in one of these divine cinnamon rolls. Real clone? I think not!

Once I had that list, I shortened it by taking out all the preservatives and things most people wouldn’t have on hand like whey, powdered egg, potassium sorbate and yellow #5.

I know I know….I just ran out of potassium sorbate too.

Then from here I went through the list again and decided what ingredients were used for what. Flour-goes in the dough, brown sugar-goes in the filling, etc. Also, having the ingredients listed in order from most to least helped quite a bit.

Once I had all that figured out, I just started testing. After 4 huge batches, I think I got a pretty good clone. If you’re going to make a clone, use this recipe! It’s the closest, next best thing using all the same ingredients.

After all that hype, are you ready to make some of these?! It takes some time, but just like anything good and holy, it’s totally worth it!

First up: the dough. Start out with warm water in your mixing bowl {not milk like the impostor cinnabon recipes online.}
cinnabon 1

Sprinkle some quick rising active dry yeast into the bowl along with about a tablespoon of the sugar.cinnabon 2

Stir it around and let it proof for a few minutes while we get some other ingredients together.cinnabon 3

Over to the side, measure out some oil, an egg and….buttermilk–the secret ingredient! Out of all the ‘cloned’ recipes I looked through online, NONE of them had buttermilk!! If you search Cinnabon secret ingredient on youtube, you’ll find the creator talking about her ingredient. She never says what it is, but buttermilk fits the bill of everything she was saying! I’m onto something….cinnabon 4

Whisk this all together to break up that egg.cinnabon 7

Now, after 5-10 minutes, your yeast should be looking pretty frothy and bubbly. Now you can add in that buttermilk/egg mixture…cinnabon 6

…the remaining sugarcinnabon 8

and some salt. Stir this around for a minute.cinnabon 5

Then dump in about half of the measured flour into the bowl.cinnabon 9

Once that is incorporated, sprinkle in more flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough pulls away from the sides and the bowl looks clean. The dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your fingers when touched. Then, turn your mixer on low to knead 5 minutes. This dough pictured below is not quite ready. {See how it’s sticking to the bottom?} I ended up adding about 1/4 cup more flour and it was ready.
cinnabon 10

Once the dough is all kneaded, wrap it up and let it rise. In retrospect, I would have just greased a bowl and let it rise in there because…cinnabon 11

after a few hours, things start to pop out and bulge. So, don’t be like me. Keep your dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and rise 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size.cinnabon 12

Now, for the filling–in a small bowl, measure out some brown sugar, corn starch and cinnamon. I know cornstarch is a totally weird ingredient, but it helps hold the filling in the cinnamon roll instead of oozing out all over the place. It still oozes, but not nearly as much. {Cinnabon actually uses some sort of chemical/food gum to help it not ooze which is REALLY appetizing I know…}cinnabon 13

Stir this all together and set it aside.cinnabon 14

Also, before you start rolling, get some baking pans ready by lining them with parchment paper and lightly greasing them with margarine.cinnabon 15

Now comes the fun part! {Excuse these under exposed, not so sharp photos…I was running out of light!} Roll your dough out on a FLOURED work surface to be a 20×30 inch rectangle…or as close to it as possible. Don’t sweat if it’s 1-2 inches shorter. Also, I ended up cutting a section of dough off one end and patching it into the other end–no biggie. {You can see my patch job in this photo.} Spread some really soft margarine over the dough, leaving a 1 inch strip of dough plain and untouched.  cinnabon 18

Dump that filling onto the margarine and spread it around to create an even layer.cinnabon 19

You can see, we still are leaving that 1 inch strip of dough completely alone. cinnabon 20

Lightly press the sugar into the margarine with a rolling pin…cinnabon 21

and roll up the dough as tightly as you can, ending with the plain dough on the bottom of this log. Slice the uneven ends off…cinnabon 22

…and get out your measuring tape! I scored this log of dough first every 2 inches, then sliced it to ensure even rolls.cinnabon 23

Then I propped them up in the prepared pan, covered with plastic wrap and a dish towel and let them rise. Actually, I popped them into the fridge overnight, then brought them up to room temp and let them rise before baking. After I took the pan out of the fridge, I let them rise 4 hours. It takes a while to take the chill off.cinnabon 24

Of course if you leave them on the counter, an hour or two later, you should have some pretty darn perfect rolls.
cinnabon 26

Don’t forget to take the plastic wrap off before you bake! That would be bad…Mine were done after 17 minutes at 350. You’re going to want to watch these like a hawk!!! DO NOT let these over bake! Once the tops start to brown, they are done!
cinnabon 27

While the rolls are baking, we’re going to work on the frosting! Sweet blessed cream cheese frosting. I used a tiny little food chopper for mine, but feel free to use a hand mixer, or a stand mixer. Whatevs. Start by mixing the softened cream cheese and margarine together.cinnabon 28

To this, pour in some corn syrup,cinnabon 29

vanilla,cinnabon 30

and lemon juice. USE REAL LEMON JUICE. The end.cinnabon 31

Blend this up, scrape the sides and blend again.cinnabon 32

Now dump in all your powdered sugar and mix mix mix.
cinnabon 33

Scrape the sides and mix again until everything is smooth and delicious. If you want your frosting to look more like cinnabon’s, whip it 5-7 minutes or until it lightens in color.cinnabon 34

Now comes the home stretch!! Once your rolls are freshly baked, pull them out of the oven and give them a healthy slathering of that frosting. If your frosting isn’t finished once the rolls are done, pull them out and cover them lightly with foil. You don’t want the tops of these getting hard!cinnabon 35

You’ll only end up using about half the frosting right away and that will melt right into the rolls. Then once they have cooled off a little more, feel free to go back and re frost them.
Cinnabon final 1

Do these not look incredible?! Picture perfect rolls….and my house smelled amazing!!Cinnabon Final 2

I dove face first into this entire pan and ate every last morsel. TO.DIE.FOR. Super sweet, chewy, light, fluffy, cream cheesy. Mmmm….heaven!Cinnabon Final 4So, there you have it! My Cinnabon! Hopefully, you’ll all find a few hours to make these! They are TOTALLY worth the wait! 🙂 Have a great Wednesday! 🙂


My Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

After several attempts at recreating this famous recipe, I've finally come up with one that might be just as good if not better than the original!

Yield: 15 rolls approximately

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:


  • for the dough-
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast {use the fast acting kind!}
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • for the filling-
  • 1/2 cup softened margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • for the frosting-
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup softened margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar


  1. Making the Dough- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour in water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir and proof 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, measure buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk ingredients together until egg is incorporated to other two ingredients. Pour contents into the water and yeast mixture. Stir another 20 seconds in the mixer. Pour 2 cups of flour into mixer and stir on low until incorporated. Sprinkle flour in by 1/4 cup increments until dough cleans the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched. Once it has reached this stage, turn mixer on and knead for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, grease and replace back into same mixing bowl {since it's practically clean anyways.} Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Rise 1-2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
  2. Filling and Cutting Rolls- In a medium size bowl, stir brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together until combined. Set aside. Punch down dough. Flour a large clean table liberally with flour. Lightly flour dough as well. Roll dough out to be a 20x30 rectangle {or as close to that as possible} while moving dough around to ensure it's not sticking to your work surface. If it's a little short or uneven, feel free to cut off the edges to even it all out. {FYI-I cut off some dough on one side and filled in a spot that needed more dough on the other side to make a more even rectangle.} Spread softened margarine over dough, being sure to go right to the edges leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough. Dump brown sugar mixture onto the middle of the dough and spread with your hands, creating an even layer over top of the margarine, still leaving that 1-inch strip of dough untouched. If you have any filling that falls off the sides of the dough, use a bench scraper to replace. Lightly press the sugar mixture into the margarine using a rolling pin. Roll the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the entire thing together. Cut off the uneven ends to even out the log. Score log every 2 inches and then slice your rolls using those marks. Place into parchment paper lined, margarine greased pans. 12 into a 9x13, 3 remaining into a loaf pan, or 8x8 with the small ends. Cover pans with plastic wrap and dish towels. Let rolls rise another 1-2 hours or until they are touching and have risen almost double. My rolls always spread out more than up, so just be aware that they will most likely spread out more than up. Bake in a preheated 350 degree for 17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Watch them carefully!!
  3. For the Frosting- While the rolls are baking, whip cream cheese and margarine together. Stir in vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Pour in powdered sugar and stir slowly until it starts to incorporate. Then mix on high for 5 minutes or until frosting starts to lighten in color. Scrape sides and mix again briefly. Once rolls have been removed from the oven, frost using half the amount made. Then after they have cooled a few more minutes, frost again with remaining frosting. The first frosting will melt down into the rolls and the second layer should stay put. Serve warm.
  4. Recipe Notes:
  5. -See step my step photos for more details I neglected to mention.
  6. -Also, if your frosting isn't quite ready after you pull the rolls out of the oven, cover with foil so the tops don't dry out and get crispy.
  7. -If you notice it takes forever for your rolls to rise, try adding an extra teaspoon of rapid rise yeast to your dough next time around. I also like to use Red Star Platinum yeast--it's hardcore stuff.


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  1. THERE ARE NO WORDS. GAH, I need one (read: ten), STAT!!
    I’m positively giddy about these.


  2. Wow you really did your research! And I am willing to say these may be better than the real thing because you got rid of the preservatives and funky ingredients.


    • Ellen — November 21st, 2015 @ 6:16 pm

      Except that she uses margarine instead of real butter… Margarine is trans fat spread 🙁 clearly one can just use butter, but I don’t think anyone caught that…


  3. I really love the process that you went through to get to the end result and what an end result! They look so perfectly fluffy and delicious and amazing!


  4. These look great! But, i have a question. Why margarine? Why not butter? I never have margarine on hand, but if it’s required for these, I’m willing to get some!


    • Lauren — February 8th, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

      I used margarine because that is what Cinnabon uses. I always buy butter but went out of my way to get margarine specifically for this recipe.


      • Ally — December 22nd, 2012 @ 9:14 am

        It’s possible to make with butter. I just did. They’re divine with butter. I don’t use margarine.

      • Dave — December 30th, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

        Thanks for all your research, but I have to agree with other comments about margarine having trans fats, and it tastes horrible actually, once you get used to real food. Genuine Cinnabons actually taste like chemicals to me now, I can’t even eat them. Although I see they finally replaced hydrogenated oil with palm oil, so I may have tried one…if it weren’t for the sodium benzoate and Butter in Cinnabon clone recipes tastes better than the “real” thing anyway. I use all organic ingredients when making this, but have never tried it with buttermilk. That is a great idea, and you very well may be right on it being the secret ingredient.

        • Lauren — December 31st, 2013 @ 9:16 am

          I agree that margarine is awful tasting and awful for you; I was just trying to stay true to the Cinnabon ingredients thus making it a true Cinnabon ‘clone’. But, now whenever I make it, I use butter. It works just the same and it tastes better that way!

      • Lucas — May 8th, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

        I used to manage a cinnabon. We only used real butter in our frosting and no corn syrup. Just to let you know, otherwise very close to the original.

      • Lucas — May 8th, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

        Ohh, also it is equal parts butter to cream cheese.

      • Heba Hussien — July 19th, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

        I used butter they are in oven now praying it would go ok
        Just few notice
        I dont have kenwood so I had to use the blender and my hand
        The dough was so sticky I had to add more flour

        I forgot the butter a little ehile defrost in microve snd had to wieght till get cinnamon
        It melts a bit and the dough when rolling after adding fiil up
        I think it was better if roll it snd leave sbit in refregirator

        Now in oven butter and sugar start to milt from first moment I didnt have

      • anesa — December 13th, 2014 @ 10:25 pm

        What kind of cinnamon did you use. Is it a specific kind for these cinnamon rolls? Should I use butter salted or unsalted . Please help me.

        • Lauren — December 14th, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

          Any kind you have is fine. I use saigon cinnamon. Either salted or unsalted is fine.

      • anesa — December 15th, 2014 @ 8:02 am

        I will make these with my kids and for sure I will send you pictures of the outcome. Thanks so very much Lauren. Happy holidays!

      • anesa — December 15th, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

        Hi Lauren., one more thing. Is it ok if i used a hand mixer for the frosting?

      • anesa — December 15th, 2014 @ 8:50 pm

        Is it ok if i used a hand mixer?

      • Laura B — January 12th, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

        When I worked at Cinnabon 20 years ago (yikes!), we did not use margarine in the filling or in the frosting. I can’t speak to the dough because the store I worked at used frozen, pre-made dough. We also didn’t use a filler with the cinnamon and brown sugar filling. (It’s possible the recipe has changed, or that the rolls not made fresh in stores have different ingredients.) Other than that, it’s pretty close! I’ll be trying your dough recipe next time I make cinnamon rolls. Looks great!

    • Christine — July 18th, 2013 @ 9:10 am

      I wouldn’t use margarine. Stick margarine has trans fats and we definitely don’t want those! Butter, always!


      • Lauren — July 18th, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

        I never buy margarine, but for the real clone, you have to because it’s what cinnabon uses! Whenever I make them now though, I always use butter 🙂

      • Aisha — April 12th, 2014 @ 6:17 am

        I’m going to be up till midnight making these!

  5. Fantastic they look great.keep up the great cooking.and all who bake them enjoy.
    David Head


  6. I’m in heaven, these look wonderful, I can almost smell them through my computer, sigh. These are on my must make list, probably this weekend. I don’t know if I can wait that long, oh crap, I’ll have to, but at least I know I’ll be able to make the kids do anything I want them to with these babies! Pinned!


  7. These look and sound amazing. I used to work at the mall next to a Cinnabon AND a Mrs. Field’s. Suffice to say, I loved my job b/c I love Cinnabons!


  8. Gulp! Drool!!! YUMMMMM!!! i want some!!! 🙂


  9. Yeah, we were lucky to have stopped by and got some of these. Delectable, every bite a marvelous experience!


  10. wow, this looks amazing.. i’m intimidated when it comes to using rolling pins and all. wow, i Loveeeeeeeeeeee cinnabon. Whenever I go to the mall in NJ, i get someone to split it with me. 🙂


  11. I wished I lived with you the day you made these! WOWZER! Looks soooo good I will have to try eventually.


    • Lauren — February 9th, 2012 @ 12:49 am

      I wish you lived closer too! I ate WAYYY too many of these last week!


  12. Making these this weekend! Thank you thank you thank you!


  13. Wow. Very solid and extremely nice work


  14. Oh my! I am on a very restrictive diet but just read every word and eyeballed every single delicious picture!


  15. Can’t wait to try these! I had read before that the secret ingredient in the Cinnabon recipe is vanilla pudding mix. Did you hear that at all?


    • Lauren — February 8th, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

      Nope! And there was nothing in their ingredients list to prove that either!


  16. Oh my goodness, these really do look divine. So now I’m wondering, how many different batches did you make to get these JUST right?


    • Lauren — February 9th, 2012 @ 12:51 am

      Too many!! HAHA! I went through 4 and only ended up throwing out 1, so that’s good!


  17. Wow! I love that you researched the real Cinnabon recipe first. Your rolls look fantastic. The next time I tackle Cinnamon Rolls, this is definitely the recipe I’m using!


  18. Love this, Lauren! I rarely eat Cinnamon cinnamon rolls but that won’t stop me from trying to make them myself. Sounds awesome!


  19. In.My.Belly!! These were made today and we just ate one! My hubs said after his 2nd bite, “wow, they do taste just like Cinnabons!” They are incredible!! I just packaged up 6 of them for him to run over to our BFF’s house so we don’t eat the entire pan!

    Thank you so much for this recipe and all your hard work…you ROCK!


    • Lauren — February 9th, 2012 @ 12:52 am

      WOW!! That was FAST, girl! So glad you like them! 🙂


      • Holli — February 9th, 2012 @ 1:02 am

        I was lucky and had all the ingredients to make them today 🙂

  20. Wow! Nice work/research! I must make these ASAP, but was wondering what your thoughts were on freezing them before baking them to save on prep time. I always like to double/triple time-intensive recipes and freeze if possible, and know that there is no amount of gym time that would cover me eating a double/triple recipe in one sitting! LOL


    • Lauren — February 9th, 2012 @ 2:23 am

      I’d freeze these once they were all rolled but before you let them rise. Then once you’re ready to make a batch, remove the pan from the freezer, let it come up to temp and then let it rise 2-ish hours. As long as they have risen before baking, they should be fine!!


      • Veronica — September 12th, 2013 @ 12:51 am

        Hi! Have you ever gotten them to that rolled stage, in baking dishes, the night before and then refrigerated until morning to cut down the morning prep time?

        • Lauren — September 12th, 2013 @ 11:49 am

          I have, but they don’t rise very much in the fridge! I would leave them out overnight OR get up early to let them rise before baking.

  21. Holy Delicious Ridiculousness! I believe these are calling my name. Interesting that they use margarine; its an ingredient I have never bought. I think there is an exception in my future…


  22. How do you cut the rolls? Whenever I make them and I use my knife the roll always squishes down! Yours look perfect and not squished!


    • Teresa — February 26th, 2012 @ 1:21 am

      I have read you can use dental floss to cut cinnamon rolls. I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s worth a try.


      • Delane — March 2nd, 2014 @ 6:09 am

        Regular thread works fine for cutting the dough

    • Laura B — January 12th, 2015 @ 7:53 pm

      Use a serrated knife. Let the weight of the knife push down, and you should just need to push back and forth once to cut through.


  23. I want to try this with butter even though the original called for margarine. Because the butter is only in the filling and the frosting, I can only imagine they might even taste better…I am margarine phobic 😉


    • Mary Ellen — March 29th, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

      Me too! Who wants to eat trans fats and die early trying?


  24. These look amazing!! I thought there would be way more butter in them….


  25. Dang…I went past this post cause I was going to force myself to ignore it but I couldn’t do it! Had to look! And as usual I sat here drooling over all the gorgeous photos! Thank you for sharing, CAN’T WAIT to make these!


    • Lauren — February 9th, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

      Glad you gave in!! 😉


  26. Those look like absolutely perfect cinnamon rolls!


  27. They look wonderful and are on my “to do” list. I have a question…Did you use your own frosting recipe or did you use the same process to figure out the Cinnabon frosting? Thank you in advance.


    • Lauren — February 9th, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

      I used the same process for the frosting as I did the rolls–working backwards!


      • Karla — July 13th, 2014 @ 6:28 am

        Question on the frosting. Why lemon juice?

        • Lauren — July 13th, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

          it adds a little zing 🙂

  28. Amazing job!! These look better than any cinnamon roll recipe I have seen. Definitely going to try these. It has been WAY too long since I have actually had a Cinnabon 🙁


  29. Just made a batch of these cinnamon rolls! They taste just like cinnabons!! Great job figuring out all the ingredients!! Definitely a special day kind of
    cinnamon rolls=D