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No-Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

Kayla Hoang
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
45 mins
12 rolls

Chef notes

Nothing beats freshly baked cinnamon rolls enjoyed warm from the oven on a chilly weekend morning. It’s a special treat that’s loved by kids and adults alike. Making them, however, typically involves some foresight. The addition of yeast in most cinnamon roll recipes provides extra light and fluffy results but it also means you have to wait for the dough to rest and rise. This recipe is a great treat for beginner bakers who haven’t worked with yeasted dough recipes before — or for home bakers who just don't have a ton of time to spare. You can shape the dough into cinnamon rolls as soon as it’s mixed together!

If it’s Saturday morning and you realize you don’t have buttermilk for this recipe, there’s no need to panic or rush out to the store. Instead, combine 1 cup of whole milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. The acid curdles and thickens the milk to result in the perfect buttermilk dupe. Whether baking with this savvy swap or true buttermilk, the acidic dairy forms a chemical reaction with the baking soda that ensures the cinnamon roll dough rises and has a fluffy texture. 

Ice these cinnamon rolls with the cream cheese frosting as soon as they come out of the oven to make it extra easy to spread it on thickly and evenly. Then all that’s left to do is get the coffee brewing and unroll.


For the Filling
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Dough
  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
For the Frosting
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
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Preheat the oven to 400 F. 

For the filling:


In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon. Stir together.


Add the vanilla and melted butter and stir until both are combined and the sugars get darker. Set aside.

For the dough:


Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with softened butter.


In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine.


Add the buttermilk, milk and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Make sure the butter is melted and has cooled slightly. Stir all the ingredients together until the moisture is absorbed and a dough has formed, then knead with your hands for 1 minute.


Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured countertop. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 10 inches-by-12 inches. The dough will stretch and snap back. Keep working at it as it will eventually lengthen.


Once your rectangle is rolled out, take 2 tablespoons of softened butter and spread it onto the dough using a spatula. Sprinkle the filling mixture all over the dough and spread it out evenly.


Starting with the end of the dough closest to you, begin to roll the dough forwards, keeping the roll tight. Roll the dough up completely and set the roll on the counter with the seam on the bottom.


Make a mark on the roll every 1½ inches. You will end up with about 12 rolls, but may get more depending on how thick the dough is. Cut the rolls using a sharp knife, a bench scraper or unflavored dental floss.


Place the rolls, swirl side up, around the perimeter of your 9-inch round cake pan. The rolls should be touching each other, but not smushed together. Put the remaining rolls in the center of the pan.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are golden.

For the frosting:


While the rolls are baking, make the icing. In a medium bowl, add the butter and sugar. Cream the two together until they're light and fluffy.


Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat them in. Start adding tablespoons of milk to thin out the icing. If you prefer a thinner icing, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. 


Once the rolls are baked, you may ice them immediately or let them cool slightly before icing. Icing them immediately allows for a more even coating as the warm rolls will help melt the icing.