Mini Cinnamon Rolls

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
August 20, 2023 | Updated on August 23, 2023

Mini cinnamon rolls are pillowy soft dough, rolled with sugar and spices, baked to golden brown perfection, and slathered with homemade cream cheese frosting. This bite-sized treat is a tasty start to your day at breakfast or a sweet pick-me-up as a mid-day snack or dessert.

If you can’t get enough of this popular pastry, then you have to try other cinnamon roll recipes, like Cinnamon Rolls with Heavy Cream and Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Frosting.

close up view of mini cinnamon rolls

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Making mini cinnamon rolls from scratch is so easy with this recipe. It has all the flavor of classic cinnamon rolls but in bite-size form.

They’re coated with thick, tangy cream cheese frosting with moist, doughy centers enhanced with sugar and warm spices. These mini cinnamon rolls are finger-licking good so the whole batch will be gone before you know it!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Better Than Storebought – Don’t be tempted to grab Pilsbury from the frozen aisle of the grocery store. Homemade cinnamon rolls are absolutely worth the effort; especially when served fresh!
  • Crowd Pleasing – This adorable snack is the perfect size for sharing so whether you’re hosting a brunch or bringing a sweet treat to a gathering, everyone can indulge without overdoing it.
  • Easy to Prepare – The instructions are clear-cut and so simple to follow. There are two rises but the whole recipe only takes 2 hours from start to finish. (Rising time is 1 hour and 15 minutes of that total time.) The hardest part is waiting for your baked dessert to be ready! This recipe is a labor of love but the final results make it totally worth it!
plated mini cinnamon rolls

Tools You’ll Need

overhead view of mini cinnamon rolls without frosting

Ingredients You Will Need for Mini Cinnamon Rolls

There are four elements to these rolls: yeast, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon-sugar filling, and cream cheese frosting.

Yeast

  • Active dry yeast packet – This is what allows the rolls to rise for their iconic fluffiness. One packet equals 2¼ teaspoons.
  • Warm water –  The temperature should be between 110°F – 115°F.
  • Sugar – This sweetens the cinnamon roll dough and also reacts with the yeast. This gives the dough a soft, spongy quality.
freshly baked mini cinnamon rolls without icing

Cinnamon Rolls

  • All-purpose flour –  Divided, spooned, and leveled.
  • 2% Milk powder – This is a secret (and essential ingredient). Milk powder is fresh milk with most of the moisture removed. It improves the foundation of yeasted bread recipes. It makes these mini cinnamon rolls softer, with a more tender bite. It also keeps them fresh for longer. Don’t skip it! Here’s the one I use.
  • Fresh nutmeg –  I recommend using freshly grated nutmeg. For the best flavor.
  • Sugar – Brown and granulated.
  • Kosher salt – I use Diamond Crystal brand.
  • Salted butter –  Most go for unsalted butter when baking, but for these cinnamon rolls, I prefer to use salted melted butter (110°F).
  • Eggs – Use 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, both at room temperature.
  • Whole milk –  Warm (110°F).
  • Heavy cream – This is reserved for pouring over the mini cinnamon rolls after they have risen and added to lend the rolls an extra texture. Ensure it is at room temperature when pouring over the rolls.

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

  • Salted butter – Use at room temperature as softened butter clings to the dough and holds the sugar and spice.
  • Light brown sugar – This enhances the cinnamon flavor and adds sweetness.
  • Cinnamon – A key ingredient for that classic cinnamon roll taste.
a mixing bowl filled with powder with two eggs on the side

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Salted butter – Added to make the frosting more stable.
  • Cream cheese – Use full-fat for a creamy consistency, plus the taste factor is better. Ensure it is room temperature so it’s easier to mix.
  • Pure vanilla extract –  Go for quality – Bourbon Pure Vanilla extract.
  • Powdered sugar –  Sift the sugar so as to not have clumps in your icing.
  • Whole milk – This ensures the frosting isn’t too thick so you get the perfect texture. Add more for a thinner consistency.

How To Make Mini Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe involves proofing the dough twice but the whole process takes just 2 hours. See the recipe card for full detailed instructions.

Yeast

Prepare yeast. In a small bowl, add yeast, warm water (110°-115°F), and sugar. Stir well. Will take roughly 15 minutes for yeast to double in size.

liquid added to combined ingredients in a mixing bowl

Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, sugar, freshly ground nutmeg, and salt to a standing mixer bowl. Whisk until ingredients are well mixed.

2. Add 2½ tbsp of melted butter, yeast mixture, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and warm milk. Using your knead hook, turn the standing mixer on low and slowly add ½ cup of flour. Once ingredients form into a dough, leave to sit for 5 minutes to allow the flour to absorb wet ingredients.

3. Knead for 7 minutes under “speed 4” setting. The dough should have a tacky, not sticky texture. 

4. First rise: Grease the mixing bowl with ½ teaspoon of butter. Add dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 45 mins, or until dough has doubled in size. 

dough in a mixing bowl
risen dough in a bowl

5. Once dough has doubled in size, remove plastic wrap and punch down the dough to remove air.

6. Place dough on a well-floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large square that is ¼ inch thick. Cut into

7. Second rise: Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and keep in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour, or until rolls have doubled in size. 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375°F. While waiting, assemble cream cheese icing.

mini cinnamon rolls in a pan
prebaked mini cinnamon rolls

10. Remove plastic wrap or towel from pan. Pour heavy cream over rolls and bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly brown, turning the pan at the halfway mark. If rolls begin to brown too quickly, lightly place a piece of foil wrap on top.

prebaked mini cinnamon rolls with heavy cream poured over them

11. After removing from the oven, immediately slather the top with half of the brown butter frosting. Serve warm. Top mini cinnamon rolls with more icing after serving, if desired.

close up view of baked cinnamon rolls without frosting

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

In a large bowl, add room-temperature butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Use a fork to mix ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

Cream Cheese Icing

  1. Add room-temp cream cheese and butter to a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until light and fluffy.
  2. Add kosher salt and vanilla. Whisk on high again just until the ingredients come together.
  3. Add sifted powdered sugar and beat until the ingredients come together. Repeat until all sugar is added.
  4. Add milk and beat again to combine. Set icing aside.
plated mini cinnamon rolls

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t use too much flour. Otherwise, the dough becomes tougher when baked. Ensure it’s a lightly floured surface but evenly dispersed. You can always add additional flour if necessary.
  • The dough needs to rise twice. Double-proofing the dough yields better flavor and texture. Keep in mind that since the dough is rich, it may take a little time to rise. If your oven has a proof setting, use that as a warm environment will encourage rising.
  • If the dough is still sticky after kneading, refer to the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Add in increments of 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is no longer sticky. Form dough into one large ball.
  • You will know when you’ve kneaded enough when the dough is very smooth and springs back after poking it.
  • Use a pizza slicer to slice the rolls into 16 even pieces. Knives won’t cut as neatly.
  • Immediately add the frosting to the mini cinnamon rolls, as soon as they are out of the oven. Some recipes will tell you to let the cool down before adding the cream cheese icing but I love how the frosting oozes down into the crevices of the rolls, for a sticky, gooey center! You can also wait about 5-10 minutes, too.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container or plastic wrap. They will last in the fridge for up to one week. You eat them at room temperature or warm them up in 15-second increments in the microwave.
prebaked mini cinnamon rolls

Variations

  • Kitchen Tools No stand mixer? Knead the dough by hand or with a wooden spoon on a floured surface for about 5 minutes or until it becomes stretchy. Instead of a baking pan, you can use a mini muffin tin or mini muffin pan, if preferred.
  • Frosting If you’re not a cream cheese frosting fan, opt for a simple vanilla icing or use this brown butter topping.
  • Spices Swap the nutmeg for pumpkin spice and you have an easy fall treat.
close up view of frosted mini cinnamon rolls

Frequently Asked Questions

Are coffee rolls and cinnamon rolls the same thing?

No. Although both include cream cheese frosting, coffee rolls are flavored with espresso powder while cinnamon rolls are enhanced with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

How long does it take to cook mini cinnamon rolls?

Once they have proofed twice and been assembled, mini cinnamon rolls take just 22 minutes to bake in the oven.

Why aren’t my cinnamon rolls gooey?

The key to gooey cinnamon rolls is softened butter. Use room temperature (not melted or cold butter) so the dough remains moist and supple during the baking process. Also, make sure you have enough sugar-to-butter ratio for the gooiest cinnamon rolls

close up view of plated and frosted mini cinnamon rolls

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close up view of mini cinnamon rolls

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

Mini cinnamon rolls are pillowy soft dough, rolled with sugar and spices, baked to golden brown perfection and slathered with homemade cream cheese frosting. This bite-sized treat is a tasty start to your day at breakfast or a sweet pick-me-up as a mid-day snack or dessert.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 16 mini rolls
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Stand mixer
  • Kitchen instant thermometer
  • Ruler
  • 9×9 Baking Pan
  • Pizza Cutter
  • Microplane zester

Ingredients

Yeast

  • 1 packet active dry yeast (equals 2¼ teaspoons)
  • ¼ cup warm water, (110°F – 115°F)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided, spooned and leveled
  • ¼ cup 2% milk powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, freshly grated using a microplane
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • teaspoons kosher salt, I use Diamond Crystal brand
  • tablespoons salted butter, melted, 110°F
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk, warm (110°F)
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream, (SAVED FOR POURING OVER RISEN ROLLS), room temp

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

  • ½ stick salted butter, room temp
  • ½ packed cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, full-fat, room temp
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract, I use Bourbon Pure Vanilla extract
  • cup plus + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ tablespoon whole milk

Instructions

Yeast

  • Prepare yeast. In a small bowl, add yeast, warm water (110°-115°F), and sugar. Stir well. Will take roughly 15 minutes for yeast to double in size.

Cinnamon Rolls

  • In a standing mixer bowl, add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, milk powder, sugar, freshly ground nutmeg, and salt. Whisk until ingredients are well mixed.
  • Add 2½ tbsps of melted butter, yeast mixture, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and warm milk. Using your knead hook, turn the standing mixer on low and slowly add ¾ cup of flour. Once ingredients form into a dough, leave to sit for 5 minutes to allow the flour to absorb wet ingredients.
  • Knead for 7 minutes under "speed 4" setting. The dough should have a tacky, not sticky texture. If dough is still sticky, refer to remaining ¼ cup of flour and add in increments of 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is not longer sticky. Form dough into one large ball. You will know when you've kneaded enough when the dough is very smooth and springs back after poking it.
  • First rise: Grease the mixing bowl with ½ teaspoon of butter. Add dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 45 mins, or until dough has doubled in size. Keep in mind that since the dough is rich, it may take a little time to rise. If your oven has a proof setting, use that as a warm environment will encourage rising.
  • Once dough has doubled in size, remove plastic wrap and punch down the dough to remove air.
  • Place dough on a well-floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large square that is ¼ inch thick. Trim the edges to get an even rectangle that measures 20 x 14 inches. Discard trimmings.
  • Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a ¼ inch border clear of the mixture. Using a pizza roller, cut the dough in the middle widthwise, then again in the middle height-wise. Slice each quadrant into 4 equal slices, totaling 16 strips.
  • Starting on the short end, carefully roll each strip to get the cinnamon roll shape. Place in the prepared baking pan. Repeat until all strips are rolled.
  • Second rise: Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and keep in a warm place for 30 minutes or until rolls have doubled in size. 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375°F.
    While waiting, assemble cream cheese icing.
  • Remove plastic wrap or towel from pan. Pour heavy cream over rolls and bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly brown, turning the pan at the halfway mark. If rolls begin to brown too quickly, lightly place a piece of foil wrap on top.
  • After removing from the oven, immediately slather the top with half of the brown butter frosting. Serve warm. Top with more icing after serving, if desired.

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

  • In a bowl, add room-temperature butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Use a fork to mix ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • Add room-temp cream cheese and butter to a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until light and fluffy.
  • Add kosher salt and vanilla. Whisk on high again just until the ingredients come together.
  • Add sifted powdered sugar and beat until ingredients come together. Repeat until all sugar is added.
  • Add milk and beat again to combine. Set icing aside.
Keywords easy mini cinnamon rolls, how long to bake mini cinnamon rolls, how long to cook cinnamon rolls in mini, how to make mini cinnamon rolls, Mini Cinnamon Rolls, mini cinnamon rolls from scratch, mini cinnamon rolls recipe
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close up view of mini cinnamon rolls

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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