Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

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These sourdough cinnamon rolls are hands down the best cinnamon buns I have ever eaten. Light and fluffy cinnamon rolls that use a sourdough starter. Perfect recipe for breakfast or hosting a brunch!

sourdough cinnamon rolls on parchment paper


 

Listen I’ve had a few cinnamon rolls in my day. I’ve made them, bought them, devoured. But I might just declare these the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. 

They are sourdough cinnamon rolls so they do take some time and a nice bubbly active sourdough starter. But in the end every minute you spend making these will be SO worth it. Seriously. Light, fluffy, Cinnamony (not a word but it’s cool). Finger licking. Save the last one for yourself and don’t feel guilty kind of amazing.

You’ll see. Trust me…

What Is Sourdough? 

Ok let’s back things up a bit….

Sourdough is basically an ancient way of making bread. Sourdough doesn’t rely on commercial yeast, but on wild yeast. By simply combining flour and water, you create a live fermented culture from the wild yeast found on the grains of the wheat that the flour is made from. The more it is “fed”, meaning fresh flour and water, allows the wild yeast to multiply.

Because sourdough relies on wild yeast, the process can take much longer than commercial yeast bread recipes. But the complex flavor and texture is far superior of any other bread you will ever eat. 

For more Sourdough 101: What Is Sourdough?<– click here.

Is Sourdough Bread Better For You?

Yes. 1000% yes. Sure at first glance, the nutrition label might look the same to conventional bread. But the long fermentation process is what has sourdough sailing past the conventional bread loaves by a mile for its health benefits.

  • No weird stuff! Sourdough bread of any kind is made with just a few simple ingredients compared to store-bought bread that has added chemicals and preservatives. 
  • More nutrients unlocked. Whole grains, in general, that bread is made with can contain lots of great minerals. But the body can have a hard time absorbing those minerals due to phytic acid that is present in grains. But the lactic acid created from the fermentation process helps to break down the phytic acid allow your body to be able to absorb more of those minerals than you would be able to with bread made from commercial yeast. 
  • More easily digested. Also, sourdough bread can be much more easily digested and enjoyed, especially those with a gluten sensitivity. The long fermentation process helps to already start the process of breaking down the gluten in the bread making it much easier to digest.

So more vitamins, minerals, and it’s easier to digest. Basically, sourdough is awesome. 

sourdough cinnamon rolls on parchment paper

Make Your Sourdough Starter…

If you haven’t gotten around yet to making your sourdough starter then let’s get going! What are you waiting for?  It will take about 5 days to make your starter before you can attempt this bread. But it will be worth it.  Here is the full guide on How To Make Sourdough Starter From Scratch.

Once you have your starter raring to go then you will need to feed and mantain your starter

sourdough cinnamon rolls glazed on parchment paper with a knife next to them

Ingredients Needed

This sourdough recipe uses the sweet dough recipe from Clever Carrot‘s cookbook, Artisan Sourdough Made Simple.

For the dough:

  • Your bubbly, active starter – you’ve got that ready to go right? 🙂 Good. 
  • All Purpose Flour – my preference is King Arthur Flour, organic if you can. 
  • Egg – One large, room temperature egg. Place your egg in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.
  • Sugar – I used granulated white sugar, this will help sweeten the dough.
  • Milk – I like to use full fat milk, but I think a lower fat milk would be fine. I haven’t tried this with alternative milks.
  • Warm water – Warm is best to keep that yeast alive and happy. 
  • Salt – Salt is very important when making bread. It helps to strengthen the dough. You can read more here about the role of salt in baking.
  • Unsalted Butter – I always recommend using unsalted butter vs. salted butter. Different brands of butter will add varying amounts of salt, so it’s better to use unsalted butter and add the salt yourself. If you only have salted butter then be sure to reduce the salt in the recipe. You can read more here about Unsalted Butter Vs. Salted Butter In Baking.

For the filling:

  • Softened, unsalted butter – You want to use very soft butter so it spread easily on the dough and doesn’t tear the dough.
  • Light brown sugar – Of course this adds flavor and sweetness. You can also make your own homemade brown sugar
  • Cinnamon – Of course a cinnamon roll wouldn’t be one without cinnamon.

For the glaze:

  • Confectioner Sugar – this is an easy simple powdered sugar glaze.
  • Butter – A little melted butter adds richness and flavor.
  • Vanilla extract – Of course pure vanilla is best and adds great flavor!
  • Milk – This will help thin out the glaze and make it the perfect consistency to spread on top of your warm rolls. 

How to make these sourdough cinnamon rolls

Make the dough:

  1. We want to start by making our sweet dough. You want to warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan (or microwave). Be sure to let it cool slightly before using. 
  2. In your stand mixer, you want to combine the starter, egg, and sugar. Mix this using your paddle attachment. And then add the milk mixture.
  3. Then add your flour and salt. You want to let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
  4. Ad this point, switch to your dough hook attachment, and knead the dough for about 6 to 8 minutes.

Bulk Rise:

  1. At this point you want to move the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise, at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours. 
  2. The dough should double in size. 
cinnamon roll dough in a bowl rising

Rolling and filling the rolls:

Now that the dough has risen it’s time roll out the dough and add the filling. I adjusted the amount of filling from my 1 Hour Cinnamon Rolls and used a little less since this only made 8 cinnamon buns.

I like to use a pastry mat to roll out my dough.

  1. You want to lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough to a 12 by 12 inch square. 
  2. Then spread the softened butter.
  3. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. And then roll up the dough into a log.
cinnamon roll being rolled and filled

Shaping Rolls:

Now that our dough is filled and rolled it’s time to cut into rolls. This recipe makes 8 perfect rolls. Here is how I accomplish perfectly shaped cinnamon rolls. My secret…

Dental Floss!!! Just make sure it’s not MINT flavored! Or you can use thread. This ensures you don’t squish the dough as you cut through it.

  1. To cut the rolls, start in the middle of the log. Place the floss underneath the log of dough going perpendicular, then criss cross the floss.  
  2. Pull the floss so it cuts through the dough revealing the beautiful spiral inside! Repeat this to make 8 even sized cinnamon rolls.
cinnamon roll dough being cut with floss

Final Rise:

  1. You want to place the rolls in your pan. I used a 9-inch round cake pan, lined with parchment paper.
  2. Then cover with a towel and let the rolls rise for another 1- 2 hours until almost doubled in size and puffy.
cinnamon roll buns rising

Bake And Glaze:

  1. Then it’s time to bake!!! (Yes all those exclamations are necessary.) It will take about 40-45 minutes in a 350°F oven. 
  2. And then once baked, time to glaaaaaaaaaaze. I like to glaze them while they are still warm. 

Seriously, are you drooling on your computer screen yet? 

baked sourdough cinnamon rolls with and without glaze

Heather’s Best Baking Tips

  • Make sure your starter is active before you start. Drop a small piece in a bowl of water to see if it floats. It it does, then it’s ready! If not, then it may need 1-2 more feedings. The starter should be at it’s peak point (aka doubled in size from when you first fed it – usually within 4 hours).
  • Measure Your Flour Using A Kitchen Scale . You can use measuring cups but for best accuracy it’s better use a kitchen scale and weigh out your flour. This ensures you don’t overmeasure, which can result in dense rolls. You can read my post on How To Measure Flour here. Or you can read this post on How To Measure Ingredients (with a video!).
  • Damp Towel!! When you let the dough rise overnight, be sure to use a damp towel to cover it so it doesn’t dry out and not rise properly.
  • Use Floss (Or Thread). If you use a knife, you risk squishing the dough and not getting a clean cut and neat spiral. Just make sure your floss isn’t mint flavored. Place the floss underneath and then bring it up on either side, criss cross it, and then pull the thread through the dough. 

Recipe FAQ’s

Why didn’t my cinnamon rolls rise?

This could be because your sourdough starter wasn’t quite bubbly and active enough. Be sure to do the “float test” before you begin. Another culprit could be a cold kitchen (ideally these should rise in a warm environment between 70-80oF). So if your kitchen is colder these will just take longer to rise. Make sure your water is warm.  Just like the dough likes a warm kitchen, it will also like warm water to keep it happy and keep it rising.

How do I store these sourdough cinnamon rolls?

Sourdough rolls will be fine at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. I think they are best, however, if eaten within the first two days. Once the rolls has cooled completely be sure to cover and store the rolls well. I like to keep them in an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap. 

Can I freeze these cinnamon rolls?

Absolutely. I just let them cool completely before freezing. If you have the icing on them, you may want to freeze them first, uncovered, until they are frozen solid and then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag. These should freeze well for up to 3 months. I would then thaw at room temperature uncovered. You can always reheat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until warmed through.

More Recipes To Try

Tools To Make These Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

You can check out My Favorite Sourdough Bread Tools and Resources.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

These are perfect sourdough cinnamon rolls. Light and fluffy, with a brown sugar cinnamon filling and a powdered sugar glaze on top. These are irresistible and will be devoured in no time!
4.89 from 27 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 rolls
Calories: 403kcal

Ingredients

For the Sweet Dough

  • 160 g (2/3 cup) milk, whole or 2%
  • 28 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) bubbly, active starter
  • 24 g (2 tbsp) granulated white sugar
  • 300 g (2½ cups) all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 3 g (1/2 tsp) salt

For the Filling

  • 4 tbs. (57 g) unsalted butter very soft
  • 2/3 cup (143 g) light brown sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • Warm the milk and 2 Tbs. butter in a shallow pan or microwave. Cool slightly before using. 
  • Add the egg, starter, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix to combine using the paddle attachment. With the machine running, slowly pour in the warm milk mixture. 
  • Add the flour and salt, and continue mixing until a rough dough forms, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  • After the dough has rested, switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed for 6-8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.
  • Cover again with a damp towel, and let rise overnight at room temperature until double in size. This can take anywhere from 8-10 hours or more.

Roll and Fill the Dough

  • The following morning, lightly flour your countertop to prevent sticking. Gently coax the dough out of the bowl.  Let it rest for 5- 10 minutes to relax the gluten. It will be easier to roll out this way.
  • With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle (mine was about 12×12). 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the softened butter over the dough, and top with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Roll & Cut the Dough

  • Using lightly oiled or floured fingertips, roll it up pressing down as you go. Take your time with this step. You want the log to be somewhat tight so that the swirls stay in tact when baked. Once you get to the end, make sure the dough is facing seam side down. 
  •  To cut the dough and to ensure you don’t squish the spiral, use unflavored dental floss or sewing thread. If you have neither, then use a very sharp knife. To use the floss, I place it underneath the dough in the middle. Bring the floss up on either side, and criss cross it, then pull the floss evenly on both sides so it cuts through the dough. I repeat this with each half (Making 4 logs of even size). Then repeat again to make 8 even sized cinnamon buns (about 1 1/2 inches in size).

Final Rise

  • Place the rolls into an 9-inch parchment lined round pan and let rest for about 1-2 hours, or until the dough puffs up. The time can vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Bake the Rolls

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place the dough onto the center rack and bake for 40-45 minutes. The tops should be light golden brown and the internal temperature should read 190 F. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack. 

Make the glaze

  • While the rolls are cooling make the glaze. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients. You can adjust the consistency by adding a little more milk, or more sugar. Then spread the glaze on top of the rolls (I like to do this while they are still a bit warm).

Notes

  • Make sure your starter is active before you start. Drop a small piece in a bowl of water to see if it floats. It it does, then it’s ready! If not, then it may need 1-2 more feedings. 
  • Measure Your Flour Using A Kitchen Scale . You can use measuring cups but for best accuracy it’s better use a kitchen scale and weigh out your flour. This ensures you don’t overmeasure, which can result in dense rolls. You can read my post on How To Measure Flour here.
  • Damp Towel!! When you let the dough rise overnight, be sure to use a damp towel to cover it so it doesn’t dry out and not rise properly.
  • Use Floss (Or Thread). If you use a knife, you risk squishing the dough and not getting a clean cut and neat spiral. Just make sure your floss isn’t mint flavored. Place the floss underneath and then bring it up on either side, criss cross it, and then pull the thread through the dough. 
  • Storage: Store cooled cinnamon rolls, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Adapted From Artisan Sourdough Made Simple cookbook

Nutrition

Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 370IU | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2.1mg
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74 Comments

  1. How warm to do you get the mike and butter? Does the butter need to be melted?

    1. Hi Augusta, yes melted and no hotter than 120°.

  2. Adrienne L says:

    5 stars
    These are delicious cinnamon rolls! I am always looking for new ways to use my sourdough and these had a great flavor and were light and fluffy. Will certainly make them again!

    1. Wonderful, I am so glad that you loved them, Adrienne! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how they turned out for you!

  3. I want to love these, but mine didn’t rise. I left them for about 10 hours for the first rise and it barely increased. I went ahead and rolled them out. Not sure if it was the dairy free substitutes (I used almond milk and cocnut oil in place of milk and butter) or the temperature of my kitchen. My starter was good. I make yummy breads with it often. They tasted good (not great), but weren’t fluffy at all.

    1. Hi Kayla, not sure to say what went wrong. It does sound like maybe your starters wasn’t active enough, or perhaps the substitutions may have affected it. If your kitchen was too cold it may have just needed more time to rise at all. These rolls are delicious so I hope you give them another try!

  4. 5 stars
    Is it possible to freeze these after shaping and cutting but before baking?

    Thanks for any advice!

    1. Yes you definitely can!

  5. 5 stars
    These are hands down, the best cinnamon rolls. I’m new to sourdough baking and I’ve tried several other recipes with mixed results. Not this recipe. I’ve made it 3 times and they come out perfect. Going to start several batches tonight and freeze. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe, especially for beginners. It definitely builds your confidence in bread baking!

    1. aw that’s so great to hear Melissa!! These are hands down my favorite 🙂 so I’m glad you also agree! And glad you have had such success!

  6. Rachela Bucek says:

    5 stars
    These are absolutely amazing!!! Made a batch last week and making a batch today. I am new to sourdough baking. The recipe is very easy to follow! Thank you so much

    1. thank you Rachela,..so glad you had success and enjoyed these as much as we did 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        I have made this once and they were wonderful..silly question when you freeze before baking do you let them rise overnight first?

      2. Hi Pattie, no I freeze before letting them rise. I shape then freeze. And then I’ll let the thaw overnight and let them rise the next day at room temperature. Hope that helps!

  7. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    Just made these and they are divine! Such an easy recipe to follow. I also love that its a small batch of rolls instead of other recipes I’ve made with a yeasted dough and bread maker. I baked mine for a little less than 40 minutes. I also made these dairy free! Vegan butter and almond milk. Still very much light and fluffy.

    1. That’s awesome Stephanie!! I’m so glad you loved them…and were able to make with vegan butter and almond milk too.

  8. 3 stars
    I am making these as I type and the dough is so sticky! I can’t even get it into the oiled bowl without thinking something is wrong. So I am going to a more flour in hopes of making it easier to handle. Hope I don’t ruin it!
    How sticky should it be!?

    1. Hi Deanna, I do like a soft, slightly sticky dough but if it seems overly sticky you can try adding a little flour in by hand.

  9. 5 stars
    Made these today…..By far the easiest and most successful sourdough cinnamon rolls I have made. So easy to roll out and filling stayed in. This is a no fuss must try recipe. I did sub 1/2 bread flour 1/2 AP flour and used buttermilk in place of whole milk. SOOOOOOOO EASY. My starter is about 12 months old.

    1. that’s awesome Dani I’m so glad you loved them as much as we did! And glad the flour and buttermilk changes worked out well too!

  10. Jessica Rogers says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe! I love using my starter for new recipes. Thank you 🙂

  11. Can the overnight rise be longer if it’s moved into the fridge in the morning? Trying to figure out the best timeline to make for work one day 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah! I haven’t tried this with an overnight in the fridge, but have other sourdough breads. It should be fine to let it rise in the fridge for 24 hours!

    2. Hi! I am excited to try this recipe. What if Iwant to make it into 9 to fit a square pan or 12 buns instead of 8 and use a 9,x12 pan? How do I adjust the recipe? Thank you!

      1. Hi Ann! You would just need to adjust the baking time and cut them smaller. If making more than 8, I would reduce the baking time slightly.

  12. My sour dough starter is only 2 months old. Should I add a package of yeast?

    1. Hi Sheila I haven’t tried with yeast.I would say you’re fine without it. However, If you do want to try You could try to add a little – maybe a teaspoon but I can’t say for sure (and this would affect the fermentation rate.) I would make sure that your starter is very active before you start,especially since it’s going. Give it a couple feedings a few days leading up to it. And If you decide to not add yeast then your bulk rise time might just differ than mine. Hope that helps!

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