Cinnamon Rolls - "Just Like Cinnabon"

Who doesn't love "Cinnabons"? My very favorite purchased cinnamon roll. However, they have become a little too pricey. The first one I ever purchased was back in the 90's. I believe the cost was $1.19. They were a little pricey then, but now a Cinnabon costs around $5.50 each. YIKES!!! Of course everything is a lot more expensive now. I'm not complaining, but really?...a cinnamon roll for $5.50!

Anyways, I have a way of getting around their pricing, I make my own. I always have the ingredients in the pantry, except maybe the vanilla pudding. When I use my last vanilla pudding, I just tell "Google" to put vanilla pudding on my shopping list. That's one techie thing I love. No more carrying around notes in my purse, just my phone. That's definitely a more grocery lists.
You will have 18 rolls when you are done and it's hard to figure out what kind of pan to put them in. After many different tries, I finally found these brownie pans on Amazon.  Each pan holds 6 rolls.  You don't want too many in one pan because the rolls in the middle won't cook completely and you will have a big doughy mess. Click on the pan picture and you will be directed to Amazon.

Let's Make Some Cinnamon Rolls...
Mixing the dough is pretty easy. I use a dough hook on my mixer to get the dough nice and smooth. My hands just aren't as good as they once were. So thank goodness for my dough hook.
If you are doing it by hand, it's just a matter of kneading the dough until it's smooth as a baby's butt. You'll know when it's done when your dough will not take on any more flour. I use bread flour for my rolls. It has more elasticity than regular flour.

This is how it should look when it's ready for it's first rise. Make sure you oil your bowl that you are allowing it to rise in and coat all sides with oil and cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in volume. It should take about an hour.
Place the dough in a warm place, covered with plastic wrap. Once again it should take about an hour to rise. This dough is very elastic and will roll out to a very large size. It should be about 36" wide by 12"-18" long. Spread out softened butter on the dough and top with brown sugar an cinnamon and start rolling. I use a yard stick to measure it out. Also use the yardstick to place a cut every 2". Once the notches are made use either thread or dental floss to cut the rolls completely through. This method works the best.
Now it's time for the second rise. If you are using the pans I suggested, you will have 6 in each pan. I once tried putting them in a large cake pan, but the inside rolls didn't cook right because of too much volume. Use no more than two rows of rolls and your rolls will turn out the best for this large recipe.
Look how pretty and yummy they look! They're the best! You're family will love you for making these easy cinnamon rolls. I usually freeze them individually after everyone has had one. Take one out of the freezer and cook in a microwave for about a minute. Check it out after 30 seconds because as we all know microwaves are all different.

Cinnamon Rolls - Cinnabon Copycat Recipe
Makes: 18
  • 1/2 cup warm water (roughly 110 degrees)
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 3 1/2 oz. package vanilla instant pudding
  • 1/2 cup margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups flour (plus a little more)
  • 1 lb. brown sugar 
  • 1/4 C. cinnamon
  1. In a measuring cup combine 1/2 cup warm water (approximately 110 degrees) with 2 packages dry yeast and 1 T. sugar. (Add the sugar to the dry yeast and warm water.  It makes the yeast wake up faster.  It should start frothing within about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl make the pudding according to the directions on the package.  Once it starts thickening, add 2 eggs, the melted margarine, the remaining sugar, the yeast mixture, salt and mix really well. 
  3. Add 3 cups of flour to the mixture. I use a mixer with a dough hook.  It's so much easier. 
  4. If you're doing it by hand, the mixture will start to come together with the 3 cups of flour. Just keep mixing while adding 2 more cups of flour.
  5. Once it's mixed,  put the remaining 1 cup of flour on the surface you are using and dump the mixture on the surface and knead until smooth. This will take a about 5-7 minutes. Keep turning the dough and kneading.  Pretend you're giving someone a massage. The dough will not take all of the flour on the surface you're working on. Don't worry about it. Dough only uses the flour that it needs.
  6. Oil (cooking oil) a large bowl and drop your ball of dough into the bowl.  Flip it over and add a little more oil to the top of the ball and rub it all the way around. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise.  I learned a little trick from Alton Brown. I'm sure you are wondering what the bowl is sitting on in the picture.  It's a heating pad sitting inside a large casserole dish.  This keeps a constant low heat on the dough and it rises much quicker.
  7. Once the dough has doubled, punch it down. Put about a cup of flour on your counter and turn your ball of dough out on the counter and start rolling with a rolling pin.  Your finished measurement should be approximately 36" wide by 21" long.
  8. Once the dough is rolled out, take about 1/2- 3/4 cup of softened butter and brush it all over the dough.
  9. Sprinkle about 2 cups of brown sugar on the butter and then top with the cinnamon.
  10. Start rolling the dough into a 36" log.  I use a measuring stick at this point so I cut the rolls equally.
  11. Each roll should be 2" wide and you should have 18 rolls when you are done.  I also learned another trick. Take some sewing thread or meat twine and slice the rolls with it. Loop the thread around the dough and pull.  It cuts them perfectly.
  12.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 6 rolls in each pan. (I use 7"X 11" brownie pans). Cover and let rise until doubled in size. Pop the 3 pans in the oven and bake for about 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool down.
Now for the frosting...
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup margarine (I use butter, because I can)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 T. milk
  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix or beat with a beater until creamy.  Frost your rolls when they have cooled and enjoy!  You will get a lot of smiles out of these rolls and once they bite into them they're eyes will tell you that you did good! 
One Final Thought...
Well, I hope you enjoyed this post.  The Cinnamon Rolls are the best. I do hope you try them and see for yourself.  You  and your family will not be disappointed.

One Final Thought...
When I was a kid, my Mom would make Paczki. Paczki is like a Bismark. They are so delicious. I remember coming home from school and the aroma in the air of fresh Paczki was amazing. If you have a chance to try'll never go back to a plain old Bismark.

Always remember..."Life's dessert first!"...words to live by!