Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls

The Black Cat Kitchen
by The Black Cat Kitchen
12 Rolls
2 hr 25 min

My grandma made the best cinnamon rolls ever. Even smelling cinnamon now makes me crave her delicious dessert. Nothing will taste as good as hers, but luckily she wrote her recipe down. Now, I have changed a bit around. "Lard" isn't really available in the sense of what was used 50 years ago. I use high-quality unsalted butter instead because butter makes all the things better. I also changed up her pinch of lemon zest to a more substantial amount of orange zest. Something about that bright orange zest makes these such a mouthwatering dessert. I also added some creamed cinnamon honey to the filling as well. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have all of these years!

Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe details
  • 12  Rolls
  • Prep time: 2 Hours Cook time: 25 Minutes Total time: 2 hr 25 min
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Cinnamon Rolls
  • 3 C bread flour
  • 3/4 C whole milk
  • 1 package active yeast (a little more than 2 tsp)
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temp
  • 1/4 C high-quality unsalted butter melted
  • pinch salt
  • zest of 1 large orange
Cinnamon Filling
  • 2/3 C brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter, room temp
  • optional: creamed cinnamon honey, I used 3 Tbsp
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • about 1 C powdered sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon Rolls
Heat milk on stove until just beginning to simmer, about 110 degrees to be exact. Move to a bowl off heat and add yeast package, stir. The warmth of the milk helps activate the yeast faster.
Add sugar, eggs, orange zest, and melted butter. Mix until combined. Add flour and salt to create dough.
I use my hands to knead the dough for about 10 minutes, but you can also use a dough paddle attachment, not electric mixer, dough is too thick for this.
Place dough in large, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and or warm dish cloth and allow to rise out of direct light for about an hour and a half.
The dough should be doubled in size. Transfer to a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle shape. This doesn't have to be exact, but approximately 15x9.
Spread butter over dough and then stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. I like to mix more room temp butter into that mixture. Spread across the top of the melted butter. I also added honey here at this step.
Begin to tightly roll the dough from the 9 inch side. Place seam side down and pinch off the edges where there likely isn't any cinnamon mixture on the dough.
Cut one inch rolls. You can use dental floss or serrated knife. I used a bread knife and it worked well.
Put rolls in greased (melted butter) pan. I used a 9x13 baking dish, but you can also use a 9x9 for 2 batches or a circular cake pan as well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45 minutes.
Remove plastic. I usually add some torn pieces of room temp butter to the top of the rolls at this step (Optional). Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 25 -30 minutes until brown on top. You don't want to overcook them too much.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Soften cream cheese and butter in large bowl. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat with electric mixers until blended. You could also add more orange zest in this step if you desire.
  • Use quality ingredients like whole milk, quality butter, fresh flour and yeast, etc.
  • These freeze well after baked and cooled. Put in air-tight container, I usually use a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Thaw in fridge or bake from frozen at 350 for about 5-7 minutes.
The Black Cat Kitchen
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