What do you need to make cinnamon rolls?
- Sourdough Starter- if you don't have one, you can just use flour and yeast. Scroll to the bottom for the sourdough starter link if you are curious in making your own!
- The usual baking team- flour, butter, eggs, salt, baking powder and baking soda. If you aren't using a starter, you'll need to use yeast. For that recipe, see the Pioneer Woman's recipe below.
- Cinnamon, sugar, and butter make up the filling. The more the merrier.
- Icing consists of powdered sugar, salt, milk, and butter. I like to add maple syrup for an extra treat.
- Prepare baking tins a head of time if you are giving these as gifts. To do that, I use these baking tins and melt butter in them so they don't stick.
- I would also make sure you have enough workspace. This can get messy and take up a lot of space, so go ahead and clear that counter top.
Each Christmas, I make The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Roll recipe and distribute them to well, almost everyone I know. During the Pandemic, like many other people, I started a Sourdough Starter. As soon as it proved to survive (well the second one)... I knew I wanted to make Cinnamon Rolls from it and change up my tradition.
Every year this tradition keeps me in the holiday spirit! This year, my friend is coming to help me make these cinnamon rolls and we can't wait to share them with you!
I'm happy to report that a few recipe testings resulted in a delicious sourdough cinnamon roll recipe that has forever changed my Christmas Tradition. They are actually easier than the Pioneer Woman's version, but if you don't have a sourdough starter, just head over to her site. Because she was, after all, the pioneer of this tradition!
Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Buttercream Icing
- Glass Bowl
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Plastic Wrap
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixer (for Icing)
- Rubber Spatula
For the Dough
- ½ cup fed sourdough starter
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup butter unsalted, melted
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
For the Filling
- ½ cup butter unsalted, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cinnamon
For the Icing
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 4 tablespoon butter (¼ cup) unsalted, melted
- 1 cup milk
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 tbsp maple syrup optional (or use 2 teaspoon maple extract)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Dough (Prepare the night before you want rolls)
- The night before you plan to make the cinnamon rolls, you'll need to prepare the dough.
- Spray a large glass bowl with nonstick spray. In the bowl, combine the ½ cup fed sourdough starter, 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, ½ cup melted butter, and ½ cup sugar.
- Mix well and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Wrap a rubber band around it to seal it so it's tight. Allow it to rest in a warm place overnight (8 hours) or no longer than 24 hours.
- When you're ready to make the rolls: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- When you are ready to begin, remove the cover from the dough and add the 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and the ½ teaspoon salt. Mix it all well with clean hands. It's really the best way to make sure the eggs mix in well.
- Place more flour on the counter and roll the dough out on it. You may need to add more flour or nonstick spray as you go but be careful not to add too much flour or you'll dry them out.
- Roll your dough to about ½ inch thickness and work it into a clean rectangle shape. You may need to trim edges to get a rectangle. Odd shapes don't roll as well.
Make the filling
- Melt the ½ cup of butter for the filling and and spread it slowly onto the dough. Carefully spread the butter to the edges but remember it can quickly escape!
- Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar evenly over the dough and butter.
- Roll the cinnamon rolls. I usually start with the short side of the rectangle and work towards the opposite side. Roll them slowly and smooth out the dough a little between rolls so you get even rolls. This takes a little practice. If your dough starts sticking to the counter, use a rubber spatula to gently separate it from the counter.
- Slice the rolls and bake. Using a sharp knife or some thread make about 12 slices in the log you just created. You want them to be about ½ inch each. The thickness is not overly important, but do try to make them all the same size so they bake at the same rate.
- Place the rolls in a prepared cast iron skillet or a glass baking dish and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Careful not to over cook.
For the Icing
- While the rolls are baking, make the icing by adding 4 cups of powdered/confectioner's sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can do this by hand if you don't have one.
- Add 4 tablespoon melted butter, 1 cup of milk, ⅛ teaspoon salt (just a pinch of salt), 2 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the sugar and mix well. I usually mix it on medium speed until it looks light and fluffy. If it's too runny, you can add more confectioner's sugar.
- When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven, add the icing, and enjoy!
Tips to Make it Easier
After a few years and a few sleepless Christmas seasons in a row, trust me when I say, if you're going to make a lot of rolls, you're going to want to make it easier on yourself. For large batches, use these tin baking dishes. Grab a simple French rolling pin , which I know seems excessive, but it does work better for baking projects. The tapered edges help you get an even dough. Get large amounts of your ingredients, like cinnamon and sugar at one time if you're making multiple recipes. There is nothing worse than running out of flour mid project. I use a cast iron skillet when I'm baking smaller batches.
Whether you choose to make a small pan full for an easy Sunday morning, or a large batch for the neighborhood at Christmas, I think you'll find these cinnamon rolls are something you and your family will look forward to!