Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cinnamon rolls are very easy to make and are always a favorite dessert. Tender and buttery brioche dough is used to make these ultra-rich cinnamon rolls filled with a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture and finished with cream cheese icing.

Making brioche is a two-day process. Start the dough the day or evening before, refrigerate the dough overnight, then finish the rolls the next day.
Recipe type: Dessert, Sweet Yeast Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls
Serves: 12 Rolls
  • ½ cup warm milk, preferably whole milk (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 package active dry yeast Tip: use quick-rise yeast for faster rise time
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (62-65 degrees) Tip: Test the temperature with an instant read thermometer. It is important for the butter to be at the proper temperature when making brioche dough. Butter that is too cold will not incorporate into the dough. Butter that is too warm will be oily and greasy.
Pan Preparation:
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Cream Cheese Icing:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk, half and half, or whipping cream
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine warm milk, yeast, and sugar; stir until yeast is dissolved. Add flour, stir until mixture is smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sponge sit in a warm place until doubled in size and the mixture forms bubbles, 45 to 60 minutes.
  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, lightly beat the eggs with a whisk or fork, add the sponge mixture, salt, and about 1 cup of the flour. Using the paddle attachment beat on low speed to start blending the flour, then add the additional 2 cups of flour and blend until mixed. increase the mixer speed to medium speed and beat 2 to 3 minutes until well mixed and smooth.
  2. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, scraping the dough into the center of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat the dough on medium speed for 15 minutes, stopping the mixer to scrape the bowl and hook occasionally. Tip: During this long mixing period the dough should come together, wrap itself around the hook, and slap the sides of the bowl. Don’t skimp on the 15 minutes, this is what helps give brioche its fine texture.
  3. Add the Butter: Switch to the paddle attachment and reduce the mixer speed to medium-low. Add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula. With each addition of butter continue mixing until the butter is incorporated into the dough before adding the next addition. Tip: When the butter is being added the dough will seem to fall apart. But don’t worry the dough will come back together with continued mixing in the next step.
  4. When all of the butter has been added and incorporated into the dough, switch to the dough hook, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough for about 5 more minutes. Tip: During this mixing period the dough should again come together, wrap itself around the hook, and slap the sides of the bowl. The finished dough should feel somewhat cool and be soft and maybe a little sticky. Don’t worry if a bit of the dough is sticking to the bottom or sides of the bowl.
  5. First Rise: Lightly grease a large mixing bowl using either softened butter or vegetable shortening or vegetable oil. Place dough in the greased bowl.
  6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  7. Second Rise and Refrigeration: Punch dough down to deflate, while dough is still in the bowl place your fingers under one side and lift to fold the dough over onto itself. Fold this way another 3 or 4 times. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight, or up to about 16 hours. The dough will rise and may double in size again while refrigerated, and the dough will become very firm as it chills. Tip: Instead of doing the second rise in the bowl, place the dough in a 9x13 inch pan that has been lined with parchment paper and lightly greased. Pat the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The advantage of this step is you are pre-forming the dough into a rectangle, then once the dough has been chilled it will be easier to roll into the final large rectangle.
Pan Preparation:
  1. Have one 10x15x1 inch Jelly Roll pan or one 9x13x2 inch pan ready to place the rolls. Tip: I prefer to use the 10x15x1 inch jelly roll pan to give the rolls more room to spread.
  2. Pour the melted butter in the bottom of the pan, tip the pan to spread the butter over the entire bottom of the pan, or use a small spatula to spread the butter, then sprinkle sugar evenly over the top. Set pan aside while preparing the filling and assembling the rolls.
Filling and Assembly:
  1. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon, stir to mix. Set aside.
  2. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. turn dough onto a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board; roll and gently stretch the dough into a rectangle, about 12-inches by 18-inches and about ¼ inch thick. If you chilled the dough in a 9x13 inch pan, turn the dough out of the pan onto the lightly floured surface and finish rolling to a 12x18 inch rectangle. Tip: this is a messy stage. I often use a large piece of freezer paper, lightly floured, and then when the rolls are completed I simply fold up the paper and throw away the mess.
  3. Spread the melted butter evenly over the top of the rolled dough, then sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly over the top.
  4. Roll-up dough jelly-roll style, starting with a long side, rolling the dough quite tightly. Place the roll seam-side down, and gently roll the entire roll on the lightly floured board with the palm of your hands to even-out the roll to the same thickness. Using a sharp knife slice off the very ends of the roll where the ends are uneven (slice off about ½ inch, the ends can be discarded.)
  5. Slice the long dough roll into 12 equal pieces, and place the rolls cut side up evenly apart in the baking pan. Tip: Measure the length of the roll and use the back of a kitchen knife to mark the roll at the half-way point. Then mark each half into 6 pieces. After marking, use a sharp kitchen knife to slice the rolls all the way through.
  6. Third Rise (Proof:) Cover and let rolls rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Tip: The rolls should be about doubled in size, spread out with the sides touching, and look quite puffy. If the centers are popped up you can gently push the centers back down with your fingers.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Bake: Bake the rolls for 20 to 30 minutes or until the rolls are a rich golden brown and the internal temperature reads 190 F using an instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Check the temperature at 20 minutes, then bake longer if needed.
  9. When rolls are removed from oven, set pan on wire cooling rack to cool slightly while preparing the Cream Cheese Icing.
Cream Cheese Icing:
  1. In a medium-size bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla; use an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon and beat together until mixture is smooth. Add powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk or cream; beat until icing is smooth and creamy. Add additional milk or cream if needed to make a good spreading consistency.
  2. Spread icing onto still warm rolls. Tip: The icing will melt a little on the warm rolls before setting up as it cools.
Sources: Yard, Sherry, The Secrets of Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2003; Greenspan, Dorie, Baking with Julia, William Morrow and Company, New York, 1996; Malgieri, Nick, Bake, Kyle Books, 2010
Updated 2-17-19 to update recipe name. Old name: Cinnamon Rolls. New name: Brioche Cinnamon Rolls; Updated 12-30-2016, original recipe has been moved to Cinnamon Buns from Heaven.
Recipe Notes
Pan: one 10x15x1 inch Jelly Roll pan or one 9x13x2 inch pan Pan Prep: Butter and Sugar Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Room Temperature

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