What makes a great cinnamon roll?

Sometime ago, we took an informal survey in our store to see what people wanted most in their cinnamon buns.  It wasn’t particularly scientific, more like a focus group, but it was enlightening.  (Besides, handing out cinnamon rolls while you’re taking the survey probably biases results.)

  • First, people want light, soft-as-air cinnamon rolls.
  • They want them fresh from the oven.  Day old cinnamon rolls won’t cut it.
  • They like plenty of frosting—thick fudgy-type frosting, not a thin glaze.
  • They want plenty of filling.  They like tightly wound rolls with lots of filling between thin layers of rolls.
  • They like lots of flavor.  If it’s a cinnamon roll, they want lots of good quality cinnamon.  If it’s a maple or orange roll, they want lots of maple or orange flavor.


So how do you make the best rolls?      

  • Let the rolls rise until they’re puffy.  Then let them rise some more.  Forget about the time stated in the recipe.  Don’t worry about them rising too much.  If you get a couple blisters, pop them and put your rolls in the oven.
  • Use more frosting.  It’s hard to have too much.
  • Use a thick, fudgy frosting—not a thin glaze.  Try this frosting designed for cinnamon rolls.
  • Roll the dough thinner.  I know people roll it 1/2-inch thick.  Roll it to 1/4-inch.  People love the extra layers of cinnamon sugar.
  • Use plenty of filling.  If you don’t think the recipe calls for enough, use more.
  • Roll the dough and pinch the trailing edges to the roll to seal the filling in.
  • Use a ruler to cut the rolls the same size.  Yes, some folks use dental floss to draw around the dough log and cut slices; I don’t bother.  A serrated knife works.
  • Space the rolls no further than 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet.  They’ll grow into each other.  Most of us prefer not to have crusty edges but soft edges.
  • Don’t over-bake your rolls.  You’ve got to get the internal temperature to 190 degrees—but no more.  Use an insta-read thermometer.

Try these techniques.  You will have your best sweet rolls ever.


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