Hello friends! Today we are making these super cute and delicious Mini Cinnamon Rolls. This is a small batch cinnamon roll recipe, it makes about 14 mini cinnamon rolls (depends on how big you cut them).
These Mini Cinnamon Rolls are topped with a delicious and tangy Cream Cheese Frosting. They are fluffy, soft and so good!
Make sure to watch the video on this page or on YouTube showing you how to make these Mini Cinnamon Rolls.
And I realized they are super cute, easy to make, and perfect if you don’t want to make a whole huge batch of cinnamon rolls!
The very best thing about this recipe is how adaptable it is. And also the fact that you can fit this recipe into your schedule no matter what.
I will give you tips for making these mini Cinnamon Rolls ahead, and I will also give you tips on how to speed up the proofing time of the cinnamon rolls.
Can I make these Mini Cinnamon Rolls ahead?
Why I am glad you asked. Yes you may make these cinnamon rolls ahead.
There are two ways of making these ahead.
First way is to make the dough ahead. And the second way is to make the dough and assemble the rolls ahead of time.
Make the dough ahead
Make the dough, place it in an oiled bowl, and place it in the fridge overnight. Don’t let it rise at room temperature. Right after you make it, refrigerate it. Make sure to wrap it tightly with plastic.
Next day, remove the dough from the fridge, divide it in half, and proceed to shape the rolls. Let them rise until puffed, and bake. Rising time might be longer than if you hadn’t refrigerated the dough.
The dough will be better if shaped and baked within a day.
Assemble the rolls ahead
This second way is going to leave you less work to do on the day of serving the rolls. Say you are hosting a breakfast, or serving brunch to your family, and you don’t want to or don’t have time to spend in the morning, this is your best option.
First make the dough, place it in an oiled bowl. Let it rise at room temperature for about 1 hour. Divide the dough in half, roll it out, shape the rolls. Place the rolls on a lightly oiled pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, place it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, remove from the fridge, pre-heat the oven, and let the rolls sit at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until they aren’t cold anymore, and bake.
The dough will be better if baked within a day.
Can I freeze the cinnamon rolls?
Yes, you can freeze the cinnamon rolls. Repeat the steps described above to refrigerate the rolls, but instead of placing them in the fridge, place them in the freezer, wrapped with an extra layer of protection.
Before shaping the dough, or baking the already assembled rolls, let them thaw in the fridge overnight.
Freeze the rolls, or the dough for 1 to 2 months.
Can I use active yeast instead of instant yeast?
You can sub the instant yeast for active yeast. To do so, you must proof the yeast.
Mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a bowl. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it blooms. Then, add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and proceed normally with the rest of the recipe.
Also note that the rising time might be longer than when using instant yeast.
And speaking of rising time, here is how to speed up the rising time of the dough.
Want to turn this dough from a 2 hour project to an hour project? I got you!
Here are two options to speed up the rising time of the Mini Cinnamon Roll dough.
- Rapid Rise yeast: it will take about 10 minutes for each rise, turning the total rising time from and average of 1 hour and 30 minutes to about 20 minutes.
- Oven proofing: pre-heat the oven to 200ºF for about 5 minutes. Turn it off. Place a damp towel over the bowl with the dough. Place the bowl in the slightly warm oven. Check again in 10 to 15 minutes to see if the dough has risen.
Here are some more notes about this small batch of Cinnamon Rolls:
I prefer to use softened butter for the filling, but sometimes I use melted, in case I have forgotten to take the butter out of the fridge to soften. The melted butter will make for a more runny filling, that may leak out once baked, unless you refrigerated the rolls to proof overnight.
You can fill these rolls with anything you want, things like jam, custard, or anything of the sorts.
Also, you can add finely chopped nuts to the filling, or citrus zest, or flavored extracts to the glaze.
Use floss to slice the rolls instead of a knife. The floss will produce a super clean cut.
If you use the knife or bench scraper, it might squish the rolls as it cuts it, making it lose its perfectly round shape. However, this is just a minor detail, the rolls will be more than beautiful if sliced with a knife.
Make sure the water you are using in the dough is at 90 to 100ºF. This is very important, because hot water may kill yeast.
If the dough doesn’t rise, it could be because the yeast was killed, or wasn’t fresh.
Also, for optimal rising, make sure to knead the dough properly, not add too much flour (which is why it’s important to use a scale to weigh the ingredients instead of measuring with a volume cup), and let the dough rise in a warm environment.
If you love these Mini Cinnamon Rolls, here are some more recipes you may like:
- Cinnamon Roll Macarons
- Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
- Lemon Raspberry Rolls
- Pistachio Cranberry Babka
- Espresso Chocolate Scones
- Almond Orange Rolls
- Cashew Caramel Babka
- Strawberry Lemon Scones
Thank you so much for reading! Have a beautiful day! If you make this recipe, tag me on instagram, I love to see your creations!
Mini Cinnamon Rolls
warm water, 90-100F
- 2 1/4
- 1 1/2
fine sea salt
softened (56 grams)
Cream Cheese Frosting
softened (113 grams)
milk of choice
- Start by making the dough. First mix the warm water, with the yeast, honey (or sugar) and olive oil.
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl.
- Mix until combined.
- Knead the dough for 4-6 minutes with the dough hook on low speed. Or by hand for about 8 minutes.
- The dough should feel smooth, and not sticky. If the dough is sticky add a couple of teaspoons of flour. Don’t go overboard with the flour so the dough doesn’t become tough and dry.
- Once done kneading, shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly oiled bowl for about 1 hour. Time resting will depend on how warm the kitchen is.
Make ahead option: instead of letting the dough rise, wrap it tightly with plastic, and place it straight in the fridge. On the next day, remove from the fridge and proceed with step 11 below.
- While the dough rises, make the Cinnamon Filling.
- Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cinnamon, and the butter in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Once dough has doubled in size, and you can touch the top of the dough and it springs back, remove from the bowl.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Work with each half at a time, leaving the other half covered meanwhile.
- Roll each dough half into a 8×10” rectangle. (Or you can roll into a 10×12” if you like your dough very thin)
- Spread half of the cinnamon filling on top of the dough rectangle.
- Roll it tight from the widest end.
- Slice the rolls, about 2” thick. I use floss to do this. Place the floss under the roll, and then cross each end, slicing the dough. Check out how to to use floss to slice the dough by looking at the pictures above. Or just use a knife or bench scraper.
- Repeat the same with the other dough half. Roll it out, spread the cinnamon filling on top, roll it into a log, and slice it.
- Lightly grease a 8” pan with oil spray or any oil, or butter.
- Arrange the rolls around the pan, making sure they are somewhat close to each other.
- Let them rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Make ahead: instead of letting the rolls rise at this point, you can cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and insert it in the fridge. The next morning, remove it from the fridge, pre-heat the oven, then let the rolls rise for about 1 hour until not so cold anymore, and bake as indicated below.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Once the rolls are puffy, and you can touch the dough with your finger and it springs right back, you can bake.
- Bake the rolls in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, until they look golden on top.
- Set them aside to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat the cream cheese and the butter for about 1 minute, until fluffy and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and cream to incorporate.
- Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine. The frosting should be runny but not translucent, if it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar to thicken it.
- Once the rolls have cooled down a bit, spread the frosting on top and serve.
- Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge (because the frosting needs to be refrigerated) for up to 2 days. The baked rolls will be best if consumed on the same day they are made.
Instant yeast: you can sub for active dry yeast, as long as you first proof the yeast. Mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a bowl. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it blooms. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and proceed normally with the recipe. Rising time might be longer than when using instant yeast.
Butter: sometimes I use melted butter for the filling, and other times I use room temperature. If I have room temperature butter sitting on the counter I will use that instead of melted butter. But if I forgot to remove the butter from the fridge to let it soften, I just melt it in the microwave. The melted butter will make a more “runny” filling that might leak out a bit once it bakes, unless you refrigerate the rolls.
Make ahead: This dough is super versatile. You can make the dough ahead of time two different ways:
- -Make the dough, place it in an oiled bowl, and place it in the fridge overnight. Next day, remove it from the fridge, divide it in half, proceed to shape the rolls. Let them rise until puffed, and bake. Rising time might be longer than if you hadn’t refrigerated the dough.
- Make the dough, place it in an oiled bowl. Let it rise at room temperature for about 1 hour. Divide the dough in half, roll it out, shape the rolls. Place the rolls on a lightly oiled pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, place it in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove from the fridge, pre-heat the oven, and let the rolls sit at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until they aren’t cold anymore, and bake.
Freeze: you can also freeze the dough and the filling both as indicated above, but let it thaw in the fridge for a few hours before shaping or baking. The dough will freeze well for 1 to 2 months.
Variations: fill the rolls with jam, instead of the cinnamon filling. For the glaze, you can add citrus zest.
Rising time: to speed up rising time you can use Rapid-Rise yeast, which takes about 10 minutes each rise. Or do the following: pre-heat your oven to 200ºF for about 5 minutes. Turn it off. Cover the bowl with the dough with a damp towel. Place the bowl in the slightly warm oven. Check again in 10 to 15 minutes to see if the dough has risen.