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Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

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Homemade, fluffy and delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls. Learn to make this sweet breakfast treat for your family with our step-by-step recipe.

Ordinarily, we say homemade doesn’t mean standing in the kitchen for hours at a time.

That’s definitely true for recipes like our white chocolate and raspberry loaf cake. However, there are some recipes that are worth the effort.

Kim has some sourdough recipes that are worth the extra time and care like sourdough pancakes, sourdough doughnuts, and these sourdough cinnamon rolls.

It should be noted that our recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour’s sourdough cinnamon rolls.

A sourdough cinnamon roll served on a plate.

I want to emphasize the only things sugar-coated in this recipe are the rolls. It will take time and effort to make this treat.

So, if you’re looking for an easier option, then I suggest starting with Kim’s easy cinnamon rolls on our sister-site or these eggnog waffles or sourdough waffles.

Without further adieu , shall we get started?

Fresh baked rolls cooling in the baking dish.

How to make sourdough cinnamon rolls?

To make the recipe easier to follow along, I’m breaking it down into sections starting with the dough.

However, be aware that you will need to have an active sourdough starter ready before you begin the recipe.

If don’t have that ingredient already on-hand, then please refer to our post on making sourdough starters. Sourdough starter is great to keep on hand, and you can make other recipes like sourdough starter pancakes or sourdough Parmesan crackers with the discard.

The rolls topped with a sugary glaze.

Cinnamon Roll Dough:

First, combine the flour, sourdough starter, milk, yeast, butter, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Be sure to use a paddle attachment to mix the ingredients on low speed until a sticky dough forms.

Eggs, flour, and other ingredients in a stand mixer.

After that, sprinkle the salt in an even layer over the dough. Cover it with a clean towel, and allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes.

The flour and egg mixture combined into a dough.

Once the dough rests, using the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the salt into the dough on low speed for about 1 minute.

Now, increase the speed to medium. Continue to beat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The dough should have a smooth texture.

The mixed dough is ready to be covered.

Leave the dough in the bowl, but remove the bowl from the mixer. Cover it and let it rest for 4 hours.

But, you’ll need to complete 1 set of stretch and folds every hour. That’s a total of 4 stretch and folds.

In the meantime, you can prepare the filling while the dough rests.

The sticky dough will rising as it rests.

Make the filling:

To begin, grab a small bowl. Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

The mixture will have the texture of thick, wet sand. Set it aside for the time being.

Melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar combined in a bowl.

Assembly, Rolling, Cutting and Baking:

When the dough has rested for 4 hours, transfer it to a lightly floured surface.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle roughly 14 x 16 inches. Afterward, spread or crumble the cinnamon sugar filling over the rectangle of dough.

The dough rolled out and sprinkled with filling.

Starting with the longer side of the rectangle, roll the dough into a tight log with the filling in the center.

Surprisingly, your dough will lengthen about 4 inches in total as you roll it.

The dough has been rolled into a log.

Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to trim the ends if desired then cut the dough into 8 to 10 equal-sized pieces (about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick).

The log cut into 9 equal sized sections.

Now, lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Then, transfer the rolls to the pan.

Raw rolls transferred to a baking dish.

Cover them with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Allow the rolls to rise in a warm area for 2 to 3 hours before baking.

The rolls should puff up and fill out the pan. However, they may not double in size.

The rolls have risen and are ready to bake.

It’s now time to preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the cinnamon rolls in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

The cinnamon rolls have baked in a dish.

Glaze and Serve:

Grab a small bowl and combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Always start with less milk and add extra to reach the desired consistency.

The cinnamon rolls should cool for about 15-minutes before glazing.

The glaze ingredients combined with a whisk.

Carefully, pour the glaze over the cinnamon rolls, and serve.

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

The glaze applied to the fresh baked cinnamon rolls.

Congratulations, your sourdough cinnamon rolls are done! Kim and I hope you enjoy them and wish you all the best 🙂

Looking for another homemade dessert? Then, check out our cherry pie with crumb topping recipe or our Hungarian pancakes (palacsintas)!

Recipe Notes:

  • I admit it, we broke a cardinal sin of sourdough baking and used yeast. With that being said, Kim tried this recipe twice without yeast. Both times, she ended up with tasty, cinnamon flavored hockey pucks. If you know how to make them without yeast, let us know.
  • Just to emphasize the point, here’s an excerpt from Kim’s recipe notes. “The yeast is optional. However, we recommend using a very active, strong sourdough starter. The cinnamon rolls may not rise quite as high without the yeast and the texture will be more dense.”
  • Also, the dough will be significantly more sticky than traditional cinnamon roll dough. Do NOT add extra flour to make it easier to handle. Instead, wet your hands, especially when completing the stretch and folds. Extra flour is only okay when rolling out the dough to shape into a rectangle.
A finished sourdough sweet roll sitting on a plate.
Fresh baked rolls cooling in the baking dish.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 8-10 Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes

Homemade, fluffy and delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls. Learn to make this sweet breakfast treat for your family with our step-by-step recipe.

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 3 Cups (360 g) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup (227 g) Active Sourdough Starter
  • ¾ Cup (170 g)  Milk, warmed to room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons (37 g) Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (42 g) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 Large Egg (50 g)
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Yeast (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

Filling:

  • 3 Tablespoons (42 g) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ½ Cup (107 g) Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 1 ½ Cups (170 g) Powdered Sugar
  • 4 - 5 Tablespoons (70 g) Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Dough:

  1. Place the flour, sourdough starter, milk, butter, yeast, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a paddle attachment to mix the ingredients on low speed until a sticky dough forms. Sprinkle the salt in an even layer over the dough, cover, and allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes.
  2. After the dough rests, using the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the salt into the dough on low speed for about 1 minute then increase the speed to medium. Continue to beat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The dough should have a smooth texture. Leave the dough in the bowl, but remove the bowl from the mixer. Cover and let rest for 4 hours while completing 1 set of stretch and folds every hour. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

Filling:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. The mixture will have the texture of thick, wet sand. Set aside.
  2. After the dough rests for 4 hours, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle roughly 14 x 16 inches. Spread or crumble the cinnamon sugar filling over the rectangle of dough. Start with the longer side of the rectangle and roll the dough into a tight log with the filling in the center. The dough will lengthen about 4 inches as you roll. 
  3. Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to trim the ends if desired then cut the dough into 8 to 10 equal-sized pieces (about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick). Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray, then transfer the rolls to the pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Allow the rolls to rise in a warm area for 2 to 3 hours before baking. They will appear puffy in appearance and may fill out the space in the pan. However, they may not necessarily double in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and bake the cinnamon rolls in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. While the cinnamon rolls bake, make the glaze.

Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Start with less milk and add additional to reach the desired consistency. Set aside.
  2. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow to cool until they’re just barely warm to the touch before adding the glaze.
  3. Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls, and serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 sourdough cinnamon roll. Actual calories will vary. For more information and tips, please refer to the post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 275mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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