Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

Good morning and happy Friday! Even though it was a short work week, I am sure ready for the weekend! Funny how the holidays make real life so much more of a struggle, right? Well if you're not quite ready for all good things to come to an end, today I'm sharing my recipe for healthier cinnamon rolls with you! Buttery, flakey, full of cinnamon goodness - but made with wayyyyy less sugar. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or brunch this weekend!

I actually have never been one to LOVE cinnamon rolls, because usually they are so intense and sugary. I'd usually feel like I went into an immediate diabetic coma and had gained 4 cavities in the time it took me to eat half the cinnamon roll. So when I went about creating this recipe, I knew that I wanted it to be different.

I wanted a yeasty, flakey roll with warm cinnamon and topped with cream cheese frosting. So I reduced the sugar in the bread by about half, almost took all the sugar out of the filling, and reduced the sugar in the frosting by 1/16. Yes, 1/16. And it's amazing!



4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet yeast
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 large egg
2 egg yolks


3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon


4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Whisk together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside. Heat the buttermilk, water and butter together until hot to the touch. Either in the microwave or on the stove top is fine - just be sure it's hot for the yeast. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, and stir to combine. Add the egg and egg yolks. Dough will be thick.

On a lightly floured surface or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead the dough about four minutes. Then form the dough into a ball, and let rest about 5-10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200.

After you've waited 5-10 minutes, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Mine was far from perfect, so don't stress this part. You'll just want it to be as evenly rolled and as close to a rectangle as possible.

Then spread the butter over the rolled dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the butter.

With the long side of the dough facing you, tightly roll the dough. Cut into 12 even pieces, and arrange in a lightly greased 8x8 casserole dish. Lightly cover the top of the pan with foil, and place in the preheated oven. After 10 minutes, turn the oven off and allow the rolls to continue rising in the oven for about 45-50 minutes.

After the rolls have risen and roughly doubled in size, heat the oven to 375 and bake 25-30 minutes.

When the rolls have cooled a bit - at least 15 minutes, they can be frosted! Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl, and stir to combine. I used a spatula for this. Then spread the frosting over the slightly cooled cinnamon rolls and serve!

If you love cinnamon (the real stuff, not red hots - gross!), check out my recipe for Perfect Snickerdoodle Cookies or my Homemade Vanilla Cinnamon Coffee Creamer!

Kirsten Bell

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