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Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls – The Best Ones I’ve Ever Made

My family loves cinnamon rolls. If given the option between any other dessert and cinnamon rolls, I’m convinced we’d choose cinnamon rolls every time. We don’t discriminate either, homemade, from a can, sourdough or not, if cinnamon rolls are available my family wants in. I’ve been making cinnamon rolls with baker’s yeast for years but I finally started making sourdough cinnamon rolls with my sourdough starter early this year and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back! I love the slight tang of the tender sourdough roll in combination with the sweet and tangy cream cheese icing. Sourdough cinnamon rolls, like all sourdough bread, take more time to proof but they are worth every minute of waiting.

Rich and delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
Rich and delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing

Let’s get into how I make my sourdough cinnamon rolls. They start with a mature starter (you can find my instructions for making your own starter here). Mature just means that it’s been recently fed and it’s at its peak. With it you’ll build a rich brioche dough that rests in the fridge, then it’s slathered with a buttery cinnamon-sugar mixture then baked until golden brown and delicious. They’re then topped with cream cheese icing. Tell me what’s better than that?

Dough Ingredients
477g all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
133g whole milk
191g unsalted butter (cut into 1-inch pieces and set out ahead of time so that it’s pliable but not quite room temp)
4 whole eggs
48g white sugar
11g salt
200g ripe active sourdough starter


Cinnamon Sugar Mixture Ingredients
215g light brown sugar
40g flour
2tbsp softened unsalted butter
2tsp cinnamon


Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients
1/2 8oz block of cream cheese
62g powdered sugar
37g heavy cream
1tsp vanilla extract

Rich and delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing

Step 1: Mix the Dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the milk, eggs, sugar, and starter. With the dough hook attachment in place, slowly mix in the flour and salt and mix until just combined. The dough should look rather wet. Put a towel over the bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. After the dough has rested it’s time to strengthen the dough. Let it mix with the dough hook for 5-6 minutes until the dough starts to come together. Then you’ll incorporate the butter. This takes about 6-8 minutes. Turn on the mixer to stir and add in 1 tablespoon of butter at a time waiting for the last pad of butter to be completely incorporated before adding the next.
Step 2: Bulk Fermentation
Once all the butter is incorporated, transfer your dough to a clean bowl or container, covered, and let the dough ferment. To strengthen the dough, just like you would a regular loaf, you’ll do a series of stretches and pulls every thirty minutes for a total of four over a two-hour period.
Step 3: Chill the Dough
This dough is rather sticky so you’ll want to chill it properly before rolling it out. Chill the dough for at least two hours or as long as overnight (I often make this dough during the day and roll it out the next morning for midday rolls).
Step 4: Prep the Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
In a small bowl, mix together all the cinnamon sugar ingredients until incorporated.
Step 5: Roll Out the Dough/Prepping the Rolls
Generously flour your work surface, pull your dough from the fridge, and lightly flour the top of your dough. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a rectangle about 12×18 wide – I use this as a loose guide it doesn’t have to be exact. You’ll want to work quickly because as the dough comes to room temp, it will get very sticky.
Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the dough. Then, taking the long side closest to you, start rolling the dough away from you. Tightly roll the dough into a log and pinch to seal.
Step 6: Cut the Rolls
Prep a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Cut the log into rolls about 1.5in thick. I like to give them a quick score to try to get twelve even rolls before I make the full cuts.
Step 7: Proof the Rolls
Next, transfer the rolls to the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for about 2 hours. Two hours is a guide, it may take longer. You’ll know the rolls are ready when they’ve puffed up not quite doubled. They’ll rise even more during the bake.
Step 8: Bake the Rolls
Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the rolls in a preheated 400° oven for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and delicious looking.
Step 9: Mix the Cream Cheese Frosting
While the rolls are in the oven mix together the cream cheese icing. Whip the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
Step 10: Spread Cream Cheese Frosting Over the Rolls
Spread the cream cheese icing over the rolls while the rolls are still warm. This is key to having ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls.

Rich and delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
Rich and delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing

These cinnamon rolls are my family’s absolute favorite sweet treat. Let me know if you try to make these. I’d love to hear what you think!

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Homemade Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls using active sourdough starter as the natural yeast for the dough. The dough light and fluffy with a ooey gooey filling and a cream cheese frosting.

  • stand mixer

Dough Ingredients

  • 477 g All-purpose Flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
  • 133 g Whole milk
  • 191 g Unsalted Butter (cut into 1-inch pieces and set out ahead of time so they are almost room temp)
  • 4 Whole eggs
  • 48 g White sugar
  • 11 g Salt
  • 200 g Ripe active sourdough starter

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture Ingredients

  • 215 g Light brown sugar
  • 40 g All purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 oz Cream cheese
  • 62 g Powdered sugar
  • 37 g Heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  1. Mix the Dough In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the milk, eggs, sugar, and starter. With the dough hook attachment in place, slowly mix in the flour and salt and mix until just combined. The dough should look rather wet. Put a towel over the bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. After the dough has rested it’s time to incorporate the butter. This takes about 6-8 minutes. Turn on the mixer to stir and add in 1 tablespoon of butter at a time waiting for the last pad of butter to be completely incorporated before adding the next.

    Bulk Fermentation Once all the butter is incorporated, transfer your dough to a clean bowl or container, covered, and let the dough ferment. To strengthen the dough, just like you would a regular loaf, you’ll do a series of stretches and pulls every thirty minutes for a total of four over a two-hour period.

    Chill the Dough This dough is rather sticky so you’ll want to chill it properly before rolling it out. Chill the dough for at least two hours or as long as overnight (I often make this dough during the day and roll it out the next morning for midday rolls).

    Prep the Cinnamon Sugar Mixture In a small bowl, mix together all the cinnamon sugar ingredients until incorporated.

    Roll Out the Dough/Prepping the Rolls Generously flour your work surface, pull your dough from the fridge, and lightly flour the top of your dough. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a rectangle about 12×18 wide – I use this as a loose guide it doesn’t have to be exact. You’ll want to work quickly because as the dough comes to room temp, it will get very sticky.Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the dough. Then, taking the long side closest to you, start rolling the dough away from you. Tightly roll the dough into a log and pinch to seal.

    Cut the Rolls Prep a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Cut the log into rolls about 1.5in thick. I like to give them a quick score to try to get twelve even rolls before I make the full cuts.

    Proof the Rolls Next, transfer the rolls to the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for about 2 hours. Two hours is a guide, it may take longer. You’ll know the rolls are ready when they’ve puffed up not quite doubled. They’ll rise even more during the bake.

    Bake the Rolls Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the rolls in a preheated 400° oven for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and delicious looking.

    Mix the Cream Cheese Frosting While the rolls are in the oven mix together the cream cheese icing. Whip the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.

    Spread Cream Cheese Frosting Over the Rolls Spread the cream cheese icing over the rolls while the rolls are still warm. This is key to having ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls.

Find my favorite baking supplies here.

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6 thoughts on “Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls – The Best Ones I’ve Ever Made

  1. These look delicious! I just recently made a sourdough cinnamon roll recipe from The Clever Carrot (Emilie Raffa) and they were amazing. Your recipe is similar. I’ll have to try it one of these days!

    1. Hi Jamie – I do like hers – it was actually the first recipe I tried! After making and tweaking dozens of times I’ve found that these are a little lighter and the brown sugar filling is a must!

  2. Is it supposed to be pulling away from the bowl after the butter is incorporated or really soupy/sticky? I can’t do the stretching and folding without getting a ton on my hands.

    1. Hi Ashley, I just read my recipe and I left out an important step! You need to strengthen the dough by running the mixer for 5-6 minutes before incorporating the butter. You can still let your mixer run after incorporating the butter to get the dough to a stiffer ball. It will be a bit sticky when you move it to the bowl for stretches and pulls but not soupy. Let me know if you have any questions – You can email me for a quicker response chelsea (at) makinghomebase.com