bread/breakfast/recipes/sweets

The Best No-Knead Cinnamon Bun Recipe

Posted May 27, 2014 by Stephanie
the best no-knead cinnamon bun recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Okay, this is going to sound crazy but my mom doesn’t like cinnamon. She basically deprived me of a childhood filled with cinnamon toast, snicker doodles and cinnamon buns. Thankfully for me, I discovered the good stuff at the mall where I would shamelessly line up again and again for the free Cinnabon samples. Those were the carefree days of samples without the question of, “Where’s your mommy?” The days before constant parental supervision, rampant allergies and lawsuits.

the best no-knead cinnamon bun recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Those were the days my friend! The first time I had that soft, sweet cinnamon-y-sugar, cream cheese topped deliciousness on a toothpick my life changed. I was totally, completely in love. Cinnabons were way better than Coco Pebbles, Fruit Roll Ups and FunDip.

the best no-knead cinnamon bun recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Cinnamon buns truly make everything right with the world. I had a lot of fun making this recipe, mostly because I hardly ever work with yeasted doughs – I even had to go out and buy yeast because my yeast was dead. Fresh yeast in hand, I knew that I wanted to make a simple, no-knead sweet dough and used the basic no-knead ratio of 100 parts flour, 1 part yeast and 70 parts water. I added in sugar to make it a sweet dough and that was it: super simple, no-knead cinnamon buns. Of course, it’s not like cinnamon bun dough needs much kneading anyway, but I’m on the no-knead bandwagon and I’m not hopping off any time soon!

the best no-knead cinnamon bun recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

 

I am cream cheese topped, I am cinnamon swirled: I am a cinnabon!

The Best No-Knead Cinnamon Bun/Cinnabon Recipe
makes 9 rolls

Buns

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 room temperature egg, lightly beaten

Filling

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

Frosting

  • 4 ounces whipped cream cheese (about a cup)
  • 2 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool. Mix together the milk and yeast and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the bread flour, salt and sugar. By now the butter should be slightly cool – add it to the milk and whisk. Add the beaten egg and make sure everything is mixed together throughly.

Add the milk mixture to the flour and stir until everything comes together in a fairly wet dough. Cover with saran wrap and proof for 2 hours.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Set aside. Line a 8-inch pan with parchment paper.

After 2 hours, the dough should have doubled in sized. I like to work my dough on parchment paper as it makes it easier to pick up the edge of the dough when rolling. If you are going to work on parchment paper, be sure to tape it down so it doesn’t move while you’re rolling. Generously flour your workspace and hands. Scrape the dough out onto the floured workspace and dust with flour. The dough will be very soft and quite sticky so if you need to dust it, go ahead and dust generously.

Roll out the dough to a 14 x 20″ rectangle. Spread the 1/4 cup of room temperature butter out evenly over the dough and then evenly sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar-flour mixture. Roll the dough up, starting at a short edge. Cut into 9 equal pieces and place in your prepared pan. Cover with saran wrap and proof for 1 hour.

At this point, you can hold the buns in the fridge if needed. I did just that as I had to run out and do some errands. I returned to bake them after 2 hours, but if you’d like to prepare them the night before and bake them off in the morning that would work too.

To bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the buns from the fridge as the oven is heating up. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While the buns are baking, make the frosting. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream cheese until smooth. Set aside in the fridge.

When the buns are done, the tops should be golden brown and a skewer poked through should come out clean. Frost immediately for the Cinnabon look. Let cool slightly and enjoy warm.

A FEW NOTES:

This dough is extremely soft and sticky due to it’s 69% hydration. While drier doughs are easier to handle, this dough yields a supremely soft bun with a delicate crumb. I think it’s well worth the stickiness!

I like using whipped cream cheese for frostings because, well, it’s already whipped which makes it super easy. With whipped cream cheese you don’t get any of those annoying bits of cream cheese in your frosting, just super smooth creaminess.

These keep in the fridge for up to a week, covered. If anything the taste better as they age, but be sure to microwave them a bit before eating though – 20 seconds ought to do it!

the best no-knead cinnamon bun recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

PS – I’m heading off to the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards in Vegas tomorrow! I’m so excited to meet everyone! I’ll be the awkward, fan-girly one. You can check out my pictures on Instagram. If I remember to post that is. After all, you know what they say!

70 Comments

  1. Kati says:

    OMG, these pictures make me crave cinnamon buns now. I’ve never made any by myself so maybe it is finally time for that.

    1. steph says:

      oooh, hope you get a chance to kati!! they’re really easy, just make sure you have lots of flour on hand :D

  2. Kathy says:

    No you freaking didn’t. Damn girl.

    And you have a lot of catching up to do! Cinnamonon on EVERYTHING!

    1. steph says:

      CINNANOM-NOM-NOM :D

  3. cheyenne says:

    these look a-mazing.
    xo, cheyenne

    1. steph says:

      thank you cheyenne!! xoxo

  4. cynthia says:

    OMG Cinnabon is my love language. Have you ever seen the Louis CK sketch where he talks about it? (And he goes “you don’t see a little Asian girl in line at the Cinnabon..” Friend, if I’m around you sure do.) These look phenomenal. And YAY no-knead! AND YAY SEE YOU TOMORROW!!

    1. steph says:

      you and me cynthia…we need to eat ALL the cinnabons and pretzels! it was soooooooo awesome to squeeze you in person!! i miss you already!!!

  5. Allyn says:

    I loooooove cinnamon. SO much. Cinnamon toast was one of my childhood favorites, and something that needs to be consumed more often now as an adult. Wouldn’t the world be better if everyone had a piece of cinnamon toast! I always get generous with the cinnamon when I make granola: http://girlnamedallyn.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/the-best-nut-free-granola/
    Also, this summer I’m determined to get over my weird fear of yeast. Made pizza dough over the weekend. Baby steps, right? Cinnamon buns need to be next!

    1. steph says:

      oh my gosh, cinnamon toast is pure comfort food and i didn’t even grow up eating it!!

      yay to pizza dough and getting over yeast fears. i understand your yeast fear, btw. it’s weird stuff, for reals.

  6. Carolyn says:

    My definition of delicious – cinnamon ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s used to make a fabulous one – Oatmeal Cookie. To die for good. I’m still on the look out and may just have to start making my own.

    1. steph says:

      WHA?! cinnamon oatmeal cookie ice cream!??! hold the raisins and i’m THERE!

  7. These look insanely delicious. I love the process, and I’m willing to try out a no knead bun!

    1. steph says:

      ooh, hope you get a chance to jessica!

  8. Erika says:

    Oh my Lawd!! These are killer.. and no-knead is something I can get down with..

    1. steph says:

      as much as i like getting my hands dirty in the kitchen…i like no-knead cause i don’t get dough stuck in my nails hahahhah

  9. Millie says:

    YAAAASSS! better than cinnabon in my opinion! And I BET your house smells amazing after baking!

    1. steph says:

      definitely more dangerous than cinnabon, that’s for sure!

  10. Yay! Cinnamon buns from the mall! I could smell them many corners away in the mall during my Vancouver years, and at the time I didn’t even know what they were! Ah.. Nastalgia…

    1. steph says:

      come back to vancouver…please? :)

  11. Lindsey says:

    this is doughy, cinnabunny perfection! i TOTALLY remember the days where sugar was part of every meal, ugh fruit roll-ups – still such a vice! my husband always wants to buy a cinnabun when we’re at the airport, and i always tell him that i’ll make them for him, but i haven’t delivered on that promise yet : / i totally think these are the winner, and will get made very soon for him!

    so excited for your Saveur win, and i wish i were going to vegas to meet all you lovelies, but alas, jury duty awaits…
    all the best stephanie! xo

    1. steph says:

      aww, cinnabunny! if only i was a master baker who could shape cinnamon buns into bunnies :D

      i missed you in vegas lady!! i hope our paths will cross one day!

  12. So much glaze, oh my goodness. Those look freakin’ perfect. And have fun at the awards, you totally deserve it. :)

    1. steph says:

      oh cream cheese glaze…i could seriously just eat it. with a spoon. maybe a graham cracker spoon.

  13. Leah Davis says:

    Wow – I don’t think these would last in my house very long. Delicious! Cinnabon is one of the few sweet treats that my husband is gaga for – so these may be in my very near future!! Have fun in Vegas!

    1. steph says:

      thanks leah! oh, your husband is one of those dudes who doesn’t like sweets either!? i feel yah. i’m always afraid of making big cakes cause i know i’ll end up eating the whole thing all by my lonesome.

  14. A life without cinnamon – what is this madness? I’m always looking for an excuse to put cinnamon in anything – I even have my own version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with Kahlua that I sell! At least now you have cinnamon and an knead-free dough in your life!

    1. steph says:

      cinnamon toast crunch. i totally coveted that box as a kid.

  15. My husband is also one of those insane people who doesn’t like cinnamon. I always have to eat all the cinnamon rolls myself. Such a shame.

    1. steph says:

      such a shame…you mean completely AWESOME, right!?

  16. Stephanie says:

    Love your blog! Is there a way to subscribe by email?

    PS We have the same name but Le is my maiden name haha!

    1. steph says:

      Ooh, I’m working on getting a subscription up and running…

      WOOT! Stephanie Les of the world unite!! and you’re in ALBERTA!?!? i was born in edmonton!!!

  17. Tammi says:

    I cannot fathom how someone doesn’t like cinnamon, it’s one of my favourite spices ;)
    These buns look ridiculously good and would only last mere minutes in my house.

    1. steph says:

      yes, after a childhood deprived, it’s one of mine too!!!

  18. Yum… these look to DIE for!!! And the food photos… out of this world. So glad I came across your blog through the Saveur awards. Huge congrats, by the way. That’s kind of the coolest accomplishment ever! You 100% have a new dedicated reader over here. :) xox

    1. steph says:

      aww, thanks so much jordan!! sorry i don’t have more vegan recipes! :P

  19. Lynel says:

    Hey Steph! Absolutely love your food blog and have to say that this is some of the best photography I’ve seen anywhere. This is the first recipe I’m actually attempting and had a question – when you say 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Milk, does it all go together and mixed in with the yeast? Sorry for the dumb question,and keep this awesome project going!!

    1. steph says:

      Hi Lynel,

      Yes, all of the milk (1 cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) goes in all together. The measurements are little funny because I was working with the no-knead ratio. Hope your cinnamon buns come out!! Remember, they’re quick sticky when you’re mixing everything together before the first rise, so don’t worry about how it looks, after the first rise, it’ll look more like a dough. Good luck!!

  20. tennessee says:

    i’m pretty sure i’ve done everything right, but the dough was barely dough and hasnt risen at all!!? is it usual to be so temperamental??

  21. tennessee says:

    fear not! i was being a fool and didnt put as much flour as you said, i read it as 2 quarter cups, instead of 2 and a quarter! doh!

    1. steph says:

      whew!! i was worried! hope they work out for you!!

  22. Shreya says:

    Could you tell me the best substitute for bread flour? or How do I make bread flour?

    1. steph says:

      bread flour has more gluten in it – i’m not too sure if you can make it. you could try with all-purpose, but it might be slightly more tough.

  23. Josh says:

    These were delicious! I need some more practice working with such a soft dough. My rolls didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as the pictures you show but they tasted amazing!

    1. steph says:

      the soft dough is a little troublesome to work with, but the rolls end up so, so soft!

  24. Yosita says:

    Hello! This looks like a lovely recipe to try over the weekend. Question about putting the dough in the fridge: do you let it rise for an hour after cutting and then put it in the fridge OR do you pop them in the fridge immediately after cutting? When ready to bake, do you need to bring the dough back to room temperature first or can you pop them into the oven right away? Thanks in advance! :)

    1. steph says:

      Hi Yosita,

      Let the dough rise for an hour after slicing and placing the pan, then place in the fridge. Take the rolls out of the fridge and let them rest on the counter while you preheat your oven.

      Hope that helps!

  25. Yosita says:

    Thank you! That helps indeed. We’re fasting for Ramadan this month and I plan to make these for breaking fast this upcoming weekend. Thanks again for sharing. Btw, I love your blog! :)

  26. Lindsey says:

    I’ve been wanting to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for some time now (even though bread baking terrifies me) and once I read your recipe and how easy it seemed I knew I had to finally take the plunge. You weren’t kidding about this dough being sticky and tough to handle! I thought I floured my work surface well enough but when I went to roll them up, the dough stuck to my parchment paper in several places. I managed to still get them into sort of circle shapes and into the pan so it wasn’t a complete loss. Despite that though, they turned out incredible! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  27. Jane says:

    Hey Steph,

    Your recipe looks soooo good. My dough didnt rise And I was wondering if it was because I didn’t do something correctly? Do I cover the bowl tightly with Saran Wrap or loosely? Do I need to keep it in a warm spot? (I left it out on the table). Or maybe the yeast and milk, how long should that have sat out for and should it have been warm milk? Sorry for all the questions!!!just trying to figure out why it didnt work. It’s new yeast and bread bought today too.

    THANKS!!!

    1. steph says:

      Hi Jane,

      You need to cover the bowl tightly and leave it in a warm spot – if your house is on the colder side, it will take longer to rise. If your oven has a proof mode, you can go a head and use that. Otherwise, you can turn your oven on for a minute or two, turn it off and then let the dough rise in the slightly warm oven.

      The milk doesn’t need to be warm to activate the yeast, but if you’re having trouble, slightly warmed milk will help it out.

      Hope that helps!

  28. Kim Krez says:

    I’m excited to try this recipe !! Thank You!!

  29. Fritha Aylward-gilks says:

    I’ve never successfully baked anything in my life unfortunately. UNTIL today that is! Just made this recipe and it was better than I could have imagined. My partner is on his 3rd bun in less than half an hour haha. Thank you so much for posting this. Its encourgaed me to attempt more baked good in the future!

  30. Carolyn says:

    I really like your your writing style and your recipe am going to try. Many thanks.

  31. sharan says:

    Is bread flour the same as cake flour? Im from India, where one doesnt get either, and I found a method to make cake flour at home by adding cornstarch. Cant find anything on how to make bread flour.

    1. steph says:

      Hi Sharan,

      Bread flour has more protein than regular all purpose and even more than cake. You could try with all-purpose, but I haven’t tried it before. I wouldn’t use cake flour though. Hope that helps!

  32. Sara says:

    This calls for active dry yeast, but you don’t seem to be activating the yeast. Does this mean you’re using instant yeast? Otherwise, I’m not sure how the yeast would activate in the milk, alone, especially if it’s not heated… Can you clarify?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi sara,
      i used active dry, with the residual heat from the butter being enough to activate, plus the slow rise time. you can certainly use instant yeast as well. if you’re concerned about the rise, you can heat the milk to 110°f, but i didn’t find it necessary.

  33. Sofia says:

    I’m baking it right now! Sadly, they didn’t turn out like yours. It was difficult to roll them up and it’s more like a bun instead of a cinnamon roll. Wonder why all my no knead dough isn’t as pretty as how the bloggers do it. Is there anything I should rectify?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      baking has so many factors, it’s hard to tell! is your kitchen warm? this dough is notoriously difficult to work with because it has such a high hydration, which makes it super soft and fluffy. it’s best to work quickly, in a relatively cold kitchen with dough that is straight out of the fridge. hope that helps!

  34. Rhona says:

    I made these yesterday and baked them this morning. They are wonderful! I did add 1/8 tsp .each almond and vanilla extract to the dough, however. I also had to melt the butter to spread it over the dough. I thought I had my rolling surface well floured, but the dough still pulled against the parchment as I made the log. I had to use a knife to tease it free, and then eventually lifted the parchment to help me roll it up. So make sure to use plenty of flour. I would also check as I rolled the dough out to make sure it was still freely moving. I think next time I will find a glaze that is butter, 10x and perhaps cream for the topping. The cream cheese is just a bit on the tart side for me.

  35. Ana says:

    Can we freeze these for later use? How long do they keep? Can I freeze the frosting too?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i haven’t tried freezing them but i think it would work. are you freezing unbaked? you should probably thaw them overnight in the fridge before baking.

  36. adrienne says:

    Just mixed up the dough. Is it really ONLY TWO & 1/4 cups of bread flour? the dough is REALLY sticky. Most recipes seem to call for at least 3 cups of flour to 1 cup of liquid.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi adrienne,
      i hope the buns worked out for you. the dough is definitely sticky and has a higher hydration so that the buns are very soft when they’re baked :)

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