Tender bread dough is swirled with a layer of cinnamon and brown sugar to create these mouthwatering muffin tin cinnamon rolls.  The soft and slightly sweet dough melts together with the cinnamon filling for the perfect balance of flavors.  Vanilla icing completes the roll, making these adorable individual serving size treats the perfect item for breakfast or brunch. 

This recipe calls for 2 1/2 – 3 cups of flour, I measure the full amount of three cups into a bowl and use only as much as I need to form a nice ball.  I used just slightly more than 2 1/2 cups for this batch.  Depending on the temperature and the humidity in your kitchen you may not need all the flour.  I also use the remainder of the measured flour to dust the board, this way I am sure not to add more than the total amount listed in the recipe.  Remember sweet dough tends to be a little sticky.  Knead the dough only enough to form a smooth dough.  Overworking the dough and adding more flour will produce a tough bread.

Rising times are really just an estimate for any yeast dough.  Temperature will dramatically affect the rising time, so watch the dough more than the clock, when it is doubled in size it is ready to work.  Be gentle with your dough, using the palms of your hands to de-gas.  Do not poke with your fingers, no piano playing here, your fingers will tear the glutens in the dough.  The dough will roll easily if it is relaxed.  If the dough springs back when you attempt to roll, cover it with some plastic wrap for 10 minutes and try again.

Stretch the dough as you roll it to form a tight log.  Normally when making cinnamon rolls you do not do this, however in the case break the rules.  By stretching the dough it will force the centers to pop up during baking.  Once you have your roll formed, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices.  Pushing up slightly on the bottom center of each slice as you place it in the muffin tin will help start the centers to pop up.

Remove the rolls from your muffin tin while they are still warm.  Run a knife around the edge of the roll if needed.  As the rolls cool the sugar will tend to stick to your pan even if it is non-stick.  Cool on a wire rack.  Ice the rolls while still slightly warm.

Muffin Tin Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Rising time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 45 mins

Tender sweet dough forms these individual rolls that spring to life. Brown sugar and cinnamon swirl though these spirals of joy.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Author: Christoph
  • 2 ½ - 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons dry milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoon milk, enough for proper consistency
  1. In a large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour with the sugar, dried milk, yeast, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the warm water, butter, egg, and vanilla, stirring to combine.
  3. Slowly add four until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  5. Knead the dough, using only enough four to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the board. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky.
  6. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
  1. In a small bout mix the brown sugar and cinnamon to combine.
  1. Position rack in the cent third of the oven and heat to 350 degrees.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently de-gas the dough with the palm of your hand, do not poke the dough with your fingers, that can tear the dough.
  3. Roll the (risen and ready to shape) dough out on a floured board into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches (30 x 35 cm). Brush with water and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the dough, leaving a small border free of filling
  4. Roll up the dough from one of the rectangle's shorter sides, stretching the dough out slightly as you roll. Pinch the seam together well to close. Stretching the dough as you roll is opposite of how you would normally make cinnamon rolls, however in this case it will help the centers to spring up.
  5. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Push the center of the roll slightly up from the bottom before and place in muffin tin. This will also help start the centers to pop up.
  6. Let the rolls rise until they doubled in size filling the muffin tin, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Cover lightly with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap to prevent the rolls from forming a skin.
  8. Bake at 350F for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  9. Allow the rolls to stand in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly before icing.
  1. Mix powdered sugar with vanilla and a small amount of milk to start. Add more milk a few drops at a time until the icing is smooth and able to drizzle.
  2. Using a spoon or a piping bag, drizzle the icing over the still slightly warm rolls.
  3. Allow icing to dry before storing.
Cooks Notes

Work the least amount of flour you can into this dough, you don't have to use the entire amount. Put the total amount of flour in a separate bowl using flour from the bowl to dust the board. This makes sure you don't add too much flour. 

The less you work this dough the more tender it will be.

Rising times will vary by the temperature.  Watch for size more than time.


Dough recipe courtesy King Arthur Flour


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