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The BEST Cinnamon Rolls / A Christmas Tradition

December 22, 2017
Don’t you just love it when bloggers claim that something is the BEST or the GREATEST or that you CAN’T live without it!?!?!  Well, I’m not lying when I say these are literally the BEST cinnamon rolls ever!  Remember Cinnabon?  They have those larger than life cinnamon rolls filled with lots of gooey cinnamon, and topped with cream cheese icing.  Well, this is probably as close as you are going to get to those babies.  I honestly don’t even remember where I originally got this recipe, but I have been making them for years and my poor recipe card is spilled on, stained, and very used, aka loved. 

So, the key to these delicious rolls is a secret ingredient.  But, have no fear, you are my friends, so I am willing to share it with you!  And then I must kill you.  JOKING, just joking.  I think. 

No really, so these rolls are moist, gooey, and dripping with cinnamon.  And, the thing that makes them extra special….is…..

Vanilla pudding!  Crazy huh?  It works!  They are so yummy, trust me. 

I usually make multiple batches around the holidays to give away to friends and neighbors.  I don’t make them every year because I like to change things up, but I keep going back to these time and time again because they are hard to beat.  And, everyone loves cinnamon rolls!  Definitely a crowd pleaser.

Another great thing about gifting these is that the recipients can choose to eat them fresh or freeze them.  They freeze and reheat great!  One year, I even gave them away pre-frozen.  They stay fresh and reheat quickly. 

Ok, ok, enough of the chitter chatter, I know you are really just wanting to dive straight into the recipe, so here it goes!

1/2 c warm water
2 packages of dry yeast
2 T sugar
3 1/2 oz package of vanilla pudding mix (I use instant)
2 cups milk
1/2 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
6 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
4 T cinnamon

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1 T milk


Make pudding according to the directions on the box.  I put the mix and 2 cups of milk in a tupperware container with a leakproof lid, shake it up really good, and refrigerate until needed (usually about 10-15 minutes is long enough).  
In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and sugar.  Stir until dissolved and set aside.  
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, eggs, salt and pudding.  Mix well, then add yeast mixture and stir again.  
Gradually add flour, one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly to blend each cup before adding another.  Usually after the 4th cup, I switch from the whisk attachment to the kneading attachment on my stand mixer.  When all of the flour is added, knead until smooth.  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.  

A little trick I use to speed up the rising process is to turn the oven on until it just barely gets warm.  Turn the oven off and put the bowl of dough in the warm oven.  
Punch down the dough and let it rise again.

Roll the dough out onto a large, floured surface to about 36”x24”.  If you don’t have enough space, you could always divide it in half and roll out two smaller batches.  The dough will be very sticky, so make sure you have plenty of extra flour on the surface.  
Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough, then sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the top.  

Roll up tightly, creating a long log shape.  

Cut every 2 inches with a knife or a thread.  Dental floss works great, just make sure it is not flavored!  
Place on a lightly greased pan, 2” apart.  Lightly press down on each roll.  Let rise until doubled in size.  
While the rolls are rising, make the frosting.  Combine all frosting ingredients and mix well.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the tops start turning golden.  
Remove from the oven and frost immediately, covering every part of the roll with frosting.  
At this point, you can cover and freeze the rolls if desired.

Reheating instructions: 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and bake, covered, for about 15-20 min, just until they are heated through.  You don’t want to overcook them, especially since they have already been baked.  You could also just throw one on a place and microwave it for a few seconds! 

Printable Recipe

Now you know what we are having for breakfast on Christmas morning!  I hope you all have a very merry holiday and are able to enjoy this time with your family and friends!  Thank you all for your support with my blog.  It truly means so much to me!  Merry Christmas!

Niki French

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About Me

Hey there!

I'm Niki, founder of Midwestern Mama. This lifestyle blog is a place where I get to share things I am passionate about with people like you! I love fashion, home decor, DIY's and easy meals, among other things. I'm so glad you're here! Read More


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