Fluffy, tender, sweet and gooey cinnamon rolls are a snap to make with frozen bread dough and a handful of simple ingredients. There’s no kneading needed: Just thaw, spread on a scrumptious cinnamon sugar blend, roll, proof and bake. In no time the buns are ready to slather with a delicious homemade icing and serve warm. They can even be made ahead for absolutely the easiest Christmas morning-worthy cinnamon rolls!
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The Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
I have made over a dozen recipes using frozen dough, but this is one of my favorite. Probably because who doesn’t love a deliciously gooey cinnamon bun? They are warm, fluffy and tender rolls of pure delight. However, what most people don’t love is all the prep that (usually) goes into them.
This fabulously easy frozen bread cinnamon rolls recipe saves the day because almost all of the hard work is done for you!
Plus, there are no worries that the dough won’t rise because you didn’t knead it long enough or that your yeast wasn’t fresh enough. Not to mention, you can make ahead these cinnamon rolls so they’re ready to bake in the morning.
We love cinnamon buns on weekend or holiday mornings. But these yummy cinnamon rolls made with frozen bread dough are so simple that you’ll find yourself making them more often – no special occasion needed!
If you are in a hurry, make my cinnamon roll apple bake. It only had two ingredients and is ready in minutes!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Frozen bread dough – like Bridgford or Rhodes frozen dough. This recipe uses 1 loaf to make 12 rolls, but a bag of frozen bread dough comes with 3 loaves.
Take out and thaw just 1 or 2 of the loaves as needed. Or you can use all three dough loaves to triple the recipe and make 36 rolls.
- Butter – Used to spread on the dough and gives a rich, buttery flavor.
- Granulated sugar – This adds a touch of sweetness to the rolls. For a different profile, you can also use brown or coconut sugar as a substitute.
- Ground cinnamon – This adds a warm, spicy flavor to the rolls. You can also swap it with nutmeg, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice.
Butter Icing Ingredients
- Powdered sugar – This is important to use this in this recipe because it dissolves easily and creates a smooth, creamy texture.
- Butter – Makes the icing rich and creamy. You can also use margarine as a substitute.
- Vanilla extract – Used to add flavor to the icing. It can be substituted with almond or maple extract.
- Heavy cream – You can also use half and half or whole milk.
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to Thaw Frozen Bread Dough
Three ways to defrost frozen dough:
To make the same day, I recommend thawing the frozen dough on the countertop. Thaw frozen bread dough at room temperature in 1-2 hours. Prepare a baking sheet or casserole dish and plastic wrap (the side facing the dough) by spraying with cooking oil. Then leave on the countertop to thaw.
For make ahead cinnamon rolls for the next day, defrost in the fridge overnight. Place the frozen loaf on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Both the baking sheet and plastic wrap should be first sprayed with cooking oil. Spray the side of the plastic wrap facing the frozen dough.
If you are a hurry, quickly thaw frozen bread loaves in the oven. Prepare a baking sheet and plastic wrap (the side facing the dough) by spraying with cooking oil. Set the oven for 85º to 100ºF and let thaw for 30 to 60 minutes.
Make Cinnamon Rolls From Frozen Bread Dough
On a floured surface, roll out the dough into the shape of a rectangle, about 18″ x 12″ and 1/2″ thick.
Using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter on the dough, leaving a 1/2″ margin around the edges.
Carefully roll up the dough length-wise. Start at the bottom edge of the dough and slowly work your way to the other side of the dough rolling as you go along.
Starting in the center of the roll of dough, use a sharp knife or waxed dental floss, to cut the dough in half.
Then cut each roll into 6 rolls, for a total of 12 cinnamon rolls. Place the rolls into a greased casserole dish, leaving about 1″ of space between each cinnamon bun.
Cover and let the rolls rise in a warm, draft-free area for 45 to 60 minutes until doubled in size (rolls should be almost touching).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes until deep golden in color. Let cool while you prepare the butter icing topping.
Once the rolls have cooled for 15 minutes, spread the icing over the top of the rolls. Serve warm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, once you have rolled and sliced the cinnamon buns, let them rise until they are puffy and almost doubled in size.
Cinnamon buns need about 45 to 60 minutes to rise, depending on the temperature of the room.
You can defrost frozen cinnamon rolls at room temperature, overnight in the refrigerator, or quickly in a warm oven. See “How to Thaw Frozen Bread Dough” above.
This cinnamon roll filling is made of butter, cinnamon, and sugar.
The Complete Frozen Bread CInnamon Rolls Recipe
Cinnamon Rolls From Frozen Dough
- Baking Sheet
- pastry brush
For the cinnamon rolls
- 1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed (see notes below on thawing frozen dough)
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the butter icing
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half (can substitute with whole milk)
Prepare the cinnamon rolls
- Thawed bread dough should be cool but pliable. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into the shape of a rectangle, about 18" x 12" and 1/2" thick. If the cinnamon roll dough is difficult to roll, use your fingers tips to dimple the dough and let it rest for 15-30 minutes to warm. Then lightly smooth the dough with the roller, keeping the rectangular size of 18" by 12" and 1/2" thick.
- Using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter on the dough, leaving a 1/2" margin around the edges. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the butter. If needed, use the back of a spoon or spatula to level out the sugar mixture.
- Carefully roll up the dough length-wise. Start at the bottom edge of the dough and slowly work your way to the other side of the dough rolling as you go along.
- Starting in the center of the roll of dough, use a sharp knife or waxed dental floss, to cut the dough in half. Then cut each roll into 6 rolls, for a total of 12 cinnamon rolls. Place the rolls into a greased casserole dish, leaving about 1" of space between each cinnamon bun.
- For make-ahead cinnamon rolls: let the rolls rise overnight in the refrigerator, then skip to the next step in the morning. Be sure to use a refrigerator to oven safe baking pan. To make now: cover and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area for 45 to 60 minutes until doubled in size (rolls should be almost touching).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes until deep golden in color. Let cool while you prepare the butter icing topping.
Prepare the butter icing
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the powdered sugar and butter on medium speed for 30-45 seconds.
- Add the vanilla extract and cream or half and half to the bowl and continue mixing at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Once the rolls have cooled for 15 minutes, spread the icing over the top of the rolls. Serve warm.