Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 6th May 2011

It’s Sunday morning and there’s a scrumptious, mouth-watering aroma wafting throughout the house. You follow your nose to the kitchen to find light, tasty dough; deliciously gooey cinnamon-sugar filled Cinnamon Rolls covered with umptuous cream cheese frosting.  You enjoy these fresh, still warm out of the oven delights, in the comfort of your home.  These aren’t just any Cinnamon Rolls, they’re Cinnabon-Style Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls.  I ask you, “What could be better than this?”

A photo of 3 Cinnamon Rolls fresh out of the oven on non-stick baking paper with an offset spatula off to the side.

Have I enticed you enough to try this recipe?  I hope so!  It’s one of the best recipes; no it is the best recipe I’ve found for Cinnamon Rolls.  I know what you’re thinking, I too was skeptical when I first saw this recipe, but these rolls are out of this world yummy.  Yes yummy!  I know I’m breaking some cardinal rule in food writing by using that word, but frankly it’s the perfect way to describe these Cinnamon Buns.

A photo of a cinnamon roll on a non-stick baking paper lined white dessert dish with a spoon full of frosting dripping onto roll.

And best of all – they actually taste like a Cinnabon’s Classic Cinnamon Roll.  Thank you to the Gordon Family who spent years developing this clone recipe.  After extensive research, careful testing, and a lot of experimenting (wish I was one of the taste testers) they developed a recipe that allows us to recreate the amazing Cinnabon experience at home.

A photo of a pan of just out of the oven Cinnamon Buns.

Why do I refer to it as an “experience” rather than merely eating?  Because that’s exactly what it is.  This recipe appeals to all five senses.  Obviously the sense of taste is number one.  But have you ever noticed that the Cinnabon Bakery is always located in a shopping centre?  The facility is designed to target the sense of sight.

A cropped photo of a tray of Cinnamon Buns, some frosted with Cream Cheese Frosting and some plain.

We see the Cinnamon Roll from start to finish; preparing the dough, spreading the butter, sprinkling the cinnamon sugar, rolling and cutting, and baking.  And of course the pièce de résistance is the slathering of the cream cheese frosting on the just removed from the oven rolls.

A photo of a tray of Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting in the background and one cinnamon roll on a white dessert dish placed in front of tray.

If that dripping frosting doesn’t do it for you, maybe the sense of smell will – the lingering aroma of cinnamon in the air evokes a feeling of comfort for all of us.

A close up photo of Cinnabon-Style Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls displayed in a parchment lined steel tray.

I’m sure you’ve heard all the oohs and aaghs from the diners that are indulging in their freshly baked roll. Who blames them?  In fact, those tables are strategically placed at the entrance, close to the mall hall – so close that you could almost bump into them. That’s so you hear those patrons, see their happy faces, and smell the enticing aromas. And then, of course, there’s the hustle and bustle of a busy bakery, baking pans clanging, oven doors opening and closing, and the cash register ringing.

A photo of a Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting and Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Filling served on a white dessert dish placed on a red cloth napkin.

Let’s not forget the sense of touch.  First we need to determine, are you a knife and fork cinnamon roll eater?  Or do you dive in, hands first to pick up the roll and take a bite?  I guess it really doesn’t matter – the fluffy soft texture and creamy frosting can be felt either way.

A photo of Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting on a sheet of non-stick baking paper.

I vote for skipping the mall experience and creating all these sights, smells, touches, and tastes right in your own home.  Trust me, you’ll be the hero of the house for days to come!

A cropped photo of Cinnabon-Style Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls in a steel tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

*Update – I forgot to share an important tidbit about the Cinnabon roll. The variety of cinnamon used in the rolls is Makara and it can be purchased at any of the Cinnabon locations. I use it in my rolls and the taste is amazing and truly gives you the Cinnabon experience at home.

A photo of a Cinnamon Roll log, with a few rolls sliced and prepared for baking.

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Comments (51)

51 Responses to “Cinnabon-Style Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. Marly Says:

    Yes, yummy seems to capture this perfectly. The only other thing that comes to mind is…can I come over for breakfast???

  2. Grace Says:

    Any time Marly

  3. Lauren at Keep It Sweet Says:

    These look amazing! There isn’t much better than a fresh baked cinnamon roll!!

  4. Blog is the New black Says:

    These look exquisite!

  5. Grace Says:

    Thank you – wasn’t happy with my pics, couldn’t get the icing to do what I wanted for the pics, don’t you hate that?

  6. Marly Says:


  7. brenda Says:

    Love them!

  8. Winnie Says:

    I think I just died and went to heaven. These look SO good!

  9. lordroy Says:

    I worked for cinnabon for 3.5 years… 6 days a week… I made the dough, frosting, and cinnamon/sugar mix. I believe this is the first time I have seen a pretty accurate representation of the cinnabons we used to make.

  10. Trisha Says:

    Oh I can’t wait to try this out!!!

  11. Maria Says:

    They look wonderful!

  12. Sophia Says:

    Wow, these look amazing!! I don’t think I could ever make them myself. I’m a beginner in the kitchen. But I could definitely eat tons of them! YUMMY!

  13. Grace Says:

    Sophia you should really give these a try, they are not as hard as you think and oh so worth the effort.

  14. Evan Says:

    thank you so much for sharing this recipe! your pictures are stunning and i cant wait to try it out! just like to check tho – is it possible i use butter instead of margarine for the cinnamon sugar filling? thank you :)

  15. Grace Says:

    Evan, butter can definitely be substituted, in fact I am going to try it with butter next time (I love butter). However margarine is recommended because it gives it a gooier consistency.

  16. Grace Says:

    p.s. Evan if you have a Cinnabon close to you the Makara Cinnamon is amazing, I believe it is the only place you can purchase it.

  17. Peggi Says:

    I can’t wait to try this! I’m drooling already! Thanks!

  18. Evan Says:

    grace, thx for yr prompt reply :) i’m not an advocate in using margarine so i’m probably just gonna use butter. and i don’t think i’ll be able to get hold of makara cinnamon but i’ll tryyyy to :)) can’t wait to make this, shall start on the dough now! :D

  19. Nessie Says:

    Oh wow I can’t WAIT to make these! How long do they stay nice and fluffy for? Do they freeze well? Thanks heaps!

  20. Grace Says:

    They freeze beautifully Nessie, don’t ice until you’re ready to serve. They are at their best the day they are made.

  21. Lala Says:

    Did you use unsalted margarine on the filling and icing? I’m not even sure if there’s such a thing as unsalted margarine. Thanks!

  22. Grace Says:

    Lala I used regular salted margarine. I’m not sure if there’s unsalted margarine either. I usually buy becel light margarine (my son loves it and prefers it to butter) but for these I used regular full fat. Hope you enjoy!

  23. Maureen Says:

    I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning!

  24. ayesha Says:

    hi .very nics pics and recipes plz tell me if i want to use regular sugar intead of yellow sugar ,it is ok .also can i use fresh lemon juice instead of lemon extract plz reply soon

  25. Grace Says:

    Good Morning Ayesha, I suppose you could use regular sugar but you won’t get the same flavour as you would with the brown sugar and lemon juice would not work in this, I would just omit if you do not have on hand. Enjoy!

  26. Leola Says:

    I just made these last night. Delicious. I have used many different recipes to make cinnamon rolls and these by far were the best. They were light, tender, and fluffy. By far the best.

  27. Audrey Says:

    Hi, I have few questions before I can dive in, if that is ok :)
    How do i measure 1 1/4 egg? or am I missing something? Will it make a big difference if I cant find alcohol free vanilla extract? Caster sugar, does it differ a lot from regular sugar (I´m not from the States so this is the first I´m hearing about it). I´m also not sure we have unbleached bread flour, will all purpose flour make a big difference?
    Can´t wait to try this recipe, I had Cinnabon for the first time when I was staying in the States last summer (had the pecan/caramel) and I was hooked!! I had the every day before I left and have dreamt about them ever since. Since we dont have Cinnabon here I´ve no choice but to make them myself!

  28. Grace Says:

    Hi Audrey, to measure 1/4 of an egg, the easiest way to measure 1/4 is lightly beat the egg, if you have a scale you can then weigh the weight of the egg and use one quarter, the other way is to lightly beat the egg in a liquid measuring cup then you can utilize 1/4 from there. I wouldn’t worry too much about the vanilla. Caster sugar is merely a sugar with a finer granule, you can pop some regular sugar in a food processor (if you have one) blitz a few times and it will work just the same otherwise the regular sugar is fine. If you can find the bread flour it does produce a better bun, gives a better rise. I used the Makera cinnamon but unfortunately I believe it is only available to purchase through Cinnabon. One of my visitor’s used regular cinnamon and the amount of cinnamon was a little bit too much, it was a little grainy. I would cut down on the cinnamon by one tablespoon unless you can find the Makera. I hope you enjoy!

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  31. Chris Says:

    Makara Cinnamon is the same thing as Korintje Cinnamon:

  32. Grace Says:

    Thank you very much for providing an alternative Chris. I wonder how readily available it is under the name Korintje. I’ll have to look for it when I’m at the market and grocers this week. I’m lucky because my daughter works at the mall and can pick it up at Cinnabon whenever I need it. It would be a pain otherwise because I’m very rarely at the mall. Thanks again I’m sure it will be of great value to my visitor’s.

  33. Leah Says:

    Thanks for this recipe. Last week I made it for the first time and had to make a few substitutions because I didn’t have everything on hand. It still turned out yummy and gooey. Today I’m making my second batch and the only substitution I’m making is the cinnamon, only because I have a LOT of cinnamon, but don’t know what kind it is. My dough looked good so I’m excited.

  34. Grace Says:

    Hi Leah, so happy you enjoyed them. I really like this dough. Happy Holidays!

  35. Yvette Says:

    Wow this recipe is awesome. Thank you for sharing. I’ve made it a couple of times now and I think they come out better than Cinnabon’s. I’ve made them for friends and family and they’ve been a big hit. I haven’t made them with the makara or korintje cinnamon yet- I had Saigon Cinnamon on hand- and I’m sure they would taste perfect with one of those cinnamon. I used to make them by hand, but am a young woman who doesn’t like kneading for a long time, so they didn’t ever come out quiet right. Now I have a bread machine, which does all the work! Yea!

    For those who only want to use butter in the recipe – to keep the cinnamon filling from dripping out of the buns when baking, mix in 2 tb. flour with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

    When I make them at night time, I let the dough rise in the bread machine, put filling on, roll them up, cut them into rolls and place them in the pan lined with non-stick baking paper. I let them rise overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning I let them rise for 2 hours in the oven on warm.

    The rolls come out so tender, soft, fluffy and chewy – just like Cinnabon, but even better! This is definitely the best cinnamon roll recipe I’ve ever come across. Thanks again!

  36. Peggi Says:

    My mouth is watering! Thanks for the recipe!

  37. Emily Says:

    So glad I found your version! I’ve made these twice and they were amazing!! PS love your blog!

  38. Grace Says:

    Thanks Emily, so happy you enjoyed. I think I may just make a batch tomorrow. My son is home for the weekend and this is one of his favourites.

  39. Tal Says:

    Looks great. Keen to try the recipe. Just a little confused with the conversions. I thought a STD fluid cup measurement was 250mL but you have 237mL.

  40. Grace Says:

    Tal the exact conversions is 237, but the standard measurement I believe is different between US and Europe conversions, I think US is 240 and Europe 250. I get so confused with the fluid conversions, I’ve started adopting 240. 237 to 250 will work, very little change to make a difference in the recipe.

  41. Tal Says:

    Thanks Grace. Here in Australia us 250ml Crazy. I’m off to try. Wish me luck :) And thanks for posting

  42. Grace Says:

    Good luck Tal, let me know how it goes.

  43. Tal Says:

    They were everything they promised to be! Soft, light, gooey mouthfuls of heaven. Two were gobbled up straight from the oven. Although at their best on the day, they were still being enjoyed two days later. My only disappointment was that the recipe only made 12. But it’s prob just as well… ;)

    FYI- used bread maker to make dough.

  44. Grace Says:

    So happy to hear Tal. My children bought me a breadmaker years ago and I’ve yet to open the box and try it, maybe I should.

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  47. EJ Says:

    BLESS YOU for this post and the link to the original recipe, too. I used to have the Gordon’s Recipe but lost it and have been despondent ever since. It really is the best! Now, I’m about to set out to make a gluten-free version. Fingers crossed!

  48. Grace Says:

    Most welcome EJ, enjoy!

  49. Mariam Says:

    How I love Cinnamon rolls! Unfortunately for me we don’t have Cinnabon in Australia but during my Egypt trip this July I indulged in Cinnabon and fell in loveflove!
    I need to give this recipe a go and i’ll add some caramel and pecans to taste like the caramel pecan Cinnabon! Thanks for sharing this, but tomorrow marks the first day of Summer and we have a heat wave over us so I doubt i’ll be making them soon!

  50. Grace Says:

    Mmm…that sounds so yummy Mariam. Please let me know how you like the flavour and texture of the buns. I’m green with envy, how I wish we were enjoying the first few days of summer again, we had our first snowfall the other day and it’s been so cold.

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