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Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread

A hot cinnamon bun dripping with icing and sticky with brown sugary sweetness is one of life’s great indulgences. I like making them at home from time to time, but many prefer to buy them as a treat when they’re out and about. There is something to be said for buying them from a coffee shop or bakery, too. You get instant gratification and portion control. You don’t, however, get the satisfaction of baking them yourself, nor do you get to fill up your house with the smell of fresh cinnamon buns – a scent that is almost as good as the first mouthful of a fresh batch.

Regular cinnamon buns start out with a sweet yeast dough that is rolled out, then spread with a butter and brown sugar filling, before being rolled up into neat little buns and baked. This recipe eliminates all of those steps, delivering a pan full of cinnamon bun goodness in less than an hour!

The recipe, adapted from a recipe found on a container of rapid rise yeast, doesn’t give you real cinnamon rolls – no rolling involved, remember? – but it uses all the same ingredients and flavor elements, just combined in a faster and easier form. The dough is mixed up and poured into a prepared baking dish. After a mere 15 minutes of rising time, during which you can prep the filling/topping, a brown sugar streusel mixture (a typical cinnamon bun filling) is pressed into the dough. The whole thing is popped into a non-preheated oven and baked until done. The bread doesn’t look as gorgeous as a tray full of cinnamon buns, but once the icing is drizzled on it looks equally tempting.

The bread has a slightly cakey texture to it, with a rather tender texture instead of a chewy one, as there is virtually no time to allow for gluten to develop here.ย  The dough still tastes quite rich, especially with the topping mixed into it. It tastes just like regular cinnamon buns and is outrageously good when warmed up. This is the perfect thing to whip up on a weekend morning or a weeknight for dessert: little prep, little cleanup and big flavor rewards.

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread, sliced

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

Filling/Topping
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom

Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream

Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)
Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.
Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

Serves 9.

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70 Comments
  • Sarena
    September 5, 2008

    These look so good! I will definitely make them for my family. The kids are all about instant gratification (they don’t understand that some things need proofing) and this will definitely give that to them! Thanks for sharing!

  • Aim
    September 5, 2008

    YUM. That looks delish…just what the doctor ordered for a weekend where I want something homemade, but not overly involved ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to try this….

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    September 5, 2008

    This looks delicious, and completely addictive. It would be great to serve at brunch, when something sweet is always welcome.

  • Crystal Layden
    September 5, 2008

    Yeah, I’m going make it for my son too. I always forbide him to eat junk food and provide home made food for him. Recently he got bored with our home food. He’ll like this recipe. I’m very sure!

  • Tom in Boston
    September 6, 2008

    omigosh, these look incredible. I do believe these will on the breakfast table tomorrow a.m.!

  • Elizabeth - Cake or Death?
    September 6, 2008

    Holy moses, these look divine. I have a real weakness for cinnamon rolls but a real laziness issue as well–this might solve all my problems!

  • Anna at Mediocre Chocolate
    September 6, 2008

    I have made this too! I found it on a magazine ad. My husband adores it, it’s so easy, and it rarely lasts longer than a day or two. Yours looks yummy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • ttfn300
    September 6, 2008

    Now that looks incredibly tasty!! I can almost smell the cinnamon ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Joy the Baker
    September 6, 2008

    I’m always looking for ways to avoid the hours it takes to make cinnamon rolls, but still get the cinnamon roll goodness out of my kitchen. These looks absolutely amazing!!

  • Xiaolu
    September 7, 2008

    Those look great! Cinnamon buns are one of my boyfriend’s favorite treats, so I’ll have to try this out soon. I have one question though – does the bake time vary depending on how long your oven takes to heat up? I ask because the gas oven in my new apartment seems to take longer than my previous electric one. Thanks!

  • Nicole
    September 7, 2008

    Xialou – Unless your oven is very old, the range of preheating times is probably not all that great. If your oven – or anyone’s oven – heats up particularly fast, I might check the bread a minute or two early, but I doubt that there will be a problem.

  • Coco
    September 7, 2008

    I made these tonight and they are amaaaaazing. Definitely the flavor of a cinnamon bun with about a quarter of the time and effort. My oven heats up pretty quickly and when I checked them at about 25 minutes they were completely done with brown, caramelized edges. Thanks for this excellent recipe, Nicole!!

  • Tara
    September 8, 2008

    This was really good! I made it for my husband, who is not even a sweet fan and he ate the whole pan! Very easy too!

  • Lauren
    September 8, 2008

    i have to try this. I love making cinnamon rolls but they are a fuss. I got some special only for baking cinnamon so that will go into this for sure.

  • Tom in Boston
    September 8, 2008

    I tried these and they turned out great. Pretty sweet, but great.

  • NYmom
    September 10, 2008

    Nicole – thanks for the recipe! My husband and kids loved this – but just one question – my icing sort of just melted onto the cake….almost looks like a glaze instead of an icing. I let it cool 45 minutes before icing…do you think maybe I made the icing too thin?

    Either way – it tasted great – just didn’t look as pretty as yours! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sophia
    September 15, 2008

    I made the cinamon bun bread over the weekend. It tastes great and is also quick and easy to make.

  • Heather @ SGF
    September 22, 2008

    Yummy! I just made these and they’re great! Quick question… do I need to refrigerate leftovers or are they ok on the counter for a couple days?

  • Heather @ SGF
    September 22, 2008

    Yummy! I just made these and they’re great! Quick question… do I need to refrigerate leftovers or are they ok on the counter for a couple days?

  • Nicole
    September 22, 2008

    Heather – The leftovers will be fine at room temperature. Just keep them covered in plastic wrap or in some other airtight container.

  • Brenda
    November 7, 2008

    These were great and easy. I topped them off with cherries. That made them extra special for my company.Delicious.

  • tricia
    November 22, 2008

    OH MY GOODNESS!!These are so good! I just made these tonight for a quick morning breakfast. They smelled so good that I had to try them. Wow, they are great without the icing!

  • pumpkinpie
    December 27, 2008

    Oh, these are so good. I prefer the tender crumb of this cake to traditional cinnamon rolls. The gooey cinnamon topping and caramelized edges are fantastic, too. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Anonymous
    January 1, 2009

    hey peaple where could i find a regular cinnamonroll recipe at

  • Elizabeth
    January 25, 2009

    I tried this recipe but the taste of yeast was really strong, any idea what I did wrong? Maybe I underbaked it?

  • natalie
    February 9, 2009

    Hello. My bread is currently in the oven and my house smells wonderful! Just one question – I couldn’t get the butter and sugar mix to crumble. Is this dependant on the type of brown sugar? Do you use light or dark? I managed to spread it out evenly though so I don’t think it will be a problem.

  • Kathleen
    February 15, 2009

    I just baked these. All the topping fell to the bottom of the pan and I was left with an “upside down cake” effect. The roll part was light and fluffy, like a pancake. My son asked me if I made it with Bisquick. Mine looked nothing like the picture. They were so rich with a butter and sugar taste and lacked sufficient cinnamon flavor, even though I doubled the cinnamon called for. These were a thumbs down in my house. I obviously did things wrong, yet the recipe seems so simple.

  • Gourmet Mama
    February 24, 2009

    Oh, these look delicious and I love the fact that they are so easy to make. Definitely going on my to do list!

  • TommyBakerBoy
    February 28, 2009

    I just whipped a batch – nice and easy. My wife is craving Cbuns and bought horrible store bought that tasted like tolet paper rolls that fell on the floor of a dirty cinnamon sugar manufacturing facility. The smell is driving me batty! I forgot what this smell does to men……I am now hoping they turn out good so that I can spread them all over my wife after the kids go to bed tonight!!!!!

  • Amy
    March 15, 2009

    ** stars
    Tastes more like a flat bread poured with a mixture of brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Nothing extraordinary. My kitchen smelled like a the traditional, small sugar mills in the Carribean. Will not bake this again.

  • keg
    June 21, 2009

    overall good, quick, and easy, but found it to be waaaaaaaaay too sweet. i would halve the amount of brown sugar in the filling next time. i did halve the amount of icing, which worked fine, but it was still too sweet.

  • Diane
    June 27, 2009

    I’m sorry to say that this recipe didn’t work for me. The dough didn’t rise at all and the finished product was very dense and chewy. Not like a cake/bread at all.

  • joyce
    August 27, 2009

    hi. thanks for the recipe. tried this today.
    very easy to do and nice.
    except mine turned out to be more cakey…the consistency is more like a cake than a bun bread…but still turned out very nice.
    it is a little bit too sweet for me…i will reduce the brown sugar next time….

    thanks again.

  • Heather
    November 19, 2009

    These were great! They tasted just like a cinnamon roll. My girls and I bake them this morning and they are half gone ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for an easy and tasty recipe!

  • Crystal
    November 23, 2009

    Just made this, It smells delicious and it’s killing me to wait for it to cool, I just want to eat it already. I have a very hot over so I baked it a 325 for 25 mins and it looks perfect!!!

  • Fiona
    January 21, 2010

    I made these yesterday and they turned out great! My boyfriend and even my picky sister loved them. ๐Ÿ™‚ I let the dough rise for around 30 minutes more than what the recipe stated because it didn’t rise enough after only 15 minutes, and it worked well. I also found that I had a lot of excess topping, which I saved to make this a second time! ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, this was especially good served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Lori Delgado
    January 24, 2010

    I just made this and it is AWESOME and super yummy!!! I let the dough rest for the recommended 15 min but it didn’t rise. Is it supposed to after that short time? I thought they were still so yummy!!

  • Misty
    June 3, 2010

    Very quick and easy but too sweet for my taste and more cakey/biscuity than I would have expected.

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