web analytics

Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns

As far as I can tell, the difference between a cinnamon roll and a cinnamon bun is that the latter has some sort of icing, while the former does not. I find this to be somewhat akin to the difference between cupcakes and muffins. While there are plenty of roll recipes, many bun recipes seem to be for “sticky buns”. Now I like a bit of icing, but I don’t like something that I am expected to eat with my hands to be terribly gooey. A little gooey and we can talk…

Easter brunch is a good occasion for cinnamon buns because they can be served at room temperature. Of course they’re best warm, but no one wants to slave over a hot stove making waffles or pancakes when they could be outside enjoying a gorgeous LA morning with friends. At least, I don’t.

I was going for a basic recipe to create a bun that was rich enough, but not so rich that you couldn’t have two. Though I enjoy kneading bread, it isn’t necessary because this recipe uses an electric mixer. I didn’t measure the cinnamon or brown sugar, just sprinkled them directly from their containers until the rough was covered. When I sliced the logs, I threw out the end pieces that didn’t have much cinnamon and were uneven. If I were better at rolling out the dough, I definitely could have gotten a couple more buns out of the recipe.

I really loved these. Sweet, cinnamon-y and just sticky enough to give you something to lick off your fingers. The dough didn’t taste quite as rich as a brioche, but still had a feathery crumb and a nice rich taste. This recipe is a keeper! I think that they’re best slightly warm.

These can be kept at room temperature, well wrapped, or frozen. Reheat them in the microwave if you prefer your buns warm and slightly sticky.

Cinnamon Buns
1/2 cup water, warmed
2 tsp sugar
2 packets active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter, softened
5 1/2-6 cups flour

Combine first three ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let stand for 10 minutes, until yeast is foamy.
Add milk, eggs, salt, sugar, butter and 3 cups of flour. Mix until well incorporated and smooth. Add 2 more cups of flour. Mix until smooth. Add any remaining flour in smaller increments until dough comes together and away from the sides of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky, but very smooth.
Form dough into a ball and place in greased, covered bowl to rise until doubled, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

3-4 tbsp milk
Brown sugar
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.
Coat two 9×13 glass baking dishes with cooking spray or butter.
Remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
Divide dough in two and roll each piece out into (roughly) a 10×14 inch rectangle. Brush each rectangle with milk, dust throughly with cinnamon and top with brown sugar. Sprinkle with raisins, if desired. Roll in a jelly-roll fashion beginning at a short end. Pinch seam shut. Repeat for second rectangle.
Slice logs at 1 inch intervals and place rounds in the baking dish so they are just touching.
Bake 15-20 minutes at 400F, until tops are golden brown.
Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut apart and drizzle with glaze.
Makes about 20 buns.

Quick and Easy Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Enough milk to form a pourable consistency
Stir ingredients until smooth with a fork. Drizzle over cinnamon buns.

Share this article

  • Steven C. Karoly
    April 9, 2005

    I’ve always used the two terms interchangeably. Growing up in Navy food service, we called them cinnamon rolls. I suspect it was that way because they looked like rolls. I looked up the official recipe for the military — they’re still called “rolls.”

    Cinnamon rolls/buns can be produced two ways. When I ran a bakery shift at a large Calif. prison, we rolled the dough into 5 to 6-inch logs and cut them into individual rolls. Each roll was baked or fried (depending on the formula) as an individual pastry.

    You’ve made them into more of a bun, according to the picture. This is the way we baked them onboard ships in the Navy. 48 to 54 fit on a large sheet pan (18×26-inches). The rolls (or buns) are tall and much narrower than the rolls we baked at the prison. They rise up with support from neighboring buns.

    I’m not sure that icing is a function of the name. I’ve always iced rolls, regardless of the final form.

  • Nic
    April 9, 2005

    Thanks, Steven. I’ve always wondered how they got to be called rolls in some instances and buns in others. When you fry them, aren’t they called honey buns? Or is that just some manufacturers brand name for a fried cinnamon roll?

  • Steven C. Karoly
    April 9, 2005

    That may be a brand name. We still called them cinnamon rolls when they were fried.

  • Anonymous
    August 11, 2005

    I found that instead of cutting the
    dough with a knife once it is rolled up. Take dental floss and wrap it around the log and cross it at the top and pull the ends.
    this makes a clean cut,no need to flatten the cinnamon bun log.

  • Nic
    August 11, 2005

    That is a good tip. Just make sure not to use mint dental floss! =)

  • Anonymous
    September 7, 2006


    I have searched for a “perfect” cinnamon roll. I think this recipe might be it. Thank you for taking the time to post your blog. I really enjoy it!

  • Anonymous
    September 14, 2006

    im from Australia. How much does 2 packets of yeast weigh in gms, Nic? Im dying to try out ur cinnamon buns recipe cos they look absolutely scrumptious!!

  • Anonymous
    September 22, 2006


    1 packet of yeast = 2 1/4 tsp OR 8 grams

    I hope this helps.

    To everyone thanks for your reviews. I’ve always wanted to try making cinnamon buns, and I think I found the perfect recipe.

  • Anonymous
    September 26, 2006

    This is the first time I have ever seen cinnamon buns made with using milk and not butter when you are putting the cinnamon on. Interesting will give it a try.

  • visitor
    June 30, 2007

    ive got a great recipe for making scrolls or rolls as you call it. it doesnt require yeast and doesnt take long to prepare. you can use any filling you like..cinnamon…vegemite..nutella..anything.

  • Tiptoe Shortbread
    September 23, 2007

    Just made these – DIVINE!!! love cinnamon so they are the perfect bun/roll for me

  • Teresa
    December 14, 2014

    These buns/rolls are absolutely perfect and the dough is so easy to work with. I know I have made them several times before posting this message, so now I’m posting to say thanks very much for this recipe. It is now my go to recipe each December when I make buns to take to the guys at my neighborhood Exxon station. They look after me all year round, so I like to take them treats from time to time.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *