My Homemade Apple Cinnamon Rolls are made with a soft yeast dough, an easy filling made with fresh, crisp apples, and simple vanilla glaze for the fluffiest, gooey cinnamon cinnamon rolls that are filled with fall flavor. The cinnamon-sugar mixture combined with the juicy diced apples creates an irresistible filling that perfectly complements the soft and fluffy cinnamon roll dough!
Table of Contents
The history of cinnamon rolls is deeply rooted in Scandinavian countries, but the addition of apple filling takes this classic treat to an entirely new level of deliciousness. With heavenly sweet icing on top of homemade cinnamon roll dough filled with sweet apples, this easy recipe is a delight and perfect for the fall season.
This apple cinnamon roll recipe combines the yeasted dough of traditional homemade cinnamon rolls with the sweet and tart flavors of apple pie filling. It's perfect for this time of year when apples are in their prime, but you can enjoy it any time of year!
There's nothing better on a cool day than the warm aroma of apple cinnamon filling your kitchen as you pull out a pan of freshly baked Apple Cinnamon Rolls!
Why We Love This Recipe
- This recipe is so versatile, it's perfect for all kinds of occasions—whether it's a casual weekend brunch, an impressive dish to bring to a holiday gathering or a special treat to enjoy on a cozy night in.
- It's a great recipe to make with the kids. They'll love rolling the dough or even mixing the apple filling.
- Customize this recipe to suit your personal tastes. Use Honeycrisp apples instead of Granny Smith apples, or add some caramel sauce to the filling or maple extract to the icing for an even more indulgent twist!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Flour - Use all-purpose flour for the cinnamon roll dough. You could use bread flour for a slightly chewier texture if you prefer.
- Instant Dry Yeast - Instant yeast will help your dough rise, making it soft and fluffy. Active dry yeast can be used as a substitute but might require a little longer to rise.
- Granulated Sugar - Adds just the right amount of sweetness to the dough as well as keeping it moist and balances the tartness of the apples in the filling.
- Salt - Enhances all of the flavors and balances the sweetness.
- Apples - Choose a mix of sweet and tart apples like Granny Smith and Honeycrisp for a balanced flavor. Pink Lady and Envy apples are some of our other favorites.
- Light Brown Sugar - Adds a deep sweetness and slight molasses flavor to the apple filling.
- Ground Cinnamon - Gives the rolls their classic, warm cinnamon flavor.
- Cornstarch - Helps to thicken the apple filling while baking and makes it soft and gooey.
- Butter - Use salted butter to add richness and moisture to the filling, and also to make the icing.
- Powdered Sugar - Creates a smooth and sweet base for the frosting.
- Milk - For thinning out the icing. You can substitute heavy cream for a richer texture.
- Vanilla Extract - Adds a hint of warm, sweet vanilla flavor to the icing.
How to Make Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Combine the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add milk and eggs. Warm the milk to about 110ºF degrees by heating it in the microwave for 20–30 seconds. Add the warmed milk to the flour mixture along with the beaten egg.
- Knead the dough. Turn the mixer to 2 and mix until combined. Continue mixing to knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl as it kneads, but still be tacky. If the dough is overly sticky, add a small amount of flour to reach the desired consistency. When the dough is done kneading, remove the bowl from the mixing and dough hook and shape it into a ball.
- Let the dough rise. Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled in size. This should take 1-2 hours, depending on your kitchen temperature.
- Combine the filling ingredients. While the dough is rising, combine the chopped apples, ground cinnamon, granulated sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. No need to cook the filling on the stovetop - the apples will soften plenty in the oven while the cinnamon rolls bake.
- Mix filling. Stir until the apples are evenly coated with the sugar, cornstarch, and spices.
- Make butter-brown sugar mix. Melt the butter in a small pan, and stir in the brown sugar just until dissolved. Be careful not to burn the mixture.
- Roll out the dough. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and roll it out into a roughly 10x10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
- Spread butter-sugar mixture. Spread the butter and brown sugar mixture on the rolled-out dough to within about ½ an inch of the edges.
- Add apple filling. Sprinkle the apple filling over the top.
- Roll it up. Roll the dough carefully into a tight log, starting from one of the long sides and pinching the ends together.
- Slice it up. Slice the log into 1-1 ¼ inch sections with a sharp, serrated knife.
- Put rolls in a pan. Arrange the rolls in a greased 9x9 or round baking pan, and loosely cover them with plastic wrap or a clean cloth.
- Let the rolls rise, then bake. Allow the rolls to rise for 30–45 minutes until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350ºF while the rolls are rising. Bake rolls for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Combine icing ingredients. Combine the icing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Mix icing. Mix the icing ingredients together until smooth. Add more milk as needed to get the icing to the right consistency.
- Remove rolls. Remove the rolls from the oven when ready and let them cool for 15 minutes before adding the frosting. If the rolls are too warm when you frost them, the frosting will melt. This is fine for a melty glaze, but not for frosting.
- Frost the rolls. Spread the icing over the baked rolls and serve!
Yes! Use store-bought apple pie filling to save some time if you need it. The taste of homemade apple filling is so delicious, though, that you might want to make the extra time for it!
Using fresh yeast and allowing enough time for both rise times is the best way to achieve soft, fluffy rolls.
Absolutely! You can let the dough rise in the fridge overnight to save you some time the next day. Just make sure to bring it back to room temperature before continuing with the next step.
For a dairy-free version, you can substitute the milk with almond milk or any other plant-based milk and use a dairy-free butter substitute in both the filling and the icing.
You can use a classic Cream Cheese Frosting, or try making a simple glaze with powdered sugar and lemon juice, a Homemade Vanilla Buttercream Cream Cheese Frosting, or even a Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce for extra indulgence.
Store your apple cinnamon rolls in an airtight container to keep them fresh for as long as possible on the counter, if they haven't yet been frosted. If they're topped with icing, you'll need to store them in the refrigerator, and they will last for up to a week when refrigerated. Be sure to warm them up in the oven before serving to get that perfect, gooey texture back. Once they have completely cooled down, place the rolls in the container and seal it tightly. This will help maintain their soft texture and rich flavor for up to two days at room temperature.
If you find yourself with more rolls than you can consume in a couple of days, you can freeze them to enjoy later. It's also a great way to prepare for the holidays! Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap, and then place them all in a zip-top bag or another airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. When you're ready to enjoy one, just thaw it at room temperature and warm it up a bit in the oven for that freshly baked taste.
Tips for Success
- Using instant dry yeast is easiest for making these rolls. However, if you're using active dry yeast, make sure your milk mixture is at the right temperature (around 110ºF) and stir the yeast into the warm milk in a separate bowl and let it sit for about 5 minutes until puffy to activate the yeast. A yeast mixture that's too hot or too cold can lead to flat, dense rolls.
- For a balanced, slightly tart filling, consider using a mixture of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples. These varieties bring both sweetness and tartness, making your apple cinnamon rolls irresistibly complex in flavor.
- While a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment makes kneading effortless, you can still achieve great results with a hand mixer and a paddle attachment, or even just a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Just be prepared to spend a little more time and effort if you're not using a stand mixer.
What do I Serve with Apple Cinnamon Rolls?
Nothing complements the rich, warm flavors of apple cinnamon rolls quite like a glass of cold milk. If you’re serving these rolls during the colder months, consider pairing them with some of my Homemade Apple Cider or this Apple Cider for an extra apple kick. The whole family is sure to love this cozy combination!
If you're serving these apple cinnamon rolls for brunch or holiday gatherings, think about offering some savory options to balance the sweetness. Sides like Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, or even a Fruit and Cheese Platter work well. They'll provide contrasting flavors that will make the sweet, gooey rolls even more enjoyable!
To take the indulgence to the next level, add a dollop of Homemade Whipped Cream or a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on top. It turns your cinnamon rolls into a decadent dessert that will be the talk of any gathering.
Substitutions and Variations
- Change the flour. You can also use bread flour for a chewier texture. To make these rolls gluten-free, a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix can also be used.
- Use other sweeteners. Use coconut sugar or maple syrup instead of sugar if you prefer, but adjustments may be needed for liquid content.
- Change the milk. Any kind of milk will work well here. Try almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk for a dairy-free option.
- Try different spices. Cinnamon adds warmth and a classic spiced flavor to the filling, but you could try nutmeg, cardamom, or allspice for a different twist.
- Use other extracts. Try maple extract, almond extract, or even lemon juice instead of vanilla (you might want to use half of the amount to start) to add a different flavor to the icing.
More Fresh Apple Recipes
- German Apple Cake with Streusel Topping (Apfelkuchen mit Streusel)
- Homemade Apple Chips in the Air Fryer
- German Apple Strudel
- No Bake Caramel Apple Eclair Cake
- Homemade Apple Fritters
- Crockpot Apple Butter
- No-Bake Caramel Apple Eclair Cake
- Apple Crisp
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Homemade Apple Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- 1½ teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 1 cup)
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter, melted
For the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and stir to combine.
- Warm the milk to about 110ºF degrees by heating it in the microwave for 20–30 seconds. Add the warmed milk, softened butter, and beaten egg to the flour mixture.
- Turn the mixer to 2 and mix until combined. Continue mixing to knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl as it kneads but still be tacky. If the dough is overly sticky, add a small amount of flour to reach the desired consistency.
- When dough is done kneading, remove bowl from mixer and dough hook, shape into a ball, cover, and let rise until doubled in size. This should take 1-2 hours, depending on your kitchen temperature.
For the Filling
- While the dough is rising, combine the apple filling ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Melt the butter in a small pan, and stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Be careful not to burn the mixture.
- When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and roll it out into a 10x10-inch rectangle.
- Spread the butter-brown sugar mixture on the rolled-out dough to within about ½ an inch of the edges. Sprinkle the apple filling over the top.
- Roll up the dough and slice it into 1-1¼ inch sections with a sharp, serrated knife.
- Arrange in a greased 9x9 or round baking pan, and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth. Allow the rolls to rise for 30–45 minutes until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350ºF while the rolls are rising.
- Bake rolls for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. While the rolls cool, combine the icing ingredients. Once cooled, spread the icing over the baked rolls and serve!
- Store: Store your apple cinnamon rolls in an airtight container on the counter if they haven't been frosted. If they're topped with icing, you'll need to store them in the refrigerator, and they will last for up to a week when refrigerated.
- Freeze: Freeze the rolls by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap, then place them all in a zip-top bag or another airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. When you're ready to enjoy one, just thaw it at room temperature and warm it up a bit in the oven for that freshly baked taste.