This post was created as in partnership with Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Softly spiced Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are made with a sweet and smoky molasses infused dough and a gingerbread filling that make them a festive holiday breakfast treat. Ice them with a tangy cream cheese frosting for a delicious take on a familiar favorite.

If you are looking for more fun, seasonal breakfast ideas, be sure to also check out my Christmas Star Bread, Christmas Tree Crepes with Gingerbread Spice Whipped Cream.

A gingerbread cinnamon roll on a white plate.

You really can't go wrong with big, soft cinnamon rolls for a special breakfast. But making them gingerbread cinnamon rolls takes them to a whole other level of warm spices and cozy holiday feelings.

We LOVE gingerbread in all its spicy-sweet forms, whether that's Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men Cookies, Gingerbread Cupcakes, or just the aroma of a Gingerbread House decorated with candy.

Why this Recipe Works

  • If you've made cinnamon rolls before, you will have no trouble with this wonderful enriched dough. It's made with molasses and spices so the gingerbread flavor carries through the entire sweet rolls rather than just relying on the filling.
  • The icing is simple to whip up with just enough cream cheese to offset the sweetness.
  • You can make them the night before and let them rise overnight in the fridge so all you have to do in the morning is pop them in the oven to bake.

Ingredient Notes

  • Molasses: You want light or dark unsulphured molasses, which is commonly found in the baking aisle. Just don't use blackstrap molasses, which is less sweet and has more of a bitter flavor to it than regular molasses.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works just great for these cinnamon rolls, although you could also use bread flour for a chewier texture.
  • Spices: I used traditional gingerbread spices like equal parts cinnamon and ground ginger with nutmeg and cloves to give these rolls just the right amount of spice.
Ingredients for making gingerbread cinnamon rolls.

How to Make This Recipe

Start by proofing the yeast in a little warm water with some sugar. This helps the yeast to wake up and after five minutes you will notice it is bubbly and ready to go. If you prefer to use instant yeast, you can use the same amount called for the in the recipe and skip this step of letting it prove.

Yeast proofing in a bowl.

Add eggs, melted butter, molasses, and spices into a large bowl for mixing, along with the proved yeast and 1 cup of the flour. Beat well with the paddle attachment until smooth, or mix by hand with a wooden spoon.

Continue adding the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, switching to the dough hook to knead until a soft, smooth dough forms. It will be fairly slack and sticky, so I like to finish it off by scraping it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and kneading by hand for the last minute or two until it is still very soft but can be handled.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat, then cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour.

Kneaded gingerbread enriched dough for cinnamon rolls.

While the dough rises, make the gingerbread filling by combining molasses, spices, brown sugar, and melted butter in a bowl to form a spicy-sweet spread.

Mixing molasses, sugar, and spices for gingerbread cinnamon roll filling.

When the dough is puffy and risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and pat or roll into a large rectangular shape. Spread evenly with the gingerbread filling, then roll up into a tight log from the long side, just like with regular cinnamon rolls. Use clean floss, thread or a sharp serrated knife to slice the log into 12 evenly-sized rolls.

Transfer the rolls to a 9x13-inch baking dish the has first been sprayed with some baking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30-60 minutes until puffy, then bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes until done.

Make the icing by beating softened butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then adding powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and enough cream until it is a spreadable consistency. I like to top the cinnamon rolls while they are still warm so that the frosting sort of melts on top and down into the crevices of the rolls.

A pan full of homemade cinnamon rolls topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Find the FULL RECIPE on Imperial Sugar's site.

Recipe Tips

  • Freezing: Cinnamon rolls freeze best when they haven't been topped with frosting first. This is because the frosting sort of melts into the rolls as they thaw. However, you can make the icing and freeze it in a separate Ziploc bag along with the cooled and frozen cinnamon rolls, then thaw both on the counter before warming the gingerbread cinnamon rolls in the microwave or oven and topping them with the frosting.
  • Adjusting spices: If you feel like the rolls have too much spice, you can always adjust down (or up if you want MORE spice). I think they are just right with a bold gingerbread flavor that isn't overpowering.
  • Eggnog cream cheese icing: If you love to combine the flavors of gingerbread and eggnog, try adding ½ teaspoon of rum extract and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to your icing before frosting the gingerbread cinnamon rolls.
  • Citrus addition: We also like gingerbread with a citrus twist, which can be added here by adding the zest of 1 orange to the icing.

Be sure to stop by Imperial Sugar’s site for the FULL RECIPE! I have partnered with them now for a few years and love their products for my baking needs!

More Special Breakfast Recipes

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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