Craving cinnamon rolls but don't want a full dozen? Make these Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls for a pan of fresh baked, soft & fluffy cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting that is perfect for a lazy Saturday morning.

An overhead image of a small batch of cinnamon rolls in a round pan.


Table of Contents
  1. Why You'll Love Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls
  2. Recipe Ingredients
  3. How to Make Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch
  4. Recipe FAQ's
  5. Storage Instructions
  6. Freezing Instructions
  7. Tips for Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls
  8. More Small Batch Baking Recipes
  9. Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls Recipe Recipe

My family loves cinnamon rolls but there are only four of us, so sometimes I don't want to make a full batch of our favorite homemade cinnamon rolls. These small batch cinnamon rolls are perfect for us instead and now I don't have to do the math to halve the batch of cinnamon roll dough every time.

This still makes 6 cinnamon rolls, but that's a much more manageable amount to enjoy before they start going stale. And you have to option to make them extra ooey-gooey Cinnabon-style by pouring heavy cream over the cinnamon rolls before they bake. It's the secret to the viral TikTok cinnamon rolls that have become one of the most popular recipes on my site. Or skip the cream and enjoy these light and fluffy classic cinnamon rolls with the perfect cinnamon roll icing that has just a hint of cream cheese.

Love making sweet yeast breads? Be sure to also try our Hot Cross Buns, Deborah's Knotted Orange Rolls, and Apple Cinnamon Rolls.

Why You'll Love Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

  • Make Ahead Option. You can prep these the night before, stick them in the fridge, then pop them in the oven first thing in the morning.
  • Perfectly Balanced Flavors. I'm super picky about my cinnamon rolls. These have just the right amount of cinnamon and the cream cheese frosting is actually lighter on the cream cheese than other cinnamon roll frosting recipes, which can be overwhelming to my tastes.
  • Make 6 or 4 cinnamon rolls. I shape these into 6 normal-sized cinnamon rolls, but you could easily do just 4 jumbo cinnamon rolls if you prefer.

Recipe Ingredients

  • All-purpose Flour - I prefer using unbleached all-purpose flour.
  • Active Dry Yeast - This kind of yeast needs to be proofed in warm water until foamy before using. You can also use instant yeast and skip the proving step, if you prefer.
  • Warm Water - The water should be about 110°F so it doesn't kill the yeast.
  • Milk - I recommend using whole milk for baking. You can warm it in the microwave for 20-25 seconds, but don't get it too hot.
  • Sugar - You will need granulated sugar for both the cinnamon roll dough and the cinnamon sugar filling, as well as brown sugar for the filling and powdered sugar for the cream cheese frosting.
  • Egg - One large egg adds chewiness and richness to the cinnamon roll dough.
  • Vanilla Extract - Adds flavor, body, and depth to the cinnamon roll dough.
  • Ground Cinnamon - You can't really make cinnamon rolls without this key ingredient.
  • Salt - This important ingredients helps things taste better and keeps the dough from being bland.
  • Cream Cheese - It's not a lot of cream cheese, but it adds a hint of tanginess to the icing without being overpowering.
  • Cornstarch - I like adding a little cornstarch to my cinnamon roll filling to help make it a little more gooey.
  • Salted Butter - You will need this for the dough, the filling, and the frosting.
Ingredients for small batch cinnamon rolls.

How to Make Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch

  1. Proof the yeast. Start by combining the warm water in a large mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Give it a little stir, then let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast gets foamy. If the yeast doesn't foam up and bubble a bit, it's probably old and you should get some new yeast and start over.

If you are using instant yeast, you can skip the part about proofing the yeast and just proceed with the rest of the recipe.

  1. Combine ingredients. Once the yeast is foamy, go ahead and add the rest of the sugar, warm milk, egg, salt, melted butter, vanilla extract, and about half of the flour. Stir or mix together well to combine. You can make this in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment for this part before switching to the dough hook to knead, but you can also do this by hand.
  1. Add remaining flour and knead. Dump the rest of the flour into the dough and continue to mix together until it forms a ball. Knead the ball with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes or turn it out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 5-8 minutes until pretty smooth and not too sticky. You may need to add a little extra flour if kneading by hand to keep it from sticking too much to the surface you are kneading the dough on.
Adding more flour to cinnamon roll dough.
  1. Rise. Shape the dough into a ball then place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
  1. Make filling. In another bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon and cornstarch. Stir with a fork until evenly distributed and the texture of wet sand.
  2. Roll out dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a large rectangle that is roughly 9x12-inches.
  1. Slice and roll up. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over the dough. Slice into six even strips, then roll each strip up to make a cinnamon roll. You could also roll the whole thing into a log and then slice into 6 cinnamon rolls using a sharp serrated knife, unflavored dental floss, or a thread, but lately I have been enjoying this strip approach. Both work well.
  1. Rise. Transfer to shaped sweet rolls the pan, spacing them evenly around the pan with one in the center. (This is the point to cover the buns with plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge overnight if you want to make them ahead.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 45-60 minutes until puffy. Preheat the oven while the rolls are rising.
  2. Bake. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 22 to 26 minutes in a 375 degrees F oven until golden brown.

PRO TIP: For extra gooey Cinnabon-style cinnamon rolls, drizzle ⅓ cup heavy cream over the rolls just before baking. This is totally optional but it makes them more like my popular viral TikTok Cinnamon Rolls.

  1. Make the cinnamon roll icing. While the cinnamon rolls bake, combine softened butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat until creamy and smooth, only adding the additional milk as needed to get the consistency that you like.
  1. Frost. Once the cinnamon rolls are done, let them cool for at least 5-10 minutes before icing them with the cinnamon roll frosting. I like to do this while they are still quite warm so it will sort of melt down into the cinnamon rolls a bit. Enjoy!
An image of frosted cinnamon rolls in a pan.

Recipe FAQ's

Can I use a different size pan?

I use an 8-inch cake pan, but a 9-inch pan, a pie pan, or a square baking pan will all work. 

Can these be made ahead the night before?

Yes, you can make this recipe through shaping the cinnamon rolls, then stick them in the fridge for a slow rise overnight. Pull them out in the morning and let them sit on the counter for about an hour to come up to temperature and get puffy before baking like normal.

How do I make these cinnamon rolls in under 1 hour?

If you want to speed up the process, you can increase the yeast to 1 Tablespoon. More yeast will mean a faster rise time and you can knead, then let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes while prepping the filling. It won't rise a ton in that time, but it gives the dough enough time to rest that you can roll it out and shape the rolls pretty well. Let the shaped rolls rise for another 15-20 minutes while preheating the oven, then bake like normal. They might not be quite as light and fluffy, but you'll have cinnamon rolls in a lot less time!

How can I make a maple icing for these cinnamon rolls?

I have found that for the best maple flavor for cinnamon roll icing, you want to add maple extract (anywhere from ½ teaspoon to 1 full teaspoon, depending on how strong you want the maple flavor to be) instead of maple syrup, which isn't concentrated enough to do much without adding quite a bit.

Storage Instructions

If you have leftover cinnamon rolls, let them cool completely then store in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm them in the microwave for a few seconds before enjoying to refresh them a bit.

Freezing Instructions

You can freeze cinnamon rolls for up to 2 months. Let them thaw on the counter and warm in the microwave before enjoying.

You can also prepare the dough all the way through shaping the cinnamon rolls, then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 3-4 hours. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. To bake, place the frozen rolls into the pan and let thaw and rise covered loosely with plastic wrap for 4-6 hours until puffy before baking and frosting like normal. The frosting can even be made and frozen as well. Just freeze in a freezer-safe ziploc bag, then thaw in the fridge or on the counter. Knead the bag with your hands until smooth, then snip off a corner and pipe the icing onto the cinnamon rolls.

Tips for Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

  • Make sure to measure your ingredients properly. I always give weights in addition to cups because you will get the most accurate results that way. But I'm also aware that most American bakers still use cups, which I why I always test and write my recipes both ways.
  • Don't overbake. If your cinnamon rolls are coming out less gooey and more dry, the biggest culprit is usually overbaking, followed closely by adding too much flour to the dough.
An overhead image of a cinnamon roll on a plate.

More Small Batch Baking Recipes

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Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Amy Nash
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 22 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Craving cinnamon rolls but don't want a full dozen? Make these Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls for a pan of fresh baked, soft & fluffy cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting that is perfect for a lazy Saturday morning.

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • ¼ cup warm water (110°F)
  • ¼ cup warm milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon for the yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g) + extra for rolling

Filling

  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Frosting

  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon maple extract (optional for maple cinnamon roll icing)

Instructions
 

  • Start by combining the warm water in a large mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Give it a little stir, then let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast gets foamy. If the yeast doesn't foam up and bubble a bit, it's probably old and you should get some new yeast and start over.
  • Once the yeast is foamy, go ahead and add the rest of the sugar, warm milk, egg, salt, melted butter, vanilla extract, and about half of the flour. Stir or mix together well to combine. You can make this in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment for this part before switching to the dough hook to knead, but you can also do this by hand.
  • Dump the rest of the flour into the dough and continue to mix together until it forms a ball. Knead the ball with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes or turn it out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 5-8 minutes until pretty smooth and not too sticky. You may need to add a little extra flour if kneading by hand to keep it from sticking too much to the surface you are kneading the dough on.
  • Shape the dough into a ball then place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
  • In another bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon and cornstarch. Stir with a fork until evenly distributed and the texture of wet sand.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a large rectangle that is roughly 9x12 inches.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over the dough. Slice into six even strips, then roll each strip up to make a cinnamon roll. You could also roll the whole thing into a log and then slice into 6 cinnamon rolls using a sharp serrated knife, unflavored dental floss, or a thread, but lately I have been enjoying this strip approach. Both work well.
  • Transfer to shaped cinnamon rolls to an 8-inch round pan that has been sprayed with baking spray, spacing them evenly around the pan with one in the center. (This is the point to cover the cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge overnight if you want to make them ahead.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes until puffy. Preheat the oven to 375°F while the rolls are rising.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 22 to 26 minutes until golden brown.
  • Make the frosting by beating the softened butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and just enough of the milk to make a smooth, spreadable icing.
  • Let the cinnamon rolls cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before frosting with the icing. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Storage: If you have leftover cinnamon rolls, let them cool completely then store in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm them in the microwave for a few seconds before enjoying to refresh them a bit.
  • Freezing Baked Cinnamon Rolls: You can freeze cinnamon rolls for up to 2 months. Let them thaw on the counter and warm in the microwave before enjoying.
  • Freezing Dough Before Baking: You can also prepare the dough all the way through shaping the cinnamon rolls, then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 3-4 hours. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. To bake, place the frozen rolls into the pan and let thaw and rise covered loosely with plastic wrap for 4-6 hours until puffy before baking and frosting like normal. The frosting can even be made and frozen as well. Just freeze in a freezer-safe ziploc bag, then thaw in the fridge or on the counter. Knead the bag with your hands until smooth, then snip off a corner and pipe the icing onto the cinnamon rolls.
  • Pecan Sticky Buns: Use the same dough and filling recipe. For the pecan topping, add 1 cup roughly chopped pecans to the bottom of the prepared pan. In another bowl, whisk ⅓ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup melted, salted butter, 3 Tablespoons light corn syrup, ¼ teaspoon salt, 3 Tablespoons heavy cream, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract until combined, then pour over the pecans. Nestle the shaped rolls on top of the caramel pecan topping before letting the rise and bake like normal. Wait 5 minutes before inverting the pan of sticky buns onto a plate.

Nutrition

Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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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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