These gooey cinnamon rolls are a Christmas Morning tradition at our house.
But – these perfect soft and cinnamon-y rolls of deliciousness don’t have t be just for the holidays. How about just happy Saturday! Or brunch? Everyone loves a lazy weekend brunch. Who can say no to sticky cinnamon rolls smothered with cream cheese icing?
At our house, Christmas Eve dinner was usually the big holiday dinner.
Christmas Eve dinner always included a big batch of my Aunt Donna’s rolls. These rolls are famous in our family – and in a little town in Illinois where another one of my aunts, My Aunt Marilyn, is the owner of several restaurants where these rolls are proudly featured.
Why am I talking about these dinner rolls in a cinnamon roll post? Stay with me. It’ll all make sense in a minute.
For Christmas Eve dinner my mom always makes a batch of my Aunt Donna’s dinner rolls.
As she was making the rolls she would always take some of the dough and make Christmas morning cinnamon rolls. It only takes a few extra minutes to roll out some dough and add the butter, cinnamon and sugar. Then just cut them into 16 rolls and put the into a greased baking pan. The pre-prepped cinnamon rolls are then covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
In the morning while we were all opening presents, my mom would take the rolls out of the fridge and preheat the oven. While the oven was preheating, the rolls would have a chance to rise (this usually takes about 40 minutes). She would bake them and we would scarf them down in the afterglow of tearing through all of our presents. What a special holiday memory.
Moms are great!
Now that I am one myself I realize how much work and effort goes into all of these special holiday memories. They don’t just make themselves! Thankfully these rolls can be an easy addition to your holiday plans. Maybe they will even be part of your family’s special memories as well. Just imagine the cinnamon-y baked goodness of these babies baking in the oven.
I baked a half batch of cinnamon rolls for this post.
This worked out perfectly since I was also working on the post for my Aunt Donna’s Dinner rolls. Much like my mother does on Christmas eve, I made a full batch of rolls and then took half of the dough to create some dinner rolls. For our small family, on a non-holiday weekend, this left the perfect amount of dough for the cinnamon rolls above.
What is a gooey cinnamon roll without cream cheese icing?
This perfect cream cheese icing is delicious! It’s rich and creamy without being too sweet. I use this same cream cheese icing for everything that calls for it. It’s good on carrot cake, and on the glass shard cupcakes I make at Halloween. [Not to worry, we will be sharing the cupcake recipe, too! Keep your eyes open for it.]
I may have put a little too much icing on the rolls in the photo above, but who’s complaining?
The cinnamon rolls above were just out of the oven and still warm when I photographed them, so the icing kept melting off. [That’s my excuse for using so much – and I’m sticking to it!] Feel free to use as much or as little icing as you want. If you only like a little bit of icing you could easily halve the amounts noted in the recipe.
I know you will enjoy these easy gooey cinnamon rolls. The best part is, both elements of this recipe are true keepers. The cream cheese icing is one I pull out all the time. And of course, the basic roll recipe is a family favorite.
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Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
The best cinnamon roll that you will ever have in your life. No kidding!
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ cup melted butter
- 2 ¼ tsp yeast 1 packet
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour plus more if needed
- ½ cup butter softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 oz butter softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp heavy cream or half and half
Using a stand mixer, beat eggs until fluffy and light yellow.
Add sugar and beat again.
Add butter and beat again.
Add salt, water, and yeast. Beat again.
Switch to a dough hook.
Add half of the flour and mix until just incorporated.
Add the remainder of the flour. Beat until dough comes together. Dough will be soft.
If dough is too sticky add a little bit more flour.
Put dough in an oiled bowl. and cover with a clean towel. Let rise until doubled in size. (About 2 hours.)
Punch down and roll out 9 x 13 inch rectangle, on a lightly floured surface.
Spread softened butter on the rolled out dough. Leave a ½ inch space at the top unbuttered so it can seal when rolled.
Sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon and then roll up into a jelly roll shape.
Cut into 16 rolls. Make them even by cutting the large roll in half, then the 2 remaining rolls in half, then half each of those 4 halves in half, and so on.
Place in a 9 x 13 inch cake pan and cover with a towel. Let rise for 2 hours.
Bake at 425℉ for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy.
Add sugar, vanilla, and cream.
Spread on warm cinnamon rolls.
Make Ahead: Make these the night before and have them ready in the morning.
To make these cinnamon rolls the night before, cut the cinnamon rolls and place them into a pre-greased cake pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. In the morning, take them out of the refrigerator to rise. Preheat oven to 425 ℉.
Pro tip: I usually place a kitchen towel over them and place the cake pan on top of my oven while it is preheating. The warmth of the oven heating up allows them to rise pretty quickly.
Variations: Add 1 cup or so of chopped nuts to turn these cinnamon rolls into sweet and sticky pecan rolls.