Sweet Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Let's be honest: Of all the sweet treats in the world, a cinnamon roll is one of the most mouthwatering and desirable ones out there. The warmth and cinnamon flavor of the roll combined with gooey, decadent cream cheese frosting is a winning combination for even the pickiest of eaters, making cinnamon rolls a timeless go-to treat for both breakfast and dessert. "One or the best parts of making cinnamon rolls is that they make the entire house smell super nice and makes everyone excited and happy," chef and recipe developer Tommy Leung from HakkoBako explains of the irresistible treat.

Thanks to Leung's sourdough cinnamon roll recipe, you can enjoy the classic treat with the elevated bonus of making your rolls from scratch. Though it may be tempting to buy a can of cinnamon rolls from the store, this sourdough cinnamon roll recipe is surprisingly easy and will ensure that each and every bite has that incomparable homemade taste. This recipe does call for some ready-to-go sourdough starter, so if you have some sitting in your refrigerator and a little extra time on your hands, give this recipe a try for a decadent, unbeatable take on classic cinnamon rolls. 

Before you get started, note that these are pretty simple and quick to prepare, but there is a total of two and a half hours of resting time for the dough during the preparation.

Gather the ingredients to make sourdough cinnamon rolls and cream cheese icing

To get started making these sourdough cinnamon rolls, you'll need to round up all of your ingredients. As you might have guessed, sourdough starter is a main ingredient for this recipe, and you'll also need all-purpose flour, milk (divided), an egg, brown sugar (divided), butter (divided), salt, instant yeast, cinnamon, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. You'll be making two things with these ingredients: the rolls themselves and the decadent cream cheese frosting to drizzle on top.

Make the dough for the cinnamon rolls

To prepare your sourdough cinnamon rolls, you'll first need to make the dough itself. In a mixing bowl, add in your flour, sourdough starter, ¾ cup of milk, egg, 4 ounces of butter, ½ cup of brown sugar, salt, and instant yeast. Mix these ingredients until everything is fully incorporated and a dough forms. Remember that you won't be using all of the milk, brown sugar, and butter that the recipe calls for in the rolls alone, so be sure to pay close attention to the measurements as you go through the steps.

Once the dough has formed, begin kneading it

Now that you've combined your ingredients to form a dough, you'll want to start the kneading process. Pour your dough out from the mixing bowl onto a flat surface, and begin kneading it with your hands. Once the dough is only slightly sticky to the touch, you'll know that you've kneaded it enough — the whole process should take about eight minutes. From there, you can move on to the dough's fermenting process.

Give your dough time to rest and ferment

Once you've kneaded your dough, you're ready for arguably the hardest step of all: waiting for the dough to ferment! While it will be a test of your patience, the step is otherwise simple. Place your kneaded dough into a bowl, and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl somewhere warm, and allow the dough to rest and ferment for an hour and a half.

Roll your dough out, and add butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to it

Once your dough has risen, roll it out onto a flat surface into a rectangle shape. Don't roll it too thin — aim for about ½-inch thickness. From there, you can take 4 ounces of melted butter, and spread it evenly across the dough. Then, take ¾ cup of brown sugar and your cinnamon, and sprinkle it all across the dough, making sure that each roll will have an even amount of each ingredient within it.

Roll your dough into a log, cut it into pieces, and then let the rolls rest again

Now that you've added melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to your dough, you can roll the rectangle shape into a log. After you've done that, use a sharp knife to cut 3-inch pieces across the log, which will be your individual rolls. Then. you can arrange the rolls into a baking dish, cover them with a towel once again, and let them rest one last time for an hour.

Bake your cinnamon rolls

Now that the rolls have rested one last time, you're finally ready to bake them! You'll start by baking them in a 410 F for 10 minutes. After those 10 minutes have passed, go ahead and lower the heat to 370 F, and allow the rolls to bake for another 12 minutes — a total bake time of 22 minutes. As the sweet, cinnamon aroma begins to fill your kitchen, be sure to get going on the frosting so it'll be ready right when the rolls get out of the oven.

Make your cream cheese frosting, and then drizzle it on the cinnamon rolls

As your rolls finish up in the oven, you can whip together your frosting by mixing cream cheese, 1 ¼ cups of milk, ¼ cup of brown sugar, vanilla extract, and 2 ounces of butter. Once you pull the rolls out of the oven, drizzle the frosting all over the top of them. After letting the rolls cool slightly, carefully remove them from the pan, and enjoy!

While you enjoy your cinnamon roll, Leung notes that they pair wonderfully with a cup of coffee. "I think these pair great with a dark roasted coffee since the rolls are so sweet," he explains. And, as for leftovers, you can store them covered in the fridge for up to three days after baking.

Sweet Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
5 from 25 ratings
These sourdough cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting are a timeless go-to treat for both breakfast and dessert.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cinnamon roll on white plate
Total time: 42 minutes
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar, divided
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 10 ounces butter, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, sourdough starter, ½ cup of brown sugar, ¾ cup of milk, egg, 4 ounces of butter, salt, and instant yeast. Mix until incorporated.
  2. Remove dough from the mixing bowl, and knead on a flat surface for about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and just slightly sticky to the touch.
  3. Place dough in a bowl, and cover it with a towel. Let it ferment for 1 ½ hours in a warm part of your kitchen.
  4. After the dough has risen and fermented, roll into a large ½-inch thick rectangle.
  5. Melt 4 ounces of butter, and spread over the dough, then sprinkle ¾ cup of brown sugar and cinnamon all over.
  6. Carefully roll the dough into a log, and cut into equal 3-inch pieces with a sharp knife. Arrange in a baking tray, cover with a towel, and let it rise a second time for 1 hour.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 410 F, and then lower the oven to 370 F and bake for another 12 minutes (total time 22 minutes).
  8. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the frosting by mixing the cream cheese, 1 ¼ cups of milk, ¼ cup of brown sugar, vanilla extract, and the remaining 2 ounces of butter.
  9. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven, and drizzle with cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
Calories per Serving 1,578
Total Fat 87.2 g
Saturated Fat 53.6 g
Trans Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 280.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 181.9 g
Dietary Fiber 6.6 g
Total Sugars 76.2 g
Sodium 600.2 mg
Protein 20.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe