These gooey Cast Iron Cinnamon Rolls are an absolute delight! This soft, flaky pastry is rolled up with cinnamon sugar and saturated with a heavenly maple cream cheese frosting. This recipe can be made in both a cast iron skillet and a baking dish.
Why you'll love this recipe
If you think about it, cinnamon rolls really are easy to make. It seems like they take a long time, but a lot of that time is totally hands-off! With a little bit of effort, you'll be left with the freshest, chewiest, most delightful cast iron cinnamon roll you've ever had.
In this post, I've also included instructions for Overnight Rolls and how to freeze cinnamon roll dough.
A lot of the ingredients needed could already be in your pantry! If they're not, don't worry because these ingredients are all super easy to find!
- Bread flour
- Instant dry yeast
- Salted butter
- Eggs, room temperature
- Salted butter
- Brown sugar
- Heavy whipping cream
- Cream cheese, softened
- Salted butter, softened
- Powdered sugar
- Maple or vanilla extract
Don't Kill the Yeast!
Before we get started, it's important to know that yeast can die. What happens when the yeast dies? You're left with a flat, un-risen brick of bread. YUM. I should know- I've made a bread brick!
All yeast will die at 138 degrees F. Buy a food thermometer and make sure the milk is between 110 and 115 degrees F. This is important!
- Heat the milk to no more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to keep it around 110 degrees. Warm enough to activate the yeast, but not warm enough to kill the yeast.
- Make sure the melted butter does not exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure the eggs are room temperature. If you’re bad at planning ahead, like me, place the eggs into a glass of warm water. You can also run them under warm water for a few minutes.
Pour warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Add the melted butter, sugar, and eggs, and mix until well combined.
Directions for a Stand Mixer
Combine the ingredients above into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in salt and flour. Use the beater blade and mix just until the ingredients are barely combined. Let the dough rest for five minutes.
Attach the dough hook and beat the dough on medium speed for about 5 to 7 minutes. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl and cover. Place in a warm area to rise for about an hour. Please allow up to an hour and a half for the dough to double in size.
Directions by Hand
Stir in the flour and salt until a dough begins to form. Let the dough rest for five minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough into a large, greased bowl and cover. Place in a warm area to rise for about an hour. Please allow up to an hour and a half for the dough to double in size.
While the dough is rising, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a large rectangle. We shoot for about 20 inches by 12 inches.
Spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the entire surface of the dough. Starting on the long end, tightly roll up the dough so the filling doesn't leak out of the bottom when it's baking.
Cut off about an inch off the sides and discard (or bake the two ends in a bread loaf pan!)
Cut the rolled dough in half, cut each half in half, and so on, until you have 12 pieces. Don’t worry if your rolls aren’t perfectly the same size. After they rise again and bake, each roll ends up being about the same size.
Place the rolls into a 15-inch cast-iron skillet OR a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise again for 30 to 45 minutes (or until they double in size). At this time, remove the cream from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. We can also preheat the oven at this time to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (OR 375 degrees for a baking dish).
When the rolls have finished rising, pour the room temperature cream over the top.
Skillet: bake the risen rolls at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Baking dish: bake the risen rolls at 375 degrees, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes.
If the tops start getting too brown, cover them with aluminum foil for the rest of the bake time. About 12 minutes into the bake time, I'll tent aluminum foil and cover the pan.
While the rolls are baking, let's make the frosting!
Combine the softened cream cheese, softened butter, and maple extract until creamy in a small bowl. Add in one cup of powdered sugar at a time and beat until smooth.
Vanilla extract can be substituted, but WOW, that maple extract does wonders to this frosting!
Cool and frost
Letting them cool is always the hardest part! When the rolls have finished baking, allow them to cool 5 to 10 minutes before frosting them. I always have to walk away and find something else to do because I just want to frost them NOW!
And there we have it! Fresh, from scratch, cast iron cinnamon rolls.
After placing the cut rolls into the pan (Step 11), cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake, bring them to room temperature (30 to 45 minutes on the counter or until doubled in size) and continue with Step 13!
Tips & tricks
Use bread flour or all purpose flour. I like to use bread flour because it makes the rolls extra fluffy. All-purpose flour can be substituted and still creates a fantastic result (I've done this many times).
Use heavy whipping cream. I use warmed heavy whipping cream to make these rolls rich and ultra-gooey! This ingredient is not required, but it is highly suggested. It will take regular cinnamon rolls and turn them into something outstanding.
- 15-inch Cast Iron Skillet. This skillet is the perfect size to fit all 12 cinnamon rolls.
Storing and reheating
Refrigerator: These cinnamon rolls can be stored in an airtight container for up to four days. We have stored them both refrigerated and unrefrigerated and they have been fine. Please note that the longer they sit, the drier the rolls will become.
Freezer: Make the cinnamon rolls up to Step 10. Place the cut rolls on a baking sheet and freeze them for 30 minutes. Once frozen, place them in a large freezer bag.
Thaw: Pull the rolls out of the freezer and put them in a skillet or a greased baking dish. Cover and let thaw on the counter overnight. Then, continue with Step 13.
Reheat: Cinnamon rolls should always be reheated! They're just better that way. I pop my cinnamon roll into the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds so it tastes oven-fresh.
More sweet treats
Cast Iron Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting
For the Dough
- 1 c whole milk warmed to 110° F
- 2 ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast one standard packet
- ½ c salted butter melted, not over 110° F
- ½ c sugar
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 ¼ c bread flour
For the Filling
For the Frosting
- 6 oz cream cheese softened
- ⅓ c salted butter softened
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon maple or vanilla extract
- Pour warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top.
- Whisk in the butter, sugar, and eggs, and mix until well combined.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and salt until a dough begins to form. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl (the same one we just used). Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set in a warm area to rise, about an hour.
- While the dough is rising, combine the ingredients for the filling (not the cream) and set aside.
- After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll into a large rectangle, about 20” x 12”.
- Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture over the entire surface of the dough.
- Tightly roll up the dough starting on the long end.
- Cut an inch off each end and discard. Cut the rolled dough in half, cut each half in half, and so on, until you have 12 pieces.
- Place cinnamon rolls in a large 15-inch skillet.
- Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow to rise again for 30 to 45 minutes. (or until doubled in size) At this time, remove the cream from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Once the rolls have finished rising, pour the room temperature cream over top the rolls. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Using a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, and extract, until creamy. Add in one cup of powdered sugar at a time and beat until smooth.
- Allow the rolls to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before frosting.
- Frost and enjoy!
The nutritional information provided is only an estimate. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
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