Go Back
Cinnamon bun recipe

Tastiest Cinnamon Buns Ever

This recipe tastes exactly like Cinnzeo or Cinnabon, but EVEN better! The best part is that it'll be homemade, by YOU! So you can brag to everyone about your amazing culinary skills. 

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Author Lulu @ Thousand Caminos


Dough Recipe

  • 1 cup warm milk (whole milk, 2 % or skim is fine)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (instant yeast works too)
  • 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (do not use salted)
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp lemon zest

Cinnamon Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 3 tsbp maple butter melted (optional)

Sticky Brown Sugar Mixture

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz cream cheese icing, softened (or half the package of brick of cream cheese)
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 3 tbsp full cream / milk (may need to add more or less, depending on icing)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup icing sugar (may need to add more)


Assembling the Dough

  1. Place warm milk in the bowl of your stand mixer (or another large bowl). Measure in the active yeast with 1/2 tsp of sugar, and let sit for 10 minutes to activate. Make sure the milk isn’t too hot or else it will kill the yeast and the dough will not rise. 

    In the  large mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar, salt, softened butter, eggs and milk. Mix until everything is combined (I use my dough hook). Once combined, add the vanilla and lemon zest and let the dough sit for 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to settle.

    If you’re using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and let it mix for 10 minutes. If doing this by hand knead the dough in the bowl for 10-15 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky. For either method, you will need to add a bit of flour (bit by bit) till the dough becomes soft to the touch and is no longer sticky. Be careful not to add too much flour. 

    Once ready, put the dough back in the bowl, cover with either plastic wrap or a towel and let sit for at least an hour or until it’s doubled in size. I let mine rest for 30 minutes in my warm oven, because I am impatient and wanted to eat these babies ASAP. 

    After the dough has risen, place dough on a floured surface and begin to roll out the dough into a 16" by 20" rectangle and about 1/2 - 1 inch thick. It doesn't have to be perfect.

    Now move on to the filling. 

Assembling Cinnamon Filling

  1. Meanwhile, while the dough is rising, place the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and use a fork to mix the ingredient together until it becomes like sand (they will be small separated grains).

    Melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave. If you are using the maple butter, add it to the melted butter and stir. Begin to spread the melted butter onto the dough - make sure you reach the edges. Then sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top.

    Starting with the short edge, begin to slowly roll the dough into a long. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces.

Sticky Brown Sugar Mixture

  1. Combine the brown sugar, nuts, maple syrup and butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat. Once melted, turn the heat to medium - high and constantly stir the mixture for about 5 minutes. You will start to see the mixture bubble and thicken up. Once you feel it is thick enough (around 5 -10 minutes) remove the mixture from the heat.

    Add the vanilla, and the salt and bourbon. Pour mixture into a baking dish and place the cinnamon rolls inside.

    Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let the buns rise for another 30 minutes (or until they look nicely puffed up).

Baking the Buns

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the buns for 25-30 mins or until they start to brown on top. Remove and add the frosting on top while the buns are warm, so they melt the icing.

    Take one (or two) and enjoy it with a big glass of milk!

Cream Cheese Icing

  1. In a medium sized glass bowl, add in the softened butter and cream cheese, and beat until combined. Add in the milk and vanilla and continue to mix.

    Slowly add in the icing sugar (add to taste). Essentially you want to ensure that the icing is a bit runny and not thick like a buttercream frosting, so that they spread easily on the buns!