I made Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls this weekend. Sinfully sweet rolls of cinnamon, sugar and butter. Lots of butter. The kind of deliciousness that makes your eyes roll back in your head. And I learned something along the way. Dough is not my friend. Cookie doughs, yes. Pastry and bread doughs, not so much. If you need further evidence, you can read this doughnut post. I’ve only worked with rolling dough a few times, but after making several pans of rolls, I think I know what part of my problem is. I don’t think I generously flour my surface enough. It’s like I’m afraid of flour or something. Well, no more. Next time, the flour will flow.


I started out making a half batch of PW’s recipe since 50 rolls seemed a little much for breakfast.

To do so, start with 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup sugar.

Note: In this picture, you may notice that this is one cup of sugar instead of a half. Yeah, I didn’t realize the mistake until I was all done. I hate it when I do that, but I think the extra sugar made them even more delicious.

Mix them all together in a saucepan over medium heat, turning it off before it begins to boil. Let it cool until lukewarm (around 45 minutes) and then add 1 package of active dry yeast (for a half batch, that is).


Active dry yeast. This is the first time I’ve ever used this stuff.


Sprinkle it on top of the lukewarm milk mixture and then let it sit for one minute.


After that add four cups all-purpose flour. Stir until just combined…


Then cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for an hour to let rise. After an hour, add another 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir together until thoroughly combined.

Then you can roll out the dough. Roll it into a large rectangular shape around 30 X 10 inches.


Spread 1 cup melted butter, sprinkle 1/8 cup ground cinnamon and shake about a cup of sugar right on top.

Then, starting from the edge farthest from you, carefully roll the dough towards you tightly. Once you have the dough in a nice, long roll, you can cut 1 1/2 inch slices and place in a melted butter-coated pan.

Here comes trouble. I have no pictures of a nice, long, round roll because mine was rather flat and when baked, produced…

Now, don’t laugh…


My flimsy roll produced these…


Quite possible the ugliest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen.


Luckily, looks can be deceiving because they were some of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth. And definitely the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.

My mom was over and we ate them straight up, sans icing. They didn’t even need it.

But I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted pretty little swirls like Pioneer Woman’s rolls had.

Swirls. I must have swirls.

So I went again later in the day. This time, I made a full batch (deciding I could freeze any uneaten rolls for later) so I would have even more dough to practice with and also, since I used twice the amount of sugar for the dough in the first round I thought that might have something to do with it.

This time, before rolling I chilled the dough for a little while in the fridge and I generoooooously floured my work surface.


So here we go again, more melted butter.


Spread it.


Cinnamon. Sprinkle it.


Sugar. Shake, shake, shake it.

This time, I was able to shape it into a decent roll.


Not perfect, but decent.


And, look… swirls of cinnamon.

These bake for about 13-17 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

While they are baking you can whip up the icing.


It calls for a little coffee. I don’t own a coffee maker, so I used one of PW’s favorites.


Whisk together 2 lbs. powdered sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup coffee and a dash of salt.

Then add 1 tablespoon maple flavoring and stir it all together.

You’ll die from how yummy this smells if you haven’t already passed out from the scent of the cinnamon rolls.

When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven.

And hope for pretty little swirls.


Like these.


And these.

Swirls. Thank you.

I don’t think my hips could afford any more attempts.


While the rolls are still warm, you can pour on the icing.


That’s right. Pour it all over the top, covering up all your hard work. Swirls or not.


It’s perfect for disguising any batch of less than swirly cinnamon rolls.


I ran out of aluminum pans, so I placed a few leftover dough slices in a buttered muffin tray to bake.

Cinnamuffins. I think they look pretty cute like this.


And of course, these were covered in icing, too.


If you’re lucky you might even get a cute little swirl.

Read Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Roll Recipe for the full how-to.


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347 comments on “Swirls”

  1. OMG! I think I got a sugar coma just reading that!! LOL

  2. Oh wow – do those ever look scrumptious!!!

    Cinnamon rolls are my FAVOURITE treat!

  3. Gorgeous swirls! My mom made these awhile back and these were decadent and delicious.

    I’ll have to make them soon! Love the cinnamuffins :)

  4. LOVE those cinnamon rolls. They only ones i have ever been able to turn out successfully!! But those cinnamuffins look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Yum. I need them NOW!

  5. I got her cookbook for my birthday in March & these are one recipe I can’t wait to try. Your post made my mouth water! I love your cinnamuffins look the best…I may try that exact thing when I make these.

  6. Those look SO good!

  7. I don’t think there’s beena moment in history when extra sugar didn’t equal deliciousness :D I’d happily eat the first batch… but I’d happily eat the second bath, too. And the cinnamuffins. Thank you for showing that even the cleverest of bloggers don’t always get it right first time! Inspiration ahoy!

  8. Cinnamon rolls are my ultimate sweet fix! I love them. I will have to try Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon roll recipe and see if I like hers better than my own. I also like to put chopped pecans and raisins on the dough when I sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar. That is good too! I like the cinnamuffins. Cute idea! Love & blessings from NC!

  9. Angie, your photography is really getting fantastic (not to mention those yummy looking rolls!)

  10. Oooooooooh man, these look so utterly delicious!!! okay, I have to make these… SOON!!! <3 <3

  11. I am sure you know but with some doughs, the more you play with it the tougher it gets, then with others the more you play with it, the more air gets in it and its good to go. so you just need to know which one, more flour is better except with pie dough. its the one that gets tough. I love all your recipes. I am going to make the hello kitty pops for my daughters VIP day at preschool next month.

  12. Oh heavens, typos ahoy too, it seems. Sorry about that. Must. Proofread.

  13. Seriously, it’s hilarious that you just posted this…cause my husband was just asking me why I couldn’t make cinnamon rolls for breakfast…something which I have never made before…and then you go post about making cinnamon rolls :)
    Those do look divine…so gonna have to make them. Thanks for posting this.

  14. YUM! Those look awesome…I might just have to try making some of those for work on Friday….hmmmm!

  15. Easiest way to cut cinnamon rolls for baking and still have them be pretty and round is to use a piece of dental floss or embroidary floss. Put it under the roll, then cross over the top and pull the ends until they cut through the roll. My Mom taught me how to make wonderful cinnamon rolls, but these look really great too.

  16. OK, I must make cinnamon rolls. They’ve been in my head for days, and I think this is a sign. ;)

  17. Love PW! Love Bakerella! PW & Bakerella?! True love! :)

    so glad you’re persistent, Bakerella! Swirls are totally worth it!!

  18. I made these this weekend too! I made the whole darn recipe though….the whole shanalley the mother lode!
    And I quite frankly cannot believe that you do not have a coffee maker……how can one woman make so many yummy things and not have a coffee maker to make coffee to eat with all of it? It’s ok I will forgive you.

  19. OMG… I need one of these NOW!!! PMS- here I come!!!!!!! I think I have smell-a-vision on my computer, I swear….. ;)

  20. These look so delicious! My family always makes cinnamon rolls for Christmas brunch, so they hold a special place in my heart. I will definitely be trying this recipe sometime this week! Yummy! :)

  21. Ooooo… I feel woozy…

  22. I call these SIN-amon rolls. They are the best cinnamon rolls on the planet. If someone knows of a better recipe, I’d love to have it. I even used less butter than she called for and they were still crazy rich. People were cursing me the next day after I served them; one of my friends went straight to the gym from my house! I individually wrap them, throw them in a freezer bag and try my damndest not to eat them more than one a week:)

  23. They look fantastic! I made PWs rolls, a half batch, for the first time at Easter. Delish! And I shoulda made the whole batch because they were gone in a flash. Yours look fabulous, even the first ones. I didnt laugh, they are so cute! I love the Cinnamuffins idea, too!

  24. If only I hadn’t read this so late! I would have made these for the morning time. Tomorrow I am going to “meet” Ree at a book signing! It would have been the perfect start to our day! :)

  25. Too cute!! I love the coffee icing. I already have a go-to recipe for cinnamon rolls, but I will try that icing on my next batch. Goodness!! Thanks for sharing!

  26. I don’t care what you say, they’re gorgeous! All that cinnamony goodness! Oh be still my heart!! And that icing! Made with coffee!! Oh my heart! I must try this one day when I have absolutely nothing to do…. *snarf*

    And I got my adorable Bakerella t-shirt! I just love it!!

  27. Oh, and I meant to say, I love the cinnaMuffins!! That would be me. :p

  28. I made these Wednesday and had a chorus of thank yous! This time, I saved a whole pan of 7 for my family though (normally I save 2 cinnamon rolls). They are soooooo good! I have been making them at Christmas for my daughter’s teachers for 3 years and the teachers look forward greatly to them!

  29. Cinnamon roll vibes must be in the air–I made a batch tonight too. My secret ingredient is potato flakes (yep I’m from Idaho). Another secret in reference to flouring the counter… I don’t use flour… just spray with Pam. And the cinnamuffin idea is GENIOUS! oh and brown sugar instead of white rolled up inside is splendid, but dont forget to toss in some raisins too. did you slice your rolls with a knife or dental floss? ok i’ll stop now… and go eat another one. :) great post, glad to know youre human ;)

  30. AND your first picture is beyond awesome!

  31. I feel like I went through this nightmare too!

    Right when PW’s cookbook came out I tried to make these for my blog. I was gonna do a cookbook giveaway and everything. But they were simply too ugly to post. I totally messed them up. The rolling part really is the hardest! They might have been unattractive, but boy, were they amazing!

  32. Now I need to get that cookbook. I can almost smell them! Are you going to make cinnamon rolls/cake pops? I can just imagine them! Yum. Thank you for always inspiring me to bake more. You are super de duper great! (A line from my daughter!)

  33. I’m excited to try the Coffee-Maple icing. I haven’t made cinnamon rolls in a long time. I need to invest in a rolling pin. :-) Excited to try theses

  34. Yes! YES! YeS!
    You read my mind. I was searching the internet for a homemade cinnamon roll recipe and I ran across this one but I’m not sure if my baking skills are ready for this. But of course you made it look as easy as GOOEY ROLLS!
    Excited to try these for my Mother’s Day Brunch!

  35. wow – talk about sugar overload! hehe they look YUM!

  36. aaahhh…. you make it look so effortless. eventhough i am sick and lying in bed reading this, i just feel like going to kitchen n attempting those luscious cinny buns RIGHT NOW! “sugar rush” – my favourite two words in the english dictionary.

  37. These sound so fabulous. I wouldn’t mind making a full batch!

  38. Okay, confession time: I’ve never worked with yeast doughs, ever. And I am petrified to try! But my, these look SOOO good, maybe now’s the time to try. ;)

  39. Looks yummy! Yeah I’m not too much of a dough person, love to help eat the finished product , but not too good at the making of it!

  40. I have made PW’s cinnamon rolls before and I had the same experience with them not really having shape I believe it’s the addition of the baking powder and soda that make the dough a little too unstable for rolling, maybe if your tried it without them they would work better I have a great recipe I use that doesn’t call for them and it comes out perfect every time

  41. Oh my goodness! That looks absolutely mouthwatering! LOL. I’ve always wanted you to try out PW’s cinnamon roll recipe. I’ve got to try this recipe. Maybe I’ll add in a few raisins ;). What do you think? Would it be too much?

  42. Oh no! It’s too late at night for me to whip up a batch! I’m making a huge batch of these tomorrow, for myself, and for our trip to see the in-laws!

  43. That’s so funny, I’m an aspiring pastry chef, and want a lot of hands on experience before I go into college to become one. I just made these a few weeks ago, each of the times were half batches, and they were fantastic. I made two batches for home and another for my mom’s coworkers, and they loved them. Two broke their diets, and one even e-mailed my mom saying I should definitely pursue becoming a pastry chef. :)

  44. I love the cinnamon rolls and diet coke shot. That’s the perfect balance :D!!

  45. I made these a few months ago actually and my kitchen overfloweth with cinnamon rolls. They are awesome!! Very easy if very messy. And sooo yummy!

  46. oh, I love this recipe for cinnamon icing!

  47. They look so YUMMY!!!!!

  48. Looks yummy! =) must try this =) thanks again for another yummylicious recipe =)

  49. OMG! Heavenly and sinful at the same time!

  50. I love the cinnamuffins!! (Lovely photos, lovely word creation.) But also all the “ugly” ones look sooo tasty.

  51. they look so good-!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I am going to have to go off my diet and bake some today!

  52. Those are my favorite too. I have to bake them at least every other week. And reading about them now, makes me want some right away =)

  53. Oh I love it when things go wrong – makes us all feel we can love you a little more!!! …and anyway for home, who cares what they look like – it’s what they taste like that matters!!



  54. Yum, I made cinnamon rolls this weekend to, but with a cream cheese frosting. Your version looks delicious, think I must try them and the cinnamuffins are too cute.

  55. i would loveeeeeee to try to bake this!! thank you!! (mcDonald’s sells cinnamon melts but i bet these will taste muchhh better!)

  56. My kids love me to bits and pieces if I make them cinnamon rolls!!
    I try not to do it too often, cos the bits and pieces end up on my hips.

  57. OMG!!!! Totally can’t wait to make these!!!

  58. Can I blame you if I eat the entire batch I made seconds after reading this post?!?! The house just smells divine and I’m sure my tummy will be equally satisfied!

  59. Great photos Bakerella! Your cinnamon rolls look so stinkin’ good it’s all I can do not to lick the computer screen. Yummmm!!

    Have a great week!
    -Rachel from A Cupcake for Moose

  60. love it. I have a great recipe for cinnamon rolls that requires no yeast, but they don’t turn out as fluffy as yours and they are best for only one day. I will have to try this recipe out when I have a bit more time on my hands. Thanks. You are always inspiring.

  61. woooow they look amazing ….. definitely going to try it sooon

    thanx a lot

  62. I probably shouldn’t come over here when I’m dieting (trying to lose that baby weight!). Those rolls look amazing!

  63. I would pass on the icing too! Coffee maker! I didn’t drink or own one till I was forty, about four years ago. I do love my SB’s once in a while though.

  64. I wonder if you can make those in mini version, like the cake pops so I won’t pack on the pounds. LOL Paulette

  65. Wow, what wonderful cinnamon rolls… and timing! I just grabbed the things I needed to make these, yesterday, and find a great recipe in my feed reader this morning!

    They look delicious – I’ve never seen any with that much icing on them, but the coffee flavouring sounds good. The cinnamuffins look very cute, too.

  66. They look delicious and make me hungry! I love your ideas!
    I featured you on my blog today, hope that’s ok!

  67. Has anyone tried subbing cocoa for cinnamon to make them into chocolate scrolls?

  68. LOL! That is the funniest pan of cinnamon rolls I have ever seen! And we can laugh together as everyone has something that has turned out like that. My second laugh was the pan with rolls taken out and eaten I presume, with the two bottles of diet soda sitting next to the sugar laden rolls! LOL! that is SO funny!
    You did an excellent job with your dough. I used to make rolls and bread every Sunday and it’s no easy task to get this perfect. I tried some bread dough not long ago after twenty of so years and had some kinda time doing it! Congratulations on a great job, good blog and keep up the good work!

  69. I love these cinnamon rolls. I’m pretty sure when I made them I ate no less than 3 at a time within half an hour. The cinnamuffins are a great idea. They’re perfectly shaped!

  70. I love cinnamon rolls! I have seen Pioneer Woman’s recipe before but have never made them! Thanks for sharing your cinnamon roll making experience…I can’t wait to try this recipe! They look absolutely amazing and full of SUGAR, my absolute favorite!

  71. OK, the photo with the Diet Coke in it is hilarious!! That just made this whole post for me!!! I saw PW’s book at the book store and could not put it down, and these cinnamon rolls look delicious!! Love the cup of sugar too! LOL !!

  72. Yum! I make these every year for Christmas morning. They are DELICIOUS!!!!

    About the dough…I do find that it’s much easier to work with after it’s been in the fridge for a bit. For Christmas, I usually make the dough the night before and then assemble them in the morning. Heavenly!

  73. the beauty of cinnamon rolls are that they don’t need to look perfect pre-rising, they rise, bake and no matter what look pretty!

  74. YUMMY!! I can’t wait to try these and share them with my family and neighbors… I might even have the windows open so that my sweet neighbors get a bit of aromatic forshadowing for the surprise to come! I made my first homemade cinnamon rolls when I was 15… with my mom’s coaching. Her recipe is yummy, but I can’t wait to try this one from you and the PW.
    Here’s a coaching tip my mom shared… and I wouldn’t ever bake homemade cinnamon rolls without following this advice: when slicing to form the individual rolls from the log, use unflavored dental floss… slip the dental floss under the log, positioning it at the right thickness for the roll… bring the dental floss ends up, cross and tie… then pull tight. Re-use the floss for a dozen or so rolls. This tip makes BEAUTIFUL cinnamon rolls!

  75. I wish I had one. Right now.
    This may be my favorite Cinnamon Roll recipe – even better than my moms! One tip that equals less mess…use softened (room temp) butter rather than melted. When you roll it up there’s no leakage!

  76. i really wanted to start the south beach diet today.
    Now i want cinnamon rolls.

  77. I got PW’s cookbook for Christmas and these rolls are by far the best rolls we’ve ever eaten!!! Our first attempt looked just like your first attempt but we really didn’t care ’cause they tasted sooooo good! I never thought coffee would taste good in the icing but we followed the recipe and it IS heavenly!!

  78. oh. my. gosh..i need to make these.. they look soooo good.

  79. Oh yes, I’ve made PW’s version quite a few times now. And they really are The Best. Cinnamon Rolls. Ever.

  80. Those could be perfect to wake me up this monday morning!!!!

  81. Oh Em Gee….my mouth is watering!!! Unfortunately, today is the first day of a new resolve to eat healthier….what was I thinking even peeking in here?? :)

  82. I am going to try these this week! They look and sound AMAZING!!!! ::::::insert drool spots here::::::

  83. You read my mind. I only found Pioneer Woman’s website on Saturday. I was considering making these yesterday but didn’t have enough tins. So hopefully today is the day.

  84. Are they not divine! I made them for my sweetie for Valentine’s Day. The “sweet frost” as he calls it keeps well in a jar in the fridge so you can add it to the hot rolls as you bake them. If you freeze them, take them out of the freezer before you go to bed, they will be perfect for baking in the morning! Love the muffn tin idea…that way they will be crisp on all sides (my favourite!)
    Thanks for all you do…you are inspiring!

  85. I think I like the look of the “cinnamuffins” the best! Maybe I’ll just make them like that, straight up :D

  86. Oooh! PW cinnamon rolls are my families favorite. They request I make them often. I am terrible at making the dough though so I cut her recipe in half, use Pillsbury Hot Roll mix in my bread machine and they’re perfection everytime!!

  87. That was not a very nice thing to post on a Monday morning. Now I’m sad and hungry for cinnamon rolls. :( On the upside, I know what I’m making later this week! :D

    Jennie :)

  88. I’ve made LOTS of cinnamon rolls and have a hint for you. Cut the rolls with dental floss instead of a knife and you will have perfect swirls. Just cut a long piece of floss, slip it under the long roll and bring the ends up and over to “cut” a roll. Good luck!


  89. Thanks for halving the recipe–50 is too many for most families…except the church congregational family :)
    They look delicious!

  90. Ooh, the cinnamuffins are VERY cute!

    This was our Christmas gift to co-workers and kids’ teachers last year. They’re a lot of work, but rather tasty!

  91. LOVE this post. I HAVE to try the coffee! Oh, and your rolls, they are pretty nice too. ;o)

  92. I guess I am going to have to break down and try this recipe! I do love you cinnamuffins. They are adorable.

  93. We make our cinnamon rolls and pecan rolls in muffin pans at work. MUCH easier to ice and package!

  94. Those look awesome, but to be honest, I can never *ever* get yeast to work for me. I did however, stumble over a recipe that is incredibly delicious and requires no yeast, and so rolls out a lot easier and requires no rising time and takes under an hour to make and bake, which as I’m sure you suspect, is very dangerous for the hips!


  95. Now I know what I’m making this weekend~

  96. Those look great! When I made these at Christmas, my roll flattened too. I’m going to try sticking it in the fridge next time for sure!

  97. I have bought the cookbook. Read the Blog. Sighed over her pics and yours. And thus far avoided making these because I know I will eat them ALL and die if I do … LOVE, and I haven’t even tasted them yet … too much for a Monday morning ;)

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