So yesterday was my husband’s birthday. I normally don’t go out of my way to do anything special for birthday breakfasts, but this year I did and I’ll even admit it was for selfish reasons.

I had seen the recipe for these morning buns on the King Arthur Flour blog and was ecstatic because I have been looking for a recipe to make for Christmas morning that wouldn’t take any time the morning of.

When I saw this I decided to surprise my husband and make it for his birthday to give it a trial run. Two things happened: a) the buns were an incredible success and b) my husband thought I was the best wife ever (and I didn’t have the heart to tell him I only really did it to see if they would be worth a Christmas morning breakfast).

Anyway, the gist of the story is that these buns will definitely be made on Christmas morning. I was shocked that a homemade biscuit could turn out so light and fluffy and that the breakfast was such a huge hit at my house.

The buns are very tender with just the right hint of cinnamon and sugar – not overly sweet, which is great, in my book, for a breakfast recipe. I can’t wait to make these over and over – a little work at night for a no-fuss special breakfast in the morning is a fabulous recipe in my book.

Holiday (or Birthday!) Morning Buns

Holiday (or Birthday!) Morning Buns


  • 3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) all-purpose Flour + 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
  • 2 to 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • Coating:
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted, OR 2 5/8 ounces milk
  • Cinnamon and sugar for rolling (I just mixed my own together)


  1. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan, line with parchment, and grease the parchment. Parchment isn’t absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to get the bubbly, sugary buns out of the pan once they’re baked.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add 2 cups of the cream all at once, then toss and stir the mixture till the dough comes together. If necessary, add additional cream to make the dough cohesive. Gather the dough in your hands and knead it a few times to make sure there are no dry spots.
  3. Place the cinnamon sugar in a small, shallow bowl or pan; or in a plastic zip-top bag. Break off pieces of dough about the size of a ping pong ball, or about 1 1/8 ounces. Dip each piece in melted butter or milk, then roll or shake in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place the cinnamon-coated dough balls into the pan of your choice in a single layer; they’ll be touching one another, which is just fine.
  4. Cover the pan with plastic, and place in the freezer overnight, or for up to a week or so. If freezing longer than overnight wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap, then in foil. Next day, remove the pan from the freezer, and let the buns rest at room temperature while you preheat your oven to 350°F. The buns don’t need to thaw.
  5. If you’re baking the buns immediately (not frozen), bake them for 45 to 50 minutes, till the buns in the center are cooked through. You can assess this by taking a toothpick and actually digging into the center bun to take a look; it should look totally baked, not doughy. If the buns have been frozen, bake them for 65 to 70 minutes, testing for doneness as instructed above. Tent them with aluminum foil after 45 minutes of baking. (I actually forgot the “tenting” step and the buns didn’t get burned – phew!)
  6. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, right before serving.

Recipe Source: from King Arthur Flour blog

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61 Responses to Holiday (or Birthday!) Morning Buns

  1. Sara says:

    What would be a good substitute for heavy cream in this recipe? Would whole milk do?

  2. kristin says:

    The flavor of these were great but mine came out really dense. What did I do wrong? I baked 1/2 of the batch so they weren’t touching each other in the pan. Would that have an effect?

  3. kristin says:

    Do these reheat well? I’m thinking about just making them xmas eve and having them ready to eat first thing.

  4. Jackie says:

    Hi Mel! Thanks for such a great and easy recipe for christmas morning! I mixed the dough and while I was balling it to freeze I realized I had mistakenly forgotten to add the cornstarch to the mix. I was almost done rolling the dough so I decided to finish it up and freeze the batch anyways. Do you think this it is even worth baking them? My dough was fairly dry in the first place. I’m not sure what role the cornstarch plays. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jackie – the cornstarch really helps the dough turn out tender and soft but yes, I’d definitely go ahead and bake them anyway – I’d hate for them to go to waste!

  5. Colby says:

    Has anyone tried making these the night before and not freezing? Is the freezing really necessary?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Colby – I’m sorry that I’m only now seeing your comment. You can bake these the night before and just refrigerate – then bake them the next morning for about 50 minutes.

  6. Colby says:

    Has anyone made these the night before and just left in the fridge, or do you have to freeze them?

  7. lisa g. says:

    Hello! Wow I love your recipes! Fantastic. I think there is a typo error in Step 5 of the recipe instructions for the Holiday Morning Buns. I think the word you meant to type is “guess”, but instead it says “asses”.
    I’m sorry I caught that but it don’t sway me from drooling & cooking up your recipes! Rock on!

  8. Jane says:

    To the post above…What? You must be doing something wrong. I have waited to post until these SOLD OUT at market this morning – I called them Shortcake Scones (long story), and they flew like hotcakes. To sweet Mel, I have made these with my 8 year-old students as well and they love them, too. This is a simple fabulous treat – thank you for doing all the legwork for the rest of us. You rock (even if the person above doesn’t understand)!

  9. mel says:

    I have baked these twice because I thought I did something wrong the first time…turns out that they’re just terrible. The dough is tasteless – think PlayDoh with sugar & cinnamon sprinkled on it. I won’t waste the ingredients to bake these again. MAJOR disappointment.

  10. Mel says:

    Hi Molly – I’m guessing that perhaps lightening up on the dry ingredients would help them to be fluffy and light. Did you weigh the dry ingredients? Also, I know it isn’t scientific, but I usually start with about 1/4 cup sugar and add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and keep adding cinnamon until it turns lightly brown (sorry not more specific!).

  11. Molly says:

    I have looked at this recipe multiple times on your site, so I finally decided to try them! They were so good! But, they turned out slightly dry and did not look as fluffy as your picture. Any suggestions to correct that? Also, what ratio of cinnamon to sugar do you use for the cinnamon sugar? Thanks for sharing all your great recipes!

  12. Boedee says:

    Whew! But regardless…they were DELISH! I made them for my 2 year old on his birthday but he wasn’t interested. I ate his share, plus more. And more. I have blogged all about you and your fabulous recipes. Each night my 2 other children ask me if we are having a “new recipe” which means one of yours or if we are eating “regular” food. Hmmm not sure what to think about that that huh?! However, they have been great with all 10+ dinners that I made from your site. I am so happy to have found you!!

  13. Mel says:

    Boedee – you are right, they don’t rise very much if at all, since they don’t have yeast.

  14. Boedee says:

    Will they not rise very much? Mine stayed about the same size as I started with.

  15. Jill says:

    Wow. Made these this morning. I’ll be making these instead of cinnamon rolls when I feel like something delicious for breakfast. My kids said, “These are dessert for breakfast!” The whole family (except my cinnamon-hating son) loved these.

  16. Mel says:

    Laura – I would probably take about 10 minutes off the baking time, but other than that, they should be fine.

  17. Laura says:

    I am making these in 8×8 inch foil pans and giving as gifts (and keeping 1 for us too!). Do you know how I should modify the cooking time? I will be freezing them. Thanks!

  18. Ang says:

    What exactly is the dough supposed to feel like when it’s all mixed up? Is it supposed to be sticky at all? And do you measure your flour by weight or cup? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Ang – I always measure by weight if the weight measurements are given. The dough is kind of like a slightly sticky, soft dough – similar to like a yeasted roll dough but a little bit sturdier than that.

  19. Terri says:

    Hmmm…I’m in charge of the breakfast brunch on Christmas morning at my church…so I’m definitely going to be making these!! Think I’ll make a powder sugar glaze to go over the top…these should go really well with the Vanilla Coffee Punch I’m serving….of course, I can’t serve an untried recipe, soooo will be making these this weekend! LOL!!

  20. Jenny says:

    Hey Mel, quick question…can I use half and half instead of whipping cream?

    • Mel says:

      Jenny – I don’t know since I’ve never tried that substitution. It might make the morning buns a bit dense, but it’s worth a try, I’d say!

  21. Jenna says:

    Yes, I am going to make these tomorrow for Christmas…or I’ll make them Thursday. Thank you!

  22. Jenny says:

    Oh wow. I made these for a weekend getaway in the mountains last week. I prepared the dough the night before we left, froze them (double batch) in two pans covered with plastic wrap, and then put them right back into the freezer when we got to the cabin. I was nervous doing something untried for a big group of people…but they were amazing! Served with bacon, peaches and cream, raspberries and cream, and hot chocolate, it was a huge hit…and SO easy. The texture is amazing (think cake doughnut) and they were not overly sweet. I swear I could taste the cream in the batter…oh, so good. I did have one dark coated pan and one normal pan and I liked the way they cooked better in the normal pan. I only cooked the dark pan for about 35 minutes and the other pan for about 50 minutes. Either way, the few left in the pan were divided up among guests to eat on the way home…and I think even a third pan would have disappeared if I’d made even more. Definitely a new favorite around here. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Jenny – thanks for the detailed review! I’m thrilled this first-time recipe worked out so well for your weekend getaway. I love these little babies and can’t wait to make them soon (especially since they could use an updated picture). Thanks for checking in!

  23. Melanie says:

    Nicole – great suggestion on the hot cocoa! Glad you liked these and I’m especially glad that you can branch out with Scott’s food now!

  24. Nicole says:

    Oh I just love being able to make all of your baked goods now that we got the okay from Scott’s doctor! We had them this morning for breakfast and they were so yummy. Can I just add one thing to the ingredient list? Hot chocolate to drink along side!

  25. Sook says:

    This is what I’m making for Christmas morning! I’m so excited! Thanks.

  26. Adam B says:

    Made these this morning/last night, and added a powdered sugar/cream cheese/milk frosting. They were delicious! Thanks!

  27. Melanie says:

    Adam B – yum, the powdered sugar and cream cheese frosting would be absolutely delightful on these. Glad you liked them!

  28. Mami China says:

    I have made these twice, once for Christmas and again for new year. Both times they were delicious but the bread was very dense. Is there something I need to do to make them fluffier?

  29. Melanie says:

    Mami China – hmmm…I’m not sure why the bread would be dense, except that perhaps next time you should cut back on the flour just a bit or try not to overwork the dough too much. I’m sorry they didn’t turn out fluffier but thanks for letting me know you liked them anyway!

  30. Kristin says:

    This is going to sound ridiculous, but I have been searching for this recipe since 7th grade Home Ec class. Well, maybe not searching, but every once in a while wishing I knew the recipe. When I realized what I was making I got so excited, and it tasted just like I remembered. Am I a dork or what? I don’t care. It was awesome.

  31. Melanie says:

    Kristin – I’m glad that this recipe is like finding a lost treasure (especially a 7th grade lost treasure!). Good thing it didn’t disappoint! And of course I don’t think you are a dork – I’d be reacting the exact same way!

  32. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – oooh, I love the idea of a powdered sugar glaze on top!

  33. Anonymous says:

    These were easy and tasty – I think they’d be even better with a milk, melted butter and powdered sugar glaze, applied after they’ve cooled a minute.

  34. Brindi says:

    These look great. Love the idea the other poster shared about giving to families.

  35. Maria says:

    Happy Birthday to your hubby! What a great morning treat!!

  36. PheMom says:

    I have been looking for something like this for the exact same reason. They look great!

  37. Deborah says:

    These look wonderful!! I can imagine how wonderful it would be to have these on Christmas morning!

  38. Melanie Anne says:

    I made this for FHE treat this week while we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. They were a big hit! I only had 1 cup of cream, so for the remainder I used half and half. They were really good–but perhaps a little denser than the batch you posted. I am going to try these with all cream next time. I am ordering a Demarle Tree shaped pan and will use that for these Christmas morn! I am excited! Thanks for the recipe!

  39. Maris says:

    These look great! I love the idea of these for a brunch I’m having next week!

  40. Katie says:

    Oh my gosh, those look SOOOOO fabulous!

  41. Leslie says:

    Ohhhhh.these look PERFECT. With just the right amount of sweetness!!!

  42. grace says:

    see, now things like this are what i call a reason to get up in the morning. why can’t every breakfast be so wonderful? why must cereal be so disappointing? lovely creation, melanie–happy birthday to your man. 🙂

  43. Frieda says:

    Yum….I just can’t wait to try these! I wonder if you can put them in 8×8 tin foil pans, wrap, freeze and give them as ‘neighborhood’ gifts with instructions for other families to have this on their Christmas morning…

  44. Nicole says:

    Thanks Melanie! Congratulations on the arrival of your newest baby boy!

  45. Steph says:

    These are definitely on my menu for Christmas. I think I might try them every weekend until as well…I could eat these every day for breakfast, snack, okay anytime…

  46. Melanie says:

    Hi Nicole – way to improvise! I love it. I for one would love chocolate chips with these holiday morning buns so thanks for the tip. Thanks for letting me know you’ve tried some recipes!I know I’ve never met you but Brian (and I) think Holden is hilarious and is a great friend to Brian – he has some classic memories from the good ol’ college days. Congratulations on expecting baby, by the way.

  47. Melanie says:

    My Sister’s Kitchen – I think that is a fantastic idea to add caramel sauce and pecans. Let me know if you try it. To be honest, I’m not sure how a caramel sauce would freeze but if you can make sure it doesn’t crystallize, I’m sure they would be delicious!

  48. Patti says:

    Definitely going to try these, thanks.

  49. My Sister's Kitchen says:

    I just made these for Easter and loved them. I’m wondering if you could do the same idea but use a caramel sauce and maybe add some pecans? I’ll have to try it next time.

  50. Nicole says:

    I love your blog – I’ve made these twice and they turned out great both times – they are SO easy, and fun to play around with. I put a chocolate chip in the center of each one last time and used coconut milk to make up for the little bit of cream I was lacking. Fun and tasty (although I couldn’t really taste the coconut milk, at least it didn’t cause any problems)! I also love the divine breadsticks recipe and angel hair pasta salad. Thanks so much!

  51. Anonymous says:

    Leigh Anne took the words right out of my mouth (fingers?). I’m going to have to try them this weekend.Sally

  52. Leigh Anne says:

    These are definitely going on our Christmas Breakfast menu!! I usually do cinnamon rolls but these look so good and would be so much easer! I may not be able to wait until then though and may need to test drive the recipe too!!Thanks for sharing

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