When you don’t want 4 dozen cinnamon rolls staring you in the face, what do you do? You make this amazing small batch cinnamon roll recipe and then gaze lovingly at 12 of the most perfect cinnamon rolls ever!

There is certainly a time and a place for a huge batch of cinnamon rolls.

But if you don’t need 20+ cinnamon rolls staring you in the face, this recipe for a small batch of cinnamon rolls is the perfect solution!

Small batch cinnamon roll recipe with dough baked and frosted in white pan.

12 Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe makes twelve perfect cinnamon rolls nestled together in a basic 9X13-inch pan.

They’re amazing. And I’m going to show you just how easy they are to make.

Taking a layer off of small batch cinnamon roll.

How to make small batch cinnamon rolls

Mix the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

The dough should be soft and smooth after mixing, not over floured (dry rolls!) or under floured (sticky, doughy rolls!).

If you focus on the feel of the dough rather than the exact flour amount in the recipe, you’ll achieve the perfect dough.

Ultimately, when the dough goes from lumpy and shaggy and forms a ball that doesn’t leave a lot of sticky residue on your fingers, you’re good to go.

Small batch cinnamon roll recipe dough mixed in Kitchenaid.

Perfect Texture for the Dough

You can see that this beautiful lump of cinnamon roll dough holds it’s shape and isn’t sticky, but it is still stretchy and soft.

Holding it up like this, if it starts pulling and sagging without sticking to your fingers, you have yourself a really good cinnamon roll dough.

Stretching the dough for the perfect small batch cinnamon rolls recipe.

Plop the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rise until noticeably puffy and pretty much doubled in size. The exact time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen, but it should be right around 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Dough rising for small batch cinnamon rolls recipe.

Rolling out Cinnamon Rolls

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop (I prefer using nonstick cooking spray over using flour so the rolls stay soft and not over floured).

This dough is so malleable and easy to work with that I never mess with a rolling pin. I just pat it into a rectangle, about 14X10-inches, and call it good.

Spread about 6 tablespoons of softened butter on top. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon together (and the little bit of flour, if using – more details on that in the recipe below) and sprinkle that lovely concoction over the butter.

Small batch cinnamon rolls recipe with dough spread out with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon.

Starting with one long end, roll up the cinnamon rolls. The key to this rolling action is to roll them up as tightly as possible without stretching the dough.

Stretching and pulling on the dough while rolling them up will cause the rolls to shrink weirdly in the oven and can cause some of those dreaded gaps in the rolls after they bake and cool.

Once rolled, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. I find it’s easiest to use a serrated knife (I have this inexpensive one and love it; it’s amazing – aff. link) or a piece of thread or unflavored dental floss.

Rolling up and cutting the cinnamon rolls.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan with cooking spray and place those cute rolls evenly in the pan. I like to tuck the ends of the rolls underneath. Habit, I guess.

Let the rolls rise until puffy. I know they’re ready when they are starting to get in each others’ personal space. Sides touching and they’re ready to go!

Small batch cinnamon rolls rising in white pan.

Bake the rolls in a 350 degree F oven for about 18-20 minutes. A tiny bit of browning on top is ok, but don’t let them bake too long or they might be dry.

While they are cooling, I like to whip up the icing and slather it on when they are just warm. Not too hot, not too cold. It’s the perfect frosting situation.

Small batch cinnamon rolls recipe with dough baked and frosted in white pan.

I’ve made these several times over the last few months just for our family. The recipe is the perfect size without too many dangerous leftovers.

So easy, you’ll be asking yourself why you aren’t making cinnamon rolls every day! Haha. Ok, that was a stretch. But maybe cinnamon rolls every couple weeks/months is a very, very good idea. 🙂

Half eaten cinnamon roll from small batch cinnamon roll recipe.

How to make these cinnamon rolls ahead of time

It’s really easy to make cinnamon rolls ahead of time!

This post on making cinnamon rolls ahead of time can be used for any variety of sweet roll.

One Year Ago: Easy Homemade French Bread
Two Years Ago: Harvest Pasta Sauce {Trader Joe’s Copycat}
Three Years Ago: Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust
Four Years Ago: Pumpkin White Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake {Egg-Free, Easily Gluten Free}
Five Years Ago: Apple Crumb Pie

Small batch cinnamon roll recipe with dough baked and frosted in white pan.

Perfect Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

4.7 stars (307 ratings)

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1 cup milk (see note)
  • ¼ cup (57 g) butter (I use salted butter)
  • ¼ cup (53 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (see note)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 to 4 cups (426-568 g) all-purpose flour (see note)

Filling:

  • 6 to 7 tablespoons (85-99 g) butter
  • cup (141 g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons flour , optional (see note)

Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons (43 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) butter, softened (I use salted butter)
  • 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups (143 g) powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • For the dough, heat the milk in a medium saucepan until the milk is scalded (which is basically heating it until right before it simmers – it will start steaming and little bubbles will form around the edge of the pan; you can also do this in the microwave). Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or you can do this by hand with a large bowl and wooden spoon).
  • Add the butter, sugar and salt. Mix until the butter is melted and let the mixture cool until warm but not hot. Add the yeast and egg and mix until combined.
  • Gradually add the flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. The exact amount will depend on the temperature, humidity and how you measure flour. I usually end up with right around 3 1/2 cups of flour. The dough should be soft and just slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled, about an hour. Roll or pat the dough into about a 14X10-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter evenly across the top.
  • Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon (and flour if using) and sprinkle it evenly over the butter. Pat it in slightly with the palms of your hands. Starting with one long end, roll up the cinnamon rolls as tightly as possible without stretching the dough, pinching the seam lightly to seal.
  • Using a serrated knife, cut the large roll in half. Then cut each half in half again (forming four equal portions). Cut each of the four portions into three rolls for twelve cinnamon rolls total.
  • Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Place the rolls in the pan (3 across, 4 down), tucking the loose end of the cinnamon roll underneath, if desired. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let the rolls rise until double, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls for about 18-22 minutes until only very slightly golden on top.
  • While they cool (or before), prepare the icing by adding the cream cheese and butter to a medium bowl. Whip with a handheld (or stand) mixer until creamy. Add the milk or cream and vanilla. Mix again. Add the powdered sugar and whip until light and creamy. Spread the slightly warm rolls evenly with the icing. Serve immediately or let cool completely and serve at room temperature (or warm lightly before serving).

Notes

Milk: I prefer using whole milk or 2% milk in this recipe. If you don’t have instant yeast and want to use active dry yeast, use the same amount and dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup water with a pinch of sugar. If doing this, you may need to add a bit more flour due to the extra water. 
Measuring Flour: don’t worry so much about the exact amount of flour called for in the recipe and instead judge the dough by the feel of it. It should be soft and smooth and stretchy without leaving an overly sticky residue on your fingers. Elevation, humidity, exact temperature of the milk, how we each measure flour – all of these things can affect the precise flour amount, so don’t worry if you have to add a bit more or less than the recipe calls for.
Flour in the Filling: I like adding a tiny bit of flour in the filling (thanks to this recipe). It helps bind the filling together so the rolls don’t gap as much after baking (like sometimes happens). It’s definitely optional whether you want to add it or not.
Make-Ahead: this post details how to make sweet rolls ahead of time.
Serving: 1 cinnamon roll, Calories: 400kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 262mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 30g
Follow @MelsKitchenCafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted from this favorite recipe)