Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

When Pillsbury makes cinnamon rolls so easy –just pop open the tube, place, and bake–why would you go to the trouble of making your own from scratch?” You ask skeptically. I just have one answer to that very valid question, can the Pillsbury tube make cinnamon rolls that are so pillowy, cinnamon-filled, and topped with the most addictive browned butter cream cheese frosting that you think you’ve died and gone to a cinnamon roll version of heaven? I didn’t think so.

I’ve always been a cinnamon roll tube kind of girl, but these cinnamon rolls worth the extra effort. I swear. These cinnamon rolls are made with a brioche dough, which means that the final product is softer (some might say more pillowy) than you though was possible for a cinnamon roll. Not only is the texture better, but the cheese cheese frosting is jut what you need. It uses browned butter, giving the frosting a nutty note that compliments the cinnamon filling in the best way possible. It’s the equivalent of, say, being able to use a coupon to buy a book when it’s already half price. It’s adding greatness to something that’s already beautiful on it’s own.

That said, there’s another reason why using brioche dough for these bad boys is the way to go. Because there’s so much butter in brioche dough, once it’s all been incorporated, the butter in the dough needs time to harden back up and solidify before it’s ready to use. For this to happen, brioche dough needs to take a long nap in the fridge, usually overnight or for about 7-8 hours. This dough is great because it can stay in the fridge for up to 24 hours. After it’s chill time, the dough only needs a short time to rise and then it’s into the oven to bake.

I love this recipe for cinnamon rolls, because I like to eat breakfast within an hour or two of waking up in the morning. Breakfast is important folks. With this recipe, all of the work is done the night before and in the morning you just have to pull them out of the fridge, let them rise at room temperature for 30 minutes and then pop then in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Easy-peasy! I’m going to be honest, I even make the frosting the day before and just pull it out of the fridge along with the cinnamon rolls to let it soften up a bit.

I hope I’ve done enough to convince you to try these bad boys, but if not, hey cinnamon rolls from a tube are still pretty darn good!

Oh, I almost forgot! I found this recipe in Tieghan Gerard’s cookbook, Half Baked Harvest, only making a slight adjustment. Enjoy!:)

Brioche Cinnamon Rolls:

Makes: 12-15 buns


  • For the dough:
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1 TBS instant yeast
    • 3 TBS sugar
    • 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
    • 3 large eggs
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (about 1 1/2 sticks)
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • For the filling:
    • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 2 TBS ground cinnamon
    • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
    • Pinch of sea salt (or regular, your choice)
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • For the frosting:
    • 6 TBS unsalted butter, (3/4 stick)
    • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Step 1: Make the dough. First, brown the butter by taking 1 1/2 sticks of butter and melting it in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts bubbling, cook it, stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes, until it starts to take on a golden-brown color and starts to give off a nutty aroma. Transfer the butter to a bowl and set aside to allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Step 2: Once the butter has cooled, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Then add in the warm milk, eggs, brown butter, and salt and mix on medium speed until combined. Gradually add in 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough feels sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
  • Step 3: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it into a smooth ball (it should take about 10 minutes of kneading to reach this point). Grease the bowl lightly with butter and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl and let rise for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Step 4: Make the filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt into a small bowl and mix well.
  • Step 5: Once the dough has risen, lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and turn out the dough onto it. Then punch down the dough and roll it into a rectangle that’s about 10 x 16 inches. Position the dough so that way the long side is facing you and spread the 1/2 cup of soften butter evenly over the dough (you’ll need to use your fingers for this, so don’t be afraid to get messy). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the butter and press the filling into the dough/butter.
  • Step 6: Starting with the long end, pull the edge up and over the filling and roll the dough tightly into a log. Pinch the edges to seal.
  • Step 7: If you want to make sure that the rolls remain very cylindrical, use a piece of dental floss, and slide it under the log. Wrap the floss across and around the roll and keeping one end of the floss in each hand, tighten the floss so that it cuts through the roll. Alternatively, you can just use a sharp knife to cut 12 to 15 rolls, each about 3/4 to 1 inch wide, from the roll.
  • Step 8: Place the rolls cut side up in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that has been well greased with butter. Then cover and let rise until the rolls have doubled in size, about 30 minutes. At this point, place in the fridge overnight or for up to 24 hours to allow the dough time to develop more flavor.
  • Step 9: Preheat the oven to 350ºF and take the rolls out of the fridge and allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Step 10: Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Step 11: Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it starts bubbling, cook it, stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes, until it starts to take on a golden-brown color and starts to give off a nutty aroma. Transfer the butter to a bowl and set aside to allow to cool.
  • Step 12: In a medium bowl, beat together the cooled browned butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Step 13: Spread the frosting over the warm rolls and serve.

Happy Baking!:)

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