Wake up to these super fluffy cast-iron buttermilk cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. Buttermilk makes the dough super tender so that they rise into sweet pillowy rolls of brown sugar and cinnamon heaven.
THIS RECIPE IS SPONSORED BY BOB'S RED MILL
This is another fire recipe sponsored by my partner, Bob’s Red Mill, however, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
I made Farro & Salmon Fried Rice for my first recipe with Bob’s Red Mill and it was so delicious. I couldn’t wait to share more recipes using their amazing range of products and this buttermilk cinnamon roll recipe is just as exceptional.
Best-Ever Cast Iron Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls
Ok yall, no cap, I’m trying to keep it cute but these cast iron buttermilk cinnamon rolls are worth every calorie. Listen they are soft and fluffy in the best way and the cream cheese frosting is literally bowl-lickable.
If you get intimidated when you see homemade cinnamon rolls, listen I totally get it. Yeasted breads require a little more TLC but I promise if you follow the steps in the recipe – I mean all the steps exactly how I tell you – there is nothing to worry about.
On the other side of a little elbow grease is complete buttermilk cinnamon bliss.
Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to bring these buttermilk cinnamon rolls to life.
- All-Purpose Flour: Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour is my top pick for the best gluten development and texture for all sorts of baked goods, including this fluffy cinnamon rolls recipe. Feel free to use whichever all-purpose flour you prefer.
- Buttermilk: The secret to the best cast iron cinnamon rolls is swapping out regular milk for buttermilk. This works best because the acidity in buttermilk enables the dough to rise in a way that milk cannot, ensuring the fluffiest cinnamon rolls.
- Unsalted Butter: I always prefer to use unsalted butter in baking recipes to control the amount of salt I add. Butter adds a deep depth of flavor, golden brown color and helps the cinnamon rolls come out perfectly flaky.
- Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast, aka rapid rise yeast—either one will work fine. Yeast is the key to getting the cinnamon roll dough to rise.
- Sugar: You will need granulated sugar for the dough, dark brown sugar for the gooey cinnamon filling, and powdered sugar for the cream cheese frosting.
- Cream Cheese: I recommend using full-fat cream cheese for the best-tasting results. However, you can use low-fat cream cheese for healthier cinnamon rolls if preferred.
- Cinnamon: What would cinnamon rolls be without the cinnamon? This is a must!
How To Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Who’s ready to make the best-ever cast iron cinnamon rolls? All you have to do is follow the simple steps below.
Step 1: Make the Dough
Add buttermilk to a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Buttermilk should be warm to touch—between 105 to 110°F.
Transfer warm buttermilk to the stand mixer bowl, then stir in yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar. Cover with a towel and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve and foam up.
Add the remaining sugar, eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla, then stir until mixed well. Add 1 cup of flour and attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. On low speed, begin to knead the dough. After one minute, gradually add 1 more cup of flour and knead for 1 minute before adding the last of the flour.
After pouring in, the last of the flour and ball starts to form; increase to medium speed and continue to knead for 6 minutes more. The dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky.
Step 2: Let the Dough Rise
Add oil to a large bowl and brush along the sides. Transfer dough ball to the bowl and toss in residual oil to ensure that it is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel.
Heat oven to 170°F. Turn off the heat once the oven reaches the temperature and wait 5 minutes. Add covered bowl to the oven (ensure that the heat is off) and allow dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Step 3: Make Cinnamon Filling and Let the Dough Rise (Again)
Punch dough down to release any air that has built up. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead to form smooth ball (1 minute). With a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a 18×11 inch rectangle, long side facing you. Use about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to brush the dough all over.
In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and remaining melted butter. Sprinkle mixture across the buttered dough, leaving about ½ inch border at the top edge. Then, lightly press the sugar mixture into the dough so that it sticks.
Tightly roll the dough away from you into a firm 18-inch log. Pinch the seam and close the ends, then roll the seam side down, making sure to seal the edges.
Before cutting, score the log into approximately 2 inch sections, then use the serrated knife to cut 9 large pieces.
Step 4: Bake the Cinnamon Rolls
Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange 9 pieces in prepared skillet. Cover buns tightly with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm, dry spot for 40 minutes (you can use the 170°F oven method again) or until they have doubled in volume then remove from the oven.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer uncovered cinnamon rolls to the oven middle rack and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
Step 5: Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
While the rolls bake, mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and salt in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or by hand, until smooth. Icing should be thick enough to spread. Once the rolls are finished baking, allow to cool for 5 minutes before smearing icing. Enjoy warm.
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about this Cast Iron Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls recipe:
How to Encourage Your Dough to Rise
If your dough isn’t rising fast enough, don’t stress. To help the dough rise faster here’s an easy trick to try out:
While you are preparing your dough, turn the oven on and heat to 170°F, then turn it off. Wait for five minutes, then transfer the uncooked cinnamon rolls to the oven to rise and cover with a towel. Remove from the oven after the suggested rising time has expired. Adding your dough to a heated environment is the best way to encourage the dough to rise.
Try this dough rising trick, and let me know how it goes!
Why Is My Cinnamon Roll Dough Tough?
If your cinnamon roll dough feels tough, this could be from a few different reasons. First, you may have overworked the dough. Overkneading is a common cause of tough dough, as it causes gluten strains to develop and form a stronger network. The poke test is a great way to check if your dough is ready to stop kneading. Just give the dough ball a firm poke, and if the indent fills back quickly, then you are good to go.
Another common reason for tough dough is using too much flour. If the dough is too dry (meaning it lacks proper hydration), then it can become tough and hard to work with. As long as you add the instructed amount of buttermilk, this should not be an issue. If you find that you have used too much flour, try adding a bit more buttermilk or a tiny splash of water to re-hydrate the dough.
Active-Dry Yeast vs. Instant Yeast
Many baked goods recipes call for yeast to enable the dough to rise. When shopping for yeast at the grocery store, you will be faced with two options: active dry yeast and instant yeast. So, what’s the difference?
While they both get the job done, instant yeast simply works more quickly than active dry yeast. If you’re pressed for time, I would recommend opting for instant yeast. Otherwise, either option will work and can be used interchangeably at a 1:1 ratio.
My cinnamon rolls didn’t rise! What did I do wrong?
While it seems like it should be simple enough, many people run into the issue of finding that their dough did not rise. This could be due to the yeast not reacting properly —always check the expiration label on your yeast before using it— or the temperature of the dough environment.
We add warm buttermilk to the dough to create a warm environment, which typically does the trick. If your kitchen is particularly cold or you did not warm your buttermilk prior to adding it, try the dough rising trick I mentioned above.
Buttermilk vs. Regular Milk
My top tip for achieving the best cast iron cinnamon rolls is using buttermilk instead of regular milk. Buttermilk contains a much higher level of acidity than regular milk, which helps to tenderize the gluten and create a softer, fluffier cinnamon roll. Not only that, but the acidity also adds a pleasant tang to baked goods and enhances the other flavors.
If you don’t have buttermilk, I would recommend creating a buttermilk substitute using regular milk and some sort of acidic ingredients like lemon juice or sour cream. In a pinch, this works like a charm!
More Delicious Baking Recipes
If you loved these fluffy cinnamon rolls, you’ve got to try these crave-worthy baking recipes next:
- Goat Milk Pie
- Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche
- Apple Dump Cake
- Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies
- Hot Buttered Rum Biscuits
Now it’s your turn!
If you enjoy the recipe, please share it with your friends and family. And don’t forget to give me some five-star love down below. And if you have any comments or questions, leave them below too, and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon warm buttermilk (110 degrees)
- 1 (.25 oz) packet active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar divided
- 1 large egg lightly beaten, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter melted, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil to oil bowl for dough
- ¼ Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour to roll out the dough
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to oil the cast iron
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3 oz. cream cheese softened, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Start by reading the full recipe + recipe notes and prep ingredients as instructed.
- Add buttermilk to microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Buttermilk should be warm to touch between 105 to 110°F. Transfer warm buttermilk to the bowl of the stand mixer and stir in yeast, a pinch of sugar. Cover with a towel and set aside for 5 minutes to allow yeast to dissolve and foam up.
- Add remaining sugar, eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla and stir until mixed well. Add in 1 cup of flour and attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. On low speed, begin to knead the dough for 1 minute. Gradually add 1 cup at a time, and allow flour to knead for 1 minute between additions. After pouring in the last of the flour and ball starts to form, increase to medium speed and continue to knead for 6 minutes more. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky. [see notes how to make dough without a stand mixer]
Dough 1st Rise
- Add oil to a large bowl and brush along the sides. Transfer dough ball to the bowl and toss in residual oil to ensure that it is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel.
- Heat oven to 170°F. Once the oven reaches temperature turn off the heat and wait 5 minutes. Add covered bowl to the oven (ensure that the heat is off) and allow dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Make Filling + 2nd Rise
- Punch dough down to release any air that has built up. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead to form smooth ball (1 minute). With a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a 18×11 inch rectangle, long side facing you. Use about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to brush the dough all over.
- In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and remaining melted butter. Sprinkle mixture across the buttered dough leaving about ½ inch border at the top edge. Then lightly press the sugar mixture into the dough so that it sticks.
- Tightly roll dough away from you into a firm 18-inch log. Pinch the seam and the ends closed then roll the seam side down making sure to seal the edges.
- Before cutting, score the log into approximately 2 inch sections then use a serrated knife to cut 9 large pieces.
- Grease 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of room temerature butter. Arrange 9 cinnamon roll pieces in prepared skillet. Cover buns tightly with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm, dry spot for 40 minutes (you can use the 170°F oven method again) or until they have doubled in volume. Then remove from the oven, remove plastic wrap and set aside until ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer uncovered cinnamon rolls to the oven middle rack and bake for 20-30 minutes. Once golden brown, remove from the oven and cool on wire rack for at least 5 minutes.
- While rolls bake, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and salt, in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or by hand until smooth. Icing should be thick enough to spread. Once rolls are finished baking, allow to cool for 5 minutes before smearing icing evenly over each roll. Enjoy warm!
- In step 1, instead of adding the warm buttermilk to the bowl of a stand mixer, you can add it to a large mixing bowl.
- In step 2, add the yeast and a pinch of sugar to the mixing bowl with the warm buttermilk. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes.
- In step 3, add the remaining sugar, eggs, melted butter, salt, and vanilla to the mixing bowl with the yeast mixture. Stir until well combined.
- In step 4, gradually add the flour to the mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
- In step 5, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
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