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Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

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Sourdough cinnamon rolls are a great way to use your sourdough starter. This easy recipe can be made and baked the same day or rested overnight in the fridge. Learn how to make delicious sourdough cinnamon buns!

Sourdough cinnamon rolls are so freaking good. You've got to try them!

This recipe results in a perfectly sweet cinnamon bun balanced with unbelievably soft and tender bun with a flavor that a yeasted recipe cannot match!

They can be baked the same day or prepared and baked the next day.

My personal preference is to bake them the next day. This allows the butter and brown sugar to create a layer of sugary, buttery deliciousness that's reminiscent of a sticky bun without being too messy!

This fermented sourdough cinnamon rolls recipe is dedicated goodness!

Sourdough cinnamon rolls iced and piled on a plate.
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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> Need a sourdough starter and quick? I got you covered with my 24 hour sourdough starter!

No. 2 -->Many people use thread or floss to slice their cinnamon buns, but I prefer to use a serrated pairing knife. I always get beautiful clean cuts this way.

No. 3 --> There's more math in baking than just fractions! I also used a ruler for this recipe. I use my ruler to ensure my rolled-out rectangle is large enough and to mark the log at 1 1/2" intervals! 18" divided by 12 rolls = 1 1/2" slices.

No. 4 --> Knock the air bubbles out of your starter before scooping into the measuring cup. We want only starter!

No. 5 --> The bonus to using yeast in this recipe is that you can really roll out the dough with a rolling pin and know it will still come back. It's got plenty of sourdough flavor and yeast convenience.

Pulling a cinnamon bun out of the baking dish.

Key Ingredients

  • Sourdough starter: For this recipe, you want to use a fed and active sourdough starter. Your starter should have been fed within the last 6-8 hours and has at least doubled in size. If you're using your sourdough starter while it's still expanding, the dough will be sweeter, and if you use it past its peak, the dough will be sourer. This recipe is based on a sourdough starter with 100% hydration (equal amounts of flour and water by weight, not volume.
  • Cinnamon: Can't have a delicious cinnamon bun without cinnamon! Ensure your cinnamon is fresh and flavorful. As a cinnamon-loving family, we go through a lot of cinnamon, keeping our stock fresh and yummy!
  • Cream cheese: Is it a cinnamon roll without cream cheese?! These sourdough cinnamon buns are glazed with a simple, 2 ingredient cream cheese icing.
Ingredients for sourdough starter cinnamon rolls.

How To Make Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir together to combine. Then add the liquid ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment until completely combined, being cautious to not over-mix.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for 30 minutes. This short autolyse allows us to reduce the amount of mixing by activating the gluten structure and softens the dough.
  3. After 30 minutes, uncover the mixing bowl, and with the dough hook, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until the dough is soft, the dough will still be slightly tacky at this stage. Recover the bowl.
  4. For the next 2 1/2 hours, every 45 minutes or so, perform a stretch and fold on the dough. To stretch and fold, gently pull the dough and fold it across itself. Then turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat 3 more times. Recover the bowl after each stretch and fold.
  5. After the final rest, grease a 9 x 13" baking pan and set it aside. I usually use margarine, but butter also works!
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and press the dough as flat as possible with your hands, then let it rest for a couple of minutes and then roll the dough into a large rectangle about 18 x 14 inches. Pressing out the dough and allowing it to rest makes the rolling much easier as this dough has some back spring!
  7. Brush the surface of the dough with softened butter, leaving a 1/2" gap on one long edge to help stick it shut. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the butter in an even layer and pat down. Then sprinkle the cinnamon across the top of the brown sugar.
  8. Roll the dough log, from the long side to the edge that has no filling. When you get to the end, pull the raw edge over the roll to seal it shut. It should be snug, but not overly tight.
  9. Slice the roll into 1 1/2" rounds and place them into the prepared baking pan leaving a gap between.
  10. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 2 hours or until roughly doubled in size. I like to pop them in my microwave with the light on.

Bake Today Or Tomorrow?

Because these sourdough cinnamon buns can be baked the same day or rested overnight, you've got some deciding to do!

Baking today gives a yummy bun, no question. But giving them an overnight nap in the fridge makes them even better in my opinion. The brown sugar butter layer releases some juices that make a caramel that you'll be licking out of the baking dish! Beyond that, the buns have more flavor due to the longer bulk ferment.

Bake today!

  1. Once the buns have doubled in size, or are pretty close, preheat the oven to 400f.
  2. Bake them at 400f for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Bake tomorrow!

  1. Once the buns have doubled in size, transfer them to the fridge overnight - > 12-16 hours.
  2. When ready to bake, remove the buns and allow them to come to room temperature for approximately 20 minutes while the oven preheats to 400f.
  3. Bake them at 400f for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Dress Them Up!

A cinnamon roll isn't a cinnamon roll without a smear of cream cheese frosting. Those are just the rules!

I've included a recipe for a 2 ingredient cream cheese icing that is perfection on a sourdough cinnamon roll! If you prefer less cream cheese flavor, you can add more powdered sugar, but as written I feel like it's just perfect!

My favorite way to make cream cheese icing is to use the whisk on my stand mixer and beat the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until it's completely smooth and seems light and fluffy. This may take a couple of minutes and require a bowl scrape or two!

I prefer to ice my cinnamon buns once they've cooled to barely over room temperature. This is a personal preference, but I like the way the icing stays opaque, and stays put.

Icing the sourdough cinnamon buns with cream cheese frosting.

Batch + Storage Information

Batch:

This sourdough cinnamon bun recipe gives 12 good sized buns. It can easily be doubled or more if you live in a house with cinnamon bun monsters like me!

Storage:

Store your cinnamon rolls at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container to avoid schmanging the icing. If they are not iced, they can be kept in a ziplock bag.

If you've got too many buns to enjoy in a short time, leave the buns you plan to store un-iced. Allow them to cool to room temperature before wrapping in a layer of plastic wrap and storing in an airtight freezer bag or container for 2-3 months.

As an added bonus, the icing can also be stored in the freezer! I like to put mine in snack-sized ziplock bags, enough for a couple of buns, then lay it flat to remove the air before sealing. Store your icing in the same bag or container as the buns and you'll have both ready next time you've got a hankering for cinnamon buns!

Allow the cinnamon rolls to thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours before enjoying.

A sourdough cinnamon roll cut in half showing the airy crumb.

More Sourdough Recipes To Try

Variations + Substitutions

  • Add some cardamom! Cardamom + cinnamon = amazing. Just like my cardamom cranberry bread!
  • Add raisins! Soak 1/3 - 1/2 cup raisins in boiling water for 5 or so minutes, then drain and allow to cool slightly before spreading them out on the brown sugar layer.
  • Feeling nutty? Toss a scant 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans in with the brown sugar.
  • Don't have cooking oil handy? Use unsalted butter in the dough.
  • Hate cream cheese icing? Make a simple glaze like Cooking With Karli!
  • Stand mixer: I use my KITCHENAID MIXER for so many things. It makes everything much easier - I couldn't live without it for my baking!
  • 9 x 13" pan: This sourdough cinnamon roll recipe fits perfectly in a 9 x 13" baking pan. It can be shoehorned into something smaller, but I do recommend a sturdy, high-quality baking pan.

📖 Printable Recipe

Sourdough cinnamon rolls iced and piled on a plate.
Yield: 12

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 5 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Sourdough cinnamon rolls are probably the best cinnamon rolls you'll ever make! These easy (though somewhat time-intensive) cinnamon treats are packed with flavor, a delicate texture and a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, measured using the scoop and level method (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup active, fed sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup warm milk, between 80 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, I used vegetable

for the filling:

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened - plus extra for greasing pan
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

for the cream cheese glaze:

  • 1 /2 cup cream cheese, (1/2 8 oz package) softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir together to combine. Then add the liquid ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment until completely combined, being cautious to not over-mix.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, uncover the mixing bowl, and with the dough hook, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until the dough is soft, the dough will still be slightly tacky at this stage. Recover the bowl.
  4. For the next 2 1/2 hours, every 45 minutes or so, perform a stretch and fold on the dough. (see note)
  5. After the final rest, grease a 9 x 13 baking pan and set it aside.
  6. Then turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle. About 18 x 14 inches.
  7. Brush the surface of the dough with softened butter, leaving a 1/2" gap on one long edge. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the butter in an even layer. Then sprinkle the cinnamon across the top of the brown sugar.
  8. Roll the dough log, from the long side to the edge that has no filling. When you get to the end, pull the raw edge over the roll to seal it shut.
  9. Slice the roll into 1 1/2" rounds and place them into the prepared baking pan leaving a gap between.
  10. Cover the baking dish, place it somewhere warm and allow the buns to rise for 2 - 2 1/2 hours or until roughly doubled.
  11. See baking instructions below!


Bake today:

  1. Once the buns have risen to double their size, preheat oven to 400f.
  2. Bake the cinnamon rolls in the oven uncovered for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.


Bake tomorrow:

  1. Once the buns have doubled, transfer the baking dish to the fridge and store the covered cinnamon rolls in the fridge overnight - up to 16 hours.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400f and remove the cinnamon rolls from the fridge, place the covered baking dish on the counter and allow them to come to room temperature for 15-20 minutes while preheating the oven.
  3. Bake the cinnamon rolls, uncovered, at 400 f for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.


Make the icing:

  1. While the buns are baking, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until a creamy, smooth, icing forms.
  2. Allow the sourdough cinnamon rolls to cool to room temperature before liberally applying icing.

Notes

Scoop and level: Stir the flour in your container, then using a spoon or another measuring cup scoop the flour into your desired measuring cup, then level off the cup with a spoon handle or the back of a knife.

Batch:

This sourdough cinnamon bun recipe gives 12 good-sized buns. It can easily be doubled or halved.

Storage:

Store your cinnamon rolls at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container to avoid mucking up the icing. If they are not iced, they can be kept in a ziplock bag.

To freeze the cinnamon rolls, allow them to cool to room temperature. Do not frost them. Wrap in each bun in a layer of plastic wrap, then store them in an airtight freezer bag or container. The icing can also be stored in the freezer. Spoon cream cheese frosting into snack-sized ziplock bags then lay it flat to remove the air before sealing. Store the icing in the same bag or container as the buns.

Allow the cinnamon rolls to thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours before icing and enjoying.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 441Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 386mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 7g

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