Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with a Secret Ingredient

Home » Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with a Secret Ingredient

Sneak Preview: These easy bread machine cinnamon rolls are traditional cinnamon rolls frosted with cream cheese icing. The secret ingredient (optional) is a pinch of cloves in the filling. It will remind you of pecan twirls.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you remember the pecan twirls we used to eat for breakfast as kids? They came in a foil pan with round molded cups for each roll. As you slowly unrolled them, the pecans would fall out everywhere. What fun–unless you were the person who got to sweep the floor.

I think I figured out the flavor that made those twirls extra delicious. 

It’s ground cloves.

logo for saladinajar
Join our community of adventurous cooks, and start creating homemade food worth sharing.

If you want inspiration and exclusive tips, add your email and press the button. (Don't worry. I won't sell your email.)

Add a tiny bit of ground cloves to the brown sugar filling. The cloves enhance and magnify the cinnamon flavor the same way espresso powder intensifies chocolate flavors. The flavor of these cinnamon rolls reminds me of those old-fashioned pecan twirls.

To people who live in Ft. Worth, TX: I’m guessing cloves are the secret ingredient in the fabulous bread pudding at Ellerbe’s in Ft Worth. Have you tried it?

This recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls is a variation of my classic dinner rolls. I always mix and knead the dough in my bread machine, shape them by hand and bake them in a conventional oven. If you don’t have an oven, see the FAQ below for alternate instructions for using your bread machine.

This recipe is designed for mixing and kneading in a bread machine. However, you can also use a stand mixer or do it by hand. See the recipe notes.

bread machine cinnamon roll on a plate with fork

Ingredients and common substitutions:

  • Milk: Whole milk produces the richest rolls. However, low-fat or nonfat dairy milk will work. Or substitute non-dairy milk if you prefer.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is specified. Honey or maple syrup are possible replacements. You may have to add extra flour to absorb the liquid they will add to the dough. Wait until you mix the dough to assess the consistency. Read more about this surprising secret for making better bread with your bread machine.
  • Egg: I always use large eggs (approximately 50 gr) in my bread recipes. If you use a smaller egg, you may need to add liquid. If you use a larger egg, more flour may be necessary. No need to warm the egg or milk.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter is my first choice, but I also use salted butter if that’s what I have. I have not tried oil. Substitute margarine or vegan butter if you like. No need to warm the butter. I chop it up with a table knife. It will melt quickly as the paddles in your machine start to knead.
  • Flour: The directions specify unbleached all-purpose flour. If you want chewier rolls, use bread flour. I prefer the tenderness of the lower protein all-purpose flour. Bleached all-purpose flour will serve the purpose, too.
  • Yeast: Use bread machine or instant yeast if you can get it. This yeast is perfect in a bread machine because you can dump it into the bread machine pan, and it mixes in without being dissolved. See my post about yeast in a bread machine if you only have active dry yeast.
  • Nuts or Raisins: Optional. Use about one-half cup. Add them to the dough at the beep for add-ins, or sprinkle them over the dough with the brown sugar and cinnamon filling.

How to mix and knead cinnamon rolls using a bread machine:

weigh ingredients and place in the bread machine pan
When possible, weigh the dough ingredients. If you don’t have scales, measure carefully and add to the bread machine pan in the order given.
dough ingredients inside the bread machine pan
Add all the dough ingredients to the bread machine pan in the other listed.

Note: The liquid ingredients do not need to be warmed. Conveniently, the friction of the paddles will heat up the dough in a hurry.

dough should start to clump immediately
Chooses the DOUGH setting and press START.

Open the machine after the first minute to ensure the paddles are engaged and working correctly. The dough should start to clump.

You may have inadvertently mismeasured if the dough looks like pancake batter or is dry and crumbly. Slowly add a small amount of flour or liquid until the dough clumps.

dough should be smooth and elastic when the kneading phase is almost done.
About fifteen minutes into the DOUGH cycle, recheck the dough. It should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.

If it’s too dry and bouncing off the walls, add a tablespoon of liquid one tablespoon at a time, waiting a few minutes between each addition to allow the dough to absorb the flour. If the dough is too wet, do the same thing with flour until your dough looks like the dough in the video.

How to shape rolls:

Pulling the bread out of the bread machine pan
Pull the dough out of the bread machine at the end of the DOUGH cycle. (See directions for making the homemade flour shaker at the end of the post.)
Forming dough into a smooth ball
Lightly knead the dough and firmly press out the bubbles (historically referred to as “punching down the dough”).
Portioning the dough.
Divide the dough ball in half. Form each half into a smooth ball. Set aside one ball and cover with a towel or plastic wrap while you shape the other ball.
rolling dough into a rectangle.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle. My rolling pin has a cover that absorbs flour, so I don’t have to use much flour while shaping the dough.
spreading butter over the rectangle of dough
Spread half of the softened butter over the cinnamon roll dough.
spreading brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the butter.
Evenly spread half of the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture over the butter. Sprinkle nuts on top of the brown sugar, if desired.
rolling up dough with the filling inside.
Starting from the long edge closest to you, begin to roll up the dough. Wrap it snugly but try not to stretch it.
Pinch the seam together.
Cut 8 equal pieces
Cut the cylinder into eight pieces with a sharp knife. (I like a serrated knife so the rolls don’t get crushed.) Try to make them equally sized. However, don’t worry if they’re not. There are always people who want the biggest one and the smallest one.
Place the rolls into greased pans and cover them with tea towels or cheap shower caps. Let the dough rise until almost double.

Preheat your oven to 375˚F (190˚C) for about 15 minutes before you think the rolls will be ready to bake.


How to bake and frost sweet cinnamon yeast rolls:

When the rolls are puffy and touching each other, bake at 375˚F for 20 minutes or until the rolls reach an internal temperature of 190˚F.
Remove rolls to a cooling rack. After a few minutes, place the rolls on a serving plate. Frost while slightly warm.
sliced cinnamon roll with a cup of coffee
Mix frosting in a small bowl and spread over both pans of cinnamon rolls. Serve immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will these cinnamon rolls stay fresh?

Like donuts, cinnamon rolls are best right out of the oven and for the rest of the day. If you want cinnamon rolls that stay fresh for several days, try these Tangzhong Cinnamon Rolls you can also make with your bread machine.

Can I freeze bread machine dough?

Yes. Freeze the unshaped dough as soon as the DOUGH cycle ends. Alternatively, freeze the shaped rolls before the final rise. Double wrap and store either in the freezer for up to a month.

When ready to use, let the dough thaw and shape the rolls. Allow a final rise before you bake them. If you freeze shaped rolls, allow them to thaw and become puffy before baking them as directed.

Can I freeze the baked rolls?

Yes. Double-wrap them and eat them within a month. The rolls will taste pretty good if you zap them briefly in the microwave and eat them immediately.

Is there any way to bake these in a bread machine?

Yes. Select the regular cycle, not the DOUGH cycle. Remove the dough from the bread machine pan before the final rise. (Check your owner’s manual to figure this out.) Remove the paddles. Shape the cinnamon rolls quickly. Place the rolls back into the pan in rows and let the bread cycle continue. They should rise and then bake.

Can I make the dough the night before?

Yes. After making the dough with the DOUGH cycle, you have two choices. Put the dough directly into the refrigerator and shape it the next day. Or shape as soon as you remove the dough from the bread machine pan and place the pans of rolls (covered) into your fridge overnight.

The following day, make the dough into rolls and let them rise before baking. Or let the shaped rolls warm up and rise, then bake them as directed in the recipe.

What can I substitute for the cream cheese frosting with coffee?

Leave out the cream cheese and/or coffee. Instead, use a couple of tablespoons of butter and milk or cream. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix until the frosting is creamy and spreadable.

Why did my cinnamon rolls pop up in the middle?

Your pan may have been too small. If this happens, carefully push the “middles” back down into the rolls when you remove them from the oven. Problem solved–for this time.



Bonus: How to make a homemade flour shaker

homemade flour shaker
The next time you have an empty jar leftover with a secure lid, poke holes in the top.  I used an awl (I think that’s what it’s called–I’m not Tim, the tool man.)  This flour shaker is handy for making bread, pie crusts, or rolled cookies.

My mom used to buy pecan swirls at the day-old store. But, come to think of it…do they still have day-old bread stores? Oh, nevermind, I’m starting to feel old. 🫣 I need a cinnamon roll to make me feel better.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula


Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Roll Recipe

My Best Cinnamon Rolls are traditional cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing. Written for mixing in a bread machine.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Mix and Rise Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Bread
Servings 16 rolls

Video

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup milk - 227 gr
  • 1 teaspoon table or sea salt - 6 gr
  • 1 large egg - 50 gr
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar - 42 gr
  • ¼ cup butter (chopped into small pieces) - 57 gr
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour - 360 gr or 13 oz
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast - 6 gr

Filling

  • 4 tablespoons softened butter for the filling - 56 gr
  • 1 cup brown sugar - 213 gr
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon - 5 gr
  • A pinch of ground cloves - (optional)

Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar - 227 gr
  • ¼ cup cream cheese - 30 gr (or 2 tablespoons of butter)
  • 2 tablespoons coffee or milk - 28 gr

Instructions
 

Dough:

  • Place all dough ingredients into the bread maker in the order listed. Select the DOUGH cycle and press START.
  • Check the dough at least twice during the mixing and kneading phase by lifting the lid to take a peek. The first time, look immediately after the machine starts mixing to ensure the paddles are engaged correctly. 
    Recheck 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle to assess the consistency of the dough. The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Read more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • When the DOUGH cycle is finished, if the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the pan to a floured surface. If the dough has not risen enough, leave it in the machine until it does before proceeding.

Shaping the dough into rolls:

  • After the dough has risen, remove it from the bread machine pan, push down gently and divide the dough in half.
  • On a generously floured surface, roll each half into a rectangle shape. The bigger, the better because it provides more surface to layer the good stuff, like butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Be careful not to roll it too thin, however, or it will tear and cause you all kinds of frustration.

Filling:

  • Spread each rectangle with approximately 2 tablespoons of softened or melted butter.
  • Combine the cinnamon, brown sugar, and cloves.
  • Distribute half of the sugar mixture over the first rectangle and half over the second. Sprinkle about 1/4 c. chopped, toasted, pecans over the brown sugar-cinnamon layer if using them.
  • Roll up the dough starting with the long edge closest to you. Slice into 8 equal pieces. Place cut side down in a greased 8 or 9-inch pan or glass dish. (I like to use one 8-inch pan and one 9-inch pan or two 9-inch pans. The rolls get too crowded if you use two 8-inch pans.)
  • Cover and let rise until double in a warm, moist place.
  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Bake rolls for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. The internal temperature should reach 190˚F.

Frosting:

  • Combine the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and coffee. You may need more or less coffee depending on how thick you like your icing. Milk will substitute for coffee.

Notes

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Roll Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 roll
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
287
Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
31
mg
10
%
Sodium
 
223
mg
10
%
Carbohydrates
 
50
g
17
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
31
g
34
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine cinnamon rolls, homemade cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls with cinnamon and clove, sweet rolls, cream cheese icing, coffee
Like this recipe? Thanks for leaving a 5-star rating inside the recipe at the top! 🤩

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




42 Comments

  1. Kathy Stephenson says:

    I just found your blog through Pioneer Woman, and I love it! I love your homemade flour shaker. It’s on my “Honey-Do List”!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kathy. Are you a baker? If so, you are going to enjoy your shaker–and probably use less flour in the process. Less mess and better product.

    2. Forgot to mention the flour shaker in my comment and there wasn’t a way to edit. I will definitely be making one of these! I keep all kinds of jars around so this won’t be hard.
      I also keep a jar for breaking apart my garlic heads AND to skin them. Makes it so much easier and quicker. Just plop your garlic head in the jar. put the lid on and shake until it comes apart. Remove all but what you need to skin, replace the lid and shake again until the skin come off.

      1. I love your tip about garlic. Will definitely give it a try.

  2. Hello there!

    I LOVE your site and enjoyed reading about you and your fresh salad ideas and this flour shaker! How awesome is that???

    I would love to have one too, so the next time I have a jar with a nice lid, I will ask my husband to make me one too!

    Thank you for the great ideas!

  3. Another Foodie says:

    Love your site. Great pictures as well!

  4. Just found your site and love it – I love to bake and have a sweet tooth which doesn’t help the waistline. I keep finding more of your recipes that I want to try! And I really like your philosophy towards the bread machine… we have one gathering dust and I am now determined to take it out and give it a try this week to make some pizza!! Thanks for sharing with all of us 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by louboo. Pizza is a great place to start with a bread machine.

  5. I’m going to try to make your cinnamon rolls, but the recipe for the filling doesn’t seem to have enough cinnamon (2 tsp). Should the amount be 2 tbsp or am I missing something?

    “Mix 1 cup brown sugar with 2 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of cloves (secret ingredient).”

  6. this recipe looks very good, can’t wait to make them, thanks!

  7. Can you make these the night before up to the point before the last rise and then refrigerate them? I love them – but do not love getting up at the crack of dawn to have them ready for my little ones.

    Pam

  8. Paula,
    I am extremely new to making bread and am going to also use my bread machine that a friend gave me to make dough and then bake in the oven. I found a recipe i want to try for sweet white bread that supposedly is really good like hawaiian bread. My questions are, my bread maker apparently beeps once after kneading and then 8 times after it is completely done in bread maker i guess after it has risen. When do i take the dough out? Also, u say let dough rise in a warm, moist place. My thermostat is usually always on 75-77 and where do i set it to rise? i also have a small portable heater in my bathroom if need be (although that sounds kinda weird to put bread dough in the bathroom lol). I just have no idea what i’m doing so some direction would be great. Thanks!

    1. Holly –
      Just put your dough in a spot away from a vent or ceiling fan. I have been known to just sit it in the oven (turned off). I now have an oven with a “Proof” setting so I use it now.
      To answer the 2nd question – Do you have a dough setting on your machine? If so, use your dough setting and remove at the end of the cycle making sure it has doubled in size. If it hasn’t leave it in the pan until it has doubled. If you don’t have a dough setting, Check your manual to see how long each cycle is. Mine is 1:30.

  9. oh and if i leave it in the bread machine till the very end, when i take it out do i let it rise again or go straight to the oven? *sigh* this is confusing.

  10. Hi!

    I just made this recipe and it worked wonderfully! Thank you so much! So happy to have home-made cinnamon rolls! 🙂

    I would like to know if I can freeze the rolls unbaked. If yes, can i put them on the oven straight from the freezer?

    Thank you 🙂

    Karla.

    1. Yes, you can freeze them unbaked but I don’t think they are quite as good. However, you must let them thaw and rise before baking which can take up to a couple hours depending on the ambient temperature.

      I prefer to bake the rolls, then freeze. If you want to make rolls the day before and bake the next morning, I recommend the “Super Convenient Potato Cheese Rolls” without the cheese of course.

      Make the dough and roll out like cinnamon rolls, cover and refrigerate. In the morning, it won’t take as long to warm up and rise compared to frozen dough. Something about potatoes in the dough gives them more staying power and I think you will find them equally delicious.

  11. Cindy Goodwin says:

    Hi!
    I stumbled upon your website on Pinterest! It has been years since I have had cinnamon rolls! This is the first time I have made dough with my breadmaker though. I usually bake a loaf of bread, unlike you. I live in Australia and the flour isn’t as forgiving here. My loaves have come out fairly solid (unlike the Canadian flour) I have since discovered a Bread Improver that is safe to use. It is getting towards summer here and the house is a nice warm temperature so I thought of giving it a go (during my exercise course, LOL!) I noticed that Butter isn’t added to your Filler, but is mentioned as something to do. I used 1/4 C butter and 1/4 cup white sugar, at least 2 cups of brown sugar, and probably close to 3TBSP cinnamon (like I remember my Mom doing). I sprinkled at least 1 1/2 cups of sultanas on the baking paper and placing my 24 rolls on that( I rolled really thin as my Mom used to do). So very yummy!

    1. Hi Cindy,
      Your rolls sound delicious! Thanks for the heads-up about the butter. Enjoy that warm weather.

    2. Hi Cindy,
      Rolling your dough thin makes a much more decadent cinnamon roll as you have figured out. But if you do that, (and increase the butter and sugar amounts) you may have to lengthen that exercise course you were talking about. 🙂

  12. Elaine Sipos says:

    Hi Paula,
    Just made the Cinnamon Rolls, so delish! I will share some with the neighbors, can’t leave these out, too tempting. I like the coffee in the icing, cuts down on the sweetness of the sugar. My husband ate two while I was in exercise class this morning and they were not iced yet. Delicious without icing also. Thanks for the great recipe.

  13. Lenora Hammond says:

    Hi there! Just wanted you to know that your rolls are just so so successful each time….unlike many other bread machine recipies I have tried! Yesterday I hosted a committee meeting for my cancer group….and made these rolls with a twist: I added in finely chopped red onion that I had sauteed with fresh tomatoes….plus of course the cheese! Yum! Today, I will try the Cinnamon rolls…..thank you for such an enjoyable website 🙂 Blessings……Lenora, Cape Town South Africa

    1. Hi Lenora,
      Your variation sounds absolutely wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Thanks for posting pictures. They do help a lot .

  15. Instead of poking holes in a jar, I rinse and dry an empty Parmesan cheese container & fill it with flour. Love your blog!

    1. Good idea, Sunshine. Haven’t bought canned Parm in years but great way to recycle.

  16. MamaToMany says:

    Wow!!… I’m so excited to try your method of “don’t bake in the bread maker unless you want to single-handedly bring on an apocalypse”- the regular rolls are on my list for tomorrow, and if I can get those the way they should be then these cinnamon rolls! Yay! My kids will thank me profusely… but I have you to ‘blame’ 🙂
    And that flour shaker?! Genius!!!!!!
    Thank you for sharing!!!

  17. So this recipe makes 16 rolls essentially right? Can I cut it in half to just make 8? I don’t need that many.

    1. I have never made just half of this recipe so can’t say for sure. You could just divide the dough into 8 rolls instead of 16. They would be nice and big. 🙂

  18. WOW, WOW, WOW… my family just loved these! Made the sweet milk white bread so I knew I could not go wrong trying another recipe 🙂 I was SO right! Amazing! I think my bucket list shall include making all recipes from “Salad-In-A-Jar”.
    Thanks again! From the newest Happy Baker!

  19. Hi, newbie here. Came across your recipe and I made the cinammon rolls last night and it was yummy when hot. However, the base will tend to burn before the roll is done… how do I avoid that?
    Also, when eaten the next day, it tends to be a little dry and slightly hard when eaten. How do I avoid that? (I toasted it slightly the next day)

    Thanks for your great recipe but please help with my problems

  20. Do you leave the flour in it? If so, how do you keep from getting moisture in it? I love your recipes-you inspired me to get my first bread maker! Used the dough cycle for first time today…bread is rising now so we shall see!

  21. MerryChristmas Claus says:

    It’s too long of a story but I have a special bread maker which belonged to a now-deceased friend of my mother’s. I am 61 and my mother passed away in 1985, her friend in 2004. I use her bread machine sparingly to preserve it and found your website while looking up a question on Yogurt starter and have spent several hours glued to your site. This is the last recipe for tonight but tomorrow I will pull it out and make one of your bread recipes, maybe cinnamon rolls in her honor, maybe the dinner rolls which would have been my mom’s favorite. Either way, thanks for an enjoyable evening.

    Even Santa was happy with the Salad in a Jar idea. Thanks. I have now bookmarked your site so I can remember where I found all these fabulous recipes.

    Mrs. Claus

  22. Can I sub the butter with oil? Thanks.

  23. I made these yesterday and they were really yummy, in fact, my husband ate three of them straight away….and he never puts on any weight, lol!
    I followed your excellent instructions and pics, and was so delighted with the result, that I can see these cinnamon rolls becoming a sticky favourite in our house. Thanks again. 🙂

    1. Hi Elaine,

      I’m so envious of your husband!!! #1 because he never puts on weight, and #2 because he has you to make these cinnamon rolls for him.

  24. Hello Paula , my question is I have my mother in laws bread machine which is a zojirushi, with your recipe and selecting the dough options quick or basic ? I ve used the recipe in the manual for cinnamon buns before but would like to experiment with others .

    1. Hi Maureen,

      You ask a good question. I always use the regular DOUGH cycle which would be the basic one. The longer bread rises, the better the flavor. That’s a basic principle of yeast bread making. I have been making this recipe for many years. I predict it will make you famous for your cinnamon rolls, too.

  25. Can’t wait to make these. The addition of cloves sounds heavenly! I’ll be making these at both Thanksgiving AND Christmas as our son and his wife will be in from out of state for Thanksgiving and our daughter will be in from out of state for Christmas.
    I will be testing the recipe out in the meantime.

    Thanks!

  26. 5 stars
    I added one thing extra on this recipe: anise. I wanted a more Christmas-y taste and thought it would be nice. They were amazing!

    1. Hi Erika,
      I love hearing how readers make these bread recipes their own by adding different seasonings. The anise sounds interesting. Thanks so much for sharing. Your comment is will surely help someone else.