These no-yeast, no-rise, make-ahead, Ridiculously Easy Cinnamon Rolls employ a secret technique that makes them melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Did you know that my job is to make your life easier and more delicious, at the same time? My favorite kind of recipes to share on the blog, are those that will knock the socks off your family and friends. The kind that will have them raving and begging for more. All with a minimal amount of effort from you. These Ridiculously Easy Cinnamon Rolls check all the boxes!
A Brilliant Technique
You may be beginning to notice a theme going on here. First of all, there were the Ridiculously Easy Biscuits, a recipe that took the difficulty out of traditional biscuit making, yet produced flaky, tall, simply irresistible biscuits. The recipe includes a technique that originated with the smart folks at Cook's Illustrated.
They figured out that instead of having to "cut" butter into the flour mixture (the classic biscuit method), you could get the same results by simply combining very cold buttermilk and warm butter, resulting in "globules" of butter suspended in the buttermilk (see picture below). This lumpy mixture is then combined with the dry ingredients. The result is the same flaky, tall, irresistible biscuits - with much less work!
I've gotten emails and comments from lots of readers who (like me) are quite smitten with this recipe. Recently, on Facebook, a follower commented, "Best biscuits ever! I threw out all of my other regular biscuit recipes!" Another said, "These are wonderful -- super easy and super delicious! There's no reason not to have yummy biscuits with every meal (except perhaps my waistline)!"
Because the biscuit recipe was so easy, I decided to try the same unique technique with my favorite scone recipe.
Oh my! The scones came out incredibly delicious - and much simpler than the original recipe. It worked so well, we decided to make a video, to demonstrate this crazy easy method. You can check it out in this Ridiculously Easy Maple Pecan Scones post.
Would it work with cinnamon rolls?
Recently my granddaughter, Annie asked if I would make cinnamon rolls for her birthday that's coming up soon. That got me thinking... normally cinnamon rolls are made with a yeast dough, but I wondered if I could use the Ridiculously Easy Biscuit recipe with a cinnamon roll technique. I gave it a try and we were quite amazed at, what I now call, Ridiculously Easy Cinnamon Rolls. Like the biscuits, they rose up beautifully with lots of flaky layers. The aroma that filled the house as they baked was beyond amazing!
See what I mean? There's definitely a theme going on, a ridiculously easy theme!
Although I love traditional cinnamon rolls, there's something really nice about not having to go through the whole yeast proofing and rising steps. For this recipe you simply make the Ridiculously Easy Biscuit dough, roll it out and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar, then log roll it and cut in slices. You can either refrigerate the slices till ready to bake or go right ahead and pop them in a hot oven. A great recipe to throw together before the family or guests wake up. I can assure you, they won't need an alarm clock to draw them to the breakfast table!
Annie spent a few days with us recently. Since we always love taste-testers, I made these Ridiculously Easy Cinnamon Rolls one morning while she was here. Annie helped us with icing the rolls and the photo shoot. Well, there was one other thing she helped us with. You'll see what I'm talking about in a minute.
Annie will turn 11 on her birthday at the end of June. I'm wondering how in the world that happened! Seems like yesterday that her family left to make their home in London. Annie was three at the time and such a wee one. Right before they left, we had family pictures done. Annie's in the middle, on her mom's lap.
Now, 7 years later, they've moved back and she's a young lady! Makes me so want to appreciate every minute with these little people. Life is short and I'm realizing more each day that children grow like weeds! Wonderfully nice weeds, that is!
This taste tester gave the easy cinnamon rolls a 5-star rating. Yours will too!
Café Tips for making these Ridiculous Easy Cinnamon Rolls...
- Don't cheat on the time for the buttermilk in the freezer. You want it really cold (but not frozen) in order for the little globules of butter to form.
- You don't want the butter too hot. If you melt the butter at the same time that you put the buttermilk in the freezer, the temp will be perfect.
- Use plenty of flour on your work surface when kneading the dough. If the dough is sticking to the counter or your hands, you need a bit more flour.
- Don't like raisins? Just skip them, the rolls will still be wonderful!
- I love these pre-cut, sheet-pan-size sheets of parchment paper. They make baking, so much easier as there's no tearing and/or measuring of the paper and no dirty pans to clean. The sheets will last forever - unless you're a crazy baker like me - then they'll only last half way to forever.
- Rolls can be made ahead of time, up to the baking step. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate till just before baking.
- For the rolls:
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 4 ounces butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour more for counter
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup raisins or currents
- For the icing:
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk or half and half
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or spray a sheet pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium size bowl or cup, measure 1 cup of buttermilk and place in the freezer while prepping other ingredients (you want it to be in the freezer about 10 minutes.
3. Place butter in a microwave safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and heat on high for 1 minute. If not completely melted, return to microwave for 10 second intervals till melted. Set aside to cool a bit while prepping other ingredients.
4. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in large bowl.
5. Remove buttermilk from the freezer and add the melted butter. Stir with a fork until butter forms small clumps or globules. (See picture in post.)
6. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with a sturdy spatula, just until all flour is incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl.
7. Generously flour a work surface. Dump dough onto prepared work surface and turn to coat all surfaces with flour. Knead on counter 15-20 times (about 30 seconds) until dough forms a smooth ball. Add a little more flour to the work surface. Flip dough twice to coat with flour.
8. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle, approximately 12 x 8 inches, with long side facing you. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle dough with sugar mixture and raisins (or currents).
9. Starting with the long end facing you, roll up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 8 1 ½-inch slices. Reshape slices into a circular shape (if they’ve become flattened while cutting) and place on prepared pan, spacing about 2 inches apart.
10. Place in oven and bake until tops are golden, about 15 to 18 minutes.
11. While the rolls are baking, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar, half and half and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
12. Drizzle icing over cinnamon rolls while they are still warm.