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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

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These homemade gingerbread cinnamon rolls are the perfect holiday breakfast meal! Rolled up with a sweet molasses filling and smothered in a homemade cream cheese icing. Trust me, this is the best way to wake up on Christmas morning!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls in a dish topped with frosting.

If there is one thing the holidays have me craving it’s cinnamon rolls!

Seriously, I don’t care if they are homemade or straight from a can I’m all about them!

For this Christmas, I wanted to bring you a breakfast treat that fills my cinnamon roll needs but pushes it up a notch by adding in gingerbread flavors!

These cinnamon rolls are light and fluffy, filled with molasses gingerbread filling, and topped with a fluffy cream cheese icing.

They are the perfect holiday breakfast!

And if you’re not into starting your day off the sweet way they also make a great dessert!

Cutting out a Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls from a dish.

Ingredients in gingerbread cinnamon rolls

  • Warm water – To activate the yeast, the water must be warm but not hot! If the water is too cold, the yeast won’t activate and the dough won’t rise. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast. 
  • Brown sugar – Brown sugar sweetens the dough and filling. It also acts as food for the yeast. 
  • Instant Yeast – Yeast helps the dough rise. I’m using active dry but you could also use rapid rise. Do do that, skip step 1 and mix all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl. 
  • Unsalted butter – Butter adds richness and delicious flavor to the dough. In the filling it helps the sugar dissolve and stick to the dough. In the frosting, it gives structure so the icing isn’t too runny. 
  • Molasses – Molasses adds earthy flavor and sweetness. It’s also a classic addition to gingerbread so we are using it in both the dough and the filling! 
  • Egg – Egg enriches the dough even more and helps make it a bit chewier, something we all love in cinnamon rolls! 
  • Vanilla extract – Vanilla enhances the flavor and sweetness of the molasses. 
  • All purpose flour – Flour gives the cinnamon rolls structure, otherwise it wouldn’t be a dough! You may not need the whole 5 cups of flour but you can use any excess to dust your work surface. 
  • Spices – We’re adding a bunch of spices to the filling. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves are the perfect combination of gingerbread and cinnamon roll flavors. If you don’t have cloves, feel free to leave them out. 
  • Cream cheese – Cream cheese adds a bit of creaminess and tanginess to balance out all of the sweetness in the cinnamon rolls. 
  • Powder sugar – Powdered sugar gives the icing structure and sweetness. Feel free to add as much or as little as you like to get the consistency of icing that you prefer. 
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls topped with cream cheese frosting.

What yeast is best for cinnmaon rolls?

For this recipe, I used instant yeast because it’s what I have on hand and I like that it does not need to be proofed like active dry yeast.

In this recipe, I used this instant yeast.

You can typically find yeast at your grocery store in the baking aisle, at online baking shops like King Arthur Flour, or Amazon.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls coming out of the pan.

Can I proof cinnamon rolls overnight in the refridgerator?

Yes!

If I plan on making these cinnamon rolls in the morning I will prepare as normal but instead of letting the rolls rise for the final 1-hour rise I simply cover them with plastic wrap, place them in the fridge, and let them very slowly rise through the night.

The next morning I take them out of the fridge, set them on the counter for 45 minutes, bake as instructed, and devour!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls served on a table with extra icing.

How do I store leftover cinnamon rolls?

If you’re lucky you might have a few gingerbread cinnamon rolls leftover and I’m sure you’re wondering the best way to keep them fresh for the next day.

Typically I will just store any leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container either on the counter or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

These cinnamon rolls can also be frozen!

Just wrap any unfrosted rolls in plastic wrap, or foil, and place them in a ziptop bag in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls topped with a creamy cream cheese frosting.

Love these homamde gingerbread cinnamon rolls?

Why not try some of my other delicious gingerbread treats!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12 rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

These homemade gingerbread cinnamon rolls are the perfect holiday breakfast meal! Rolled up with a sweet molasses filling and smothered in a homemade cream cheese icing. Trust me, this is the best way to wake up on Christmas morning!

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1-1/2 cups warm water (100-110F)
  • 1/4 light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5-1/2 cups all purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cream cheese icing:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

For the dough 

  1. Add the warm water, brown sugar, and yeast to a large bowl. Set the bowl aside for 5 minutes, or until the yeast has bloomed. If the yeast doesn’t bloom, discard it and begin with fresh yeast. 
  2. Add the melted butter, molasses, egg, and vanilla and whisk to combine. 
  3. Using a dough whisk or wooden spoon, slowly mix in the flour. Mix just until the dough forms into a shaggy ball. You may not need the full 5 cups - use any extra flour to dust your work surface while kneading. 
  4. Once a shaggy dough has formed, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes, or until a smooth dough has formed. 
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and set it aside to rise until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours. 
  6. Prepare the filling (below) while the dough rises. 
  7. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out to a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. 
  8. Spread the filling over the dough, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges. 
  9. Roll the dough into a tight log, making sure to pinch the seam together so it doesn’t unroll in the oven. 
  10. Slice the log into 8 (approximately 1-1/2 inch) rolls. 
  11. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter or non-stick baking spray. 
  12. Add the rolls to the pan and set the pan aside to rise in a warm place until the rolls fill the pan, about 15 minutes. 
  13. While the rolls rise, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 
  14. After the rolls have doubled in size, bake them for 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. 
  15. While the rolls bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting (below). 

For the filling:

  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and molasses in a small saucepan set over medium heat.
  2. Stir until the sugar has melted and then remove from the heat. 
  3. Add the spices and vanilla. Mix to combine. 
  4. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes before adding the filling to the dough. 

For the frosting:

  1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 
  2. Once combined, turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the powdered sugar. 
  3. Next, add the vanilla and turn the mixer to medium-high speed. 
  4. Beat until the frosting becomes light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. 
  5. Allow the warm rolls to cool for 15 minutes before frosting - otherwise, the frosting will melt.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 106mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 4g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls pin for pinterest.

Beth

Friday 10th of December 2021

This recipe combines two of my most favorite things, gingerbread and cinnamon rolls! I love that it is easy enough that I can even have my kiddos make it for me - perfect!

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