Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing, everyone’s favorite Christmas breakfast. These are classic and DELICIOUS! Buttery, soft, and fluffy dough swirled with cinnamon sugar. Each roll is frosted generously with a warming brown butter and caramel cream cheese icing that melts into every nook and cranny. There’s nothing not to love, every bite is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You can’t beat a cinnamon roll on Christmas morning, no matter your age. We all love these.
Like clockwork, it’s Christmas week and I am making cinnamon rolls. Nothing new here, but the recipe. And while I’ve loved every last cinnamon roll I have ever shared, these are what I make for Christmas.
It’s my go-to dough recipe, with double the cinnamon filling, and everyone’s favorite icing. Cream cheese is a must for us, and while they all say they don’t like caramel, it’s actually what makes the icing so addicting.
They just don’t know it. But these rolls are our staple.
Here is what I do. Or actually, here is what I didn’t do the past 2 years and I majorly regretted it. I skipped our tradition, and I’m not going to lie, everyone was pretty bummed on it.
But I have a game plan this year, so yes, my cousin Abby is finally getting her cinni roll fix. I can’t wait to make these for her!
My plan is simple. Make the dough, cut the rolls, and throw them in the fridge on Christmas Eve. They can rise overnight and I can bake umm up first thing in the morning. Planned, prepped, and ready.
Here are the details
The dough is the simplest to make. Simply mix the yeast with warm milk and a small touch of brown sugar. It’s important to let that mix sit for a few minutes to allow the yeast to “activate”. If the yeast doesn’t look bubbly on top, that means it’s probably old yeast. You should try again with fresh yeast. Sometimes it randomly happens, so just keep an eye out!
Next, add the butter, eggs, flour, and salt. Mix until smooth and let the dough rest until doubled in size. Then it’s time to shape the rolls. I love to keep the dough super simple. It’s the holidays and things are busy enough as is.
For the cinni-sugar mix, I love to use brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon for the best flavor. The brown sugar adds a nice depth and richness. And I go heavy on the cinnamon for sweet cinnamon swirls throughout.
Classic filling, nothing new here, but you can’t complain about it.
Assemble and bake
Spread the dough with butter, then sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar. Roll the dough up into a log, slice, and bake.
The smells coming from the oven will be magical. Sweet cinnamon with hints of vanilla. ‘Tis perfection and it smells like Christmas to me.
This is what makes these rolls special. The secret, not-so-secret, ingredient being salted caramel. It’s only a fourth of a cup, but it’s just enough to help the icing melt into every nook and cranny of these rolls.
It’s honestly, so good and creates the best icing for your cinnamon rolls.
Frost each warm roll and then enjoy while they’re extra gooey. It’s going to be messy, but oh my gosh, that means your cinnamon roll is GOOD.
Asher just enjoyed one pre-Christmas roll. She is standing in front of me saying, “mhhh, these are so good”.
Simple. Easy. And just the best! I cannot think of a better Christmas morning breakfast. Very excited to be making these for my family again this year. Hoping you all will be too!
Looking for other holiday cinnamon roll recipes? Here are a few ideas:
Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Maple Icing
Easy Fluffy Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls
Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Wreath
Overnight Pull-Apart Brioche Cinnamon Roll Bread (an oldie)
Lastly, if you make these Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Soft and Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
Calories Per Serving: 527 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
Brown Butter Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 -1/3 cup caramel sauce
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- flaky sea salt
- 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk, yeast, and brown sugar. Let sit 5-10 minutes, until bubbly on top. Add the butter, eggs, 3 1/2 – 4 cups flour, vanilla, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is still sticky, add an additional 1/4 cup flour, adding more as needed until the dough is smooth to touch.2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.3. Meanwhile, mix the filling. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.4. Punch the dough down and roll out onto a lightly floured surface, creating a large rectangle about 12 x 18 inches. Spread the butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar. Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a log, keeping it tight as you go. When you reach the edge, pinch along the edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12-15 rolls. Place the rolls into the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 15-20 minutes.5. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.6. Meanwhile, make the icing. Add the butter to a pot set over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown lightly until it smells toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the brown butter, beating to combine. Then, add the powdered sugar, caramel, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Beat until creamy. Spread the icing over the warm rolls. Serve and enjoy!
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To Make Ahead: prepare the rolls through step 4. Do not let the rolls rise at room temp. Cover the rolls and place them in the fridge (up to overnight). When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the fridge 30 minutes prior to baking, then bake as directed. To Prepare and Freeze: assemble the rolls through step 4. Then cover the pan and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the rolls overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours. Once thawed, bake as directed. To Bake and Freeze: bake the rolls as directed and let cool completely. Cover well and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and warm, then frost before serving.
After many many years, I finally was successful with cinnamon rolls! These are too worthy for my co workers 🤣. So delicious and easy to make.
Happy Monday!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it! xx
Hi Tieghan! Trying to face my fear of making cinnamon rolls, but I having trouble finding the ground vanilla bean powder. Can I use vanilla extract or vanilla paste? If so would it be the same amount?
Sure, either of those would work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xT
I made these and they were delicious. I didn’t have the vanilla bean powder just used vanilla bean paste . I follow you on Instagram and love your recipes
Happy Monday!! So glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks a bunch for trying it out! xx
If I’m looking to make the dough and bake next day, is it possible to keep the log whole and saran-wrapped vs cutting them into rolls?
Sure, I don’t see why that wouldn’t work for you. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT