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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.

Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing | halfbakedharvest.com

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.

Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing | halfbakedharvest.com

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.

Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing | halfbakedharvest.com

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.

Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing | halfbakedharvest.com

The Icing

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.

Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing | halfbakedharvest.com

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!

Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing | halfbakedharvest.com

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

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12
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.

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Ingredients

Filling

Brown Butter Caramel Cream Cheese Icing

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

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. 
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Fluffy Christmas Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made these over the weekend for a family brunch.First time I have made cinnamon rolls.They were a big hit.That icing was so good.I will definitely make again.

  2. 3 stars
    These turned out perfectly – nicely shaped, fluffy texture – BUT they were almost inedibly sweet. I would greatly reduce or even skip the icing, and/or cut back on the filling. Even my kids only took a couple of bites before setting them aside.

    1. Hi Amy,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear these were too sweet! xx

  3. I’ve made many things from half baked harvest and this was my first flop. I’m thinking that it was definitely baker error but I went to confirm. The recipe calls for 2 and 1/4 tsp? I may have put 2- 1/4 tsp. I’ll give it another go around.

    1. Hi Danielle,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback. Yes, you will want to use 2 and 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. I hope this helps for next time! xx

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve been using the same cinnamon roll recipe for years, and decided to give these a try Christmas morning. The family was nervous about changing things up, but they turned out fantastic! I love the addition of the caramel frosting.

    1. Hey Christine,
      Happy Sunday!!❄️ I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for trying it out and sharing your feedback! xx

  5. 5 stars
    Made these this morning. Followed the directions exactly and these. Are. The. Bombest. Cinnamon. Rolls.
    I think you should change the name to that. LOL

    1. Hey Lori,
      Happy Sunday!!❄️ I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for trying it out and sharing your feedback! xx

  6. Best way to ease out of Christmas and into January! So fluffy and delicious; i can’t believe how many those receive makes and how big and soft they are! I froze some for next weekend as well! Simply incredible!

    1. Hey Ashley,
      I am delighted to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and appreciate you giving it a try! Have a great weekend:)

  7. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious. I usually fail at recipes that require this level of skill, but honestly the pictures and instructions Tieghan gives are the BEST. They turned out beautifully and tasted great. I didn’t have a jar of caramel, and since I was having so much success in the kitchen,lol, decided to make my own and failed. The frosting was divine even without it. Caramel tutorial please!🤓

    1. Hey Andrea,
      I am delighted to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and appreciate you giving it a try! Have a great weekend:)

  8. 5 stars
    I made these for Christmas morning and they were absolute perfection! Thank you so much. I think this will become a wonderful tradition!

    1. Hey Jill,
      Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! Have a great Thursday:)

  9. 5 stars
    Halved the recipe and made about 9 smaller sized rolls – I ate 3 mini ones! 1st time I made these ahead to bake in the morning and I found the rolls to be on the drier side. From now on, I’ll just plan better and make them day of like I usually do. The caramel cream cheese icing is really unique and delicious, also I adjusted the sweetness and saltiness to taste. A delish way to celebrate New Year’s Day!

    1. Hey Thy,
      Happy New Year!🎆🎈 I appreciate you making this recipe and your comment! So glad to hear it was enjoyed! xx

  10. 5 stars
    Simply the best! The icing has amazing flavor and I went go heavy on the butter, cinnamon, sugar filling- so worth it! Can’t wait to make these again!
    Happy Holidays! ⭐️☃️

    1. Hey Anne,
      I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Happy New Year! 🎊🎈

      1. 5 stars
        These are incredible! So yummy! Prepped them last night & baked this morning. Shared with the neighbors and they were a HIT! Thanks for the tasty recipe! 🤤