These gingerbread cinnamon rolls has a super soft gingerbread dough, gingerbread cinnamon filling, and topped with brown butter cream cheese icing.
These gingerbread cinnamon rolls are a perfect holiday breakfast to start your day with some holiday spirit! My family likes to start Christmas morning with these rolls because the gingerbread flavor just sets the mood for our day!
For other cinnamon roll recipes try Apple Cinnamon Rolls, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, and Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.
Why This Recipe Works
- Fluffy cinnamon rolls- This roll recipe makes the most perfectly fluffy rolls!
- Gingerbread flavor- Ring in the holidays with the taste of gingerbread. They are gingerbread rolls and gingerbread filling.
- Prep in advance- You can use the overnight option so these rolls are ready for your special morning and you don't have to spend your morning making them!
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Unsalted butter- Pull the butter out 2 hours before using so it is softened.
- Brown butter- The brown butter adds nuttiness and is worth it! You can also melt the butter instead of browning it if you prefer.
- Milk- Use any milk and warm it to 110F. If too hot, it will kill the yeast, if too cool then it will dramatically slow the yeast down.
- Active dry yeast- I used 1 packet of yeast.
- Eggs- Pull the large eggs out 2 hours before baking. They also need to be lightly beaten before adding to the flour.
- Brown sugar- I used light brown sugar.
- Powdered sugar- Make sure this is sifted to get a smooth icing.
- Cream cheese- Pull this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Molasses- Don't use blackstrap molasses for this recipe as it is much more bitter and not interchangeable with regular molasses.
Step By Step Instructions: Dough and Filling
Here is how to make and bake this gingerbread cinnamon roll dough.
The dough is made with a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. If you don't have an electric mixer with dough hook see the making by hand instruction in the recipe notes.
STEP 1: Mix milk and yeast. First, warm the milk in the microwave to 110F. Use a kitchen thermometer. Then, sprinkle yeast over the warm milk and let it sit for 10 minutes.
It will be foamy at the end of the 10 minutes.
STEP 2: Mix dry ingredients and butter. In a large mixing bowl, mix the all purpose flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Then, add in the room temperature butter. Use either a pastry cutter or your hands to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
The butter should be the size of a pea.
STEP 3: Mix eggs, yeast and molasses. In a separate bowl, lightly beat your eggs. Add the eggs ,yeast mixture, and molasses to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until a dough starts to form and some flour is incorporated.
STEP 4: Knead dough. Turn to medium speed and knead for 5 minutes. It should be slightly tacky, but not stick to your hands too much.
STEP 5: Rise. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and place the dough in. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place. I recommend heating your oven to 200°F, then turn it off with the door cracked and place your bowl inside.
Rise for 1 hour. It will be double in size.
STEP 6: Beat filling. In a small bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the unsalted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and molasses until smooth.
Assembling the Rolls
STEP 1: Roll it out. First, punch down the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin. It should be a large rectangle and ¼ inch thick.
STEP 2: Spread filling. Spread the filling on top of the dough. I used an offset spatula to spread it on. Make sure it is spread to the edges.
STEP 3: Roll it up. Roll the dough into a log. Start with the short side, not the long edge, so you get as many swirls as possible. It should be tightly rolled, but not too tight.
STEP 4: Cut. Cut the rolls using a serrated knife or unflavored dental floss. I use a serrated knife to cut rolls, make sure to use light sawing motions to get a clean cut. Also, wash the knife after each cut, because it will be very messy!
STEP 5: Rise. Place rolls in a 9X13-inch baking pan sprayed with baking spray. Then cover it with a towel and let rise for 20 minutes.
I recommend starting the brown butter for the icing during this rise.
STEP 6: Bake. Bake for 23-27 minutes until top of the rolls are light golden brown.
Icing the Rolls
I have tried both icing the rolls when they are piping hot or when they cooled slightly. I found that when the rolls are hot, it melts the icing into the cracks of the roll. Which also helps with the gooeyness!
Start by browning the butter, preferably in advance. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Then stir until milk deposits separate and it turns amber in color. Pour the butter in a bowl and let it cool for 15 minutes or until cooled completely. A freezer can accelerate this.
After it is cooled, beat the cream cheese and brown butter on high speed for 1 minute. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until it is smooth. Then add the vanilla extract, and milk and mix on low until smooth and pourable.
Immediately after pulling the rolls out of the oven, spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cinnamon buns with a spoon.
Once you are done kneading the dough. Place in a large bowl sprayed with nonstick spray. Then, cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge overnight. It needs to chill for a max of 16 hours.
Then in the next morning, you can pull it out and roll up the cinnamon rolls. Then, let it rise for 1 hour instead of the 20 minutes.
The rolls rise best in a warm area. If your oven is busy, you can let the dough rise at room temperature as long as you don't have a cold house.
If you are eating just one, then reheat the rolls on a plate in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until warm. If you are reheating a whole tray, then preheat the oven to 350, and let it sit in the oven for 5 minutes or until hot.
Yes you can! Follow the instructions, but bake for only 10 minutes and chill. Then, you can bake the rest of the way (10-18 minutes) in the morning until hot.
Storing and Freezing
Store these gingerbread cinnamon rolls in an airtight container in the fridge. Store up to 5 days. They are best when heated in the microwave until warm.
These gingerbread cinnamon rolls can be frozen in 2 ways.
- Freeze the rolled rolls. Freeze these up to 30 days. Let them thaw before baking. They won't rise as much, but will still work.
- Freeze the already baked rolls. Freeze these up to 30 days. Thaw for 1 hour before eating.
Other Holiday Season Recipes To Try
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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup Milk warmed to 110°F
- 2 ¼ teaspoon Active dry yeast 1 packet or 11 grams
- 2 Large eggs room temperature
- 4 ¾ cups All-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup White granulated sugar
- 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter room temperature and cubed.
- ¼ cup Molasses I recommend Grandma's molasses not blackstrap.
- 1 ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon Ground ginger
- ½ cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup Brown sugar packed light or dark
- 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon Ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon Molasses
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoon Browned butter Measure out 4 tablespoon of butter and brown it.
- 1 cup Powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoon Milk
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until 110°F Pour in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes. In a separate small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and set aside.1 cup Milk, 2 ¼ teaspoon Active dry yeast, 2 Large eggs
- Instructions are for a stand mixer with a dough hook. For making by hand instructions see the recipe notes. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger.4 ¾ cups All-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon Salt, ¼ cup White granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon, 1 ½ teaspoon Ground ginger
- Add in the cubed butter and use a dough blender or your hands to cut knead the butter into the dough. Do this until the butter is less than a size of a pea.10 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Then, add in the milk/ yeast, lightly beaten eggs, and molasses. Place on the mixer with the dough hook and mix on low speed until a dough starts to form. Turn to medium speed and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and tacky, but shouldn't overly stick to your fingers.¼ cup Molasses
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Spray a large mixing bowl with baking nonstick spray. Place the dough ball in the bowl and place a kitchen towel over the bowl. Place the bowl in the oven, turn off the oven, and crack open the door. Let it rise for 1 hour.
- In a small bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and molasses.½ cup Unsalted butter, ¾ cup Brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoon Ground ginger, 1 tablespoon Molasses
- Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin. Roll into a large rectangle until the dough is ¼ inch thick.
- Spread the filling over the rolls using an offset icing spatula. Make sure to spread it to the edges.
- Roll the cinnamon rolls into a log. Start with the short side of the dough and roll. Make sure it is tightly rolled. Then, use unflavored dental floss or a serrated knife to cut the rolls. If using a serrated knife use super gentle sawing motions to not squish the rolls.
- Spray a 9X13 inch casserole rectangle pan with baking nonstick spray. Place the rolls in the pan. Cover with a towel and let rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 23-27 minutes until the top of the rolls are lightly golden.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
- Make sure to start making the brown butter ahead of time or while the rolls rise the second time.
- In a large frying pan, melt the butter. Stir while the butter foams and the milk solids separate and turn amber in color. Pour into a bowl (save all the brown specks!) and cool completely before using. Place in the freeze for fast chilling.4 tablespoon Browned butter
- In a small bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and cooled browned butter on high speed until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add in the vanilla and milk until pourable.4 oz Cream cheese, 1 cup Powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 1-2 tablespoon Milk
- Immediately when the rolls are done baking, add the icing on top.
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