Our indulgent and sweet brioche cinnamon rolls are the best cinnamon rolls you’ll ever try. They are gooey, rich, and delicious cinnamon rolls are made with fluffy and tender brioche dough, filled with buttery, brown sugar cinnamon filling, and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting.
We’ve included instructions to make these overnight brioche cinnamon rolls too!
- Why this Recipe Works
- What is Brioche?
- Ingredient Notes
- How to Make this Recipe
- The Windowpane Test
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Expert Tips
- Troubleshooting: Common Problems with Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
- Stand Mixer vs. Kneading by Hand
- Make these Overnight Cinnamon rolls
- Tips for Cutting Cinnamon Rolls
- How to Store this Recipe
- Try these Recipe Next
- Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
Why this Recipe Works
These sweet brioche rolls have to be my favorite cinnamon roll recipe I’ve ever made. Cinnamon rolls are traditionally made with an enriched dough, meaning they use butter, sugar, and eggs—compared to the regular flour and water you see in a simple bread dough recipe.
Brioche is a step above an enriched dough, it’s extra enriched. Brioche dough will have at least double or maybe triple the amount of butter and eggs you typically see in a classic cinnamon roll recipe. The result is a light, soft, fluffy textured cinnamon roll.
Our brioche cinnamon rolls are perfect for a special breakfast to impress guests, brunch, dessert, or for the holidays—like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. We’ve also got all the details on how to make these overnight brioche cinnamon rolls!
What is Brioche?
If you’re not quite sure what brioche is and what makes it so special, then you are in the right place. Brioche is a French type of bread that is really a cross between bread and pastry. It is a type of viennoserie, which means it’s a type of pastry that bridges the gap between pâtisserie and French bread. Other pastries in this family are croissants and Danishes.
You’ve probably seen butter and eggs being added to bread dough before, but you’ve never seen it in quantities like this! The high quantity of butter and eggs gives you a decadent dough is soft, tender, and almost cake-like in texture, making brioche the most luxurious and ideal base for cinnamon rolls.
- Yeast. I use active dry yeast. Instant yeast will work too. Yeast is what makes the brioche dough rise.
- Sugar. Sugar sweetens and keeps the dough moist. It also helps feeds the yeast, activating it.
- Milk. Whole milk will give the best results. Milk is our liquid in the dough instead of water, it makes the brioches buns richer and tenderizes the dough.
- Salt. Salt helps tighten and strengthen the gluten strands in the dough, giving it structure. It also adds flavor.
- Flour. We use all-purpose flour. Flour is the base of our bread.
- Eggs. We use whole, large eggs. Eggs make the dough super rich in texture and flavor.
- Butter. You can use salted or unsalted butter. Butter makes these brioche sweet rolls incredibly rich, giving it soft and cake-like texture. Butter is also used in the filling and cream cheese glaze.
- Brown Sugar. Light brown sugar is used in the filling of our cinnamon brioche rolls.
- Cinnamon. Ground cinnamon is mixed with brown sugar to make up the rich cinnamon filling in these rolls.
- Cream Cheese. Cream cheese is in the glaze to add a subtle tanginess that complement the sweet rolls.
- Powdered Sugar. Powdered sugar sweetens the cream cheese glaze and keeps it smooth.
- Vanilla. Vanilla extract adds flavor to the glaze.
How to Make this Recipe
- Bloom Yeast. Mix the yeast with 1 tablespoon of sugar and warm milk. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until bubbly and active. Picture 1a shows when ingredients are first mixed, Picture 1b shows 10 minutes later after yeast has bloomed.
- First knead. In your stand mixer, on a low speed, beat together the yeast mixture, eggs, salt, remaining granulated sugar, and flour with the dough hook attachment. Let the dough mix for about 2 minutes until completely combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Add Butter. Keep the stand mixer on a low speed and add the softened butter to the dough one tablespoon at a time. Let the butter fully incorporate into the dough before adding the next tablespoon of butter. Repeat until all the butter has been mixed into the dough.
- Second Knead. Turn the stand mixer speed up to medium or medium-high speed. Knead the dough until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). The dough should pass the window pane test.
- First Rise. Shape the dough into a ball and return to your bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean dish cloth or greased plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours—until the dough has doubled in size.
- Roll out. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle about 18 inches long by 12 inches wide.
- Add Filling. Spread the softened butter evenly over the rolled out dough. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over top of the butter. Gently pat it into the butter.
- Roll & Slice. Starting on the long edge of the dough, tightly roll it up. Pinch a seam on the long edge, sealing it all together. Slice into 12 even rolls using a sharp serrated knife or floss.
- Second Rise. Place sliced cinnamon rolls on a large baking sheet greased and lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean dish cloth or loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let double in size for about 1 hour.
- Bake. Bake the brioche cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The rolls should be a light golden brown color.
- Frost. Mix together the butter and softened cream cheese until smooth. Then add in the salt, vanilla, milk, and half of the powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the remaining powdered sugar. If needed, you can add in 1 additional tablespoon of milk to reach your desired consistency. Spread over the warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!
The Windowpane Test
The windowpane test is widely regarded as the benchmark for determining dough readiness and whether it has been kneaded enough. What you're truly assessing is the elasticity and gluten formation within your bread dough.
The test is straightforward: Take a small piece of dough and delicately stretch it. The goal is to be able to stretch the dough thin enough that light from a window, or even your fingers tugging gently on the dough, becomes visible.
If your dough passes the windowpane test then your dough has developed enough gluten to support the expansion of bubbles and gases and maintain the structure of the dough as it bakes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Brioche is a type of enriched bread dough make with a high amount of butter and eggs. We’re are talking about double or triple the amount of butter and eggs you’d see in your regular enriched dough. The result is a buttery, tender, and pastry-like bread.
Yes, you can use instant yeast instead of active yeast. Typically, instant yeast doesn’t need to be bloomed first, however, I always do this to make sure my yeast is alive and active.
Brioche bread is super rich and should be light, tender, and fluffy. If your bread is not this way, it could be that you either did not knead the dough for long enough or you used too much flour.
The high amount of fat in the dough from the butter and eggs actually makes it more difficult for gluten to develop. If not enough gluten has developed during the kneading process then the dough does not have a sound structure to rise and support itself resulting in a dense brioche. I recommend using the window pane test (detailed above) to check to see if your dough has been kneaded enough.
Your brioche might also be too dense if you used too much flour. Make sure you spoon and level your flour, or better yet—weigh it! If you don’t have a scale you can refer to our How to Measure Flour for pictures and a step-by-step guide on the best way to measure flour.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Using room temperature butter and eggs is very important when making brioche. We use a lots of eggs and butter in this recipe and it’s essential that they fully incorporate into the dough. Room temperature ingredients will mix into the dough easier than cold ingredients.
- Spoon and Level flour. You should always spoon and level (or weigh—my preferred method) your flour. Too much flour can make these brioche cinnamon rolls dry, after all the work that goes into them that is the last thing you want. To spoon and level your flour, stir the flour up with a spoon (it compacts as it sits), then spoon and gently shake the flour into your measuring cup. Use the back of a knife to scrape off any excess flour so it is completely level with the cup.
- Use a light colored pan. I recommend using a light, aluminum baking sheet. Grease it and line with parchment paper to ensure the brioche rolls don’t stick. Dark colored pans will attract more heat and result in a dark crust and a much dryer cinnamon roll.
Troubleshooting: Common Problems with Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
Dough isn’t Rising
- The Yeast is Old. Make sure your yeast is bubbling and active before you start making your dough. If your yeast isn’t foamy and bubbling after 10 minutes either your yeast is old or your milk was too hot.
- You Killed the Yeast. Your milk should be warm to activate the yeast, ideally around 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. If the milk is too hot it can kill the yeast.
- Your Kitchen is too cold. I’ve often found if my dough isn’t rising it’s because my kitchen is too cold. You’ll always hear, “place your dough in a warm place to rise.” This is because the warmth causes fermentation in the dough, which feeds the yeast. If your kitchen is cold, turn on your oven to its lowest temperature (usually 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit). Once warm, turn the oven off, and place your covered dough to rise in the warm oven.
Dough is Too Sticky
Brioche dough can sometimes be sticky and hard to work with. It can be tempting to add more flour to the dough or your work surface. Don’t do it! Too much flour can make these brioche cinnamon rolls dry. Instead of adding more flour, cover the dough and chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes, this should make it easier to handle.
Dough is Too Oily
If your kitchen is too hot or you live in a particularly humid climate you may find that your brioche dough is oily. Because of the high quantity of butter in the dough the moisture and heat can make the butterfat separate from the dough. If you find this is happening to your, chill the dough between kneading to keep the dough cohesive.
Stand Mixer vs. Kneading by Hand
A common question is: Can I make this without a stand mixer?
Short answer: Yes, but be prepared for the arm workout of your life!
One of the main reasons I highly recommend using a stand mixer is because of how rich brioche dough is. You’ll read it over and over in this post about how brioche contains a high quantity of butter and eggs. Lots of butter and eggs means that there is a lot of extra fat in this dough, it is not a lean dough by any means. When you knead dough gluten starts to develop, however, fat actually hinders gluten from developing!
All the fat from the butter and eggs makes the dough rich, flavorful, and keeps is super soft, giving it its signature cake-like texture. It also means that the brioche dough needs to be kneaded for a nice long time for the gluten to actually develop. If gluten is not developed properly, then the dough will not rise properly and be able to support itself.
I recommend using the stand mixer and the windowpane test (details and pictures above) to determine whether the dough has been kneaded long enough.
How to Knead by Hand
As mentioned, it is possible to make these brioche cinnamon rolls without a stand mixer, but brace yourself for the hard work about to ensue.
Generally, you can expect to have to knead at least twice as long when kneading by hand vs. kneading with a stand mixer. With brioche, we are incorporating a ton of butter 1 tablespoon at a time, and the butter needs to be completely mixed in before adding in the next little bit. So be prepared for it to take even longer!
This dough is notoriously sticky and soft, it might be tempting to add more flour to the dough, but do not do it!
A few tips on working with sticky dough: use quick motions, like the slap and fold kneading method. You can also use a bench scraper to help you scrape the dough up. Feel free to take breaks! I know it is a ton of work to knead by hand. If you take a break, don’t forget to wash your hands before returning to the dough. Clean, slightly damp hands work better with sticky dough.
Make these Overnight Cinnamon rolls
If you would like to make these brioche cinnamon ahead of time you can! Make the dough and let it do its first rise. Once doubled, roll the brioche dough out, add the filling, roll them up, and slice. Place on the baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap so no air can get in and dry them out. Place in the fridge overnight. They can actually be refrigerated for a few days, however, you may find that the filling starts to leak out, which I don’t love.
The next day, pull the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge and keep them loosely covered. Place them somewhere warm and allow them to come to room temperature and rise until doubled in size. Then bake according to normal instructions.
Tips for Cutting Cinnamon Rolls
I have two different methods I use for cutting cinnamon rolls—thread/floss or a serrated knife. Before doing either of these methods I like to lightly mark where I want to cut with a knife, so I know I’m getting even rolls.
Thread or Floss. You can use thread or unflavored floss to cut cinnamon rolls. Slide the thread/floss under the cinnamon roll tube and bring the ends of the thread/floss together so they cross over each other, cleanly slicing through the dough.
Serrated Knife. A serrated knife works better than a regular knife. Use it to gently saw through the dough to create even slices.
If dough is too soft. Brioche dough is notoriously rich, which can sometimes make it soft and hard to keep it’s shape. If you find yourself with dough that won’t hold its shape, wrap the entire rolled up dough log in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes before trying to slice.
How to Store this Recipe
At Room Temperature
Let the frosted cinnamon rolls cool completely, then tightly cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. These brioche cinnamon rolls will keep at room temperature for about 3 days. I recommend popping them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds for that “fresh out of the oven” taste.
In the Freezer
These cinnamon rolls can be frozen before or after being baked!
Freezing Baked Rolls
To freeze these brioche cinnamon rolls after they have been baked, apply the frosting, and let cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (you can wrap them individually or wrap them all together). Place in an airtight container, like freezer gallon bag or in a food storage container. Keep stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, let thaw on the counter. I like to microwave it just long enough to get the frosting and center gooey.
Freezing Unbaked Rolls
To freeze the cinnamon rolls before they are baked, roll up and slice your cinnamon rolls. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap, and then place in either a freezer gallon bag or a storage container. You can freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to bake, thaw the brioche buns to room temperature, and let them rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Then bake according to instructions.
P.S. If you tried this recipe or any other In Fine Taste recipe take a second and rate it below! We love hearing what you think. Let’s stay in touch! Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest for more recipe ideas.
Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
- 6 cups all-purpose flour (720 grams)
- ¾ cup warm milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (equivalent to one .25-ounce packet
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt
- 6 eggs large, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups butter softened (283 grams)
- 1 ¼ cups butter softened (283 grams)
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar packed (307 grams)
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar (375-400 grams)
- 6 tablespoons butter melted (84 grams)
- 6 tablespoons cream cheese softened (84 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Mix together warm milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes until foamy and active.
- In a stand mixer on low, with the dough hook attachment, mix together the eggs, salt, 6 cups of flour, the remaining 7 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and yeast mixture. Mix on low for about 2 minutes until completely combined, you may need to scrape down the sides a few times. Continue kneading the dough on a low-medium speed for 10-12 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Add one tablespoon of softened butter at a time to the dough as the mixer is running on a low. Make sure the butter has completely mixed in before adding in the next tablespoon of butter, continue doing this until all the butter has been incorporated.
- Continue kneading the dough in your stand mixer until the dough is smooth and elastic and passes the window pane test (see notes). This may take an additional 5-10 minutes on a medium speed.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with a clean dish cloth or greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (this usually takes 1-2 hours.
- Knock the air out of the dough and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should not be to sticky and you should not need to add an additional flour to the dough.
- Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle about 18x12 inches. Spread the softened butter evenly over top of the dough.
- In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the but buttered dough and lightly pat the sugar mixture down into the butter.
- Starting at the long edge of the rectangle, tightly roll up dough and pinch a seam along the side the seal the dough into a long tube.
- Slice the dough using a sharp serrated knife or floss into 12 even cinnamon rolls. Place on large, parchment lined baking sheet (or greased). Cover the cinnamon rolls with a clean dish cloth or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (about an hour).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes until the exterior is a light golden brown.
- for the cream cheese glaze, mix together the butter and softened cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the salt, vanilla, and half of the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk until completely smooth. Add in the remaining powdered sugar. If needed, add one additional tablespoon of milk to the glaze to get the desired consistency. Spread glaze over warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy. These are best warm and fresh from the oven.
The windowpane test is widely regarded as the benchmark for determining dough readiness and whether it has been kneaded enough. What you're truly assessing is the elasticity and gluten formation within your bread dough. The test is straightforward: take a small piece of dough and delicately stretch it. The goal is to be able to stretch the dough thin enough that light from a window, or even your fingers tugging gently on the dough, becomes visible. If your dough passes the windowpane test then your dough has developed enough gluten to support the expansion of bubbles and gases and maintain the structure of the dough as it bakes. Make these Overnight Cinnamon rolls
If you would like to make these brioche cinnamon ahead of time you can! Make the dough and let it do its first rise. Once doubled, roll the brioche dough out, add the filling, roll them up, and slice. Place on the baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap so no air can get in and dry them out. Place in the fridge overnight. They can actually be refrigerated for a few days, however, you may find that the filling starts to leak out, which I don’t love. The next day, pull the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge and keep them loosely covered. Place them somewhere warm and allow them to come to room temperature and rise until doubled in size. Then bake according to normal instructions. Freezing Unbaked Rolls
To freeze the cinnamon rolls before they are baked, roll up and slice your cinnamon rolls. Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap, and then place in either a freezer gallon bag or a storage container. You can freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake, thaw the brioche buns to room temperature, and let them rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Then bake according to instructions.