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Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Whitney Watkins

6 min read

Jan 25



These sourdough cinnamon rolls are ooey, gooey and full of flavor. They have just the right amount of sourdough tang perfectly balanced with a not too sweet cream cheese frosting.

Up until last year I had never made a single type of homemade dough. My mom always complained she never had good luck with yeast, so I guess I was scared to try. Until I hopped on the sourdough band wagon. Now the only thing I'll make is homemade bread products and I'm not looking back. They're so much better than store bought plus using sourdough you have the added health benefits from the fermentation. One of my favorite things to make are these amazing cinnamon rolls. They're soft and gooey and not too sweet with the little bit of sourdough tang. This is the recipe I find myself making time and time again. If you make it once, I promise you will too.

Beautiful bubbly sourdough starter ready to be made into something delicious. If you've never had a sourdough starter, it's very easy to start your own from scratch. I struggled the first few weeks thinking I would never reach bubble level but after some tweaking (mostly my temperature), I have a gorgeous and healthy starter. Don't be discouraged, if I can do it so can you! There are lots of great resources out there on how to start, maintain and troubleshoot your starter.

I recently received a stand mixer as a gift and it has made my dough making so much easier and less messy. If you don't have a stand mixer, that's ok. I've made this recipe many times without one and it turns out just as amazing. The stand mixer just made the process a little faster and less hands on. Which is perfect for me because I'm usually doing things with a kid on my hip and kneading dough one handed just doesn't do it.

You'll want to start this recipe the night before by feeding your starter. Let it sit at room temperature over night so by morning it will be at peak rise and ready to be made into something delicious.

In the morning you will add your starter, warm milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt and bread flour in the bowl of your stand mixer. Knead for 8-10 minutes until dough is slightly tacky, but not sticky, and edges pull away from the bowl. Put dough in a clean bowl and cover. Sit in a warm place for approximately 4 hours. Optimal temperature for fermentation is 76-78 degrees F. At the end of the bulk fermentation phase your dough should be puffed up and feel very elastic. If it is not, allow it to sit 30 more minutes and recheck. If your room temperature is below 76-78 degrees F, it could take considerably longer for dough to rise. We keep our home colder so I like to put mine in my oven with the light on to create a warm environment. When it has risen, place it in to the refrigerator for overnight fermentation or proceed with shaping and proofing to bake the same day.

In the morning mix up your cinnamon roll filling by adding butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour to a small bowl and mixing well.

Take dough out of refrigeratory and roll out into an approximate 12x18 inch rectangle.

Spread with filling mixture on the dough leaving about a 1/4 inch on one long side to seal the rolls. Roll up starting on long end closest to you and rolling into a tight log. Cut rolls in to 12 equal pieces. I have found using floss is the best thing to evenly slice through the dough. Only have flavored floss? No problem! Soak your floss in water while prepping the rolls. When ready remove from water and dry off. Soaking in water helps to remove the flavor so you don't have minty cinnamon rolls.

Place rolls evenly spaced in a 9x13 baking dish. Or separate into smaller portions. I like to put 4 in a pan for cooking now and make 2 more pans of 4 cinnamon rolls to freeze for later. Unless I'm making for a group my family of 4 does not need 12 big cinnamon rolls at one time. You can freeze at this point or go ahead and cook the rolls and then freeze.

Cover pan and allow rolls to sit at room temperature for 6-8 hours, or place in a warm 76-78 degree environment (hello oven with light on again) to speed up the process to about 3 hours. Do not bake cinnamon rolls if they have not doubled in size. When rolls have risen, bake at 350 degrees for 24-26 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly, about 15 min. While rolls are cooling, mix up your frosting by combining butter, cream cheese, vanilla, powdered sugar and milk. Be sure your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature to achieve a smooth frosting. I like to leave mine out overnight so they are perfectly soft when ready to use the next day. For the frosting, adding more powdered sugar will result in a thicker, sweeter frosting.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting



Cinnamon Roll Dough:

  • 180 grams active and bubbly sourdough starter

  • 440 grams warm whole milk (about 1 3/4 cup)

  • 113 grams butter, melted (about 1/2 cup)

  • 115 grams granulated sugar (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 12 grams salt (about 1 1/2 tsp)

  • 950 grams bread flour (about 6-7 cups)


  • 169 grams butter, melted (about 3/4 cup)

  • 200 grams brown sugar (about 1 cup)

  • 8 grams ground cinnamon (about 1 Tbsp)

  • 10 grams all purpose flour (about 1 Tbsp)


  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 Tbsp milk



  1. Feed starter equal parts flour and water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature until is has doubled and the top is rounded, approximately 10-12 hours.

Cinnamon Rolls:

  1. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 1 minute until it is around 90-100 degrees.

  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add starter, milk and melted butter.

  3. Add the sugar, eggs, salt and half of the flour. Turn on mixer and knead for a few minutes until mixed. Add most of the rest of the flour, holding back about 1/2 cup. If dough stays sticky add last bit of flour a little at a time until smooth and elastic.

  4. Knead on low speed for 8-10 minutes until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl clinging together to create a smooth dough. Dough should be tacky, but not sticky.

  5. Put the dough in a bowl and cover for bulk fermentation. Set the dough in a warm, 76-78 degree F, place for 4-5 hours. At the end of the 4 hours check dough, it should be puffed up and feel elastic. If it is not, let sit another 30 minutes and recheck.

  6. When dough is puffy and elastic you can either place in refrigerator and continue shaping and baking rolls the next morning or continue with baking the same day.

  7. Filling: When ready to bake, mix filling by adding melted butter, brown sugar cinnamon in flour to a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

  8. Shaping: Grease an 8x13 pan with melted butter. Roll the dough out into about an 12x18 rectangle. Spread filling on dough. Spread all the way to edge leaving about 1/4 border on one long edge for sealing. Starting with a long edge closest to you roll dough up into a log pinching the seam together. Place seam side down and cut into 12 equal parts. Place cinnamon rolls into your pan equally spacing them apart.

  9. Proofing: Cover the pan and let rise in a warm place until risen.

  10. Bake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 24-26 minutes until cooked through.

  11. Mix Frosting: Mix butter, cream cheese and vanilla until whipped. Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and milk, continue to mix. Add in 1-2 more cups powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. * Adding more sugar will create a thicker and sweeter frosting.

  12. When cinnamon rolls are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for about 15-20 minutes. Spread frosting over the top and enjoy!

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