Ribbons of tender and buttery brioche paired with sweet cinnamon sugar swirls make these brioche cinnamon rolls simply irresistible. Once you try these mouthwatering rolls, you’ll find yourself completely hooked.
I’m a sucker for a good sweet roll recipe, so much so that I have an entire category on this blog dedicated to my cinnamon roll obsession. I am also a sucker for a really good enriched dough – so naturally these brioche cinnamon rolls are one of my favorites. Brioche bread is tender, flaky, and buttery, making it the perfect dough to use for cinnamon rolls. Tender rolls topped with a rich and pourable buttercream frosting that perfectly compliments the brioche dough, can you imagine anything better? These rolls are the embodiment of sweet comfort foods, and they have a richness to them that is especially delightful in the fall and winter months, adding a touch of coziness to those chilly weekend mornings.
Brioche Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients
Every ingredient plays an important role when making these brioche cinnamon rolls. This list explains the role of each ingredient when making this recipe, and also offers possible substitutions. See the recipe card below for a list of the ingredients with their amounts.
The Yeast Ingredients
- Milk, Yeast, and Sugar – Warm milk and sugar will help activate the dry yeast. Ensure that your yeast is fresh and within its expiration date, as expired yeast may not activate properly.
The Brioche Dough
- Egg – Egg plays a crucial role in enriching the dough and providing these rolls with a light and tender texture. For best results, use a room temperature egg when making the dough.
- Sugar – Sugar makes the dough sweet and helps it to rise. I use raw organic cane sugar when baking, but any sugar will work.
- Salt – Salt is added to enhance flavor without making the rolls salty. It also acts to strengthen the dough.
- Bread Flour – For this recipe, I used organic bread flour. Bread flour will give these brioche cinnamon rolls the best rise and the softest crumb. If using all-purpose flour, you may need to increase the amount of flour called for in the recipe.
- Butter – Butter is crucial in enriching this dough and giving these rolls that tender and flaky brioche quality. I use unsalted butter when baking, but you can use salted by omitting the salt in this recipe.
The Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- Butter – Use room temperature butter when making the filling for these rolls, so that it is easy to spread. You can test your butter to make sure it is soft enough by pressing on it. If you can push all the way through without resistance, the butter is ready.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar makes the filling for these brioche cinnamon rolls extra rich, sweet, and sticky. If you don’t have brown sugar on hand, you can create your own substitute by adding 1/2 teaspoon of molasses to 1/2 cup of regular cane sugar.
- Cinnamon – They wouldn’t be a cinnamon roll without cinnamon! If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I recommend trying Ceylon cinnamon instead. It’s my personal favorite and adds a more delicate flavor.
The Frosting Ingredients
- Butter – Butter contributes a rich flavor to the frosting. Make sure to use unsalted butter at room temperature for the best results.
- Powdered Sugar – When making frosting, I prefer using organic powdered sugar. Keep in mind that organic powdered sugar tends to be lumpier than conventional powdered sugar, so it’s recommended to sift it before use.
- Vanilla – Adding a little vanilla helps to add depth to the flavor of the frosting.
- Heavy Cream – Cream adds a bit of richness to the frosting, but most importantly thins it out, making it pourable. The thin buttery frosting acts like a glaze o top of the brioche cinnamon rolls.
How to Make Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
Making brioche cinnamon rolls is just as simple as whipping up classic cinnamon rolls, but they have a way of making you feel a bit fancier. Brioche does that, you know? The whole process takes about 4 hours, heavily enriched doughs takes just awhile longer to rise, so keep that in mind when planning ahead. If you’re thinking of prepping the dough ahead of time to bake later, head over to the FAQ section for some helpful tips!
Step 1: Activate the Yeast
In a small bowl, whisk together the warmed milk, active dry yeast, and sugar. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, or until the yeast blooms, and becomes bubbly and activated.
Step 2: Mix the Dough
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the active yeast, cane sugar, and room temperature eggs until they are thoroughly combined.
Sift the bread flour and sea salt into the mixture, stirring just until a shaggy dough forms.
Work in the room temperature butter by hand or with a stand mixer, Once the butter is fully incorporated, knead the dough on medium speed using a dough hook attachment, or knead it by hand, for approximately 5 minutes.
Step 3: First Rise
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, and cover it with a damp cloth or kitchen towel. Let the dough rise at a temperature of around 72°F (22°C) for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
Step 4: Make the Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
Before turning out the dough, lightly dust your work surface with flour. Gently pat the brioche dough into a rectangular shape and use a floured rolling pin to roll it out into a 12″x16″ rectangle.
In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon to make the filling, then set it aside.
Spread the room temperature butter over the sheet of brioche dough, leaving a one-inch margin along the length of the dough. This margin will help to seal the rolls when you roll up the dough.
Next, spread the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the layer of butter and roll dough up tightly. Start with the end opposite of the margin and roll inwards applying a gentle pressure.
Alternative Method: Another way to make the filling is to mix the room temperature butter together with the brown sugar and cinnamon before spreading it on top of the sweet dough. I’ve made the filling both ways, and either will give you delicious rolls.
Lightly wet the margin with water before sealing. Allow the roll to rest, seam side down, for a minute to ensure a tight seal. Using a non-serrated knife, cut the log into twelve equally-sized cinnamon rolls.
Cutting Tip: Wetting your knife every few cuts will prevent the dough from pulling and give clean slices.
Step 5: Second Rise
Arrange the cut rolls in a 9″x13″ pan, ensuring they are evenly spaced apart. If preferred, using a slightly smaller pan will yield doughier cinnamon rolls. Place a cloth or kitchen towel over the pan, ensuring the rolls are well covered.
Let them rise at a temperature of around 72°F (21°C) for approximately 1 hour. During this second rise, the rolls will increase in size and become visibly poofy. It’s important to note that rise times can vary based on the temperature in your home, so adjust the time accordingly.
Speed up Second Rise: For a quicker second rise, preheat your oven and place your skillet on top of the stove. The heat the oven gives off will allow your roll to rise much quicker.
Step 6: Bake and Frost
Position your rolls on the center rack of a 350°F (177°C) preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream until you achieve a creamy, lump-free frosting. Add more or less heavy cream as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
Once out of the oven allow the brioche cinnamon rolls to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. Serve and enjoy!
Brioche Cinnamon Rolls FAQ
Brioche dough is a rich, buttery, and slightly sweet dough that contains eggs and often milk. It’s known for its soft and tender texture, making it perfect for cinnamon rolls.
Yes, you can make the dough the evening before you plan to bake, and refrigerate it overnight. First rise will happen in the refrigerator at a much slower rate than at room temperature. Take the brioche dough out the morning of, and roll it out to make the rolls. Second rise will take a little longer as the dough will be chilled.
To store any leftover brioche cinnamon rolls, place them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
You can reheat leftover cinnamon rolls individually in the microwave, or reheat all the leftovers in a 300°F (150°C) preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.