These brown butter sourdough cinnamon rolls are about to become your favorite sourdough cinnamon roll recipe. They have a rich brown butter cinnamon sugar filling and are topped with an incredibly indulgent brown butter cream cheese frosting you will want too eat right out of the bowl. Brown butter gives these rolls a warm nutty flavor that balances all that sugar, giving you rolls that aren’t too sweet and have a sinful feel too them. After trying these rich gooey flavorful rolls, you won’t want to make your cinnamon rolls with regular butter ever again.
What Makes Them Different?
Its all in the Butter!
Everyone has a sourdough cinnamon roll recipe, so what makes these different? Brown butter is the secret ingredient here that makes these rolls stand out. It is used in this recipe to make both the cinnamon sugar filling and the cream cheese frosting. The bold warm nutty flavor compliments the sweetness of the cinnamon rolls and cream cheese frosting. It gives your rolls a depth of flavor that you wont get with your average joe sourdough cinnamon roll, and it will have your family and friends begging for the recipe. Not convinced? One of the best sourdough chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, one that seems to have broken the internet, from Boy Who Bakes uses brown butter in place of regular butter.
What’s else, the dough for this recipe uses more butter than most. Butter adds a ton of flavor and moisture to the rolls. This super enriched dough yields rolls that are extremally rich, soft, and tender. You won’t have those rolls that are so fluffy they have an almost dry interior, no, these bad boys are just fluffy enough while also being dense and gooey. This recipe is just begging all gooey cinnamon roll lovers to make it. All that butter in the dough and brown butter in the filling and frosting makes these rolls next level indulgent.
Like all my recipes, this recipe includes step by-step images to help guide you through the process, and I also provide two sample bakers schedules to help you plan your bake and have delicious rolls for the perfect time.
What is Brown Butter?
What is brown butter? Brown butter is regular butter that has been cooked down just slightly past its melting point. When butter is cooked past its melting point, the milk solids found in the butter sink to the bottom and become caramelized. This turns the butter a golden brown color and brings out a bold warm aroma and flavor. Brown butter has hints of nutty-ness, and warm caramel-y undertones. This flavor is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of cinnamon rolls.
How do you Make Brown Butter?
Brown butter is incredibly easy to make, and adds such a rich warm depth of flavor to every recipe you use it in. To make brown butter you will only need butter, a small pan, and a stove top. Heat the butter on medium heat until it is fully melted. Once it is melted continue to cook it over medium heat and stir it consistently. The butter will bubble and crackle as all the water evaporates out. Continue to stir the butte as the bubbling subsides and you will see granules on milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan. These milk solids will then toast and turn a deep golden brown color. You will know the brown butter is ready when the milk solids brown and the butter takes on a warm nutty aroma. The entire process of browning butter takes about 5 minutes.
Sample Bakers Schedule
Sourdough baked goods have much longer rise times than recipes that call for bakers yeast. Sourdough brown butter cinnamon rolls will need to rise anywhere from 8-10 hours for bulk fermentation, and 1-2 hours for second rise. This makes sourdough starter the perfect yeast to use when making them, allowing you a convenient overnight rise that will give you warm gooey cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Cinnamon rolls are great any time of day though, so below you will find two separate sample bakers schedules; one that will give you rolls just in time for breakfast, and one that will give you rolls for an extra special after dinner dessert.
What is Sourdough Starter? The dough for this recipe rises using a sourdough starter instead of conventional baker’s yeast. These rolls have the cozy goodness of traditional cinnamon rolls with the added health benefits of sourdough. If you’re not sure what a sourdough starter is, check out my “How to Make a Sourdough Starter” post to learn all about it.
Brown Butter Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls for Breakfast
9 PM (day 1): Mix the dough ingredients together.
9:30 PM (day 1): Strengthen the dough and cover to bulk ferment overnight.
6:30 AM (day 2): Brown the butter, roll and fill the dough, then cut into 12 rolls.
7 AM (day 2): Arrange the cut rolls in a 9″x13″ pan and cover for second rise.
8:30AM (day 2): Bake the brown butter sourdough cinnamon rolls and make the frosting.
9 AM (day 2): Frost and serve the rolls while still warm.
Brown Butter Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls for Dessert
7:30 AM: Mix the dough ingredients together.
8 AM: Strengthen the dough and cover to bulk ferment.
5 PM: Brown the butter, roll and fill the dough, then cut into 12 rolls.
5:30 PM: Arrange the cut rolls in a 9″x13″ pan and cover for second rise.
7 PM: Bake the brown butter sourdough cinnamon rolls and make the frosting.
7:30 PM: Frost and serve the rolls while still warm.
Make the Perfect Rolls
Achieving the Perfect Frosting
The frosting for this recipe is a dream come true, seriously. Browned butter adds all those caramel-y warm tones that perfectly compliment a sweet cream cheese frosting. Every time I make this frosting I have a hard time not eating it straight from the bowl, and have an even harder time saving enough to top my brown butter sourdough cinnamon rolls.
With this frosting you wont re-chill, or even cool down, the browned butter. Add the cold cream cheese in a bowl with the brown butter straight from the stove and use the back side of a fork to mash them together. You should be able to make pretty quick work of it, as the cream cheese will cool the butter, and the butter will warm the cream cheese. Brining them both basically to room temperature. Once combined you can add the powdered sugar and use a stand or hand mixer to fully incorporate it.
With this frosting recipe I always add one tablespoon of butter to thin it out and give it a creamy and velvety consistency. Feel free to experiment though. If you prefer thicker brown butter cream cheese frosting, leave out the milk. If you want it thinner go ahead and add more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I substitute whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour for bread flour?
Bread flour will give these sourdough cinnamon rolls the best rise and the softest crumb. If using whole wheat or all-purpose flour, you will need to increase the amount of flour or reduce the milk called for in the recipe and strengthen the dough a bit more.
How do I store my leftover cinnamon rolls?
To store any leftover 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.
What is the best way to reheat leftover cinnamon rolls?
You can reheat leftover cinnamon rolls individually in the microwave for 30 seconds each, or reheat the whole pan in a 300°F (150°C) preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.
Can I make cinnamon rolls ahead of time?
To make cinnamon rolls to bake later, cover the pan of unbaked rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or place them in the freezer for up to a week. When you are ready to bake, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and perform the second rise.
Can I use instant yeast or active dry yeast instead of sourdough starter?
This recipe is formulated to use sourdough starter. Using conventional bakers yeast would require ingredients and rise times to be adjusted. If you are looking for a non-sourdough cinnamon roll recipe, take a look at my brioche cinnamon rolls recipe! Both recipes are and adaption of my no-knead sourdough cinnamon roll recipe.