If you like cinnamon rolls and you like banana bread, you are going to fall in love with these Sourdough Banana Cinnamon Rolls. These soft rolls have a delicious brown sugar walnut filling and topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. But a naturally leavened banana dough is what makes these rolls truly special.
If all the sweet roll recipes on my website didn’t give it away, I really love a good cinnamon roll. These Sourdough Banana Cinnamon Rolls are one of my favorite cinnamon bun recipes. I promise they will quickly become one of your favorites too. They pack all the flavor of banana bread into a soft fluffy pull apart roll. Mashed bananas give the dough a lovely banana flavor that compliments the slight tang of sourdough, and the warm brown sugar walnut filling really makes them complete.
This dough for the recipe is leavened using sourdough starter. If you’re not sure what sourdough starter is, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter post to learn all about it. If you are already familiar with sourdough and just starting your fermented journey, take a look at my Beginners Sourdough: A Guide and Recipe.
Sourdough Banana Cinnamon Roll Ingredients
- Whole Milk – A little milk helps to hydrate the dough, making them soft and fluffy.
- Banana – Mashed banana is what gives these rolls all their flavor. It also adds moisture to the dough so that they come out light and fluffy. Use extra ripe bananas for the most flavor.
- Sourdough Starter – Sourdough Starter is needed for the dough to rise. Make sure your starter is fed the morning before you plan to bake so it is active and bubbly when you mix the dough.
- Sugar – Sugar gives the dough a little extra sweetness. I use raw organic sugar, but coconut sugar or honey will also work.
- Egg – Egg gives these rolls a light and tender structure.
- Bread Flour – For this recipe I used organic bread flour. Bread flour will ensure your rolls are soft and fluffy. If using all-purpose flour you may need to increase the amount of flour in this recipe slightly.
- Salt – Salt is added to enhance flavor without making these rolls salty. It also acts to strengthen the dough.
- Butter – Butter enriches this dough making it soft and tender. I use room temperature unsalted butter when baking, but you can use salted by omitting the salt in this recipe.
- Butter – Use room temperature butter when filling these rolls. 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 adds a deep and rich flavor. If you don’t have brown sugar on hand just add 1 teaspoon of molasses for every cup of sugar used in a recipe.
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon adds a touch of spice to the filling that pairs beautifully with the warmth of the brown sugar.
- Walnuts or Pecans – These are optional add ins. If adding nuts make sure they are finely chopped.
- Cream Cheese – You cant have cinnamon rolls without cream cheese frosting!
- Butter – Use room temperature butter when making frosting. 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.
- Powdered Sugar – I use organic powdered sugar when I bake. Organic powdered sugar is lumpy so it will need to be sifted.
- Vanilla – A little vanilla adds a lovely flavor to the frosting.
How to Make Sourdough Banana Cinnamon Rolls
Tip: Take a look at my Sample Bakers Schedule before you begin so you have a better idea on when to begin and how to plan ahead.
Step 1: Mix the Dough
In a large bowl whisk together your active sourdough starter and milk until fully combined.
Whisk the mashed banana, sugar and egg into the starter mixture. Then, add in the flour and salt until a shaggy dough forms.
Melt the butter and allow it to cool until it is no longer hot to the touch. Add it to the dough and mix until it is fully incorporated.
Step 2: Strengthen the Dough
After mixing, cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Uncover the dough and kneed in a stand mixer on medium speed with a dough hook attachment for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic and fully pulls away from the sides. If working without a stand mixer strengthen the dough by hand. To do this perform three sets of stretch and folds.
How to Stretch and Fold:
- Lightly wet your hands before handling the dough to prevent sticking.
- Scoop up an edge of the dough and gently pull it upwards.
- Once the dough reaches a point where it resists being pulled go ahead and fold the dough over itself.
- Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this stretching and folding motion.
- You will turn the bowl, stretch and fold until the bowl comes full circle. These four stretch and folds are called a set.
- Repeat the process of resting the dough and performing stretch and folds two more times. You will have performed three total sets.
Step 3: Bulk Ferment
Cover your bowl with a damp cloth to bulk ferment at 72°F(21°C) for 8-9 hours, or overnight. The dough will need to rise until it is almost double its original size. Rise times will vary depending on the temperature of your home, add or subtract time if your home is cooler or warmer.
Step 4: Roll the Dough
Lightly flour your work surface before turning out the dough. Pat the dough into a rectangular shape, and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 13″x15″ rectangle.
Step 5: Make the Filling
Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl to make the filling and set aside.
Spread the room temperature butter onto the sheet of dough leaving a one-inch margin crosswise. This margin is to help seal the rolls once you roll up the dough.
Is your butter soft enough? You can test your butter by pressing your finger into it. If you can push all the way through without resistance your butter is soft enough.
Add the cinnamon sugar mixture and spread it evenly on top of the layer of butter. Next, add chopped walnuts or pecans if you like.
Step 5: Roll and Cut
Now that the filling is spread roll the dough up tightly. Start with the end opposite of the margin and roll inwards applying a gentle pressure.
Lightly wet your margin with water before sealing and allow your roll to rest seam down for a minute to ensure a tight seal. Then use a non-serrated knife cut your log into ten equally sized rolls.
Tip: Wetting your knife every few cuts will prevent the dough from pulling and give you a clean cut.
Step 6: Second Rise
Place your cut rolls into 9″x13″ pan and cover with a damp cloth. Allow them to rise at 70°F(21°C) for for 2 hours, or until they are about half of their original size. Rise time will depend on the temperature of your home.
Tip: To speed up the second rise you can preheat your oven and place your pan on top of the stove. The heat the oven gives off will allow your rolls to rise much quicker.
Wanting to bake later? Cover and place your pan of rolls in the fridge for up to 24 hours or in the freezer for up to a week. When you are ready to bake allow your rolls to come to room temperature and perform the second rise.
Step 7: Bake and Frost
Place your rolls in the center rack of a 350°F preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
While your rolls bake make the frosting. Whip together the softened cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Once out of the oven allow your sourdough banana cinnamon rolls to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.
Sample Bakers Schedule
9 AM (day 1): Feed your sourdough starter.
9 PM (day 1): Mix your dough and cover.
9:30 PM (day 1): Strengthen the dough and cover to rise overnight.
6:30 AM (day 2): Roll, fill, and cut the dough.
7 AM (day 2): Cover pan for second rise.
9:30 AM (day 2): Bake and frost.