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Easy Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

Soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls in a perfect small batch.  This easy recipe creates the perfect small batch of cinnamon rolls when you want a little treat but don’t need a large quantity.  These cinnamon rolls are soft and fluffy, filled with brown sugar and cinnamon, and topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting.  This recipe makes six perfect rolls ready in about 2 hours.   Perfect for those days you have cinnamon roll cravings.

Six cinnamon rolls with frosting in a round pie dish.
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What are small batch cinnamon rolls?

Small-batch cinnamon rolls are simply a smaller recipe than the standard cinnamon roll recipe.  

There is nothing better than homemade cinnamon rolls, but most recipes are created to produce quite a large batch.  Sometimes, it’s nice to have a treat without needing a whole batch, especially if you are baking for just a couple of people or don’t have a lot of freezer space for leftovers.

This small batch recipe will produce four to six perfect, fluffy rolls, depending on how big you cut them.   

This recipe is made with simple ingredients and, from start to finish, takes just over two hours.  

These delicious rolls have been kept simple with a sweet cinnamon sugar filling and rich and creamy cream cheese icing.  But you can add raisins or chopped nuts to the filling.

Of course, if you do want a large batch then you can never go wrong with some extra large cinnamon rolls, and if mini cinnamon rolls are more to your liking, then a tiny batch of air fryer cinnamon rolls may be for you.

Cinnamon rolls in a round pie dish with a small spatula.

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Ingredient notes & substitutions

Milk – This recipe uses warm milk as its liquid ingredient.  Using milk will produce a more tender roll than using water.  We use 2% milk, but whole milk will also work well.

Yeast – You will need traditional, active dry yeast for this recipe.  Instant yeast may be used instead and will produce great results.  But as they rise quicker, watch during the proofing stage to ensure they don’t over-proof.

Butter – This recipe uses butter in the dough, the filling, and the frosting.  We use salted butter, but unsalted can be used if you prefer.   

All-purpose flour – This recipe uses all-purpose flour, but bread flour can be used with great results.  Whole wheat flour may be substituted, but you will likely need to add more liquid, and the rise may take longer.

Brown sugar – Brown sugar creates a sweet, decadent filling.  We like dark brown sugar for its rich flavor, but you can use light brown sugar if that’s what you have.

Cinnamon – Ground cinnamon is an essential ingredient in cinnamon rolls.  You can, however, substitute with spice mixes such as pumpkin pie or apple pie spice if you like.

You will also need:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Cream cheese
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt

Pro-Tip: For the best results, we highly recommend weighing your ingredients. A kitchen scale with a tare feature will make the process quick and easy.

Step by Step Instructions

Making any bread from scratch is a process, but luckily, this cinnamon roll dough is quick and easy to prepare without much fuss.

Step 1 – Begin by warming the milk in the microwave or a small saucepan.  It should be warm, but not hot, ideally around 120°F.

Place the warm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar in a large bowl.  Let this rest until the yeast becomes frothy, 5-10 minutes.

Step 2 – Add the melted butter, salt, and half of the flour.  Stir vigorously until well combined.

A bowl of milk with proofed yeast and a second bowl with flour mixed in.

Step 3 – Add half of the remaining flour.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture, adding the remaining flour a little at a time until it comes together in a shaggy dough.  You may not use all of the flour.

Step 4 – Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough.  

Pro-Tip: If you don’t like hand-kneading dough, you can also make this recipe in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.

A bowl of shaggy dough and a second image showing the dough formed into a soft ball.

Step 6 – Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size.  This will take 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

​Step 7 – Once the dough has doubled, turn it onto a lightly floured surface; do not punch it down.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle of approximately 9×11 inches, with the shorter end facing you.

The rise time of the dough will vary slightly depending on the yeast you use, the warmth and humidity of your kitchen, and the type of flour you use.  If you have a proof setting on your oven, you can use this to help ensure the perfect rise. 

Dough doubled in size in a bowl and then rolled into a rectangle.

Step 7 – Spread the softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and the ground cinnamon.

Step 8 – Roll the dough starting with the end closest to you to form a log.

Brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled over the dough, then rolled into a log.

Pro-Tip: A pastry mat keeps the counter clean and helps prevent the dough from sticking.

Step 9 – Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 4 or 6 equal pieces, depending on how large you’d like them.

Step 10 – Place them into a lightly greased 9-inch deep dish pie plate.  A round cake pan or a smaller square or rectangle pan may also be used. There should be at least an inch between the rolls to allow room to rise.

Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm spot for approximately 20 minutes.

Sliced cinnamon roll dough placed in a nine inch pie dish leaving room between the rolls.

Step 11 – Preheat the oven to 375°F, then bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden brown.  If you have an instant-read thermometer, the rolls are done when the internal temperature reaches between 200-210°F.

Step 12 – While the cinnamon rolls are baking, mix the remaining softened butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  You may do this by hand or using a hand mixer.  If you like a thinner frosting, add some cream until you get your desired consistency.

Remove the rolls from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes before frosting.  We like to serve them immediately, as there is nothing better than warm cinnamon rolls from the oven.

Baked rolls in a pie dish with a small spatula spreading cream cheese frosting.

    Equipment

    This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

    Mixing bowl – You will need a medium-sized mixing bowl. Glass, stainless steel, or ceramic all work great.

    Kitchen scale – While you can successfully use measuring cups, we highly recommend weighing ingredients for the greatest accuracy in baking. A digital scale with a tare feature is a kitchen staple.

    Pastry mat – One of my favorite kitchen accessories is a pastry mat. This is not essential, but it makes clean-up a breeze.

    Rolling pin – A rolling pin for rolling the dough evenly is a must. We love marble rolling pins for their weight and because the dough is less likely to stick to them.

    Bench scraper – A bench scraper isn’t necessary, but does make scraping any excess dough from the counter easier.

    Deep dish pie pan – We bake this small batch recipe in a nine-inch deep dish pie pan, but you can use a round cake pan or a smaller square or rectangular pan if you prefer.

    Cinnamon roll on a small plate with a bite taken out.

    Storage

    Because this is a small-batch cinnamon roll recipe, you may not need storage, but if you want to save some for the next day, they can be stored in an airtight container.  

    Unfrosted rolls can be stored at room temperature, but frosted rolls should be stored in the refrigerator.

    ​Cinnamon rolls may also be frozen and will keep for several months in an airtight container.

    FAQS

      Why didn’t my dough rise?

      If your dough didn’t rise, check the expiry date of your yeast. If the yeast is still fresh, then the liquid used to proof the yeast was likely too hot.

      Can I make cinnamon rolls the night before?

      If you want fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning, you can do the prep the night before. Once you have prepared the rolls and placed them in the baking dish, cover and place them in the refrigerator. In the morning, preheat the oven and bake as directed.

      Frosted cinnamon rolls in a pie dish.

      More Cinnamon Roll Recipes

      Recipe

      Six cinnamon rolls with frosting in a round pie dish.

      Easy Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

      Soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls in a perfect small batch.  This easy recipe creates the perfect small batch of six cinnamon rolls when you want a little treat.
      No ratings yet
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      Course: Breakfast, Dessert
      Cuisine: American
      Prep Time: 30 minutes
      Cook Time: 25 minutes
      Rise Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
      Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
      Servings: 6
      Calories: 456kcal
      Author: Deanna

      Ingredients

      Dough

      • 2 cups (300g) all purpose flour
      • 2 tbsp (30g) granulated sugar
      • 2 ¼ tsp (8g) active dry yeast
      • cup (157 ml) milk
      • 2 tbsp (34 g) butter melted
      • 1 tsp (4g) kosher salt
      • cup (75g) dark brown sugar packed
      • 2 tbsp (34g) butter softened
      • 2 tsp (5g) cinnamon

      Cream Cheese Frosting

      • 4 tbsp (68 g) cream cheese softened
      • 2 tbsp (34 g) butter softened
      • ½ cup (75g) powdered sugar
      • ¼ tsp (1 ml) vanilla extract

      Instructions

      Dough

      • Begin by warming the milk in the microwave or a saucepan.  It should be warm, but not hot, ideally around 120°F.
      • Place the warm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar in a large bowl.  Let this rest until the yeast becomes frothy, 5-10 minutes.
      • Add the melted butter, salt, and 1 cup of the flour.  Stir vigorously until well combined, then add half of the remaining flour.
      • Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture, adding the remaining flour a little at a time, until it comes together in a shaggy dough.  You may not use all of the flour.
      • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough.  
      • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size.  This will take 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
      • ​Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, do not punch it down.
        Roll the dough into a rectangle of approximately 9×11 inches using a rolling pin, with the shorter end facing you.
      • Spread two tablespoons of softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and, finally, the ground cinnamon.
      • Roll the dough with the end closest to you to form a log.
        Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 4 or 6 equal pieces, depending on how large you'd like them, then place them into a lightly greased deep dish pie plate, leaving at least one inch of space between the rolls to allow room to rise.
        A round cake pan may also be used, or you can use a smaller square or rectangle pan.
      • Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm spot for approximately 20 minutes.
      • While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 25-40 minutes until golden brown. If you have an instant-read thermometer, rolls are done when the internal temperature is between 200-210°F.
      • Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before frosting.

      Cream Cheese Frosting

      • Mix 2 tablespoons of softened butter, the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  You may do this by hand or using a hand mixer.  If you like a thinner frosting, add a bit of cream until you get your desired consistency.

      Nutrition

      Estimated Nutrition Facts
      Easy Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls
      Amount per Serving
      Calories
      456
      % Daily Value*
      Fat
       
      16
      g
      25
      %
      Saturated Fat
       
      10
      g
      63
      %
      Trans Fat
       
      0.5
      g
      Sodium
       
      396
      mg
      17
      %
      Carbohydrates
       
      71
      g
      24
      %
      Fiber
       
      2
      g
      8
      %
      Sugar
       
      31
      g
      34
      %
      Protein
       
      7
      g
      14
      %
      * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

      Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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      THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.