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One night we set out to make the best dairy cinnamon buns ever. We compared doughs, fillings, and frostings, and after all the tests, these are the result. This is one cinnamon bun recipe that is WORTH it! They’re truly the best you’ll ever make. Please don’t try to make them pareve (they’ll still be good but not AS good!).

1 cup warm milk

2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast

4 cups flour

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt


½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and chilled

1 cup brown sugar

2 ½-3 tablespoons cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 (8-ounce) container cream cheese (any type)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup milk

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and salt. Knead until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a teensy bit of flour, but not more. It should be a little sticky. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 ½ hours.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup butter (half the total butter), brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  3. Place dough on a work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 16 x 21-inch rectangle. Spread remaining butter over the surface of the dough. Spread evenly with brown sugar mixture.
  4. Roll up tightly, jelly-roll style. For regular sized buns: Slice into about 14 buns, 1 ½ inches wide. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Let rise an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF.
  6. Prepare the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time. Add additional milk if needed to achieve a runny consistency (you want the frosting to be able to drip and melt into the crevices of the buns and not be overly stiff).
  7. Bake buns for 20-22 minutes, until golden. Immediately pour frosting all over the buns, letting it melt into the buns. Serve extra frosting on the side for dipping.

Yield: 14 cinnamon buns

For Giant Cinnamon Buns: Roll into a 16- x 21-inch rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style on the shorter side. For giant: Slice into 5-6 buns, 3 inches wide. Place cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

For Mini Cinnamon Buns: Roll into a 14- x 30-inch rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style. Cut into 28 buns, 1 inch wide. Place cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Some things to note:

*For the filling, I melt the butter and then chill it in the refrigerator for a few minutes so it solidifies a bit, giving it a consistency that’s easy to spread on my dough. If your butter is very soft from sitting at room temperature for a while, that’s fine too. It just needs to be easy to spread.

*These freeze very well! Freeze raw (after step 4) and bake as needed. It’s even better to prebake for 10 minutes so you can pop them into the toaster oven quickly for breakfast. Keep your cream cheese frosting in a container in the fridge so it’s available whenever you’re baking the buns.

*If you only have whipped butter in your fridge, measure 1 ½ times the amount after melting or use a digital kitchen scale to measure the right amount. Whipped butter incorporates air, so it’s less dense than sticks.

*Do NOT try to make these pareve! Use only dairy ingredients as noted for best results.

*For evenly sized buns, when rolling out the dough, try to roll the dough to an even thickness. You want the rectangle to be even also.

*Don’t add too much flour on your surface. Dough that’s a little sticky will hold itself together well.