Hey guys! I’m sharing one more sweet little holiday recipe for you before Christmas is here, and it’s these perfect cinnamon rolls! I’ve got a lot of cinnamon roll recipes on my website, but this is my new favorite for a classic, gooey cinnamon roll!

High-Altitude Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

These are a sweet little batch of nine rolls, perfect for Christmas morning, and they’re of course frosted with gobs of cream cheese icing that I’m obsessed with. I’ve got tons of tips and tricks to help you out along the way to perfect rolls- let’s get to it!

How to Make Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

The dough for these rolls has an extra step added in for an extra soft cinnamon roll, and it’s worth it I promise! We’re using a cooked flour paste in the dough. So we’re starting by cooking together a little milk and flour until a thick paste forms, and letting it cool completely. The rest of the dough comes together really easily, and you should end up with a soft, easy to work with dough. Here’s what it looks like before and after rising:

Then we’re using a classic filling of butter topped with a sugar-cinnamon mixture. It’s going to seem like a lot of the sugar mixture, but you want to use it all! This is what creates that gooey filling that we all know and love!

Roll up your dough and slice it into 9 even rolls. The dough is fairly soft, so you may find that your rolls are a little messy looking at this stage, but I like to just gently tighten and re-wrap the messy looking rolls if needed, tucking the last little tail of dough underneath to keep it looking clean, like these:

Perfect Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

The rolls will take a little rest and become just slightly more puffy while the oven preheats. You shouldn’t expect to see a huge rise here, and that’s ok! Then they’re off to the oven until they are a nice golden brown all over.

High Altitude Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

And you guessed it- it’s time for a bunch of cream cheese icing. What is a cinnamon roll even without a great icing?

Best Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

I hope you guys love this one, we’ll be enjoying it any time of year, but especially around the holidays!

Tips & Tricks for Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Here’s all my tips and tricks to help you along the way to the best ever Gooey Cinnamon Rolls!

  • The flour paste will be very thick. There are a lot of methods for this flour paste, and some result in a less thick paste, but I’ve always used a very thick version of it. Just cook and stir the mixture until it’s very thick, and set it aside to cool!
  • How long should I knead the dough? You want your dough to be very soft, stretchy, and smooth. I find that in a stand mixer this will take me about 10 minutes, and by hand it can take closer to 15-20 minutes. Your dough should still be sticking to the bottom of a stand mixer bowl, you want it to still be soft!
  • How long should I let my dough rise? At high altitude, I often find that my bread doughs rise very quickly, but I would encourage you to focus on the visual cues instead of the time. If your kitchen is warmer, or if you’re higher up, it can rise much faster. You want the dough to puff and almost double in size, and it should bounce back if you poke it!
  • Can I make these rolls the night before? Yes, for this recipe I recommend that if you want to make the rolls the night before, you chill the dough as it rises for the first time, and then once you shape your rolls, cover the pan and pop it in the fridge again overnight. Keeping the dough cold will slow the rise time, and you can bake them first thing in the morning.
  • Be sure to use all of the filling mixture even though it seems like a lot. This contributes to having cinnamon rolls that are gooey in the center and filled really well!
  • Don’t be afraid to re-shape your rolls after slicing if they are a bit messy. This dough is very soft, which means it can get a little messy and un-raveled as you slice the rolls. You can re-shape and roll the sliced rolls if you’d like, tightening them and making them look a little neater. Totally don’t have to do this though!
  • I’m at about 5,000 ft. above sea level, and I find that most people who live between about 3,000-7,000 ft do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes.

Enjoy!

Soft Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
Soft Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
4 from 5 votes
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Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Servings 9 rolls

Ingredients

For the rolls:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk plus 3 tbs separated
  • 3 tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tbs separated
  • 1 tsp. salt

For the filing:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs white sugar
  • 1 tbs plus 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the frosting:

  • 2 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Instructions

For the rolls:

  1. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, cook together 3 tablespoons milk with 2 tablespoons of flour, whisking constantly, until a thick paste forms. Remove and cool completely. In a microwave safe bowl, heat together the remaining 3/4 cup whole milk with the brown sugar until it is about 110 degrees, or warm to the touch. Stir in the yeast, and set aside until puffy and bloomed.

  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the egg and softened butter, and then stir in the bloomed yeast mixture. Then add in 3 cups flour and the salt, and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Add in the cooked flour paste and begin to knead the dough.
  3. Knead the dough with the dough hook for about 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. It should be still a little wet, and may stick to the bottom of your bowl slightly while kneading. Avoid adding too much flour, but you can add a bit more if it’s just globbing entirely on the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Scrape the dough into a ball, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes, or until it has almost doubled in size.

For the filling:

  1. Grease a 9×9 square pan or a round 9 inch cake pan and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Roll out the risen dough into a large rectangle. It should be about 12-14 inches long. Spread the butter evenly over the entire dough, and sprinkle all of the sugar mixture on top. Use your rolling pin to gently press the mixture into the dough, and roll the dough into a tight log length-wise.
  2. Slice the ends of the log off, and then slice the log into 9 even rolls. The dough is soft to work with, so you may find the rolls get a little messy or unraveled, but you can re-roll them individually if needed. Place into your prepared baking pan, and cover with plastic wrap to let them rise for about 20 minutes, or until puffed.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the risen rolls for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are light golden brown on top.

For the frosting:

  1. Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and salt until a thick, smooth frosting is formed. Spread generously on top of the rolls once they have cooled for about 5 minutes. Enjoy the frosted rolls warm!


14 Comments

  1. Sad Denver Bricklayer :)

    December 31, 2021 at 9:37 am

    1 star
    Is this recipe missing a few details?
    1/ vanilla in milk- it’s mentioned in the instructions but not the dough ingredients?
    2/ overall amount of liquid- 0.75 cup for 1 packet yeast vs 2.5cup for 2 packets of yeast in your basic cinnamon roll recipe (from 2015)…not a pro, but seems you would want a similar ratio?

    My dough was a total brick when I started mixing it together before kneading (not wet or elastic, started crawling up the bowl). I may have completely botched this, but I followed your instructions to a T (as much as I could – some WIP photos or time ranges for steps would make this easier to follow!)

    Reply
    • Dough-Eyed

      December 31, 2021 at 4:12 pm

      Hi there- So sorry to hear this recipe didn't work out for you! I did update to remove the vanilla extract from the instructions- I had initially developed it with vanilla in the dough but decided against it ultimately and looks like I had forgotten to remove it from that portion- sorry about the confusion! As for the yeast ratios, different kinds of doughs typically call for different ranges and ratios of liquid and yeast, and for this dough I found that amount of yeast to work well here. Also, there's 3/4 cup of milk here, but there's also the softened butter and egg, which increase the amount of your liquid mixture in this dough. I'm thinking perhaps we are measuring flour differently, but it may be more likely that the butter or egg was missed? Either way, I'm so sorry to hear it didn't work for you, I know how frustrating that can be! I have tested this recipe multiple times and it is correctly written other than the vanilla typo there. Thank you for the feedback!!

      Reply
  2. AnnaBanana

    January 1, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    5 stars
    I just tried this and I am not sure what the issue with the dough was for the baker in Denver because mine came out perfectly and I’m in Colorado Springs. I usually am more of a cake maker and wanted to try this out after coming across this site and everything g was perfect! I’ll definitely try more recipes 🙂

    Reply
    • Dough-Eyed

      January 2, 2022 at 1:09 pm

      Hi there! So glad to hear that you loved this recipe, it's definitely one of my favs from 2021!!!

      Reply
  3. Krista

    January 6, 2022 at 8:32 am

    5 stars
    I've made this recipe twice… on the east coast… and they turned out AMAZING! I'm eager to try them again now that I'm back in CO at 5500 ft, but I have high hopes!

    Reply
    • Dough-Eyed

      January 14, 2022 at 6:40 pm

      So glad to hear it!!

      Reply
  4. Aylah Walden

    January 14, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    The frosting ingredients call for 1 tablespoon of milk but it doesn’t say to add milk in the instructions – is this a typo?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Dough-Eyed

      January 14, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      Hi there- yes, sorry about that! It's a typo- I'm fixing it now, but you just add it in with all the other icing ingredients!

      Reply
  5. Aly

    February 5, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    4 stars
    Its definitely a good starter recipe for cinnamon rolls, though the rolls themselves are lacking a little flavor for my family’s liking. I just added some spices to boost them a bit and it totally elevated the recipe.

    Reply
  6. Nik

    March 25, 2022 at 4:32 pm

    Just made these in Casper WY and they turned out amazing no need for the extra flour for sure but man they are tender and gooey thank you for the recipe!!

    Reply
    • Dough-Eyed

      April 11, 2022 at 11:07 am

      Glad to hear you liked it! Some of my favs!

      Reply
  7. Laura Ansari

    June 5, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    I’m so happy I found this recipe! It worked out perfect for me! I’m at 6800ft and the only change I made was to add a drizzle of milk to the kitchen-aid when I was kneading the dough because it was a little dry. But this is the most successful batch of cinnamon rolls I have ever made. I’m so grateful! Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  8. Karen

    August 17, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    5 stars
    Only used your dough recipe which is all that we need!!! Used an almond cream cheese filling. SO good! Your cream cheese frosting was also very good on top. People couldn't stop eating them!

    Reply
    • Dough-Eyed

      August 30, 2022 at 9:08 am

      Sounds so yummy!

      Reply

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