Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Provided World Peace isn’t an option, my holiday wish list this year includes: fleece-lined leggings, a faux fur vest, and a pan of Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese FrostingRereading my list (which is completely legitimate, by the way) leads me to realize a few things about myself:

One: I work from home in a freezing (um, 67 degree) house. In order to remind myself that I am an actual human being, I exit my sweatpants each morning and put on leggings, which are clearly more refined than sweatpants (please do not fight this logic). The fleece lining will keep me warm, alleviating my current need to walk around the house wrapped in a blanket like a giant human burrito.

Two: Due to the amount of time I spend in said leggings, I clearly have fettered desires to be more fashionable outside the house. I hear faux fur vests are totally hot. True?

Three: I am craving all things cozy. Gingerbread is one of my all-time favorite holiday flavors, and I can’t image a snugglier, more comforting breakfast than cinnamon rolls.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with the best Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Fluffy, buttery cinnamon rolls that taste just like gingerbread cookies! This recipe can be prepped the night before, so all you need to do in the morning is bake. Perfect for holiday breakfast and brunch.

These soft and tender cinnamon rolls are packed with the rich, warm flavors of your favorite gingerbread cookie. The dough is deeply tinted with molasses, spicy with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, and sweetened with brown sugar. It’s a lovely gingerbread color and oh so fluffy too.

Homemade Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese FrostingThe filling is a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, and even more spice. It’s like holiday fairy dust, sprinkled over melted butter. (Do you see why these cinnamon rolls are on my Christmas list?)

Homemade Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls topped with Cinnamon Cream Cheese FrostingReady to roll. Gingerbread cookie taste, meet cinnamon roll shape.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Spiced Cinnamon Cream Cheese FrostingNo self-respecting cinnamon roll would be without frosting, and since holiday wishes are being granted here, let’s make it a cinnamon spice cream cheese frosting, shall we?

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Spiced Cream Cheese FrostingNow all that remains is to eat these fabulous, fluffy, gingerbread cookie-flavored rolls warm from the oven. I think I’ll munch mine in fleece leggings and a faux first vest.

Cozy, cozy, all the way.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade cinnamon rolls with the flavor of gingerbread cookies smothered in cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Recipe can also be made as overnight cinnamon rolls.

Yield: 12 rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes


For the Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or substitute all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast (1 standard envelope yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour

For the Filling

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Prepare the dough: Pour milk into a large glass measuring cup. Add butter and microwave on high, until the mixture is warmed to the temperature directed by the yeast manufacturer (120°F to 130°F for Red Star Platinum Yeast). Start with 30 seconds, then microwave in 10-second intervals, until the desired temperature is reached. The butter may not melt completely and the milk should feel warm but not hot.
  2. Place the white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, egg, molasses, vanilla, yeast, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl. Pour in the heated milk and butter. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour. Beat on low speed, until the flour is absorbed and the dough is no longer sticky, scraping down sides of bowl as you go. If dough is extremely sticky, add remaining 1/2 cup flour one tablespoon at a time, combining after each, just until dough begins to form a shaggy ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. It should still feel fairly tacky.
  3. If using a stand mixer, fit the mixer with a dough hook and knead on medium low for 6 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Add a little flour, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky and clings readily to your hands. Lightly oil a large, clean bowl with cooking spray. Form dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, turning once to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Stir together brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  5. Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12x20-inch rectangle. Brush all over with 3 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle all of the sugar and spice filling over the top. Starting at one of the short edges, roll the dough into a tight log, then tightly pinch the seam to seal. Gently stretch and pat the dough log as needed so that it is roughly even in diameter and 18 inches in length. With a serrated knife, gently saw the log into 12 segments (each segment will be 1 1/2 inches wide). Arrange the rolls in the prepared pan, cut sides up. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. (It may take a bit longer but is worth the wait.) Alternatively, you can place the rolls in the refrigerator and let rise overnight.
  6. Place rack in center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls until golden and the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes. Check the rolls at the 20-minute mark. If browning too quickly, gently tent with foil and continue baking.
  7. For the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. Add a little additional milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Frost rolls and serve warm.

These rolls are perfect to make ahead and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. Once the rolls are shaped, arrange them in the pan, cover with plastic wrap, then let rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, set the pan out at room temperature for a half hour, then bake as directed.

I baked these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with my favorite bread-baking tool, Red Star Platinum Yeast. It’s foolproof, yields consistent results, and most importantly, creates super-fluffy, tender breads every time. For baking tips, check out Red Star Yeast’s step-by-step baking guide, and don’t forget to follow Red Star on Facebook for tasty recipes and inspiration.


I created this recipe and post in partnership with Red Star Yeast. As always, all opinions are my own, and thank you for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue providing quality content to you!

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...


  1. We keep our house at 67 too. The fleece lined leggings are a necessity. As are fuzzy slippers. And baking, lots of baking :)

  2. Gingerbread is always the flavor I never think to indulge in during the holidays. Not sure why, but I need to especially with these cinnamon rolls!

  3. Your list sounds a lot like mine. Except no one wants to see me in those leggings so they get removed if I leave the house.

    Love this gingerbread recipe.

  4. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    Erin, when I tap “here” for the contest, it says “Oops! The page you’re looking for is not here.”

  5. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    These Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls do sound good for a cold morning. So comfy sounding. When my boys were little, I gave in to sweats on cold winter days. As they grew, I graduated to the leggings, but I don’t think they had fleece-lined ones then. Would have loved those!

  6. I busted out laughing when you said ‘provided world peace isn’t an option!’
    I love this post SO much! that dough looks amazing! And the photo of your hands–omg LOVE!

  7. I loved reading this post! You are too funny, and I’d be a happy girl if I got your wish list. We don’t turn on our heater until it gets down to about 59 in our house! Luckily we live in California, or I might really freeze!

    I am craving all things gingerbread, and these cinnamon rolls look absolutely perfect. Pinned!

  8. Erin, you crack me up!! love your holiday wish list!! My house isn’t as cold as yours but I am cold all the time. I just stocked up on everything: wool socks, new house slippers and those thermal undershirts at Costco. I didn’t have any of this last winter and I have no idea how I survived. YES to the Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls. . want like 15 of these!! :)

  9. Wow. These are incredible! And I’m sure they bring the heat up a bit just through coziness factor in your freezing house!

  10. sounds like the perfect Christmas list to me – and on the rare occasion that I try to wear something other than leggings – I regret it almost immediately
    and I’d love to wake up to find a pan of these rolls on Christmas morning

  11. Leggings are DEFINITELY more refined than sweatpants, as in an instant, they can be covered with boots for a “French country rockstar” look, and no one will ever know you spend your entire day in pants so stretchy you have no idea that you actually gained 5 pounds… oops. True story. Work-from-home-in-leggings high five! But um, these cinnamon rolls? Deeeee-vine. Divine!!

  12. Can you send me some of these? Ok thanks!

  13. Oh wow! Another impressive recipe from you. I’ll just take the whole pan please!

  14. Hah, I totally roll out of bed and switch to leggings for the rest of my day too!

    These cinnamon rolls look yumtastic! And where did you get that silicone mat with the measurements? I need one of those!!

  15. Another delicious looking recipe! I’ve never heard of fleece lined leggings, but they sound amazing!! Will definitely be required whenever I return to the midwest :) Stay warm!!

  16. Combines two of my favorite things -cinnamon and gingerbread. Will have to try…..even though I am afraid of yeast! Never used it! Any tips?

    • Grace, you can totally handle this!! Honestly, it’s just like adding any other ingredient. If you want to be really safe, take the temperature of your water before you add it to the mixing bowl, and you can’t fail. My other big tip is to be patient. I really can take two hours for the dough to rise the first time depending on the temperature of your kitchen. It’s worth the wait!

  17. These rolls scream the holidays, love everything about them.

  18. You crack me up! Glad I’m not the only one who spends her time at home dressed as a giant burrito. I’m addicted to cozy blankets!!
    Also – these gingerbread rolls not only look yummy, but they are GORGEOUS! The icing drizzle is dreamy.

  19. Ohmygosh YES!! Thank goodness I’m not the only one with the leggings vs. sweats mentality!! I did that ALL the time this fall, and… I still do. But at least I live in warmer CA where fleece-lined ones aren’t necessary. I’d die in the cold! ;) And these cinnamon rolls… I’ll take the whole pan and not share a single crumb. Pinned!

  20. Well considering I am most definitely currently wearing fleece-lined leggings AND am wrapped up like a human burrito in my blanket, the only logical next step is to make these cinnamon rolls. And eat them all.

  21. Erin, I’m loving these gingerbread cinnamon rolls. They sound so perfect for Christmas morning! Yumm!

  22. Girl, your cinnamon roll game is AWESOME. I’ve been continually impressed, but I think these are my favorite so far.

  23. These look gorgeous Erin! Never tried gingerbread cinnamon rolls, but will definitely make some! Great pictures as always!

  24. These look incredible! Yay for Christmas breakfast…and leggings that are both comfy and stylish. ;-)

  25. Erin, I would like a clarification please. From what I have read on platinum yeast you should use half the flour that you would normally use with other yeast, is the flour amount in your recipe for the regular yeast or with the platinum yeast? Thank you.

    • Hi Rodger!
      This is very interesting. I’ve never heard that before, although I do know that sometimes the dough will rise more quickly. Otherwise, I’ve always used it keeping the flour amount the same in any recipe. Therefore, I’d do the same with these rolls.

      • Thank you Erin. I was just wondering because my wife try the recipe yesterday with RedStar rapid (instant)rise and the dough didn’t rise sitting in our kitchen with the temp setting at 70 plus the dough seemed really thick and tough. Went out last night and found the platinum yeast so I will try it again today while she is at work.

        • Rodger, I’m sorry to hear this! A few ideas: Be sure to take the temperature of the liquid. Depending upon how hot it was, it could have caused the yeast not to activate (not hot enough) or been too hot and actually killed it. Platinum yeast calls for the water to be 120 degrees, but I know other yeasts are less. As far as the rise time, each time I’ve baked these, my dough takes a full 2+ hours to rise and doesn’t do much until then. You also might not need the full amount of flour call for in the recipe. Add the final 1 1/2 cups slowly and stop as soon as the dough is no longer super sticky. And last but not least, be sure to spoon the flour lightly into the measuring cups, vs. scoop directly from the bag, which can sometimes cause too much flour to be in the batter. You might have already done all of these things, but I thought I’d include them just in case it’s helpful!

  26. These are genius! I’ll take warm gingerbread spices anytime of day. I keep the heat on 67 in the house and sometimes I get warm. I know, I’m weird; )

  27. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it,
    you are a great author. I will remember to bookmark your blog and will often come back later on.
    I want to encourage one to continue your great job, have a nice weekend!

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