Cinnamon buns have been a constant, comforting presence in every stage of my life. Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls are the latest chapter.
Buttery, flakey biscuit dough wrapped around a gooey cinnamon sugar filling and topped with buttermilk glaze, these pinwheels of sweet breakfast bliss will brighten even the grayest of days.
They’re the perfect treat for those times where you’re needing a moment of quiet reserve…and carbs.
Some find comfort in One Bowl Brownies, others reach for Cinnamon Blondies. Personally, my carby comfort food vote will always be for biscuit cinnamon rolls (or Chocolate Chai Cinnamon Rolls if it’s been an especially long week).
5 Star Review
“Delicious!!! We made them today for a special Sunday treat. Very easy and it was nice not to have to knead the dough or wait for it to rise. Plus, they were light and flaky, not too sweet.”— Josette —
My relationship with cinnamon buns (assuming one can have a relationship with a baked good, which I happen to believe is quite possible) began early.
Growing up, my Grandma Dorothy made the most ethereal cinnamon buns from scratch.
To this day, I will never bake or eat one without first thinking of her and the dozens of pans of fluffy homemade cinnamon rolls she baked every Christmas and at her grandchildren’s request.
Although I may never be the classic cinnamon roll master that my Grandma Dorothy was, I am confident that she would have applauded my efforts.
How to Make Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
Even the pickiest of bakers and eaters will approve these biscuit cinnamon rolls, and because the biscuit cinnamon rolls are made without yeast, they’re approachable for more novice cooks too.
Added bonus? Since there isn’t any yeast in the recipe, you don’t need to wait for the cinnamon roll dough to rise or stress about accidentally killing the yeast.
Biscuit cinnamon rolls = less waiting and more butter. SOLD!
- Butter. These cinnamon rolls are made with a classic buttermilk biscuit dough, which is made by cutting butter into the dry ingredients, then adding buttermilk. The pieces of butter expand in the oven, creating layer upon layer of fluffy, flakey dough.
- Flour. There’s only so much you can do to lighten up a cinnamon roll. I did my best by using a blend of white whole wheat flour and all purpose flour to sneak in some whole grains into these biscuit-style cinnamon rolls. (I also use this trick for my Cream Cheese Banana Bread).
- Baking Powder + Baking Soda. Skip the yeast and instead sprinkle in a bit of baking soda and baking powder which enable these flakey, tender rolls to rise without proofing.
- Buttermilk. Activates the baking powder and adds a subtle tang to the dough as well as the icing.
- Sugar + Brown Sugar. A combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar makes for the perfect sweet filling with a hint of molasses.
- Cinnamon. You can’t have biscuit cinnamon rolls (or Cranberry Cinnamon Swirl Bread) without a generous amount of cinnamon swirled between the layers of soft, fluffy dough.
- Pecans. For a little crunch and nuttiness that pairs lovely with the cinnamon and brown sugar. (This Pecan Pie Cobbler is another pecan favorite).
- Powdered Sugar. The base for a simple buttermilk glaze that offers a final flourish of sweetness and gooeyness to every nook and cranny of these biscuit cinnamon rolls.
- Cut the butter into small pieces, then freeze until ready to use.
- Mix the dry ingredients together
- Cut in the chilled butter pieces into the dry ingredients using your fingers or a pastry blender.
- Add the buttermilk and mix until a dough starts to come together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle.
- Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter.
- In a bowl, stir together the filling ingredients, then sprinkle evenly over the dough with the pecans.
- Roll the dough up tightly into a log, then slice into 8 equal pieces.
- Arrange the rolls in a greased 9×13 baking dish.
- Bake until golden brown and flakey.
- While the rolls bake, prepare the glaze. Drizzle over the warm rolls, with additional chopped pecans. ENJOY!
- To Store. Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls taste best the day they are made but will last at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm gently in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Rolls can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Option 1: The biscuit dough can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Store it in the refrigerator, then when you are ready to bake, roll out the dough, then finish the recipe as directed.
- Option 2: You could also form the rolls up until they go in the oven and store them in the refrigerator in the baking pan for a few hours. Let the rolls stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, then bake as directed.
Grandma Dorothy always approved of second helpings. After your first bite of biscuit cinnamon rolls, I suspect that you will too.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t keep buttermilk readily on hand in your kitchen, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice per 1 cup of milk required in a recipe. Mix and let the mixture rest for 5-10 minutes before using in a recipe.
I have not tested this recipe using self-rising flour so I can’t recommend this substitution. Self-rising flour already contains baking powder meaning you would also need to adjust the baking soda and baking powder in this recipe if you choose to make this swap.
I Have not tried this recipe using gluten free flour so it would be an experiment. If you’d like to adapt this into gluten free biscuit cinnamon rolls, you may try swapping the flours for a trusted 1-to-1 gluten free baking mix you have experience working with. If you attempt, I would love to hear about your results in the comments.
Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 2 cups all purpose flour plus additional for dusting the counter
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour or substitute all purpose flour (see recipe notes)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder I recommend aluminum free
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups cold low-fat buttermilk plus 2-3 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans divided
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons low fat buttermilk or substitute regular milk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cut the butter into small pieces, then place the pieces in the freezer while you prepare the dry ingredients.
- In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Scatter the butter pieces over the top, then cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. The butter does not need to be uniform—some of the pieces may be the size of pebbles while others can be as large as your thumbnail.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk over the top and gently mix with a rubber spatula until the mixture just begins to come together. If the dough seems overly dry, add 1 additional tablespoon of buttermilk. It should be moist, but not sticky.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it flat. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle that is about 1/4-inch thick. Brush the surface of the dough with the 3 tablespoons of melted butter.
- In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Scatter the mixture evenly over the butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans on top.
- Starting with the short (12-inch) side, roll the dough up tightly into a log, patting it as you go to help seal it. Trim 1/4-inch of dough off of each end so that they are even. With a very sharp knife, cut the log into 8 equal pieces. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking dish, spacing them evenly (they will expand when baked).
- Bake until puffed, golden brown, and flakey, about 25 to 35 minutes.
- While the rolls bake, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons buttermilk. If you desire a thinner glaze, add a little more buttermilk, until your desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the warm rolls, then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chopped pecans on top. Enjoy!
- If using all purpose flour in place of the whole wheat flour, reduce buttermilk to 1 1/2 cups, adding 1 additional tablespoon if the dough seems too dry)
- TO STORE: Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls taste best the day they are made but will last at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rewarm gently in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Rolls can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare through Step 5 up to 1 day in advance. Store it in the refrigerator, then when you are ready to bake, start at Step 4 (rolling the dough), then bake as directed. Another option would be to form the rolls all the way up through step 8 (before they go in the oven) and store them in the refrigerator in the baking pan for a few hours. Let the rolls stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, then bake as directed.
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