Famous Cinnamon Rolls

So every family has at least one thing they are known for right?! Well my mom is FAMOUS with all of my friends and high school for her cinnamon rolls. She was the GREATEST mom out there and would make me a batch of cinnamon rolls to take into a class when I was doing a presentation or had the devotional in seminary…..but the times that took the cake….she would make cinnamon rolls for the ENTIRE FOOTBALL TEAM!! We aren’t talking just JV or V…..BOTH TEAMS…..EVERY YEAR!!! I was part of the sports medicine team and so I had to go to every practice and game. And every year she was an angel and made several batches of cinnamon rolls to feed the team!

Then my sister and I also worked at Great Harvest and were the sweets bakers and so whipping up a batch of cinnamon rolls isn’t hard! We have our certain “way” of doing the roll or spreading the cinnamon mixture but pretty much end up with the same results! It’s a fun memory to share together.

Now because of all this history….I am a bit of a cinnamon roll snob…I have to have the best homemade or else its just not worth eating. So Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has THE BEST recipes for cinnamon rolls and the best part is….a GUARANTEED SUCCESS EVERY TIME!! So I’ll put up my two favorite recipes from her. (One of them uses potatoes which I love since Idaho is famous for potatoes and everyone is shocked when they hear a cinnamon roll has a potato in it!)

First recipes= regular, second recipe= potato. Both make about 2 pans of cinnamon rolls depending on how thick you roll out your dough.

Famous Cinnamon Rolls



  •  4 cups milk
  •  1 cup (2 sticks) butter 
  •  1 cup sugar 
  •  2 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  •  2 1/2 tablespoons yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water  
  •  4 large eggs 
  •  11-13 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 


  •  1 cup (2 sticks) butter 
  •  2 cups lightly packed brown sugar 
  • 4 TBS white flour
  •  2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 


  •  8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
  •  1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla 
  •  2 teaspoons maple extract/flavoring 
  •  Pinch of salt 
  •  2 pounds powdered sugar 
  •  Cream or milk for consistency


  1. For the dough, heat the milk in a medium saucepan until the milk is scalded (which is basically heating it until right before it simmers – it will start steaming and little bubbles will form around the edge of the pan). Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  2. Add the butter, sugar and salt. Mix until the butter is melted and let the mixture cool until WARM but not hot. (I always put it in the fridge or freezer and stir it every couple of minutes just to speed up the process, just don’t forget about it!!)
  3. Add the yeast and eggs and mix until combined.
  4. Gradually add the flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. The exact amount will depend on the temperature, humidity and how you measure flour. I usually end up adding just under 13 cups of flour. The dough should be soft and just slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers. Let it knead for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled.
  6. Divide the dough in half. Roll each portion of dough (it’s soft enough to be patted and stretched with your hands) into a large rectangle. I normally have my dough about 1/4-1/2″ thick.
  7. Stir together the butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon and spread over the rectangle. Pat it in slightly with the palms of your hands. Starting with one long end, roll up the cinnamon rolls as tightly as possible, pinching the seam lightly to seal.
  8. Working with one long log of cinnamon roll at a time, using a serrated knife, cut about 1.5″ rolls.
  9. Place the rolls evenly spaced on a parchment-lined large, rimmed baking sheets. If the ends have come free, carefully tuck them under the cinnamon roll.
  10. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap and let the rolls rise until double. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Bake the rolls for about 18-22 minutes until only very slightly golden on top. Let the rolls cool almost completely in the pan before frosting.
  12. For the frosting, in a large bowl, whip together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla, maple and salt and mix until combined.
  13. Gradually add the powdered sugar (if you add it all at once, be prepared for a huge snowstorm in your kitchen) and mix until thick and creamy. Add cream or milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable to your liking.
  14. Spread the cinnamon rolls with frosting.
  15. To freeze, once the cinnamon rolls are completely cooled, use a spatula to carefully transfer a single cinnamon roll to a quart-sized ziploc bag. Seal the bag with as little air inside as possible and freeze for up to a month. To reheat, remove the roll from the bag (it’s easier than it seems – it will pop right out!) and warm on a plate in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Potato Cinnamon Rolls


  •  1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3-4 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes 
  •  2 cups water 
  •  1 tablespoon coarse, kosher salt 
  •  1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) butter 
  •  3 large eggs 
  •  5 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour, divided, meaning you’ll use 1 cup first and the rest later
  •  1/2 cup warm water 
  •  1/4 cup sugar 
  •  1 1/2 tablespoons instant or active dry yeast 


  •  1 cup (7.5 ounces) light brown sugar 
  •  2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
  •  3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  •  1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) butter, very soft 


  •  2 ounces cream cheese, softened 
  •  8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, softened 
  •  Pinch salt 
  •  2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream 
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  •  1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) powdered sugar


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat until the potatoes are very tender, 15-16 minutes. Do not drain. There should be about 2 1/4 cups of water/potato mixture after boiling (UPDATE: If you have more than this, drain off a little water or mash the mixture together and measure out 2 1/4 cups).
  2. Off the heat, mash the potatoes with the water until coarsely mashed. Add the butter and mash until the butter is melted and the potatoes are fairly evenly mashed and smooth.
  3. Whisk in 1 cup of the flour and the eggs until smooth (a few lumps are ok, as long as they are small). Set aside and cool until room temperature (a slight warmth is ok, but room temp is best otherwise the mixture will absorb more flour).
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the 1/2 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture stand until foamy (only needed if you are using active dry yeast, no need to proof if using instant yeast).
  5. Add the potato mixture and start gradually adding flour while mixing until the dough clears the bottom and sides of the bowl. It will be very soft and elastic. Knead for 3-4 minutes (it’s ok if you have to continue adding a bit more flour if the dough starts sticking to the sides and bottom while kneading). Don’t worry so much about the exact amount of flour as you do about the texture of the dough.
  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
  7. On a lightly floured or greased countertop, roll or pat the soft dough into a rectangle.
  8. Spread the softened butter evenly on the dough.
  9. Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl until evenly mixed. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the butter and pat lightly.
  10. Roll up the dough, starting with one long edge, and pinch the seam to seal (I often don’t do this because I tuck the loose end under the roll on the pan).
  11. Using unflavored dentil floss, thread, or a serrated knife, slice the roll into 1-inch or slightly larger sections.
  12. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1- to 2-inches apart, tucking the loose end under the roll, if desired. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and almost doubled, an hour or so.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  14. Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes until no longer doughy in the middle (but take care not to overbake!). Remove the rolls from the oven and let cool until warm.
  15. While they cool, prepare the icing by adding the cream cheese and butter to a medium bowl. Whip with a handheld (or stand) mixer until creamy. Add the salt, milk or cream, and vanilla. Mix again. Add the powdered sugar and whip until light and creamy.
  16. Spread the slightly warm rolls evenly with the icing. Serve immediately or let cool completely and serve at room temperature (or warm lightly before serving).

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