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Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls are a delicious cinnamon roll recipe that makes four rolls. Just enough to bake and share with another person or save for yourself. Sweet, fluffy, and the perfect treat.
If you're craving even more sweet and delicious cinnamon roll recipes, then be sure to try making a batch of regular Cinnamon Rolls or even some Vegan Cinnamon Rolls.
This recipe took five tries before getting it right. I recently shared this with Google for Publishers story.
It was definitely an off week for me or for whatever reason, I just could not get it together and get this recipe right. The first time I made it the yeast failed to activate. I hate when that happens. The second time I made it the dough was too soft to even roll out and was a total mess. Nevertheless, I made a few adjustments with each attempt and tried it again. Then finally on recipe test number five, I had a winner.
Even food bloggers get it wrong.
I was determined to have success with this recipe. Baking is definitely an exact science and ANY ingredient measurement being off can cause the whole recipe to be ruined. However, when it's right and everything comes together, the resulting baked good is truly something magical. Needless to say, next week I will probably take a break from baking sweets and only share savory recipes.
This small batch of cinnamon rolls is sweet, soft, and fluffy. The recipe makes enough for two people to share in my opinion or just enough for one person to enjoy for a few days. This recipe requires no stand mixer or hook attachment, just a bowl and your hands.
Let's get started!
Ingredients You'll Need
- Instant (Rapid Rise) Yeast - Be sure to use only 2 teaspoons and not a full packet. Measure it out if using bulk yeast from a jar or remove ¼ teaspoon out of the single packet before adding to the mixture. You may substitute active dry yeast, but the rise time may need to be longer.
- Milk - Use whole milk and the key is to be careful when warming the milk, not too hot. Aim for 105 to 110 degrees. Anything hotter will kill the yeast and you will have to start the process all over.
- Granulated Sugar - Use granulated or cane sugar to add sweetness and help to proof the yeast to make the cinnamon rolls.
- Salt - Helps to balance the sweetness and prevents the cinnamon rolls from tasting flat. Use any that you prefer, I prefer to use kosher salt for baking.
- All-Purpose Flour - Be sure to scoop the flour into the measuring cup and level it off. Don't scoop the measuring cup directly into the bag/container or it will pack the flour. For the most accurate amount, use a food scale.
- Butter - If you use salted butter then you can omit the additional salt in the recipe. you will need melted butter as well as softened butter for this recipe.
- Ground Cinnamon - I used a good amount of ground cinnamon which makes these cinnamon rolls stand out and have the best flavor.
- Brown Sugar - The sweetness in the filling of your cinnamon rolls. May use light or dark, either is fine.
- Powdered Sugar - If you have a lot of lumps in your powdered sugar, try sifting it first to help give your frosting a nice smooth and creamy texture. For thicker icing use more powdered sugar, and for thinner icing, use less powdered sugar.
- Vanilla Extract - Be sure to use pure vanilla extract to add flavor to the icing that tops each cinnamon roll.
See the recipe card below for exact ingredient quantities.
Why use instant dry yeast and not active dry yeast?
For this recipe, I suggest using instant dry yeast because it makes the process go a little faster. However, if you prefer to use active dry yeast, then feel free to do so, just know it will require additional time to rise. If you do use active dry yeast, then add an additional 30 minutes to each rising time in the following recipe.
Also in the packet of instant yeast, there are 2 ¼ teaspoons and for this recipe, you will only need 2 teaspoons.
Step By Step Instructions
Begin the recipe by making the dough. In a small bowl stir together the instant yeast with the warm milk and a pinch of granulated sugar. Place the mixture aside in a warm spot for about 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt.
Stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. Add in the melted butter. Stir until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes, adding an additional small amount of flour as needed. The dough will be soft but not overly sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and store in a warm area to allow the dough to rise/double in size for about 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Also, allow the butter to soften and set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and lightly sprinkle with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle. Evenly spread the butter and cinnamon mixture on top of the dough.
Start at the shortest end of the dough and tightly roll to meet the other short end. Use a knife or unflavored floss to cut the dough into 4 big rolls. Lightly oil a small baking dish and place the rolls into the pan. Allow them to rise for an additional 20 minutes. They may double in size during this time or just a small amount, either is fine if using instant yeast.
Place in the oven to bake at 400 degrees F. for 12 to 14 minutes. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan while making the icing.
Make the icing for the cinnamon rolls by whisking together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a small bowl until creamy and smooth. Top the cinnamon rolls with the icing and serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
Can non-dairy milk be used?
Yes, you can replace the milk with any non-dairy or nut milk that you prefer. For this recipe, I do however recommend the use of whole milk or 2%.
Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 5 tablespoons warm milk (105-108 degrees F.)
- 2 teaspoons instant (Rapid Rise) yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Begin the recipe by making the dough. In a small bowl stir together the 2 teaspoons instant yeast with the 5 tablespoons warm milk and a pinch of granulated sugar. Place the mixture aside in a warm spot for about 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture.
- Add in the 3 tablespoons melted butter. Stir until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes, adding an additional small amount of flour as needed. The dough will be soft but not overly sticky.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and store in a warm area to allow the dough to rise/double in size for about 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Allow the 2 tablespoons of butter to soften and set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and lightly sprinkle with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 5×10-inches. Evenly spread the softened butter on top of the dough, before topping with the cinnamon mixture.
- Start at the shortest end of the dough and tightly roll to meet the other short end. Use a knife or unflavored floss to cut the dough into 4 big rolls. Lightly oil a small baking dish and place the rolls into the pan. Allow them to rise for an additional 20 minutes or until they have doubled in size.
- Place in the oven to bake at 400 degrees F. for 12 to 14 minutes. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan while making the icing.
- Make the icing for the cinnamon rolls by whisking together the ¾ cup powdered sugar, 2 ½ teaspoons milk, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl until creamy and smooth. Top the cinnamon rolls with the icing and serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
*All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Original post date 05/08/2020. Updated 09/05/2022.
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Have any comments, questions, or other delicious ways to enjoy this Small Batch Cinnamon Roll Recipe? Please share them in the comments below!
Thank you Alli! Glad you enjoyed them!
How many rolls does this make? What size pan?
This recipe makes 4 cinnamon rolls. You can use a small baking dish or a 6-inch round cake pan.
These were delicious - LOVE small batch baking! Will definitely be making these again!
Thank you so much Doreen!!
This recipe is perfect. Love that it’s small batch. Thank you 🙂
Thank you so much Laila!!
OMG! These are the best cinnamon rolls I've ever had. I made them with my 12 year old son as he wanted cinnamon rolls for his birthday dessert. I did make 2 changes - I added 1 1/2 t of cinnamon (we are a family of cinnamon LOVERS) and I clearly cut them smaller as I ended up with 6 or 7 small rolls. I baked them for about 8 minutes. They were absolute perfection; my husband rated them higher than Cinnabon (you have no idea the level of compliment that is - cinnamon rolls are his favorite sweet)! You nailed this recipe and I am SO happy I found it!!!
Thank you for much!! So happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed these cinnamon rolls. Depending on how you cut them, you may end up with more smaller rolls and I love that you added more cinnamon!!
Do I use the same amount of active dry yeast (2 teaspoons) if I don't have instant?
Hi Melody! Yes, use the same amount.
Hi I just made these, turned out wonderful!
Hi Maryam! Glad to hear the recipe worked well for you 🙂
Can you double the recipe? I like how it seems so easy.
Hi Amy! Yes you can 🙂
Tried this recipe and to my surprise they were delicious. I used a small pyrex dish to bake them in. Everything about the recipe was just beautiful. Thank you for posting this recipe. " I've made them 5 times in 2 weeks.
Thank you! So glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe!
Can you make the rolls the day before and then bake them the following morning. These sound delicious so I would like to try them, many thanks.
Hi Jayne! Yes, you can with the dough portion of the cinnamon rolls, just be sure to make the icing while they bake.
Am I mistaken? I think your recipe is meant to indicate that you cut the rolled dough into 4 pieces.
Nice catch, it's been updated. Thank you.