Classic cinnamon rolls. But better. Rich and fluffy brioche rolls filled with browned butter and cinnamon sugar, then topped with silky vanilla bean cream cheese frosting.
I’ve spent months perfecting this cinnamon roll recipe. MONTHS. Countless tests, multiple photo shoots, and many, MANY cinnamon rolls in the trash can. But it was all worth it ’cause these babies are perfection. And I know you’re gonna love ’em.
Brioche dough takes time. Just know that going in. There’s really no rushing the process. It’s a situation where you’re going to do most of the work the evening before, then roll them out and bake them the next morning. But don’t let that intimidate you, you can TOTALLY do this.
So yes, a little bit of planning is involved, but I actually prefer it that way because breaking up the work always makes any task less daunting. And plus then there’s minimal work in the morning. Alright let’s jump right in.
How to Make Brioche Browned Butter Cinnamon Rolls
Make the Brioche Dough
Start by gathering all of your ingredients. You can measure as you go, but at least have everything for the dough out on the counter ready to go. It is important to use a kitchen scale in this recipe. They’re really something you NEED in your kitchen if you want to be successful when baking. Grab this one on Amazon for cheap!
Weigh out the milk and then heat it between 110-115 degrees F. To the warmed milk, add a pinch of sugar and the active dry yeast. Stir gently and set aside to bloom. If after 10 minutes then yeast isn’t foamy, throw it out. Don’t be like me and think “eh, it’s fine.” It’s not fine, and your dough will not rise.
While the yeast is blooming, weigh out the bread flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and whisk to combine. Start your mixer on low and slowly pour in the yeast/milk mixture. Let it start to combine a little, then start adding the eggs one at a time, with the mixer still on low. After all of the eggs are incorporated, knead on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bottom of the bowl to get all of the dry flour to incorporate.
After 3-4 minutes, put the mixer back on low and start adding the butter 1 TBSP at a time. Once all of the butter has been added, knead on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough should be shiny, and a little tacky, but should slide off of the dough hook fairly easily.
Very lightly flour a large bowl. Transfer the brioche dough into the large bowl by picking it up with your hands and tucking the sides down to make a round shape. This doesn’t need to be perfect. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit on the counter for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, uncover the dough and pull the sides into the center. So grab one side of the dough and fold it up and hold it in the center, then repeat all the way around the dough. This creates some surface tension in the dough. Then flip the dough over so the seam side is down. Recover with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit on the counter for another 45 minutes.
Uncover and repeat the process of folding the sides up and into the center of the dough. Then, lightly flour your work surface and flip the dough out onto the surface, seam side down. Use your pinkies and edges of your hands to slowly pull the dough towards you tucking the sides underneath, then rotate it 90 degrees, and repeat. This will help to form the dough into a ball and creates more surface tension which helps with the rise and results in the best texture. Put the dough back into the large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and place in the fridge overnight. (8-12 hours)
Make the Browned Butter
I also recommend browning the butter the night before just to knock one more thing off the list. In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and then continue to cook it until it is amber in color and has a nice nutty aroma. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the browned butter into a small bowl, making sure to get all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Leave the butter on the counter overnight. It will cool to room temperature and be the perfect consistency for spreading on the brioche dough.
Now, there’s a couple different ways you could roll and bake these up. You can use all of the dough at once and make some giant, Cinnabon style rolls, or cut it in half and make two batches. I usually cut the dough in half and bake the first half as these brioche browned butter cinnamon rolls, and use the other half for another recipe, mainly because there’s four of us here and we don’t typically need that many rolls. I’ll talk through how to do it that way, and leave some notes on the other options down in the recipe card.
*These instructions are lengthy and can be intimidating! But I really want you to nail these Brioche Browned Butter Cinnamon Rolls, so check out my cinnamon roll highlight on my Instagram page for a step by step video of me making them!*
Roll Dough, Fill, & Slice Rolls
The next morning, Grab the dough out of the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into two equal halves. Put one half back into the bowl and cover it with a towel. Take the other half and roll it out into a 12X14″ (roughly) rectangle about 1/4″ thick. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Spread the soft browned butter all over the dough, and top it with of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough tightly starting with the longer edge. Once it’s all the way rolled, pinch the end to seal it. I like to kind of squeeze the dough log and stretch it where needed to make it all an even thickness. Then use unflavored dental floss (or a very sharp knife) to trim the edges, and cut into 8 1.5″ rolls. I save the trimmed edges and squish them together and still bake them with the rest of the rolls. A little treat for the chef ya know?
Place the rolls into a parchment lined baking dish. I use my 9X13 metal pan usually, but any pan that fits them while leaving a little space between each roll will do. Then cover with a towel and let rise for the 30 minutes on the counter. Preheat the oven to 350 while the rolls rise and make the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting.
Make the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
In a medium bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, vanilla bean paste, and powdered sugar with a rubber spatula until combined. Add a pinch of salt, mix. Then, add heavy cream 1 tsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency. I usually end up using about 1 1/2 TBSP.
Bake and Serve
After the last 30 minute rise on the counter, bake the cinnamon rolls at 350 for 25-30 minutes. They should be slightly browned on the tops and edges. Let them cool slightly, then slather with the cream cheese frosting and enjoy warm.Print
Brioche Browned Butter Cinnamon Rolls
- Prep Time: 1 hr
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 1.5 hrs + Overnight Rest
- Yield: 8 or 16 Cinnamon Rolls 1x
Rich and buttery brioche dough filled with browned butter and cinnamon sugar, then topped with silky vanilla bean cream cheese frosting.
For the Brioche Dough
- 175 g Whole Milk
- 10 g Active Dry Yeast (2 1/2 tsp or 1 packet)
- Pinch of Sugar
- 570 g Bread Flour
- 4 g Salt
- 55 g Unsalted Butter, diced, at room temperature
- 4 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
For Browned Butter
- 4 TBSP Unsalted Butter
- ** Double this if making both halves of dough into cinnamon rolls
For Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- 2 TBSP Cinnamon
- 1/2 C Brown Sugar
- **Double this if making both halves of dough into cinnamon rolls.
For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature (1/2 block)
- 1 TBSP Vanilla Bean Paste (can sub regular vanilla extract)
- 3 C Powdered Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 TBSP Heavy Cream
- **Double this if making both halves of dough into cinnamon rolls
For the Brioche Dough
- Heat the milk to between 110-115 degrees F, then gently stir in the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Set aside to bloom. *If after 10 minutes the yeast hasn’t foamed up, throw it out.
- While the yeast blooms, whisk together the bread flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and begin mixing on low. Slowly pour in the bloomed yeast/milk mixture.
- Let mix for a minute, then start adding the eggs, one at a time, with the mixer still running on low. Knead for 3-4 minutes until incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to help incorporate any dry flour that has settled at the bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer on medium-low, start adding the butter, 1 TBSP at a time. Once it’s all incorporated, knead for 7 minutes. Dough should be shiny and slightly tacky, but should slide off of the dough hook fairly easily.
- Very lightly flour a large bowl and transfer the dough by using your hands and sort of tucking the sides down underneath to create a round shape. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rest on the counter for 15 minutes.
- Uncover the dough and start folding in the sides. So grab one side of the dough, and fold it up and into the center of the dough, hold it in the center, then rotate the dough and continue to do this all the way around. Flip the dough over so that seam is on the bottom. Recover and rest for 45 minutes on the counter.
- After 45 minutes, repeat the dough folding, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, seam side down. Use the sides of your hands and pinkies to gently pull the dough towards you, tucking the sides underneath as you roll. This will help to create a round shape and surface tension which helps achieve the best texture in the dough. Place the dough back into the bowl seam side down and recover. Place in the fridge overnight, 8-12 hours.
- The next morning, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into two equal halves. Put one half back into the bowl and cover it. (You can use it to make more cinnamon rolls, or use in another recipe. See notes)
- With the other half, roll into a 12X14″ rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Spread an even layer of the soft browned butter all over the dough, leaving a 1/4″ border. Sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Roll the dough starting with the longer edge. Trim the ends, then cut into 8 1.5″ rolls. Take the trimmed edges and smush them together and bake them with the rest. (Lil extra treat for the chef ;))
- Place the cinnamon rolls into a parchment lined baking sheet. I usually use my 9X13 metal pan. But any pan they will fit in leaving a little room between each one is fine. Cover the pan with a towel and let rest on the counter for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350.
- After 30 min rest, bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, let cool slightly, then slather with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting and enjoy warm.
- In the evening before you bake (same day you make the dough) brown the butter over medium heat. It will take 3-5 minutes and is done when it is amber in color and smells nutty. Transfer to a glass bowl making sure to get all of the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Let sit on the counter over night. It will cool to room temperature and be the perfect consistency for spreading on the dough.
For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium bowl, mix the vanilla bean paste with the cream cheese using a rubber spatula, then add the powdered sugar and mix. This should be easy to do if your cream cheese is room temp. Add a pinch of salt and mix. Add heavy cream 1 tsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
Baking Options –
The method I detailed about will make 8 medium-large cinnamon rolls and you will have a second dough half left over. Here’s some options on what to do with the other half.
- You can double the recipe for the browned butter, cinnamon sugar filling, and frosting, and bake up all the dough as cinnamon rolls – which will give you 16. Or prepare the rolls and then freeze them (before baking) for up to 3 months.
- Don’t cut the dough in half at all. Roll it into a large 22X24″ rectangle, fill with browned butter and cinnamon sugar (double the recipe for those), cut into 8-10 large, Cinnabon-style rolls, and bake at 350 for 35-40 mintutes.
- Bake second half as babka, brioche dinner rolls, or a brioche loaf.
Keywords: brioche cinnamon rolls, browned butter cinnamon rolls, homemade cinnamon rolls
Check out some of my other recipes, like these Thick and Fudgy Brownies, or these XL Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies!
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