Learn how to make easy cinnamon rolls from scratch with a yellow cake mix and yeast in under an hour. Frost with a homemade frosting for a quick breakfast treat.
I first started making homemade cinnamon rolls about 10 years ago. And one of my favorite holiday traditions is making homemade cinnamon rolls to give away as gifts to our neighbors, coworkers and family. I buy packs of disposable baking pans at the dollar store and bake up dozens of little pans of rolls. It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun, too.
Cinnamon rolls are generally just bread dough that is rolled out filled and rolled back up into rolls. Some recipes call for enriching the dough with milk and butter, which isn’t always used in a bread dough. These cake mix cinnamon rolls are really fun twist on the basic roll recipe.
We used a yellow cake mix in these rolls, but have fun with it. Try Funfetti, lemon, or spice to mix things up and make different flavors. Try filling with a fruit spread or jam for something else different. Once you get the hang of it, it’ll be a fun tradition of your own.
These quick easy cinnamon rolls are ready to eat in about an hour. So they are perfect for any morning.
How to Make Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch with Cake Mix
These cinnamon rolls need pretty much the same basic ingredients as most cinnamon roll recipes like flour, yeast, butter (or any fat), brown sugar and cinnamon. But you’ll also use a cake mix to make the rolls super soft and add a cakey flavor.
Make the Dough
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13 x 9 jelly pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add 4 cups flour, cake mix, yeast and salt. Whisk lightly to combine.
Add the warm water and mix until well combined.
Add 3/4 cup flour to the mixture and knead by hand for one minute in the bowl. You can also make the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Don’t try to do this with a paddle. It won’t work. You’ll only need to knead it until the dough forms and then a few seconds more.
Knead the Dough
Roll and Cut Cinnamon Rolls
Once the dough is kneaded, you’ll need some room on a table or your kitchen counter to roll it out. I really prefer working on a silicone baking mat when I roll out my dough. It’s less prone to sticking when rolling up later. But you can also just use a lot of flour.
Sprinkle the mat (or a counter) with an additional 1/4 cup flour and knead the dough until soft and elastic (about 5-6 minutes). You can also do this in a stand mixer if it has a dough hook. It will only to be kneaded for 1-2 minutes if you use a mixer. The dough should be soft, pliable, and just a tiny bit tacky.
When the dough is kneaded well, roll it out to the shape of a large 8 x 16 rectangle and spread 4 tablespoons of softened butter all over the dough. If you don’t own a rolling pin, use an empty bottle of wine. Not that I’ve ever done that. Also, if the butter isn’t soft, just melt it. I usually forget to soften it and just melt it instead.
Generously sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the butter. Make sure to spread it all the way to the very edges. Let some spill over onto the baking mat. Next, sprinkle the cinnamon on top of the brown sugar. Load it up and get messy!
Very gently, starting with the long side of the dough, roll into a log. Just keep rolling as tightly as you can without pulling or ripping the dough. Pinch the ends to seal tightly.
Use a serrated knife to cut the dough roll into 1 1/2 inch slices. Or cut it in half, cut those in half and cut those in half again. You should have 8 slices. Place the slices on the greased pan.
Let Dough Rest and Rise
Cover loosely with a towel and place in a warm place for 15 minutes or until the rolls double in size. Usually you can set them right on the stove top while the oven heats up.
Bake Cinnamon Rolls
Bake for 15 minutes or until the rolls are a light golden brown in color. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before drizzling the vanilla glaze on top.
Make the Vanilla Glaze
Mix together the powdered sugar, melted butter, almond extract, coffee and milk. Mix well; If you prefer a thinner glaze, add another tablespoon of milk. The melted butter is KEY to the glaze. It adds so much flavor. You can skip it if you want, but if you don’t, you won’t be sorry!
Frost Cinnamon Rolls
Drizzle the vanilla glaze on top of the warm cake mix cinnamon rolls. If you want to get fancy, you can make a Christmas tree out of the cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast.