Magic No Knead Cinnamon Rolls - soft and fluffy with a cream cheese glaze! www.recipetineats.com
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4.98 from 38 votes

No Knead Cinnamon Rolls

Soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls made from scratch with a dump-and-mix dough that requires no kneading! Frosted with a sticky cream cheese glaze, these are sweet but nowhere near as sickly sweet as store bought ones. This recipe is quite forgiving - see notes. Instructions are long because I'm providing helpful hints but this recipe is actually quite straight forward! Recipe video below.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Sweet Baking
Servings: 12
Author: Nagi

Ingredients

Buns:

  • 1 tbsp dry yeast (Note 1)
  • 70 g / 1/3 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar), or sub with normal white sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml warm water (Note 2)
  • 600 g / 20 oz plain flour / all purpose flour (4 1/2 US Cups, 4 Cups everywhere else exc Japan) (Note 3)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup / 250 ml milk , lukewarm, whole or low fat, (Note 2)
  • 50 g / 3.5 tbsp unsalted butter , melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 large eggs , beaten with fork

EXTRA FLOUR:

  • 1/4 cup / 35g plain flour (all purpose flour), plus more as required

For Rolls:

  • 90 g / 6 tbsp unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 cup / 220 g brown sugar , packed
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon powder

Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 90 g / 3 oz cream cheese , softened
  • 50 / 3 tbsp unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
  • 1 1/4 cups / 150g soft icing sugar / powdered sugar
  • 2 - 3 tbsp milk , any (or water)

Instructions

Buns:

  • Place the yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a medium bowl, then pour in water. Leave for 5 minutes until it froths.
  • Place 600g/20oz flour, remaining sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix to combine.
  • Make a well in the centre. Add milk, butter, eggs and pour in the yeast liquid, including all froth.
  • Mix until combined with wooden spoon - it will be like a sticky muffin batter, not kneadable.
  • Rise # 1: Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place (25C/77F+) to rise for around 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hrs or until almost tripled in volume. (Note 4) Dough surface should be bubbly (see video or photos in post).

Making Rolls & Rise #2 (video is helpful):

  • Line a 31.5 x 23.5 cm / 9 x 13" tray with baking paper with overhang.
  • Mix cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
  • Uncover dough, mix with spoon to deflate.
  • Sprinkle half Extra Flour on work surface, pour dough on, sprinkle over remaining Extra Flour. Use hands to incorporate the flour into the dough - it may not absorb it all (or need more), the dough will stop absorbing flour when it's no longer sticky, should be soft, pliable.
  • If work surface is now flour free, sprinkle with more flour.
  • Shape dough into log, then roll out into 28 x 48 cm / 11 x 19" rectangle.
  • Pour over butter, then brush all over, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  • Roll up firmly, then shape into an even log.
  • Cut into 12 pieces (4cm / 1.6"), then place on tray (3 x 4).
  • Cover with tea towel then place in warm place for 40 minutes or until almost doubled.

Baking / Frosting:

  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F (standard) or 160C/320F (fan / convection). Place shelf in the middle of the oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the tray at 16 minutes.
  • Buns are ready when the middle rolls are golden and the outer ones are deep golden on the edges. Tap the middle ones - they should sound hollow.
  • Optional: Brush with 1 tbsp / 15g melted butter to remove any residual flour spots.
  • Use paper overhang to lift rolls onto cooling rack (key step - Note 5). Cool for 1 hour (will still be warm).
  • Use a spoon to frost with glaze. Best served warm!

Glaze:

  • Place butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until smooth (10 - 15 seconds).
  • Add icing sugar, beat to incorporate. Add enough milk to make it a consistency that can be spooned over the buns and it drips slightly (see video).

Notes

1. 1 tbsp dry yeast = 9 grams. I use Lowan Dried Instant Yeast (red tube, sold at Woolies/Coles baking aisle) which technically doesn't need to be frothed before using but there's no harm in doing it, and I do it out of habit + also because then the same steps apply to any dried yeast.
If your yeast doesn't go frothy, sorry to say it's not active so your buns won't rise. To use fresh yeast (comes in a block that crumbles, not powder like dry yeast), use 27g/ 0.9 oz. You don't actually need to dissolve it in liquid like I do with the dry, but there's no harm in doing it and so for the sake of consistency, crumble it in and let stand until it foams up, same as using dry yeast.
2. Scalding hot milk and hot water kills the yeast. I heat milk for 45 seconds on high in the microwave, and use warm tap water. The test is this: stick your finger in. If it was a bath, would it be pleasant? Good. It's not too hot or too cold!
3. FLOUR: Do NOT use bread flour! Bread flour makes buns slightly more fluffier and tender, but the addition of the butter slather weighs down the dough (which is more delicate than kneaded dough) and causes the rolls in the centre not to cook through. So this recipe requires a sturdier dough, meaning normal plain / all purpose flour. Bread flour and cake flour do not work - I tried many times!
Measurement: Cups around the world differ in size. If you don't have scales to weight the flour, please use the relevant cup size. For US/Canada, use 4 1/2 cups (they are slightly different, but close enough). For rest of world other than Japan, use 4 cups of flour. For Japan, please weigh the flour.
4. WARM PLACE for dough: This is what I do all year round - use my dryer. Laugh - but try it! Run the (empty) dryer for 1 - 2 minutes, then place the bowl inside. If you do that, the dough will rise in 1.5 hours. Even if it's snowing outside!
5. COOLING: Hot fresh bread needs to be cooled otherwise it can seem a bit "doughy". This is even more important for this no knead dough, especially with the addition of the cinnamon butter glaze. I found that when glazed hot, and if not cooled on a rack, there were patches in the centre that were doughy.
6. MAKE AHEAD: Follow recipe up to rolling balls and cover with cling wrap. Then refrigerate for 4 hours - 24 hours (this is the 2nd rise), take them out 30 minutes before then bake!
7. STORING: All homemade bread - even kneaded - is best served on the day. Things made using this No-Knead version doesn't keep as well as the kneaded version - dries out a bit faster. For these buns, reheating is key! 12 seconds in the microwave is all you need!
8. DOUBLING: Make double the batter in one large bowl, then divide the batter into 2 bowls for the first rise (if double the dough is in one giant bowl, may struggle to rise). Proceed with recipe and place rolls on a large tray or 2 trays, and bake them all on the same shelf in the oven.
9. HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING: I am fortunate to have some fabulous readers at high altitude who often try my baking recipes quite soon after publishing and leave helpful information for others. Hopefully I will hear from someone soon so I can update this note! For the first tester - the dough is surprisingly forgiving. I have added flour and water/milk by eye at the end to get the consistency per the video/photos, it has been sloppier and firmer, as long as enough flour is added when rolling out the dough so it can be rolled up into a log, it has always worked out. :)
UPDATE: A reader at 4000 ft in AZ reported that it worked great with no amendments to the recipe! WHOOT!
10. MORE STUFFING! Try adding 3/4 cup of nuts (chopped pecans, walnuts are especially great), raisins and/or crumbled bacon!
11. This recipe is adapted from these Soft No Knead Dinner Rolls I published a couple of months ago.