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Nothing screams “Fall is finally here!” louder than these pillowy, sweet apple cinnamon rolls. I can’t think of anything more comforting than digging into a warm, gooey bundle of apple and cinnamon joy covered in cream cheese icing on a crisp morning. I mean, come on.
If you’ve ever made cinnamon rolls, you know that they are a labor of love. You’ll also know that they are so worth it. The melted butter and extra egg yolk in this dough ensure that your rolls turn out soft and luxurious. The grated apple, spices, and cream cheese icing make these outrageous.
Apple cinnamon rolls are the perfect treat for the holidays or special occasions. Twice a year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds a General Conference, where the leaders of the church give talks (sermons). This conference is broadcast all over the world, and conference weekend is a special time for members of the church. Cinnamon rolls are a traditional food at conference time. General Conference happens to be this weekend, and you bet I will be making these.
Holiday breakfasts, baby showers, and birthdays would be perfect occasions to make apple cinnamon rolls. Your family is going to love you even more than they already do when they sink their teeth into these ;).
- instant read thermometer- I highly recommend this one.
- 9″x13″ baking pan
- I highly recommend using a stand mixer, but it is not strictly necessary. I have a Bosch and I’m obsessed with it.
- Bench scraper
- Rubber spatula
- Large mixing bowl
- Box grater
- Pastry brush
The only ingredient note I have is that it is ideal to use a mix of apples, but don’t stress if you only have one kind. I like to use one granny smith plus two sweeter apples, but again, don’t stress. Just make the cinnamon rolls.
If you’ve never worked with yeast before, you can do it! Just follow the recipe and trust the process. A few notes:
- Blooming the yeast: you will heat the milk to between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, add the yeast, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This gives the yeast a head start munching on the lactose in the milk, and ensures that it is not dead.
- The poke test: when you’re ready to test if your dough has risen enough, poke your finger about a centimeter into the dough. If the indentation from your finger bounces right back, it’s not done. If the indentation stays, it’s done.
- If your apple cinnamon rolls are browning in the oven too fast for your liking, loosely cover the pan with tin foil for the rest of the bake. This shouldn’t be a problem, but every oven is different.
- Frost the apple cinnamon rolls while they’re still warm, but not super hot. This will let the icing melt into the rolls a little bit, but not too much. So delicious.
Pretty please tell me when you make these! Tag me on Instagram @at_home_test_cook and leave a comment below!
If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy:
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 instant read thermometer
- 1 stand mixer with dough hook optional
- 1 9×13 baking pan
- 1 bench scraper or serrated knife
- 1 Rubber spatula
- paper towels or a dish cloth
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 box grater
- 1 Pastry brush optional
- 1 cup 2% or whole milk
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 whole egg
- 1 additional egg yolk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup brown sugar dark or light, whichever you prefer
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt about 1/8 teaspoon
- 3 apples see note
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For the Dough
- In a microwave safe dish (like a glass liquid measure), microwave 1 cup of milk in 30 second increments until it reaches 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, measured on an instant read thermometer.
- Add yeast to milk and stir. Let sit 5 minutes while you assemble ingredients in mixing bowl. The yeast should puff up and smell bready. If it does not, your yeast is dead and it will not rise.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, combine bread flour, sugar, salt, 1 egg plus an additional egg yolk, and the melted butter. Mix until slightly combined.
- Add the milk and yeast mixture to the bowl of the mixer and knead for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth. You will probably need 8 or so minutes if you are kneading by hand. This dough can be sticky. If it sticks to the bowl or your hands, add an additional Tablespoon or two of flour.
- Spray a large mixing bowl with baking spray. Form your dough into a ball and place it in the bowl. Cover with cling film or a damp dish towel and let rise at room temperature for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. You will know it is done when you can poke the dough with your finger and the indentation remains and does not spring back.
For the Filling
- In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Peel and grate your apples on the large holes of a box grater. Place the grated apples in a dish towel or a few layers of paper towels. Go to the sink and squeeze the water out of the apples. You don't need to go crazy here, but give it a good squeeze. This will keep the insides from getting watery. We don't want that. Set the apples aside. Also, if your apples brown a little bit, no biggie.
- Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with baking spray.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough into roughly an 18 inch rectangle on the long side. The short side should be about 10-12 inches long.
- With either a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, spread the melted butter over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border with no butter.
- Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the melted butter.
- Sprinkle the grated apples evenly over the filling.
- Starting with the long side closest to you, roll the dough until you have a nice log of dough. You want to roll tightly, but not super duper tight.
- Pinch the seam of the dough closed with your fingers.
- Roll the log so that it's seam side down.
- With a sharp bench scraper or a serrated knife, cut 1 and 1/2 inch slices of dough. You should have 12 total.
- Place each cinnamon roll with one of the cut edges down into your prepared pan. You will have 4 rows of 3.
- Cover with cling film or a damp dish towel, and let rise again for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the dough passes the poke test again.
- While the dough rises, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When the second rise is over, bake the cinnamon rolls on the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, with some give when they are pressed.
For the Icing
- When you pull your cinnamon rolls out of the oven, begin making your icing. You can, of course, also do this beforehand.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter together until combined.
- Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Mix to combine.
- Add the heavy whipping cream, and beat together for about 3 minutes, or until the icing is a little bit light and fluffy.
- After your cinnamon rolls have cooled for 5 to 10 minutes, spread the icing all over the top of the rolls with a rubber spatula.
- Let the cinnamon rolls cool as long as you can stand it, and dig in!
- It is nice to use a variety of apples, for instance 1 granny smith and 2 pink lady, but use whatever you have on hand. I like 1 granny smith plus 2 sweeter apples.