Cinnamon Buns (UK Recipe)

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After years of trying to find a American-style Cinnamon Bun recipe in the UK, I made my own. The best you’ll ever have, this side of the Atlantic!

Cinnamon Buns recipe from the UK. Using grams and not cups.
UK recipe for Cinnamon Buns, from Baking with Granny. Soft, doughy rolls, filled with sweet cinnamon, and topped with sticky icing.

First things first. This is technically not a new recipe. In fact, I first published this UK recipe for Cinnamon Buns back in 2016, when Baking with Granny was still just a baby. As were my kids for that matter!

Now that my kids are a bit older and obsessed with all things American (which seems to be where they associate Cinnamon Rolls with, despite them originating from Sweden), they have been asking me for a while to make some Cinnamon Rolls. I revisited this UK recipe for Cinnamon Rolls and thought it was long overdue a bit of updating.

Please don’t worry if you’ve had this recipe bookmarked since 2016, the changes I’ve made are only minimal. I have taken on some of the feedback from bakers who have made them, as well as updating the recipe instructions for those of us that don’t (or no longer…RIP my Kenwood) have a stand mixer.

This UK recipe for Cinnamon Buns is everything you could ever want from this breakfast favourite. Soft doughy buns, filled with scrumptious cinnamon flavours, and topped with sweet sticky icing.

Plus, my kids said these are the best thing I have ever made. EVER. Yes, really!

Cinnamon Buns recipe from the UK. Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, made with fresh dough, cinnamon filling and sweet icing.

What are Cinnamon Rolls?

Cinnamon Rolls – or Cinnamon Buns – are one of the most delicious bakes, which are also surprisingly easy to make. Originally from Sweden (hence why they sell them in Ikea!), Cinnamon Buns have adopted many variations around the globe. Some recipes, like my Easy Cinnamon Swirls, use a puff-pastry dough, but for the most part they are made with a yeast-dough.
Inside you will find a buttery, sugary, cinnamon mixture. This is rolled within the dough before it’s second rise.
Finally, Cinnamon Rolls are generally finished with some kind of sweetness on top. This may be some sugar nibs, or like these UK recipe Cinnamon Rolls, a deliciously sticky icing. In the States you’ll often find Cinnamon Buns with a cream cheese icing – I’m not a big fan of this, partly because it means you then need to keep them refrigerated, but also I find a cream cheese icing to be a little unpredictable to work with.

How to make UK Cinnamon Rolls?

Cinnamon Rolls are made with a rich, sweet, yeast-dough. And this dough is super easy to make! Other than warming your milk & butter, you simply chuck all the ingredients in the bowl and mix, then knead.
The dough is left to prove before being rolled out to a large rectangle, which you then smother with a sugary, cinnamon, butte mix.
Next you roll them up and then cut into your individual buns. A second rise is necessary, before baking your buns to perfection.
Then simply finish with some sweet, sticky icing.

"Finally a recipe that isn’t in cups! When ever I use cup measurement the end result turns out different every time! This recipe is perfect the rolls were light and fluffy so delicious I will make again and again. Recipe is now added to my favourites!"
Abi
Homemade UK Cinnamon Buns recipe. Soft, dough, deliicous!

Ingredients:

Milk
Cinnamon Buns are made with a rich, sweet, yeast dough. This means we have milk, butter, sugar and eggs in the dough – all the good stuff! In terms of milk, a full-fat milk is superior…but not essential. I have also had good success using soya milk in cinnamon buns, and think coconut milk would be great too.

Butter or Margarine
It is personal preference which you choose to use. For the richest, most indulgent Cinnamon Buns, butter is best. However, most buns you buy in the shop will actually use margarine, as it’s a cheaper ingredient and the difference in taste is hardly noticeable by the time you have your cinnamon and icing on board too.
If using margarine, just be sure to use a block margarine, as opposed to the spreadable kind. The latter will make your dough too soft and hard to work with.

Flours
I like to use a combination of Strong Flour and Plain Flour for Cinnamon Rolls. I find this gives a good balance of the dough having the extra gluten from the Strong Flour, whilst also managing to maintain a bit of softness with the Plain Flour.
If you only have one or the other, don’t worry – just total your individual flour quantity to 550g. It will still be a successful Cinnamon Bun, although the texture may vary slightly.

Caster Sugar
Previously I suggested using Granulated Sugar in this UK recipe for Cinnamon Rolls, however I have now changed this to Caster Sugar. Why? Well the choice to use granulated was because most American recipes used this (I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s the most popular kind of sugar used for baking in the States). Here in the UK, we mostly use Caster Sugar in our baking, so it made sense to use it in this recipe too. I also find Caster Sugar disperses better in a yeast dough, due to it’s finer texture.
You could also use a Golden Caster Sugar if you prefer a slightly less-sweet and more caramel flavour.

Easy Bake Yeast
There was a time when you could buy various types of yeast but nowadays, Easy Bake Yeast is the most accessible. It also works brilliantly in many recipes but especially in Cinnamon Buns, as no extra measuring or preparation is required to activate it.

Free-range Eggs
As mentioned, this is a rich yeast dough and eggs play a big part in that. Not only do they add flavour, they also add moisture, help bind the ingredients together and add a lovely golden colour to your dough.
The size of the egg is not crucial, just be sure to use free-range.

Ground Cinnamon
Of course any good Cinnamon Roll needs a good dose of Cinnamon. You can use as little or as much as you like, even adding some extra to the dough, should you wish.

Homemade Cinnamon Buns UK Recipe from Baking with Granny. Tray of delicious buns, pre-icing.
Cinnamon Buns before icing.

Granny's Top Tips

• You can make these Cinnamon Rolls in two parts overnight, so you have delicious, freshly baked buns for breakfast. Simply pop your dough into the fridge to prove (step 4) over night. Then take it out the fridge in the morning, let it warm up a little before continuing through the steps as normal.

• You can just use a knife to cut your dough but I find it much easier, and results in neater rolls, when you use a piece a thread. Simply take a length of thread, place it under your dough where you want to cut it, take the two ends and pull them together & past each other (as if you are trying to tie a knot in your dough). This also gives you rounder rolls as well, as you aren’t flattening your dough as the knife cuts through it.

• Cinnamon not your thing? Why not replace the filling with some Nutella, jam or Biscoff spread.

• I recommend using a metal baking/roasting tin for this UK recipe for Cinnamon Rolls. Having experimented with different types of trays, tins and dishes, I find a metal tin to be the best for an even bake. This Masterclass one is my favourite and what you see in the photos.
It is of course possible to use a ceramic dish, however you may need to adjust your oven temperature and baking time to ensure the buns in the middle are baked through.

UK recipe for homemade Cinnamon Buns.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls made with UK recipe.
UK recipe for homemade Cinnamon Buns.

Cinnamon Buns (UK Recipe)

The very best UK recipe for Cinnamon Rolls. Deliciously doughy, full of cinnamon flavour, and topped with sweet, sticky icing.
4.86 from 34 votes
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Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, British
Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the Dough

For the Filling

For the Icing

Instructions

For the Dough

  • In a small pan, warm the milk & butter/margarine until it's lukewarm (not hot!) and the butter/margarine is melting.
  • Meanwhile, sift the flours into a large bowl. Gently mix the sugar and yeast through to combine. Add the milk mixture and stir in a little, before adding the eggs too. Mix until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  • Transfer the dough to well-floured surface, and using well-floured hands, knead the dough for around 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough into a oiled bowl (to prevent it from sticking) and cover with an oiled piece of cling film, or a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a draught-free location for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  • Once your dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle around 45cm x 30cm in size. It's important to make sure your dough is of even thickness all over to ensure you have nice neat buns.

For the Filling

  • Lightly grease a large baking/roasting tin (I use a 35cm x 24cm one) and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix the butter/margarine, sugar and cinnamon together. Spread the mixture evenly over your rolled dough, bringing it right to the edges.
  • Roll the dough tightly & evenly, from the long side to long side, to create a 45cm sausage. Cut the sausage into 12 individual rolls - I tend to cut in half, quarters and then thirds to make sure I get even rolls. Arrange the rolls in your pre-prepared tray with plenty space between each roll & the edges (they need space to grow!). Cover loosely with lightly greased cling film or a damp tea towel.
  • Leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until they look light and puffy.
  • After your buns have gone through their second rise, remove the cling film and place the tray in a pre-heated oven at 180°c (160°c for fan assisted ovens or Gas Mark 4) and bake for around 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

For the Icing

  • Mix together the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk to create the icing. You can add more or less milk depending on your preference for how thick an icing you would like.
  • Spread/pour evenly across the buns shortly after the come out the oven. Leave your cinnamon buns to cool a little until they are just warm and enjoy.

Notes

For ingredient explanations and substitutions, please see the Ingredients info above.
For tips and tricks for success, please see the Granny's Top Tips info above.
 
  • Cinnamon Buns are best enjoyed on the day they are baked, but will keep a couple of days when stored in an airtight container.
  • You can add a little cinnamon to the dough, if you like a really cinnamon-y flavour.
  • The amount of icing stated is enough to give a nice glaze to the top of each bun, but if you want a really thick layer of icing, simply double the icing ingredient quantities.
  • You can do an overnight rise with these Cinnamon Buns. Simply place the dough into the fridge to prove (step 4) overnight. Remove the dough from the fridge when you get up and allow it to warm up a little before continuing with the remaining steps as listed.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!
UK recipe for Cinnamon Rolls from Baking with Granny. Easy to make, homemade cinnamon rolls. The best you'll ever taste this side of the Pacific!
UK recipe for Cinnamon Buns from Baking with Granny. Easy to make, homemade cinnamon rolls. The best you'll ever taste this side of the Atlantic!
Cinnamon Buns UK Recipe
Cinnamon Buns UK Recipe

Originally published in August 2016. Updated in August 2023.

52 Responses

  1. I adore cinnamon buns and have tried many recipes. These look absolutely lush. Perfect for lazy Sunday mornings.

    1. 5 stars
      Made these and stored overnight for baking in the morning for taking in to work as a treat for colleagues. Everyone said they were delicious. I did use dark brown sugar with the cinnamon.

    2. 5 stars
      Absolutely delicious. These were great fun to make and even though they say they take about 5 hours to make a lot of that time is proving so it’s really not that bad. Also, I found if you put mixed spice in instead of cinnamon it makes something equally delicious or dare I say better .

  2. Thank you for sharing this recipe – I have a cinnamon bun obsession and this has made my day! And great tip on Greggs, I’ve been a Starbucks devotee but could be turned for that price! Can’t wait to try these :) #foodiefridays x

  3. These look amazing! I love cinnamon buns. Cinnabon do fantastic ones, albeit a tad enormous. I’m very much a novice baker so not sure if I’ll be brave enough to try this myself just yet though!

  4. Love love cinnamon buns! I always struggle with making yeast doughs in the past, but these look so good that I may have to give it another go. Great share and one I’ll definitely book mark #foodiefriday

  5. Omg these look amazing I will definitely be giving these a try !!!

    Thank you for linking up with #foodiefriday

  6. OK, so it;s a bank holiday weekend so an extra lazy (ish) day so i am definitely going to take some time out to try this recipe, I can almost smell them. mmmmmmm
    Thank you for linking to #foodiefriday

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Amy,

    I really like the Cinnamon Buns recipe and wanted to say thanks. If I had one comment to make though, I doubled the amount of Icing Sugar for the topping and thought this gave a better amount of Icing on top of the Buns:-)

    1. Hello Pam. I’ve had great success in prepping these the evening before and baking for breakfast in the morning. Follow until “For the Filling: step 3” and as opposed to leaving the buns to rise in a warm place for a couple of hours, pop them in the fridge (ensuring they are well covered). In the morning, bring them out, allow them to warm to room temperature and until they look light & puffy. Then bake as normal! I often find you get a better tasting bun with this method too as it gives the dough an extending proving period.

      1. Hi, I’ve been looking for an easy to follow and reliable cinnabon recipe for ages and I can’t wait to try these. Just wanted to clarify, if making the dough the night before, should I put the buns in the fridge after the second proof or before the second proof?

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve got 6 kids of my own and they had friends to stay last night so made these and popped uncooked in fridge overnight, I was up before the kids this morning took out of fridge and put on open over door whilst oven was on, 1/2 hour later popped in oven (and closed door) and they baked beautifully. Happy kids waking to fresh cinnamon buns!! Thank you

  9. 5 stars
    Just made these and was amazed at how easy the recipe was. I replaced the milk in the icing for the juice of a clementine with a little of the rind – delicious xx

  10. 5 stars
    Hi these are fab but to much for us to eat in a couple of days, can the dough be frozen or maybe the buns before icing?

    Thanks.

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you!!! As a fellow cinnamon bun obsessive I was very grateful to find a UK recipe I could have a go at. These are brilliant. They turned out so well and were much lighter and fluffier than the shop bought versions I’ve tried. I will definitely be making these again. I think I might add a little warmed apricot jam as glaze before the icing next time to make them extra sticky!

  12. 5 stars
    This is by far the best cinnamon bun recipe I have ever tried, I make these buns quite a lot, sometimes I make them with a nut-filling, family/friends eat them as fast as I make them, Thank you, all the best

  13. 5 stars
    Made these yesterday. The dough is very wet but keep kneading on a well floured surface and the dough comes together in the end. They turned out really well. Next time I will cook them a few minutes less as the ones on the inside were definitely the best & those on the outside a little drier. Really yummy. I will also cut into 16 not 12 as they were really big.

  14. 5 stars
    This cinnamon bun recipe is amazing, they tasted 10 times better than any store bought ones and the recipe is much easier than I previously thought, thank you!

  15. As our local Coles store stopped selling the Cinammon buns in West Australia as I was baker for the US Navy but never baked buns for them,searched here & will try tomorrow but never heard of the strong flour only plain.We have self raising,,plain ,wholemeal &corn flour.

  16. 5 stars
    Hi Made these this week to take to work on an early morning shift, wanted them to be warm , so did I did the second prove in the fridge overnight ,then baked them in the morning .
    Great compliments from my colleagues, one said “ best cinnamon bun they had ever eaten”
    First time I had made them won’t be the last.
    Thank You ❤️

  17. please could you advise if it is possible to use fresh yeast with this recipe? If so, what would the quantities be? Thank you

  18. 5 stars
    Hi I made these and they turned out great. Just wondering how I can make the dough a bit more chewy/doughy ?
    Thanks again for the great recipe :)

  19. 4 stars
    Lovely and moist dough but did need more sugar and cinnamon for my family’s taste. I would melt the butter and brush generously as well as spot with butter next time. They took 30 minutes and the centre ones were undercooked, so would use a larger deep tray next time. Didn’t ice them… not a great fan of iced cinnamon buns but I am guessing this would have addressed the sweetness issue. They’re going down well and the tips on overnight proofing were spot on – thanks.

  20. 5 stars
    Finally a recipe that isn’t in cups! When ever I use cup measurement the end result turns out different every time!
    This recipe is perfect the rolls were light and fluffy so delicious I will make again and again
    Recipe is now added to my favourites!

  21. 5 stars
    This is the first recipe I was really excited to try.
    I had never made buns before but I’m on my 4th batch my family are loving them!

    Im taking a batch into work today as I’ve tried the leaving them in fridge overnight method. Cinnamon buns coming to room temperature as I type.

    I’ve done Nutella ones and Belgium buns using the dough recipe and they were so soft and delicious also.

    Thank you so much.

  22. 5 stars
    A note on your comment about sugar. I lived in Canada for many years and I would think that America uses the same kind of sugar as Canada. It’s called “granulated”, but it is very much finer than granulated here in the UK, so I think your move to caster is a good one!

  23. 5 stars
    Absolutely lovely. Turned out exactly as photo. Unfortunately before I had chance to take a photo of the results, my family had devoured them. Will definitely make again as they were very easy.
    Thank you Amy.

  24. 5 stars
    The flavour and texture are spot on coming out of the oven. Mine weren’t as pretty as yours – I need to practise rolling! I’m sure my problem was that my dough was too soft as I mixed in a stand mixer and I should have floured my work surface and hands more generously when rolling, however, they still tasted delicious and I’ll know better next time as I’m definitely up for perfecting!

  25. 5 stars
    Finally got my “rolling” technique up to standard!. Made sure my surface, rolling pin and hands were well floured this time and that made rolling much neater. My friend gave me a good tip for cutting the rolls and that was to cut using dental floss. Perfect, clean cuts (and no scoring through my worktop) much easier than using a knife. Simply pull a generous amount of floss, place under the rolled dough, cross over the top and pull down results in a perfect cut. Wonderful recipe. Thanks again.

  26. 1 star
    Dough was far too wet no matter how much I needed there was no chance of it coming together had to leave the whole thing and find another recipe

  27. 5 stars
    When you do the 2nd proof which way do you place the cut portions to bake? Is it with the visible circle layers facing up or facing the side? Thanks

  28. 5 stars
    Made these for our church cake sale. They turned out amazing. I proved them by putting them in an oven (that was turned off) with a roasting pan of boiling water in the bottom. The steam was enough to bring the oven to a perfect temperature and they rose really well. The dough was super soft once cooked and tasted amazing.

  29. 5 stars
    Fluffy and delicious! For the topping I didn’t use your recipe but instead mixed together…
    120g cream cheese
    30g room temperature butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Pinch of salt
    250g icing sugar
    I put some on top of the buns as they came out of the oven and the rest when they’d cooled for about 10 mins. It was absolutely gorgeous ( and very sticky!)

  30. 5 stars
    Made these this afternoon in response to my husband buying supermarket cinnamon buns which were just lumps of dough. As it’s just the two of us, I halved the ingredient amounts still following the method exactly as Amy has written. The flavour and texture are just wonderful. No more shop bought, they do not compare. Thank you, Amy, for this recipe.

  31. 5 stars
    I love this recipe.
    Simple to follow, with delicious results! Tried and tested by my 5 year old daughter who thinks they are just… *chef kiss*

  32. 5 stars
    First timers baking cinnamon buns. My daughter, 11, and I didn’t have high expectations. We kneaded by hand and the dough didn’t rise at all after 2hrs so left it over night and that did the trick. Then massive mistake from me, we cut the roll into 24 not 12. Doh. However, they worked perfectly fine. Again, we left them to rise for about 8 hours while we went to work and school. cooked for 20 mins, worked a treat! Very pleased

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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