No-Knead Cinnamon Rolls with Apricot Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

Last Updated on

Turn breakfast into a special occasion with these easy, no-knead, from scratch cinnamon rolls!

Soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls are always a great way to start the day but what makes these pastries extra special is a tangy and fruity apricot cardamom cream cheese frosting that pairs perfectly with the sweet cinnamon filling.

A closeup view of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

This post was originally published on Feb. 23, 2020.

For more favorite sweets, check out this Lemon Cardamom Cake and this Stovetop Apple Crisp.

Jump to:

About the cinnamon rolls:

Cinnamon rolls are a sweet breakfast pastry that is made with a yeast dough. The dough is rolled out into a thin sheet, blanketed with a buttery and sweet cinnamon filling and then rolled into a log. The log is cut into several pieces that are then baked into a cluster of soft and pillowy rolls that easily pull apart.

For the recipe here I used a no-knead challah dough from the (great!) book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Instead of turning it into a braided challah bread I rolled it out thinly, spread a cinnamon/brown sugar paste on it and rolled it up to make buns.

You can use the dough the same day you prepare it or you can make it up to five days ahead and use it straight out of the fridge on the morning you want to bake the rolls. (The rolls will need to rise for 1 hour before baking, so be sure to plan for that).

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.

About the frosting:

The frosting is the highlight of this recipe. In addition to the standard cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar I added apricot preserves and ground cardamom and those flavors were a perfect match for the sugary cinnamon filling.

Make these rolls for a special occasion breakfast, like a Holiday brunch, a birthday or simply just because! :)

A freshly baked cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting.

How to make the dough:

Step 1. Add 3/4 teaspoon granulated yeast (see recipe note), 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons honey to a large mixing bowl.

RECIPE NOTE: You can use any kind of granulated yeast you can find in the store (such as active dry or rapid rise). Just make sure it’s not past its expiration date.

Honey, kosher salt and granulated yeast in a large glass mixing bowl.

Step 2. Whisk in 7 tablespoons warm water.

Ingredients for yeasted dough being whisked together in a large glass mixing bowl.

Step 3. Whisk in 1 whole egg and 2 tablespoons melted and cooled* unsalted butter.

*RECIPE NOTE: It’s important to let the butter cool before using it so you don’t cook the egg or kill the yeast.

Ingredients for yeast dough being whisked together in a large glass mixing bowl.

Step 4. Add 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and mix it in. (I like to use a firm plastic spatula for that but you can also use a large spoon or your hands.)

Flour being mixed into a yeast dough.

Step 5. Make sure to mix the dough well so that no pockets or clumps of flour remain.

A ball of raw yeast dough in a large glass mixing bowl.

Step 6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Raw dough in a large mixing bowl covered with plastic wrap.

Step 7. Transfer the dough into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to five days.

Raw dough in a plastic container with a lid.

How to make the rolls:

Step 1. Lightly flour a work surface, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into a sheet about 14 inches wide and 9 inches tall.

A rectangular sheet of cinnamon roll dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface.

Step 2. Grab a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in it, then add 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed), 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Step 3. Cook the mix, whisking continuously, until you get a paste, then let it cool a bit.

Melted butter, brown and white sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan before and after cooking.

Step 4. Spread the cinnamon filling on the dough, going all the way to the edges.

Cinnamon sugar filling being spread onto a sheet of dough.

Step 5. Roll the dough up from the long side.

A sheet of raw cinnamon roll dough being rolled up.

Step 6. Cut the log into 8 pieces of roughly equal size.

RECIPE NOTE: I recommend you use a serrated knife to cut the log to avoid squeezing the rolls.

Unbaked cinnamon rolls cut from a log on a marble kitchen counter.

Step 7. Grease a 9-inch pie pan, then set the rolls (spiral up) into the pan, leaving space around each one.

Step 8. Loosely cover the rolls with a sheet of plastic wrap, then set them in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour. (The rolls should be touching each other after the rise, if they aren’t, let them rise a little longer).

Unbaked cinnamon rolls in a pie pan before and after rising.

Step 9. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. and bake the rolls until they are starting to brown (25 to 30 min.). Let the rolls cool and make the frosting.

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls in a pie pan.

How to make the apricot cardamom cream cheese frosting:

Step 1. Add 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 4 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1 tablespoon apricot preserves to a small mixing bowl.

Cream cheese, butter, apricot preserves and ground cardamom in a small mixing bowl.

Step 2. Whip until smooth.

Whipped cream cheese frosting in a small mixing bowl.

Step 3. Whip in 3/4 cup powdered sugar, then transfer the frosting to the fridge and keep it there until you’re ready to use it.

Whipped cream cheese frosting in a small mixing bowl.

How to serve cinnamon rolls:

Once the rolls have cooled to room temperature, top them with frosting, then serve immediately. If you’re planning to store some of the rolls, don’t put the frosting on, instead store the rolls and the frosting separately.

How to store leftover cinnamon rolls:

The rolls are best served fresh but you can loosely cover any unfrosted rolls with plastic wrap and keep them at room temperature for up to a day. Keep the frosting in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

As for rolls that are already frosted, transfer those into an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. Be sure to let them come back up to room temperature before serving.

Can the dough be frozen?

Yes, after the initial two-hour rise you can transfer the dough into a freezer bag and freeze it for up to 3 weeks. When you’re ready to use the dough, thaw it in the fridge overnight.

What if it’s too cold for the dough to rise?

The ideal temperature for yeast to grow is around 75 degrees F. and depending on where you live and what time of year it is, it can be difficult to get your kitchen that warm. If your kitchen is too cold for the dough to rise, I suggest you very briefly turn on your oven to get it to 75 degrees, then turn it off and place the bowl with your dough in it. The oven will cool down again, but I find that giving the yeast a “push” like this in the beginning of the rising time is often enough to keep it going.

Made this recipe? It would be awesome if you could leave a rating. Either tap or click the stars in the recipe card or leave a comment below. Thanks!

A closeup view of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

No-Knead Cinnamon Rolls with Apricot Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

Turn breakfast into a special occasion with these easy no-knead cinnamon rolls that are topped with a tangy and fruity apricot cardamom cream cheese frosting.
Challah dough recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
Prep Time:3 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time:40 mins
Total Time:4 hrs
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American, Scandinavian
Keyword: cinnamon rolls, cream cheese frosting, no knead cinnamon rolls
Servings: 8 rolls
Calories (estimated): 393kcal

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 7 tablespoons warm water (around 90 degrees F.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
  • 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (more if you'd like a stronger flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

For the dough:

  • Add yeast, kosher salt and honey to a large bowl.
  • Pour the water into the bowl and whisk everything together.
  • Whisk the egg and the butter into the mix.
  • Add the flour into the bowl and fully mix it in using a firm plastic spatula or a spoon or your hands.
  • Cover the bowl, set it in a warm place and let the dough rise for 2 hours.
  • Transfer the dough into an airtight container and keep in the fridge until you're ready to bake the rolls.**

For the filling:

  • When you're ready to bake the rolls, grease a 9-inch pie pan. Set aside.
  • Lightly dust a work surface with all-purpose flour.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into a 14" by 9" rectangle, then make the filling.
  • Melt the butter in a pan.
  • Add both sugars and the cinnamon and whisk until you get a uniform paste. Let the mix cool a bit.
  • Using an offset spatula or a rubber spatula, spread the filling onto the dough all the way out to the edges.
  • Roll up the dough (from the long end).
  • Cut into 8 pieces using a serrated knife.***
  • Set the rolls into the pie pan, leaving space in between each of them.
  • Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap, then let them rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake the rolls until they are starting to brown on the edges (25 to 30 minutes).

For the frosting:

  • Whip together the cream cheese, butter, cardamom and apricot preserves until fluffy.
  • Whip in the powdered sugar.
  • Spread the frosting onto the rolls and serve immediately.

Notes:

*It’s important to let the butter cool (it needs to be under 100 degrees F.), otherwise it can kill the yeast and/or cook the egg.
**You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 5 days.
***Using a serrated knife will ensure that you don’t squoosh the rolls.

Want to save this recipe idea for later? Pin it:

Closeup of freshly baked cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and photos of the raw rolls before and after rising.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.