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This bakery recipe for Soft and Gooey Bakery-Style Cinnamon Rolls was a much-loved recipe at Amycakes Bakery. We served them hot out of the oven on “Cinnamon Roll Fridays.” During the holidays we made up to 100 dozen cinnamon rolls a week!! These cinnamon rolls are soft and gooey all the way to the edge of the roll. No kneading is required to make this soft and pillowy dough, and it’s made with instant yeast, which means a faster rising time.
What’s the secret to a soft cinnamon roll?
- To make a soft cinnamon roll, you need a soft dough–that means you need to use a lower flour to liquid ratio. The dough will seem quite sticky at first, and it needs some extra care when rolling it out. But the finished product is soft and fluffy.
- Instant Clearjel and Vegetable Oil add extra moisture to the dough creating a softer gooier cinnamon roll. Instant Clearjel is a bakery ingredient that you can use at home to enhance thickening and moisture in baked goods. It is a tasteless “modified cornstarch” that I use in nearly all my bakery recipes. You can read more about it in Instant Clearjel: a Magical Bakery Ingredient.
- To guarantee soft edges on these cinnamon rolls, they need to be placed less than 1/2 inch apart in your baking pan. The cinnamon rolls will press against each other as they rise and bake, creating soft edges instead of crispy or dark edges.
What’s the perfect pan size for cinnamon rolls?
This recipe is a small-batch recipe that makes 6 large cinnamon rolls. They fit in one 9x13x2″ cake pan. For one dozen cinnamon rolls, select “2x” within the recipe to double the recipe–For one dozen cinnamon rolls, an 11x15x2″ cake pan is the perfect size. This pan allows just enough room for the cinnamon rolls to rise and press into each other. If needed with a double recipe, you could also use two 9x13x2″ cake pans (six cinnamon rolls in each pan). If you are using a different pan size than I’ve suggested, make sure that it is at least 2 inches tall. The space between each cinnamon roll and the edge of the pan should be no more than 1/2 inch before they rise.
What makes an extra gooey cinnamon roll filling?
To make these cinnamon rolls gooey we’re going to be using a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture, and lots of it. In addition, we’ll be adding some flour and Instant Clearjel (my favorite bakery secret that I described above) to some softened salted butter. This thickens the butter mixture so that it doesn’t dissolve into the dough or melt into the bottom of the pan.
Split the Work Between Two Days
My recommended method is a two-day process–it will provide the best results. Make the dough on day one, and roll them out on day two. When you use this method, your dough will be ready to roll out as soon as you wake up, meaning less time to wait for a delicious cinnamon roll breakfast. Here’s how I do it:
- Make the cinnamon roll dough, then let the dough rise until double in size. Refrigerate the risen dough in the refrigerator overnight. If you were to roll the dough out immediately, it would be very soft and difficult to roll. By refrigerating it overnight, it stops the rising, and the dough will be stiffer and easier to work with the next morning. The rolls also have a better texture after resting in the fridge overnight.
- Prepare the brown sugar/ cinnamon mixture, and wrap it so it is air-tight overnight.
- Take the salted butter out of the fridge so that it will be at room temperature in the morning (according to this article, salted butter, not unsalted, is fine to leave out of the refrigerator overnight).
- Roll out the cinnamon rolls.
- Allow them to rise one hour or until doubled in size.
- Bake and serve.
- These cinnamon rolls are best served warm, and best eaten the day they are baked.
I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe! Comment below, or tag @amycakesbakes with a photo of your cinnamon roll creation. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this bakery recipe.
Thanks for Reading. ❤️
Soft and Gooey Bakery-Style Cinnamon Rolls
Watch the Recipe Video (I’m making a 2x batch):
Cinnamon Roll Dough Ingredients
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons Instant Clearjel (for a softer dough. It's a bakery ingredient you can use at home, see Notes section)
- 1 Tablespoon(s) Instant Yeast I use (SAF Instant Yeast)
- 1 large Egg(s)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup(s) Hot Water around 120 degrees
Cinnamon Roll Filling Ingredients
- 1 cup(s) packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoons + 1 ½ teaspoon(s) Cinnamon (I use McCormick brand)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Instant Clearjel (for gooier cinnamon rolls. It's a bakery ingredient you can use at home, see Notes section)
- 1 ½ teaspoons All-Purpose Flour
- ½ stick (2 ounces) Salted Butter softened but not melted
- 1 ¼ cups Powdered Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons room temperature Water
- ¼ stick (1 ounce) salted butter, melted
- ¼ cup to ½ cup flour, for dusting only use what you need
Day One: Make Cinnamon Rolls Dough
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the Flour, Instant Clearjel, and Instant Yeast together until well blended. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, stir the egg(s), salt, sugar, and oil together until well blended.
- Make sure your water is hot, around 120 degrees. If you don't have a culinary thermometer, this temperature should feel uncomfortable to the touch but not painful). Pour the hot water on top of the egg mixture, but don't stir it together yet. (We want to allow our flour and instant yeast to activate when being mixed with the hot water).
- Immediately add the flour mixture on top of the hot water, and use a sturdy spatula to stir all of the ingredients together until a dough is formed and the ingredients are well blended. The dough will get firmer, stickier, and more difficult to stir as it thickens.
- There's no kneading of this dough, as we don't want to incorporate any additional flour, but we want to stir it until it gets stretchy. Leave the dough in the bowl, and continue to scrape the sides and stir the dough with your heavy-duty spatula for around 2-3 minutes, or until the dough is stretchy and uniform. It will be a very sticky dough.
- Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until double in size, around one hour.
- Loosely wrap the bowl in plastic wrap, and place the risen dough in the fridge overnight, for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours.
Day One: Prepare Filling Ingredients
- Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your fingers to break apart any large brown sugar pieces, and to make sure the cinnamon is thoroughly mixed in. Wrap this mixture or place it in an air-tight container until Day Two.
- Whisk the Instant Clearjel and Flour together until well blended. Wrap or place in an air-tight container until Day Two.
- If you'd like, you may take your salted butter out of the fridge so that it is softened and ready to roll in the morning.
Day Two: Prepare Pan
- The 1 oz of melted butter for brushing will be used three times. First, brush the cake pan(s) generously with melted butter on the bottom, sides, and inner corners. 6 cinnamon rolls fit in a 9x13x2 pan, and 12 cinnamon rolls fit in an 11x15x2 pan.
Day Two: Roll Out Cinnamon Rolls
- Generously dust your counter with about 1/4 cup of flour.
- Scrape the risen refrigerated cinnamon roll dough on top of the dusted flour. Use your fingers to scrape out any stuck to the bowl and add it to the dough. The dough will be sticky. Avoid pressing the dough into itself or turning it into a ball–this will overwork the dough. We want to roll it out with very little shaping of the dough. Instead, just lightly dust any sticky portions of the dough, and press any sticky edges into the floured counter. Lightly press the dough into a rectangular shape before rolling (I recommend watching the recipe video).
- Roll out the dough into an 9-inch horizontal by 16-inch vertical rectangle. (A 1x batch will be tall and skinny. A 2x batch will be wider than it is tall as seen in the recipe video). Using extra flour only as needed, dust any parts of the dough with flour that sticks to the table or rolling pin.
- If your butter is firm, microwave it for a few seconds until softened but not melted. Mix your softened butter thoroughly with the prepared Instant Clearjel mixture. Immediately spread it onto the rolled-out dough. We mix this right before spreading so that it doesn't have time to thicken before spreading. Spread it evenly all the way to the very edge of the dough.
- Pour the prepared Brown Sugar/Cinnamon mixture on top of the butter and spread it evenly all the way to the very edge of the dough.
- Roll up the cinnamon dough tightly, curving the edges in slightly as you roll (watch the recipe video). This helps maintain a nice roll on the edges and prevents the cinnamon mixture from escaping. When you are left with one inch of dough, pull it up and pinch it tightly against the rolled dough, creating a pinched seam.
- Dust the seam with flour, and turn your dough so it is seam side down against the floured counter. Shape the roll of dough with your hands if needed so that it is even in thickness. Score the dough with a bench scraper, pastry divider, or knife into 6 rolls, then cut the rolls with a bench scraper or sharp knife.
- Place the cinnamon rolls into your prepared pan, with little room between each roll and 1/2 inch from the edge of the pan. Lightly press down on each roll so that the edges of each roll barely touch each other, and improve their round form if needed. (The cinnamon rolls will rise into whatever shape they are in now. So if you have some oval or misshapen rolls, use your hands to form the edges into a circle before they rise.)
- Brush the cinnamon rolls with melted salted butter, then allow to rise at room temperature until double in size, around one hour.
Bake the Cinnamon Rolls
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake the risen cinnamon rolls in the preheated 350-degree oven on the middle or top rack for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 6-8 minutes for six cinnamon rolls in a 9×13 pan, or an additional 12-16 minutes for twelve cinnamon rolls in an 11×15 pan. The cinnamon rolls are done when they are golden brown, and the dough bounces back when you tap it lightly with your finger. Check several areas of the rolls for doneness.
- While the rolls bake, make the glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar and water together until smooth. It should be thin enough that it melts slightly into the hot rolls.
- Brush the cinnamon rolls one last time with melted butter. Using a small whisk, drizzle the glaze lightly onto each hot cinnamon roll.
- These cinnamon rolls are best served warm and have the best soft texture when eaten the same day they are baked. Enjoy!
3 tsp= 1 Tbsp
4 Tbsp= 1/4 cup Notes about Instant Clearjel: Read my article Instant Clearjel: a Magical Bakery Ingredient to see why I think this ingredient is worth having in your pantry. Instant Clearjel must always be whisked thoroughly with other dry ingredients before being added to wet ingredients to avoid clumping. I have tested this recipe with the following Instant Clearjel brands: Hoosier Hill Farm, Prepared Pantry, and Ingredion (Make sure what you purchase is labeled as “Instant.” Cooktyle Clearjel is a different product that does not work the same in baked goods). RECIPE UPDATES:
9-16-21: The original recipe was for 12 cinnamon rolls. All my recipes now start with small batches, so it now makes 6 cinnamon rolls. Press the “2x” if you’d like to double the recipe to make 12 cinnamon rolls.