Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

We checked in with the Almand family, and Laurie shared one of their favorite holiday recipes.

cinnamon rolls
holly and berries stock image

Laurie says...

This is one of our family’s favorite Christmas morning traditions! The recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, and it’s always a huge hit. I usually make them in advance and freeze a pan or two for later or to share with neighbors. On Christmas morning, we just pop them in the oven to reheat while we open our stockings. Just like that, we’re enjoying homemade cinnamon rolls!


stock image of baker kneading dough

For the dough and filling

1 qt. whole milk
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
2 packages active dry yeast (0.25 ounce packets)
8 c. (plus 1 cup extra, reserved) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. (heaping) baking powder
1 tsp. (scant) baking soda
1 tbsp. (heaping) salt
Plenty of melted butter
2 c. sugar
Generous sprinkling of cinnamon

stock image of baking cinnamon rolls

For the maple frosting

1 bag powdered sugar
2 tsp. maple flavoring
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. brewed coffee
1/8 tsp. salt


  1. For the dough: Heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

  2. Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: The dough is easier to work with if it has been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)

  3. To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

  4. To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter.

  5. Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down.

  6. Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into 9-inch round cake pans (or disposable foil pans if you plan to share!) and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)

  7. Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375˚. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown. 

  8. While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.

  9. Remove the pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top.

  10. Serve and enjoy immediately or wait until they cool slightly to freeze for later. To reheat, pull them out of the freezer and warm them in a 250˚ oven for about 15 minutes.

Credit: Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman