These are the best Christmas cinnamon rolls! They're soft and fluffy gingerbread cinnamon rolls, with a gingerbread spice filling and eggnog cream cheese frosting.
These Christmas cinnamon rolls are the perfect thing to bake for Christmas morning breakfast or for a indulgent Christmas treat. Nothing beats the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven!
This post is sponsored by Grandma's Molasses and Spice Islands and may contain affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make In Bloom Bakery possible!
If you're looking for other Christmas recipes check out my maple pecan sticky buns, gingerbread layer cake, gingerbread whoopie pies, chocolate thumbprint cookies, double chocolate peppermint cookies, spritz cookies, eggnog cupcakes or Christmas kitchen sink cookies!
Why These are The Best Cinnamon Rolls
They're full of Christmas flavor. The cinnamon roll dough is flavored with molasses and warm Christmas spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. The rolls are filled with a spiced gingerbread filling and soaked in eggnog while they rise to make them extra gooey and delicious. After baking, eggnog cream cheese frosting is spread on top of the cinnamon rolls.
They are extremely soft. Seriously like little pillows of doughy, buttery, sweet gingerbread goodness.
They are really fun to make! They do take a little time, but making them is half the fun. There's something about working with yeast dough that makes making the dessert even more exciting. I love to see the dough rise, and transform into a delicious treat. It really makes you feel like you've accomplished something!
Ingredients for Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Christmas Spices- Spice Islands ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves are used to add warmth to the cinnamon rolls
- Molasses- Grandma's Molasses adds the iconic gingerbread flavor to these cinnamon rolls
- Active Dry Yeast- this is crucial for these cinnamon rolls to rise properly, not an optional ingredient
- Whole Milk- makes these rolls extra soft and pillowy
- Flour- all purpose flour will be used to make the dough
- Eggs- make sure they're room temperature
- Butter- make sure it's very soft, will be used in the dough and filling
- Granulated White Sugar-used to make the dough and helps bloom the yeast
- Light Brown Sugar-used in the spiced filling
- Vanilla Extract- adds a sweet note to the cinnamon rolls
- Cream Cheese- used to make the amazing icing for the rolls
- Eggnog- used in the cream cheese frosting and for soaking the rolls while they proof
- Rolling pin
- 9x13 casserole baking dish
- Unflavored dental floss for cutting the rolls
Step by Step Instructions
Please see the recipe card below for complete measurements and baking time.
STEP ONE: Make your dough
To start, bloom your yeast. Mix your active dry yeast, little bit of sugar, and warm milk together and let sit for 10 minutes.
Next, in a large bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix flour, spices, salt and sugar together. To the dry ingredients add the whisked eggs, molasses, vanilla and softened butter and mix. Add in the yeast and milk mixture and mix until everything is blended. Switch to a dough hook and knead on medium speed for 5-7 minutes until the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl, forms a ball and springs back when pressed.
STEP TWO: Let it rise.
Form the dough into a ball. Place dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise, (outside or a cold oven with the light on works well for this), for 1- 1 ½ hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
STEP THREE: Make your filling.
While the dough rises make the filling by mixing butter, brown sugar, molasses, spices and salt together in a small bowl.
STEP FOUR: Roll out your dough and spread filling.
Once the dough has had a chance to rise, remove from bowl, punch dough to release the air, and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into about a 18 x 12 inch rectangle. It should be about ¼ inch thick. Next, sprinkle the prepared filling over the dough and spread it evenly with an offset spatula.
STEP FIVE: Roll up dough and cut rolls.
Roll up the dough tightly into a long log shape starting from the end closest to you. Cut of a bit off the ends to make the log even. Cut 12 rolls about 1 ½ inches wide using unflavored floss or a very sharp knife.
STEP SIX: Let the rolls proof.
Place the rolls in a greased 9x13" casserole dish and pour room temperature eggnog in between each roll. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them proof in a warm spot for about an hour, or until they have doubled in size.
STEP SEVEN: Bake the rolls and make the eggnog cream cheese icing.
Once the rolls have proofed, bake until golden brown. While they bake make the glaze by mixing the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar together in a medium bowl. Then add in the eggnog and nutmeg and combine. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then cover the warm rolls with the cream cheese icing. Then serve!
Why didn't my dough rise? Check that your yeast is not expired. Secondly, perhaps the dough just needed more time. Some times it can take up to 1 ½ hours for the dough to proof all the way to "doubled in size".
Can the dough be prepared the day before on Christmas Eve? Yes. To prepare ahead of time follow recipe up until you are about to proof the buns for the second time. Cover the prepared buns and place in the fridge. The next morning when ready to bake, take the buns out of the fridge, pour room temperature eggnog in between them and allow them to proof somewhere warm until they've doubled in size. Keep in mind it will take longer than an hour because the dough is cold and has to come all the way to room temperature and then proof. Once they've doubled in size bake according to the recipe.
How do I store the rolls? Keep left over cinnamon rolls in an airtight container for up to three days, but I have a feeling they'll be gone before that!
Lightly grease plastic wrap for covering the dough while it proofs. This will help it not to stick to the rolls.
Use unflavored dental floss to cut the dough into rolls. This will allow for really pretty, clean cuts that a knife really can't give you.
Let your dough proof outside if it's warm enough, or in a cold oven with the light on.
Other Christmas Recipes to Try
Christmas Cinnamon Rolls
For the Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
- ¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
- 3 ¾ cups (469 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Spice Islands
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger Spice Islands
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg Spice Islands
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice Spice Islands
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves Spice Islands
- 1 ½ tablespoon granulated white sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 egg yolk, whisked
- 6 tablespoon (84 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoon (64 g) molasses Grandma's Molasses
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Gingerbread Filling
- ½ cup (112 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (220 g) light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup (85 g) molasses Grandma's Molasses
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon Spice Islands
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger Spice Islands
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg Spice Islands
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice Spice Islands
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves Spice Islands
- pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) eggnog, at room temperature (for pouring between rolls while they proof)
For the Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz (113 g) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (130 g) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) eggnog
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg Spice Islands
For the Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Dough
- Heat the milk until it is lukewarm. Bloom your yeast by mixing the active dry yeast, granulated white sugar, and the lukewarm milk together. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until foamy on top.¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk, 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
- In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together the all purpose flour, spices, granulated white sugar and salt.3 ¾ cups (469 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, 1 ½ tablespoon granulated white sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt
- Add in the whisked whole egg and egg yolk, butter, molasses and vanilla and mix.1 egg, whisked, 1 egg yolk, whisked, 6 tablespoon (84 g) unsalted butter, softened, 3 tablespoon (64 g) molasses, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add in the milk and yeast mixture and mix until everything is blended. Switch to a dough hook and knead for 5-7 minutes on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl, forms a ball and springs back when pressed.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a large, greased bowl. (Works best with floured hands). Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to proof for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
For the Gingerbread Filling
- While the dough rises make the filling by mixing the butter, brown sugar, molasses, spices and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl.½ cup (112 g) unsalted butter, softened, 1 cup (220 g) light brown sugar, packed, ¼ cup (85 g) molasses, 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, pinch of salt
Assembling and Baking the Cinnamon Rolls
- Grease a 9x13" casserole dish and set aside.
- Once the dough has had a chance to rise, remove from bowl, press down on the dough to release the air, and roll out on a floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 18 x 12". It should be about ¼" thick.
- Next, spoon the prepared filling over the dough and spread it evenly with an offset spatula.
- Roll the dough tightly into a long log shape starting with the end closest to you. Cut off the ends, then cut 12 rolls about 1 ½ inchs wide. (Unflavored floss works really well for this.)
- Place the rolls in the prepared casserole dish. Pour eggnog in between each roll, (optional).⅓ cup (80 ml) eggnog, at room temperature (for pouring between rolls while they proof)
- Loosely cover them with greased plastic wrap and let them proof in a warm place for about an hour, or until they have doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees about 15 minutes before the rolls are done proofing.
- Once the rolls have proofed, bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting
- While the rolls bake make the frosting. Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to a medium sized bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.4 oz (113 g) cream cheese, softened, 1 cup (130 g) powdered sugar
- Add in the eggnog and nutmeg and mix until smooth.¼ cup (60 ml) eggnog, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- When the rolls are done baking remove them from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes.
- Cover each roll with eggnog cream cheese frosting and serve!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Rewarm for best taste.