Braided Cinnamon Rolls are a delightful variation of the classic sweet rolls with a beautifully woven braided appearance, topped with a cream cheese frosting. They are so soft and the combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter in each layer makes them so irresistible! They are wonderful without the glaze, too. You can also make these in an air fryer! Once you fall in love with these, be sure to also make my more traditional Cinnamon Rolls, too.

Braided Cinnamon Rolls in Pan After Baking Showing Them Partially Frosted.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Milk: When warming up the milk, be sure it reaches a temperature of between 100°F and 110°F. This is the perfect temperature to activate the yeast used in the recipe. If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast, and if it is too cold, it will not activate.

Yeast: Use active dry yeast, which needs to be activated with warm milk.

Butter: You will use unsalted butter in all three parts of the recipe from the dough to the filling to the frosting. In total, you will need about 2 sticks of butter (plus an extra tablespoon for greasing the bowl).

Filling: The filling is layers of butter and a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Frosting: The whipped cream cheese frosting is spread over the warm rolls for an even more indulgent treat! But, the rolls are delicious without the frosting, too.

Steps for Rolling out dough, adding butter and cinnamon sugar mixture, and how to fold the dough and Then Cut it for Braided Cinnamon Rolls.

Can I Make Braided Cinnamon Rolls Ahead Of Time?

Yes! Once you have the rolls assembled and braided, cover the pan with greased plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator. Do this before letting them rise at room temperature. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature (2-3 hours) before baking.

Steps for Showing How to Braid Braided Cinnamon Rolls.

Can I Use Store Bought Dough?

Sure! Besides homemade dough, we tested the rolls with store-bought pizza crust dough. If using store-bought dough, there is no need for any proofing. First, roll out the dough to a 12×16-inch rectangle. Then, follow the same filling and cutting instructions before baking in the oven for 25 minutes. Don’t forget about the glaze! If you are short on time but still want a delicious treat to share, this is the perfect solution!

Braided Cinnamon Rolls After Baking in a Pan from Overhead on a White Counter.

How To Store Braided Cinnamon Rolls

If you are not going to serve or enjoy the braided cinnamon rolls within a day or two, store them in the refrigerator. Keep them in a covered container for up to 3-4 days. When ready to enjoy, let the rolls come to room temperature.

Frosted Braided Cinnamon Rolls in a Pan on a White Counter from Overhead.

How To Freeze Cinnamon Rolls

There are a few options if you plan on freezing the braided cinnamon rolls.

  1. Before Baking: If you want to freeze cinnamon rolls before baking, it’s best to do so before the final rise. Once the rolls are assembled and shaped, cover them tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. When you’re ready to bake them, remove them from the freezer, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, and allow them to come to room temperature for the final rise. You may need to adjust the rising time as the frozen dough may take longer to rise.
  2. Freeze After Baking: You can also freeze the rolls after baking them, but before adding the frosting. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in a freezer-safe container. When ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen rolls at room temperature. Warm them in the oven for a few minutes before adding the frosting.
  3. Partial Baking: A third way to freeze the rolls would be to cook them for only 10-15 minutes. Then, remove them from the oven and let the rolls cool completely. After the partially baked rolls have cooled, cover them (in the pan) with at least two layers of plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 2 weeks. When you are ready to bake them, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes. That would be the perfect time to make the frosting.

Whenever you store food in the freezer, always remember to label and date the storage containers or wrappings where the food is held. I sometimes like to add instructions to remind me how to reheat or cook the food when I am ready to do that.

Braided Cinnamon Rolls After Baking in a Pan from Overhead on a White Counter.
5 from 6 votes

Braided Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Braided Cinnamon Rolls are a delightful variation of the classic sweet rolls with a beautifully woven braided appearance, topped with a cream cheese frosting. They are so soft and the combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter in each layer makes them so irresistible!


  • cup (163 g) whole milk, warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds (or until the temperature reaches 100-110°F)
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 ¾ cups (344 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, beaten

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (94 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch kosher salt



  • In a medium bowl, combine warm milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar, flour, and salt. Add the milk mixture. With the mixer running on low speed, add butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions.
  • Knead on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Brush a medium bowl with melted butter. Place the dough in the bowl, rolling it in the butter. Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down the risen dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll it into a rectangle that measures approximately 12×20 inches (about ¼-inch thick).


  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a fork.
  • Spread 3 tablespoons of the butter over the dough so that it covers the entire surface.
  • Spread ¼ cup of the brown sugar mixture over the butter, gently pressing it into the dough, making sure it covers the entire surface.

Folding, Cutting, and Baking

  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Starting from one long edge of the dough, fold it over itself about ⅔ of the way across. Spread the remaining butter and brown sugar mixture over the fold.
    Braided Cinnamon Rolls
  • Then, fold the remaining third of the dough over the top, completely enclosing the filling.
    Braided Cinnamon Rolls
  • Cut the folded dough into 12 strips that are each approximately 1 ½ inches wide.
    Braided Cinnamon Rolls
  • Working with one strip at a time, make two cuts in the strip, almost reaching the top but leaving the end intact.
    Braided Cinnamon Rolls
  • Braid the three sections together by crossing the right strand over the middle strand, then crossing the left strand over the middle strand. Continue braiding until you reach the end of the dough.
    Braided Cinnamon Rolls
  • Starting with the uncut edge, roll the braided dough into a circle and place it into the baking dish. Repeat this process for the remaining strips.
    Braided Cinnamon Rolls
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
    Braided Cinnamon Rolls in a Pan Before Proofing Where They Will Rise More.
  • When ready, preheat oven to 350°F.*
  • Brush the risen rolls with the beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • When the rolls are almost done baking, put cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl and mix well.
  • Spread the frosting onto the warm rolls.



Please see post for images explaining steps. 
*Air Fryer Instructions:
  1. After the rolls have been braided and doubled in size, place the rolls into the basket of your air fryer. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to work in batches.)
  2. Air fry the rolls for 11 minutes at 325°F.
  3. Drizzle with glaze.

Did you make this recipe?

Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.

What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:


This was such a fun take on cinnamon rolls. The braids are gorgeous and the cinnamon sugar mixture was perfectly balanced throughout the whole roll. I love that you can also use pizza dough for a quick version! So yummy!


I could not stop eating this cinnamon roll, to be honest! I loved the super soft texture with an abundance of buttery cinnamon-sugar flavor in each bite. The cream cheese frosting was yummy, but I even loved the rolls without it.


This has the classic flavor of a cinnamon roll but the only difference is that it looks even cooler. I adore the braiding method. The filling is nicely twisted inside, so you get that lovely cinnamon flavor with every bite!


The pizza dough version is yummy and so simple! These are very tasty and super cute!


So yummy! These are a perfect twist (pun intended) on a regular cinnamon roll, the amount of sweetness was just perfect. They are so cute too!


I love working with yeasted dough and this is a fun one to make. I loved the classic cinnamon roll taste with the beauty of the braid. Soft, sweet and delicious.

Share with your friends!

Categorized in: , ,

Related Recipes

Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Can’t wait to give it a try. They look delicious and are so pretty!!! Love, love all of your recipes that I have tried. Thank you for all of them.

  2. I am not very confident making anything with yeast but I made these yesterday and they turned out great! I folded the dough wrong (brain fart) so my cinnamon braids are LARGE. My husband thinks they are the perfect size 🤣🤣 Thanks for a great recipe.

  3. I was wondering if these can be baked in the oven. If so what degree and time? Absolutely love your recipes. Since I discovered you website a few months ago, I’ve made about 5 of your recipes and all turned out great!

  4. I made these today to test for the holiday season and O M G. They will be forever be the cinnamon rolls I make. My son said “hands down the best cinnamon roll I have ever had in my life” now he is only 11 but my husband said basically the same thing.
    I had never made an enriched dough before but your instructions made it easy and less intimidating!!!! Thank your for a new family favorite! ❤️

  5. I have only ever made these once before in my life and let me tell you i’ve been around a while! I’ve never even made bread so I was a little worried when the dough wouldn’t form a ball, it was very sticky even after 15 mins of being mixed with the dough hook. I decided to add more flour in the end and it came together fine. They taste amazing and look much harder than they are to make. I will certainly be making these again as all my family loved them. Thanks for the recipe xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

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