Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are soft sweet rolls with a spiced filling for a gingerbread flavor, topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting. They are a perfect treat for the holiday season or whenever you crave a warm, sweet, and spiced treat! They are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea and will make your morning extra special! It all starts with the dough from my Perfect Cinnamon Rolls, which you will also want to try!

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls in a pan on a white counter.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Dough: The base for this sweet roll dough is the same as a few of my other sweet roll recipes. (Check out my Raspberry Cream Cheese Rolls and Orange Sweet Rolls!) It is one of the easiest doughs to work in part due to the ingredients and in part due to the process.

Molasses: Molasses is a key ingredient in gingerbread recipes. I added it to the filling of the rolls.

Spices: I added both ground ginger and ground cinnamon to the filling. Along with the molasses, they help bring out that classic gingerbread flavor.

Frosting: The whipped cream cheese frosting adds a rich, creamy, tangy flavor that complements the sweet and spiced filling of the rolls. After testing with a variety of frostings, this one let the gingerbread flavors shine through the most.

Steps for filling and rolling and cutting Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls.

Can I Make Cinnamon Rolls Ahead of Time?

Yes! These rolls are yeast bread, which means they will take some time to allow for rising. So, it’s a perfect recipe where you can do most of the work ahead of time, depending on when you want to serve the rolls.

  • Refrigerator Method: Prepare the dough. Then, roll it out, fill it with the filling mixture, roll, and cut. Place the unbaked rolls into a greased baking dish. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature (about an hour). Then, bake the rolls.
  • Freezer Method: Prepare the dough. Then, roll it out, fill it with the filling mixture, roll, and cut. Place the unbaked rolls into a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, place the rolls into a greased baking dish and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, let the rolls come to room temperature for about an hour before baking.
Close up of unfrosted Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls.

How To Store Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

If you are going to be enjoying the cinnamon rolls within a day or two, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. For slightly longer storage, they can be stored in the refrigerator, again, in an airtight container. However, the longer they are stored in the refrigerator, the denser and less soft they will be (so refrigeration is not the recommended method).

Spreading frosting over Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls.

Freezing Baked Cinnamon Rolls

If you are planning to freeze the baked gingerbread cinnamon rolls, freeze them without the frosting for best results. Once the rolls have cooled completely, wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap. Next, place the wrapped rolls in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, let the rolls thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls on a white counter from overhead.

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are soft sweet rolls with a spiced filling for a gingerbread flavor, topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting. They are a perfect treat for the holiday season or whenever you crave a warm, sweet, and spiced treat! They are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea and will make your morning extra special!

Ingredients

Dough

  • cup (163 g) whole milk, warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until milk is 110°-115°F
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature

Filling

Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions

Dough

  • In a medium bowl, combine warm milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the milk, whisking to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs to the yeast mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, add remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, flour, and salt. Mix on low speed to combine.
  • Add the milk mixture. Continue mixing to combine. While the mixer is still on low, add butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Continue kneading on medium speed until the dough is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Spray a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough into the bowl, rotating it to grease all sides. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about an hour.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough. Place it onto a floured counter or work surface. Roll the dough into a 10×15-inch rectangle. It should be about ¼-inch thick.

Filling

  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Evenly spread the butter mixture over the dough, making sure it covers the entire surface.

Assembly

  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Starting on the long edge of the dough, tightly roll it up (like a log or cylinder).
  • Using a very sharp knife, evenly cut the log into 12 rolls. Place them into the prepared 9×13-inch baking pan filling side up. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).

Bake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden on the edges and done in the middle.
  • Let rolls cool slightly.

Frosting

  • To a medium bowl, add cream cheese and butter. Mix until well combined and the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy texture.
  • Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix until ingredients are combined.
  • Once the rolls have cooled slightly, frost generously. Enjoy!

Video

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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:

Autumn

Gingerbread season is my favorite. These rolls are soft and fluffy and filled with the sweet gingerbread flavor. We tested several topping variations and everyone voted that traditional cream cheese was the best!

Elizabeth

I am all about everything gingerbread this holiday season, and these rolls did not disappoint! There is a gingerbread flavor in every bite, especially in the center (the best part)!

Rachael

Very tender dough with the delicious spiced filling, these are perfect for Christmas time. Who wouldn't want to wake up for some of these on Christmas morning?!

Bella

I love these! Adding the classic gingerbread flavors into these rolls makes them perfect for the holiday season.

Annabelle

These are very soft and very flavorful! I would absolutely recommend these to get you into the holiday sprit!

Selena

Super soft and lovely roll with a hint of the warm gingerbread spices in the filling. Super nostalgic and comforting!

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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.

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