Cinnamon Rolls {Made With Sourdough Starter!}

filed under: Bread · Breakfast on March 27, 2020

Fill your house with the smell of freshly baked Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls, full of lots of cinnamon flavor and topped with a homemade whipped cream cheese frosting. Made with my sourdough starter, these rolls will melt in your mouth and you will want to make another batch immediately! For another delicious breakfast (or anytime) roll, try my Raspberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls have to be one of my favorite sweet rolls of all time. With just the right amount of cinnamon flavor and the perfect amount of frosting, I can’t pass them up anytime they are around or at my local cafe. The rolls are the perfect lazy morning treat to have with your coffee or tea. Adding the sourdough starter to these cinnamon rolls gives each bite just a little extra ‘zip’, or tangy flavor that I love with sourdough bread.

Sourdough Cinnamon Roll on White Plate with Fork

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

There are three main parts to this recipe–the dough, the cinnamon filling, and the whipped cream cheese frosting.

Dough Ingredients (full recipe below)

Filling Ingredients

  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients

  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Dough

It all starts with the dough for these Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls. So, get out your stand mixer with the hook attachment, and mix all the dough ingredients together for about 5 minutes. Make sure the dough is moist and sticky, but not too sticky. You can always add a little flour to the dough, but you don’t want it to be dry. Place the dough into a greased medium-sized bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it sit in a warm spot for 3-5 hours.

Adding Butter and then Cinnamon Sugar to Raw Dough

How to Make Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

After the 3 hours, place the dough onto a floured work surface. Flatten out the dough into a rectangle. (You shouldn’t even need a rolling pin for this step.) If you want 9 cinnamon rolls, roll the dough a little thinner. For thicker cinnamon rolls, keep the dough to about 1/2-inch thickness.

This cinnamon filling is going to be what is spread out and rolled up inside these yummy rolls. Start by melting 3 tablespoons of butter and letting it cool. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon with a fork. Pour the butter all over the dough, making sure to cover as much of the surface as possible. Next, spread the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top of the butter. Again, spread it out as much as you can. You want that sweet cinnamon taste in every bite of these rolls! Tightly roll the dough into a log using the bottom long edge as a starting point.  Using a very sharp knife, cut the rolls into your 9 or 6 pieces.  Place each roll into a greased 8×8-inch pan and let them rise for about 2 hours. Then, bake the rolls for about 25 minutes at 350°F. Remove them from the oven and let them sit on the counter for about 5 minutes while you prepare the cream cheese frosting.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls After They Have Risen

How to Make the Cream Cheese Frosting

It only takes a few minutes to whip together this cream cheese frosting for the Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls. So, while the rolls are still baking, or even cooling, put the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, start on low to get all the ingredients combined. Then, mix on high for 4-5 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy. You can spread this all over the warm rolls that are still in the pan. Or, another option would be to flip over the rolls onto a serving plate and add the frosting then. Either way you ‘roll’ (get it?), these will be a hit!

Pan of Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with One Missing

Can I Freeze Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls?

Yes! You can freeze them before they rise and bake by covering them with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Just take them out of the freezer when you are ready to bake them and let them thaw and rise before completing the rest of the steps. You can also freeze them after baking the rolls, but before adding the frosting. In addition, you can freeze them with no problem after you have frosted the baked rolls. Again, cover them with plastic and aluminum foil. But, be sure to let them cool before freezing them.

One Sourdough Cinnamon Roll on White Plate with Fork

Looking for More Sweet Roll Recipes?

Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls

Orange Sweet Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Quick Cinnamon Rolls (Bakes up FAST!)

4.91 from 11 votes
Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
5 hrs
Total Time
5 hrs 45 mins

Use your extra sourdough starter to make these melt in your mouth Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls, Sourdough starter
Servings: 9
Calories: 359 kcal
Author: Amanda
  • 1/2 cup (123g) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup (219g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sourdough starter, discard or fed
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (57g or 1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup (188g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Add all the dough ingredients to stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, knead ingredients for about 5 minutes. The dough should be moist and sticky, not dry and in a ball. If it is too sticky, you can add up to 1/4 cup more flour so that you can easily move it to the bowl.

  2. After all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth, place into a medium-sized bowl that has been greased. Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot for about 3 hours. (Can sit for up to 5 hours.)
  3. After the dough has risen, prepare a solid surface countertop with a light dusting of flour.
  4. Pour dough out onto the counter and press it flat. This dough is so soft and pliable you should not even need a rolling pin. Press the dough out (being sure it is not sticking to the counter) into a rectangle shape. If you want 9 rolls, make the rectangle thinner and larger, if you want 6 rolls it can be a bit thicker, like 1/2 inch thick.
  1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon with a fork.
  2. Pour 3 tablespoons butter over the dough so that it covers the entire surface.
  3. Spread brown sugar and spice mixture over dough making sure it covers the entire surface.
  1. Roll the dough up, pinching with your fingers to keep it tightly rolled. Press the seam to seal before positioning the log seam side down.

  2. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 or 9 pieces (depending on the thickness of dough). Place in a greased 8x8-inch baking pan.

  3. Place the rolls in a warm dry space and allow them to rise for about 2 hours.

  1. Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

  1. When rolls are almost done baking, put cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

  2. Mix on low to just combine. Once ingredients are all incorporated turn mixer on high and leave it for 4-5 minutes. Frosting should be light and fluffy.
  3. Place cream cheese frosting on rolls right in the pan OR invert rolls onto serving plate and then top with frosting.

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  • Sharon Williams says:

    Need your recipe for sour dough starter please.

  • Cheri Grundmann says:

    Can I put these in the fridge overnight and bake in the morning?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I tried that method and while they were still delicious, they didn’t bake up as high. So yes, it works, but not quite as beautiful.

  • Barbara Forslund says:

    Amanda! Thank you for the sourdough starter recipe! I just made the Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls and they were the very best I’ve ever made! They were light as a feather! Unbelievably good! I did not actually follow the cinnamon roll recipe, rather just the sourdough starter, flour, water, pinch of salt and a little more honey! Once baked I lightly frosted them and the pan was really beautiful! They disappeared so fast I wasn’t able to get a picture!😉 I’m definitely making more rolls and plan to keep my starter going.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      SO happy to hear it, Barbara!!

  • Lynda Lloyd says:

    Nice recipe, but you failed to include the recipe for the sourdough starter!

  • Louisette says:

    Hello from Manitoba Canada,
    I took the discard and wanted to make cinnamon buns but it didn’t rise. What could I have done wrong?

  • Amy says:

    Hello. I am excited but want to make these this weekend. I unfortunately cannot have milk. Can you substitute a dairy free milk or would i use water?

    I also don’t have a stand mixer….is this a lost cause???

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Amy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tried using dairy-free milk or water in this recipe, so I can’t say how the rolls would turn out. As for not having a stand mixer, it’s not a lost cause, but it will take a lot of elbow grease to prepare the dough. Have a great day!

  • Jessica says:

    I was looking for a recipe to use my sourdough discard and came across this and your Raspberry Sweet Roll recipe, which looks amazing! How would you recommend combining the two? To use sourdough and raspberries?

  • Michele says:

    Love your sourdough cinnamon rolls!. Next time my daughter wants me to add more cinnamon and toasted pecans. Love your recipes I’ve tried. Keep up the great work!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thank you, Michele! So glad you enjoyed them and I love those adjustments!

  • Daniela says:

    Hi! I successfully followed your sourdough starter recipe to make sourdough, only thing was I had to use the King Authur site for the measurements in grams since I am an American living overseas. I guess I could say your video on sourdough inspired me! Could you please give me the measurements of the sourdough that go in your cinnamon roll and prezel recipe in grams? I absolutely love your recipes and videos! Keep up the good job! Thank you.

  • Joan Knox says:

    I printed your sourdough Banana Bread recipe but doesn’t say if sourdough needs to be active and bubbly?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      It can be discard or fed.

  • Joan Knox says:

    Have you tried making Zucchini Bread with sourdough starter? If so I would like the recipe.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I have not.

  • Margaret says:

    I made these yesterday and they were so good! The initial dough didn’t rise too much and I let it sit out 5 hrs. But in the oven they rose nicely. I ate the leftovers this morning and I swear they were as good or better than when they came out of the oven! Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!

  • talar says:

    Do you think it would work if you put the shaped rolls overnight (maybe after letting them rise for a couple of hours) and then brought them to room temp and baked in the morning?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I tried that method and while it technically worked, they didn’t rise as high as I would have liked. But to answer your question, yes, it is possible to do that. 🙂

  • Mason says:

    These turned out to be the BEST cinnamon rolls I’ve eaten – EVER. I’m obsessed with the depth added by the sourdough. I want to play with longer fermentation times to add even more sourdoughy goodness. Making the rolls vegan was simple and successful with a few swaps for vegan alternatives (soy milk, vegan butter, vegan cream cheese).

  • Amanda says:

    Hi, thanks so much for sharing this recipe – I am really excited to use it! I was just wondering if I could use sourdough starter discard in it? Or does it have to be active starter?

    Thank you!

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Amanda! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. You can use either the sourdough starter discard or active starter for this recipe. I hope you love them! Have a great day!

  • Diane Seiferth says:

    My dough already rose in an hour and a half over the top of my bowl, should I still wait the full three hours rise time?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Nope! Best advice I ever received about baking bread (doughs) was to watch the dough, not the clock. If your is active and ready, bake away! 🙂

  • Kathy says:

    if I wanted to double this recipe would I need to double the sourdough starter as well. I have looked at different recipes and some which make 15-16 rolls use the same amount of starter as these call for. I love this recipe, I made it the other day and they were so so good that I don’t want to mess it up. but we need more!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You can always feed your discard to ensure you have enough! 🙂

  • John Tillbrook says:


    I’m a beginner to baking, but discovered sourdough and was looking for discard recipes. I tried your recipe, but the dough was so sticky it would not roll. Also it stuck to the silicone that I tried to roll on, even though it was well floured. Should I just try more flour? I did add a good 1/4 cup more that the recipe, as suggested.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Hi John! Your thought process was correct. I would add enough flour to make sure the dough is not sticky. Sourdough starters can vary in hydration, so you may have needed a bit more flour to get the drier consistency. It’s worth trying again if you have more starter available. 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    TOTAL DISASTER !! IT was like pancake batter !
    I scooped into small muffin tins .. we’ll see what happens when I bake . did not rise at all the second time !
    have had perfect success with baking loaves .

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      That may be because of the hydration level of your starter. If you run into an issue with your dough not having enough firmness, you can always add more flour. Every kitchen in every state is different and it can be helpful to choose to acclimate to your climate and circumstances.

  • Heather says:

    Have you made these with raisins and what would the amount be ?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Heather! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. No, we have not added raisins to this recipe, so I can’t say the exact amount you would need to add.

  • Sarah says:

    My starter is very active but for some reason this dough is not rising for me 🙁

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      So sorry! You can try turning your oven on to the lowest setting. Turning it off, wait about 5 minutes, then place the dough in the oven to proof. (Or if you have a proofer that works great too.)

  • Sarah says:

    Re-made these with a fed starter instead of just discard and the dough turned out perfect! We’ve since made them 3 more times!

  • Rachel says:

    My starter is very active and these cinnamon rolls were as light as air! The recipe is easy and I can see this becoming a regular part of the sourdough cycle at our house.

  • Linda Irvin says:

    These cinnamon rolls are delicious!
    Icing too. Can’t wait to make again when my daughter and her husband visit next week.

  • Nathan Pride says:

    Hello, Amanda! Thanks for the great recipe. It turned out perfect. I had started making sourdough starter this year for bread and are always looking for good uses for the discard. I shared some rolls with the neighbor who was very impressed and thought they were delicious. I did add a small squeeze of lemon juice to the frosting. I think it balanced well. Cheers!