Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Who doesn’t love a hot, gooey, sticky cinnamon roll?  Who also doesn’t have 24 hours of forethought and planning to make them happen from scratch?  Sorry, Alton, but prepping dough overnight and waking up before the rooster in order to have breakfast feels a little … well, prehistoric, to me.  As a result, I’ve been relatively obsessed with the idea of cinnamon roll muffins for awhile now.  The thought of cramming all that gooey cinnamon goodness into a neat little muffin cup (and cutting out the hours of preparation … and painful waiting!!) was almost too much to handle.

cinnamon roll muffins

I finally narrowed my search down to two different recipes.  One recipe was invented by Nicole over at Baking Bites and adapted into muffin form by the always delightful Joy the Baker.  This version uses a yeasted dough that only calls for minimal rising time (if I can wait 15 minutes, you can wait 15 minutes).  You just scoop the dough into muffin pans and press the cinnamon sugar filling in with your fingers.  The other recipe doesn’t use a yeasted dough and instead uses a fairly basic muffin dough that can be rolled out, filled with the good stuff, cut into two inch pieces and baked in a muffin pan.

cinnamon roll muffin dough

Lately my rolling pin has been calling to me.  Literally calling to me from the back of the kitchen drawer!  Perhaps it’s because we are so far removed from the holiday cookie and pie season that it’s feeling unloved.  Anyway, I couldn’t decide between the two recipes so I figured I would try them out in a side-by-side taste test extravaganza!  It was like a Bobby Flay Throwndown against myself!  (Of course, I totally won.)

cinnamon roll muffins

The yeasted cinnamon roll muffins clearly had the advantage when it came to taste and flavor.  The yeast made them sweet, light and slightly tangy.  The rolled version was more dense and bread-like, but you get the benefit of the beautifully rolled, classic cinnamon roll presentation.  Truth be told, if I were to make these again, I’d probably take my rolling pin out just to remind it that it was loved but make the yeasted rolls instead!  Besides, once you drizzle enough icing on top, you can hardly tell that they are less than beautiful.  But I suggest you try these for yourself and figure out which one you like better.  Come back and let me know what you think.  I’ll be right here waiting.

yeasted cinnamon roll muffins

Hurry up, I’m  still waiting!


Easy (Yeasted) Cinnamon Roll Muffins


For the Dough:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (roughly 100-110F)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

For the Filling/Topping:
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom

For the Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream


- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.
- Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups and let rest for 15 minutes.
- While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly.
- Sprinkle filling evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)
- Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
- Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.
- Serve warm!!! Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

Adapted From Joy the Baker and Baking Bites

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25 Responses to “Cinnamon Roll Muffins”

  1. 1
    Erin — March 22, 2009 5:39 pm

    These look fabulous! I will definitely have to make them!

  2. 2
    Foodess — March 22, 2009 7:12 pm

    They both look amazing!! I’m definitely going to try the yeasted one asap!

  3. 3
    finsmom — March 22, 2009 8:54 pm

    These are gorgeous! How to decide????
    Thanks for sharing :)

    • kate replied: — March 22nd, 2009 9:18 pm

      Finsmom — No need to decide, just do what I did and make both!! They will disappear, trust me.

  4. 4
    Melynda — March 22, 2009 9:44 pm

    These I will try!

  5. 5
    vincent — March 23, 2009 1:20 pm


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  6. 6
    pannybear — March 25, 2009 12:49 am

    Wow……..these look so awesome! I think I’ll try the no-roll version this weekend. I’m going to use the whole wheat pastry flour I found. :o )

  7. 7
    bonnie — March 28, 2009 11:03 pm

    Love the Cinnamon Rolls! What gorgeous photos! Keep the great recipes coming!Terrific blog too!!!

  8. 8
    Rebecca — March 29, 2009 11:02 am

    I tried making the yeast ones, but I think I overfilled the muffin pans a bit because they all overflowed.It looks like a goopy mess in my oven right now. Woops! I definitely want to try these again. How much did you fill your muffin pans? Half way?

    • kate replied: — March 29th, 2009 11:19 am

      Rebecca — I think I filled them only about half way. Mine puffed up but didn’t actually end up overflowing. Make sure that you are starting them in a cold oven, that will allow them to rise a bit before actually starting to bake.

  9. 9
    Brooke — April 21, 2009 11:59 am

    I don’t understand part of your instructions on the yeast rolls, you say pour into prepared pan and then 2 steps later say divide batter into muffin cups. What do you pour into what prepared pan on the first instruction?

    • kate replied: — April 21st, 2009 4:43 pm

      Brooke — Oops! This recipe was a mix of two different versions, one of which was made in a large baking pan. You should go ahead and divide the batter into the muffin pans right away. I fixed the recipe instructions so it should make sense now! Thanks for letting me know!!

  10. 10
    Val — May 14, 2009 8:16 pm

    Oh yeah, I tried Joy’s recipe for Valentine’s day and they were devine! My kids have been asking for them ever since. :) Thanks for the show down though, I was wondering if there was a way to do the more classic presentation. I think I’ll just stick with Joy’s.


  11. 11
    Naglaa — July 14, 2009 12:11 pm

    what a delish recipe. This is the first recipe to view in your blog, and it made me view all the other :) … but I have 2 question as I want to make it right away :D
    1) Is it a must to use egg ? As I do not like taste of eggs appears in it.

    Thanks you sooooooooo much for the whole entire recipes :)

    • kate replied: — July 14th, 2009 4:01 pm

      Naglaa – I haven’t tried either recipe without eggs (or with an egg substitute) so I can’t say how it would turn out. Eggs generally act as a binder in baked goods so I’m not sure that it would bake properly if you left them out. I know that some people with egg allergies will substitute applesauce or mashed bananas in place of the eggs. I’ve not tried any substitutions with these recipes so I’m not sure how they would work. If you just don’t like the taste of the egg, I say that I couldn’t taste the egg at all. Let me know if you try any substitutions and how they work out. :-)

  12. 12
    Allison — July 24, 2009 10:26 am

    The yeast recipe is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I am about to make them right now for a week-long family vacation with 13 people. I wonder how long they will last…

  13. 13
    Jess — January 31, 2010 4:32 am

    Hey :)
    Im doing these for my food tech final!
    So I hope there as good as they look!
    I really wanted to do Cinnamon scrolls, but obviously dont have the time. So the muffins are perfect :) thankyou so much!

  14. 14
    jennyjen — April 2, 2010 1:24 am

    I love the icing beautifully drizzled over them! These look so yummy! :)

  15. 15

    Kate, This was the recipe that drew me to your blog in the first place! I made the “swirl” cinnamon roll muffins the other day, and they were incredible! You can see the picture of mine on my blog, The Comfort of Cooking. I’m also having a silicone muffin pan giveaway there, starting today – You should enter!

  16. 16
    Megan — October 5, 2010 9:35 pm

    Hey Kate!

    I made them both in a two day bake-off with myself (I won too!) and you’re right about the yeast rolls being better. The others looked really beautiful, but the flavor of the yeast rolls was so much better, and the amount of effort was a lot less! Also, someone mentioned that their muffin cups overflowed – I’m obsessed with the fillings so I over stuffed both sets and mine too overflowed. However, it was mostly just the brown sugar filling mixture that spilled out so it was more than okay. I didn’t take any pictures of them for my own personal blog (bad Megan!) but I’ll be sure to mention you on there! Thanks for the great recipe!

    Now on to Peanut Butter & Cream Cheese crepes…

    Love the blog! M

  17. 17
    Holly — October 12, 2010 8:49 am

    I tried making the rolled non-yeast ones last night. I wish I had tried the yeast ones instead! They came out very tough, and I didn’t knead the dough too long, followed the directions exactly. It wasn’t a muffin-y texture, more like bread that you reheated in the microwave too long..very tough. Won’t try that again! :(

  18. 18
    Sydni — May 10, 2011 8:34 am

    I made the first recipe but it did not turn out right at all and I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. The only things I did differently were I left out the salt and I used Lactaid milk instead of regular milk. Could either of these cause it to turn out wrong? They didn’t rise at all and they just tasted wrong.

  19. 19
    Janel — August 28, 2011 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the awesome recipe! I made the yeast recipe last night, however it tastes a little too yeasty to me. Do you think all 4 tsp of yeast is neccessary? Also, for the people who had issues with the muffins overflowing, i used both cupcake liners and home made parchment liners (from 5″ cut squares) the parchment was absolutely amazing! held all of the batter intact, and carmelized around the edges(perfect!) the cupcake liners were a disaster…

  20. 20
    R.Anne — February 13, 2012 2:15 pm

    I made these muffins today and I divided the batter into 12 muffin cups as instructed but they really didn’t “rise” all that much. I think if you fill the muffin tins at least 1/2 way (which to make 12 muffins I think you’d have to double the recipe) in order to make them bigger. Your thoughts?

  21. 21
    Stephanie — November 29, 2012 12:42 am

    AH! I read this post soooo long ago, printed it, and lost it! I am so happy I found your “Throwdown” cinnamon roll muffins again. (Who doesn’t love comparison posts?!?) Anyhoo… the yeasted version can be frozen, don’t you think?? How long are they good for once baked, would you say?

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