Homemade soft cinnamon rolls have the softest dough you’ve ever tried. Pineapple juice in the dough will make these your family’s favorite, and an easy overnight recipe will make mornings a breeze.
Believe it or not, the holidays are almost here which means overnight guests and Thanksgiving and Christmas morning to prepare for, and sweet Soft Cinnamon Rolls! The ultimate comfort food for me. My mom made cinnamon rolls for all holidays and whenever we come home to visit. Everyone loves an easy homemade cinnamon roll.
However, some homemade cinnamon rolls can be dry or too sweet. I like to have a slightly sweet dough and by adding a little pineapple juice the dough will taste like Hawaiian Rolls. You can adjust the amount of filling and frosting but if you end up with an end piece, without much filling, it will still be delicious.
All you need for a pecan cinnamon roll is a dab of butter, but if you like frosting, add a cream cheese frosting which goes great with the dough and does not make them too sweet.
This cinnamon roll recipe allows you to prepare the dough the day before and once assembled, you can just place them in the refrigerator for their final rise overnight. The next morning, take them out and let them sit while your oven preheats and they are ready to bake. Your friends and family are going to love you!
Why you’ll love Hawaiian cinnamon rolls
- You won’t get a dry or hard cinnamon roll with this recipe – they are soft and so delicious!
- Pinneapple juice is a secret ingredient to keeping your dough ever so light and fluffy and just a littel sweet!
- Pecans and cream cheese frosting round out this favorite breakfast or brunch food without being too sweet!
- This is a great recipe to make overnight so when you wake up with guests for the holidays, it’s easy peasy.
What you’ll need
- Active dry yeast – help that bread achieve its best self
- Pineapple juice – sometimes, it’s hard to find small bottles of pineapple juice. If you can find the little cans, they have a long expiration date and you only need 2 cans.
- Filling – raisins, pecans or any nuts or you can leave them both out and just do a sugar and cinnamon filling.
- Spice mix – cinnamon, nutmeg, salt
- Cream cheese – if you love frosting, this is a must
- Sugar, dark brown sugar, powdered sugar, flour, butter, eggs, honey, milk, vanilla
How do you make soft cinnamon rolls
Dissolve the yeast in some water and add a bit of honey to it. If it doesn’t get foamy, then throw it out and try again. Your water was either too hot or your yeast is dead.
Add the yeast to the bowl of an electric mixer and add eggs, melted butter, pineapple juice and sugar. Once combined, add flour and beat until it comes together, then change to the dough hook and knead until it’s smooth.
Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Roll out and brush with butter then add the filling of pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add raisins if you want.
Roll jelly roll style, and slice using a serrated knife.
Place in a baking pan and cover. Either refrigerate until ready to bake or let rise for about an hour. If you have refrigerated, take out of refrigerator and let sit on the counter for about 15 minutes until the oven has preheated. Bake and eat warm.
TIPS for making yeast dough
- Make sure the yeast is activated by adding a bit of sugar or honey to the dissolved yeast, if it doesn’t foam up a bit then it’s not alive and you need to start again.
- When letting the dough rise, try placing it in a a warm microwave. To get it warm, boil some water in a glass bowl. The dough will love the steam and heat from the boiled water. Just keep the door shut and it will create a warm environment. Or turn the oven to 200º. Place the dough in the oven and turn the oven off.
- Before you roll the dough out, let it rest for a couple of minutes to make the dough more manageable.
While the overnight rise is a game changer, what is fabulous about this Hawaiian cinnamon roll recipe is the pineapple dough. It has a slightly sweeter taste from a cup of pineapple juice, which means you don’t need to use quite so much sugary filling. A couple of eggs in the dough also adds to the amazing texture. I put just enough sugar mixture inside the rolls to give them a sweet cinnamon layer throughout and of course throw in some pecans.
I’ve tried adding some crushed pineapple but we decided it wasn’t for us. We like our cinnamon rolls with nuts and maybe some raisins. Peaches and apples are pretty amazing but with this dough, I would stick to the basics. I don’t know why it took me so long to try adding pineapple juice to cinnamon rolls before now, we love it in our Hawaiian Rolls.
I tried a pineapple glaze but we all vetoed that in favor of a cream cheese frosting. The soft, slightly sweet dough is going to make this your knew favorite cinnamon roll recipe.
However, I know there are frosting lovers out there, so a cream cheese frosting is pretty magical on these.
How do you make a Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream cheese frostings are super simple to make. My formula is to add a tablespoon of butter for every ounce of cream cheese. I didn’t want this frosting too sweet so it just has a quarter cup of powdered sugar and a little vanilla and milk.
So with guests coming to your house or for Thanksgiving or Christmas morning when you don’t want to be in the kitchen, try these fabulous cinnamon rolls.
FAQs and tips
Pineapple juice is naturally sweet and helps with the process of the dough activating the yeast and helps to break down the gluten in the dough, making it a lighter bread.
Yes, you can make the dough, add the filling and place the cut cinnamon rolls in the fridge overnight. The next morning, they’ll need to rise for about 30 minutes.
To make sure that your yeast is not dead, start out with yeast that is not expired. Then, make sure the water is not too hot when added to the yeast. It should feel warm but not hot.
If eating right away, store in an airtight container and leave on the counter for a day or two. Any longer and you should freeze them. Putting them in the refrigerator will dry out the dough.
More BREAKFAST ideas
Adapted from Homemade Decadence
Soft Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
- 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast 2 packages
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup butter melted
- ⅔ cups sugar
- 6-6 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup raisins optional
- ¼ cup butter melted
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temp
- 8 tablespoons butter room temp
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoon milk
- DOUGH: Sprinkle yeast over a ½ cup of warm water in a small bowl. Add honey and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes. It should become foamy. If not throw away and start again.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook, add ¼ cup room temperature water, eggs, pineapple juice, butter and sugar. Add 6 cups flour, salt and yeast mixture. Beat on medium speed until the dough starts to come together and pull away from the bowl, about 8 minutes. Add flour if it is sticky.
- Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put in a warm place and let it rise until double in size. (I prefer to heat up water in the microwave and then place the bowl in the microwave with the hot water, the humid warm air helps it rise) It will take about 1 hour.
- FILLING: Combine the sugars, pecans, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir to combine.
- Butter the bottom and sides of two 9 x 13 metal pans, set aside, or line with parchment paper.
- When the dough has risen, place it on a floured surface and gently knead until it is no longer sticky, add more flour if needed. Cover with a towel and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle about ⅓ inch thick about 10 x 20 inches. Brush the top with melted butter. Spread the filling over the dough leaving a border around the edges. Press the filling into the dough.
- Lift up one edge and tightly roll it into a cylinder, pressing the edges to seal. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 slices. Place the slices in the buttered pans cut side up. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and either place it in a warm place to rise for one hour or refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- If refrigerated, remove and let sit on the counter for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
- FROSTING: If adding frosting, combine cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and mx with an electric mixer until combined. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and beat until smooth. Add more milk if needed.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- To store left over cinnamon rolls, put them in an airtight container and leave on the counter for a day or two. Any longer and you should freeze them. Putting them in the refrigerator will dry out the dough.
- You can make the dough ahead of time, add the filling and place the cut cinnamon rolls in the fridge overnight. The next morning, they’ll need to rise for about 30 minutes.
- Frosting is optional on these rolls – they are delicious without but easy if you enjoy a cream cheese frosting.