Super Soft Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll

Is it brown butter? Or browned butter? Both seem acceptable and interchangeable. I feel like browned butter is technically correct but most people seem to use just brown. Who knows. It’s brown butter in this recipe and probably browned in my next.

Some cinnamon rolls are perfect little rolls all baked up separately. Kind of like my Chai Sweet Rolls. These are not those kind of cinnamon rolls. These are messy, tear and share style. They are super soft, milk bread based, brown butter cinnamon rolls. Now, the brown butter is not in the dough itself, but honestly the brown butter cream cheese frosting is so insane it doesn’t need to be in the dough. The cinnamon rolls are great on their own as well, but the frosting honestly takes the flavor up 10 times.

The tangzhong method might sound fancy, but really you are just making a roux. Which will help your rolls keep a little longer, and stay a little softer. You don’t HAVE to do it, but I honestly urge you to. It’s super quick and makes a big impact!

We use bread flour in lieu of AP because it helps keep that softness and fluffiness but also imparts some extra chew. If you don’t have access to bread flour, you can totally use AP though. Because the frosting and the filling both have sugar, there isn’t any sugar in the dough. Sugar can also dry out dough a little bit, and create longer rising times so it’s why I skip it when making the dough. I promise, you won’t miss it!

Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Frosting

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Prep: 3 hours
Bake: 25 minutes
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes


Tangzhong Starter

  • 3 tbsp Water
  • 3 tbsp Whole milk
  • 20 g Bread Flour


  • 240 g (2 cups) Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp salt scant
  • ½ tbsp Instant yeast
  • 80 g (~¼ Cup plus 1.5 tbsp) Whole Milk lukewarm
  • 1 Large egg Room temperature
  • ½ tsp Pure vanilla extract or paste
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted butter melted
  • 1 ½ tbsp Baker's Dry Milk optional
  • All Tangzhong starter cooled


  • 75 g (~1/3 cup) Dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cinnamon
  • Sprinkle Nutmeg ¼ tsp or less

Brown Butter Frosting

  • 3 tbsp Salted butter
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese softened
  • ½ tsp Pure vanilla extract or paste
  • ¾ cup Confectioners' sugar sifted
  • 2 tbsp Heavy Cream


  • Add water, milk and flour into a small saucepan. Whisk together until homogenous and then turn on burner to low heat. Whisk mixture until it becomes like a thick paste. Whisk will leave trails showing bottom of saucepan. Remove from heat into a small bowl and let cool.
  • Combine flour, dry milk*, salt, yeast, milk, egg, vanilla, melted butter, and cooled Tangzhong starter in bowl of mixer with dough hook. Mix until ingredients have combined, then cover bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix dough on low/medium low until you have a smooth, soft dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover for 75-90 minutes to rise. Dough will puff up, but most likely not double in size completely.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and mix. Try to get out as many sugar clumps as possible. Lightly grease a 9”square or round pan.
  • Transfer dough to a work space and roll out into an 10×18" rectangle. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the dough, leaving about a ¼ inch to ½ inch border on the long sides. Starting on the long side, tightly roll dough onto itself creating a log shape. Mark the dough at 1 ½” intervals or 2” for slightly bigger rolls and then cut along your marks for consistent size rolls. I use a piece of thread, slid under the dough that is crossed over and pulled to cut each piece cleanly without compressing the dough down but a knife is also perfectly fine. Place each roll in your prepared pan. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • While the rolls are rising, place your butter in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir until butter has browned. Pour into a small bowl to cool as soon as it starts to brown as you do not want your butter to burn. Towards the end of the hour, preheat your oven to 350°F. After your rolls have risen, place them in the oven on the middle rack and bake for about 22-24 minutes. They should be just lightly golden brown.
  • While the rolls are baking, combine your soft cream cheese and cooled browned butter with vanilla in a small bowl. You can mix by hand but using a stand or hand mixer will be easier to make the cream cheese mixture more fully combined. Mix until combined and then add 1 cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar. Add 1-2 tbsp of heavy cream to frosting to get a spreadable texture. Spread the mixture on the rolls. I usually wait for 3-5 minutes so the rolls are still hot but the frosting will not instantly melt. Serve rolls while warm!


*Baker’s dry milk is an optional ingredient but will help your rolls rise and be extra soft.

These buns will just melt in your mouth and explode with flavor. I can’t wait for you try them!


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