Recipe: Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Butter Caramel

by - Friday, April 24, 2020

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.”

― Lemony Snicket, When Did You See Her Last?

A piece of cinnamon heaven!

This is my favorite cinnamon rolls recipe in the whole wide world! The Pioneer Woman never fails and I’m an absolute big fan of her recipes, creativity and lifestyle empire.

It takes a couple of days to make the softest, fluffiest cinnamon rolls and the waiting is all worth it. Aside from the standard frosting that goes into this recipe, I added  a big warm cup of David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Sauce.  The finishing touch is Fleur de Sel. This type of salt is not available locally so I picked up a big sachet of this French salt in a gourmet store while on vacation in the Maldives not long ago. It does add a special touch to a batch of Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls! The adapted recipe instruction that I used for this comes from Saving Dessert—one of my favorite baking sites. 



For the cinnamon rolls:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, separated
  • ½ teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted for greasing pans
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  •  cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • 8 ounces powdered sugar, sifted (1 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt

Salted Caramel Sauce Topping:

*Get David Lebovitz’s recipe here


To make the dough:

  1. Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a small sauce pan. Warm over medium heat just until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 95-100 F (lukewarm) on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Cool, if needed, until the milk reaches 95° to 100° F on a cooking thermometer.

  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm milk mixture and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Add 4 cups of the flour and stir until combined using dough mixer. Cover and let rise for one hour in a warm location. The mixture should be bubbly and puffed.

  3. In a small bowl or 1 cup measure, combine the remaining ½ cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together until blended. Add the flour mixture to the dough and mix until all flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight, or for a day or two, if desired. Punch down if puffed dough overflows the bowl.

To make the cinnamon rolls:

  1. Grease 2  9-inch cake pans with melted butter, set aside.
  2.  Using floured hands, and a floured rolling pin, press and roll the dough into a rectangle at least 30-inches wide and about 18 to 20-inches deep. The dough will be very thin.
  3. Brush 12 tablespoons of soft  butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the 30-inch side farthest away from you.
  4. Sprinkle ⅔ cup of sugar over the butter layer, followed by the ground cinnamon.
  5. Roll the dough into a log starting at the 30-inch side closest to you. Gently pull the dough toward you, then tuck and roll, and repeat, keeping it pretty tight as you go. Next, pinch the seams to seal.
  6. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the rolls into (30) 1-inch slices. You can use a large, thin, serrated  knife to cut the rolls. Place the rolls, cut side down, into the prepared pans.
  7. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  8. Let the rolls rise in a warm location for 30 to 40 minutes. Once risen, the unbaked rolls should be puffed and smooth. To ensure the rolls have risen properly, gently press the edge of a roll with a knuckle. If the dough does not quickly and completely fill back into the depression, the rolls are ready. Add frosting and let it sink in. Bake at 375° F until light golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Transfer the pans to a rack to cool while preparing the salted caramel frosting.

Pour glaze and let the dough absorb the liquid before baking

Let freshly baked cinnamon rolls cool before pouring the salted butter caramel frosting on top 

Sprinkle a dash of fleur de sel as finishing touch 

For more recipes, visit my food blog at Kitchen Samurai.

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