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No-Knead, Never-Fail Cinnamon Rolls (or Dinner Rolls)

This is one of those recipes that has stood the test of time. It’s a favorite for Saturday mornings or holidays or whenever grown children are home for a visit.

My favorite part? No kneading of the dough is required.

We usually make the dough the night before and let it rise, covered, overnight in the refrigerator. In fact, I usually talk someone else into making the dough.

Then I get up early in the morning to put together the cinnamon rolls and pop them in the oven. Everyone else awakens to the heavenly aroma of bread baking and hot coffee. Ahh!

No-Knead, Never-Fail Cinnamon Rolls (or Dinner Rolls)

2 cups warm water
2 pkg. quick-rise yeast (or 4 ½ tsp.)
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup oil
1 ½ tsp. salt
6-7 cups flour

brown sugar

Dissolve yeast in water; add sugar, oil, salt and eggs. Mix well. Add flour in two or three additions. Mix flour into dough until stickiness disappears, using oiled hands to mix in the final flour in the bowl. Let rise till double. Punch down and make into rolls.

To make cinnamon rolls:
Divide dough in half. On an oiled surface, with oiled hands and an oiled rolling pin, roll out and spread the dough into a rectangle. It’s okay if the dough is a bit sticky. Spread butter on the dough liberally. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar. Roll up the long side of dough and seal the edge.

Cut a piece of sewing thread about 18” long. Holding an end in each hand, slide the thread under the roll of dough. Criss-cross the threads over the top of the dough, then pull on them like you’re tightening a knot. It will cut cleanly through the dough. For rolls or cinnamon rolls, place in a greased 9 x 13 pan (probably two) and bake in a 375-degree oven until golden brown.

Brown Sugar Icing

1 stick butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2-3 TBS milk

Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar and stir until melted and combined. Continue cooking until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add milk to make a glaze. Spoon or pour over warm cinnamon rolls.


  1. Desiringholiness says:

    Charlotte, thank you so much for this recipe!  I am really looking forward to trying it!  And I especially am grateful for the cutting trick. It occured to me that it might work with roll sausage as well.  I hate trying to cut sausage. There is just no good way to do it,
    until now…

  2. Thank you! Finally a recipe that will feed a large family! Now my question is, can I use regular yeast instead of the quick-rise?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Yes, I’ve used regular yeast, too.  That would probably work better for the overnight rise method anyway.  I’m just usually in a hurry!  🙂

  3. You know I love cinnamon buns. I can hardly wait to try your recipe. I used to use unwaxed dental floss to cut my rolls, and I totally forgot that. Thank you for resurrecting an old tip!

  4. Looks delicious.  About how long do you cook them?

    1. Anonymous says:

      It usually takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on the oven.  I can tell they’re early done when we can smell them!  If you overcook them, they’ll get hard, undercooked they’re dough-y.  Ask me how I know.  🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, we’ve been looking for a fairly easy cinnamon roll recipe for a while!

  6. bonnie schoech says:

    I tried your cinnamom rolls. So easy and delicious, I can’t wait to .make more they don’t last long.b

  7. bonnie schoech says:

    Does this recipe work well with gluten free flour?

  8. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I have been buying Rhode’s frozen cinnamon rolls (Yum!). I need something less spendy, though. I’ll be making and freezing a few batches this weekend!

  9. Hello! Thank you for the recipe! If I mix the dough the night before, I assume I don’t shape it if it is going in the fridge overnight so I can leave it in a bowl – covered with plastic wrap. Once I take it out of the fridge, must it rest to warm up? If so, how long? Do you use unsalted or regular salted butter? Thank You!

  10. Charlotte Siems says:

    Just leave it in the bowl overnight. I don’t let it warm up the next morning, I just slap it on the counter and get started. I use regular salted butter. Enjoy!

  11. I love The Great and Terrible Quest! Definite top 20 list, I think! I cry at the end, too. Also, at the end of The Cay… oh, both wonderful heart-building books!

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      I love The Cay, too! Reading aloud is one of our most favorite things to do!

  12. This sounds sooo good…how many rolls does the recipe make?

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Hmmm–I usually make a large pan (11 x 14) and two pie plates’ worth. Depends on how big you make them!

  13. Would fresh ground whole wheat flour be alright to use?

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      It would definitely change the texture. You might have to knead them, I don’t know. I have used half whole wheat before with good results.

  14. AblessedOne says:

    Hello!! I can’t thank you enough for this recipe (and everything else) — one question (although I’m about to try this right now) at the beginning when you mix, before putting your hands in, do you do it with a wooden spoon or something? and you “put your hands in,” you just finish mixing, and NO kneading right? — this is just too amazing 😀 thanks again!!! May the Lord bless you and keep you.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      I use a mixer for all of the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, using half the flour. When it starts getting too thick for the mixer I add the rest of the flour and use a big spoon to mix it the rest of the way!

      1. AblessedOne says:

        Hello my dear sister Charlotte!!! Thank you ssooooo much for your reply 🙂 since I made these right after I asked you, I did the whole thing with an oiled wooden spoon, and the last part by hand, just like you said. They came out per. fect. I actually made some “rolls” stuffed with sausage — yuuuummmm! and then with the rest of the dough I made a few small cinnamon rolls. This recipe is by far THE. BEST cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made — again, I can’t thank you enough for sharing.
        p.s. I just made my second batch this morning!! I REALLY got to start t-tappin’ now!! LOL — Blessings to you <3

  15. I want to start a new tradition for Christmas we are going to be spending the night together and having breakfast then gifts. I am not a cook recovering from cancer so everything has to be quick can not wait to try this cinnamon roll.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Grammy, these are great to “break up” the process, doing some the night before and the rest the next day! Best wishes for your healing journey!

  16. Do the rolls rise in the pans, before baking? Thank you.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Yes, just let them rise in the pan and pop them in the oven!

  17. Do you think it’d work fine if I made the rolls up (filled and cut and everything) and then let them sit in the fridge overnight? I’d love to be able to just pop the pan in the oven in the morning!

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Yes, I think so, Kelli, but don’t use quick-rise yeast because they would blow up overnight! 🙂

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