Homemade Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

sourdough cinnamon rolls

I will never forget the smell of my mother making us sourdough cinnamon rolls when I was a kid.

I was fortunate enough to have a mother who liked to cook when I was growing up.

Although she did go through her experimental stages which was not always pleasant for us kids.

Rice dishes with grapes and raisins, or fried daylilies comes to mind.

But we persisted as we knew we would get lots of yummy treats of cookies and cakes as well.

I do remember the batch of hard as rock doughnuts that once came out of the kitchen to our great disappointment.

But my mother was undeterred in her experimentation and more often than not we were grateful for that.

I can still smell the delightful smell of cinnamon wafting in the kitchen as my mother baked the cinnamon rolls.

I also remember my mom peeling apples to make apple pie and Iused to keep her company in the kitchen.

She would peel the apples using a knife and she would peel them with one long peel.

I would love to eat the peeling as they came of the apple being peeled.

A pretty healthy snack for a little kid now that I think about it.

I think we generally had some healthy stuff to east growing up, especially things that were homemade.

What are Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls?

sourdough cinnamon rolls

Sourdough is a dough that is made without using any added commercial yeast. 

It relies on a sourdough starter for its leavening.

Sweet rolls are a sweet bread flavored with butter cinnamon and sugar and sometimes raisins.

Once the dough is ready it is rolled out into a rectangular shape and brushed with the filling.

It is rolled and cut into rounds, baked and finally topped with a sweet frosting, sometimes with chopped nuts.

How to Make Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

sourdough cinnamon rolls

To make these you will need to have a sourdough starter and you will need to start the day before you want to eat them.

Put flour and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Add an egg, sourdough recipe starter, and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.

While the machine is running add warm milk and melted butter.

Once incorporated add the flour mixture and mix until a dough emerges.

Remove bowl and cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Change paddle attachment to dough hook and knead the dough for 15 minutes.

Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight at room temperature.

Next morning roll out dough in rectangular shape, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon filling.

Starting at the long side of the dough, roll the dough tightly to create a rolled up dough log.

Cut the log into 1½ inch rounds and place snuggly together in a 9X12 baking tray with high sides.

Set aside to allow cinnamon rolls also known as cinnamon buns to rise.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C)

Once rolls have generously risen, put them in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Make the frosting while the cinnamon rolls are in the oven, by mixing powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk.

Sourdough Starter

sourdough cinnamon rolls

For this cinnamon roll recipe you will need a sourdough starter.

Making a sourdough starter is at least a five day process, where you create the conditions for natural yeast to activate. 

Once you have a starter you will keep it in the fridge and feed it on a daily basis.

Since the yeast feeds on the flour, you will have to replenish its food supply every day. 

Some people do this twice a day, but they are usually sourdough fanatics!

Making Sourdough

Day One:

Mix a cup of whole wheat flour with half a cup of water at room temperature. 

Ideally put it into a quart size glass container, cover loosely, and leave on the counter at room temperature for 24 hour.

Day Two:

Remove all but four ounces of the starter from its container. 

Discard removed starter. 

Add one cup of unbleached all purpose flour along with half a cup of water to the 4 ounces of starter. 

Stir until all the flour is absorbed. 

Cover loosely and allow to sit at room temperature for another 24 hours.

Day Three:

You should start to see some changes to your starter in the form of little bubbles, and a very distinct aroma. 

You will see that your starter has started to stretch and grow. 

Once again weigh out 4 ounces of the starter and throw away the rest. 

Add one cup of all purpose flour and half a cup of water to the starter and mix until all the flour is absorbed. 

Cover loosely and leave at room temperature for 12 hours.

Day Four:

Time to feed twice a day. Just as before, remove all but four ounces of the starter and discard the excess. 

Add 1 cup of all purpose flour and half a cup of water to the remaining starter and mix until all the flour is absorbed. 

Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 hours. 

Remove 4 ounces of starter and discard the rest. 

Add 4 ounces of starter to 1 cup all purpose flour and half cup water and repeat the process as above. 

Leave for 12 hours.

Day Five:

Repeat the feeding as above. 

Leave for 12 hours. 

By the end of day five you should see a lot of changes to your starter with a lot of evidence of bubbling and expanding. 

Feed one more time by discarding all but 4 ounces of the starter, and adding 1 cup of flour and half a cup of water. 

Mix until all the flour is absorbed. 

Cinnamon Roll Icing

sourdough cinnamon rolls

This topping for cinnamon rolls can be made several ways.

There are icings that are made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and chopped berries.

There are some simple ones that are just milk, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla.

Or one of my favorites is to make a salted caramel and use that as frosting, with toasted pecans.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Spread

sourdough cinnamon rolls

Usually granulated sugar is used when making cinnamon roll filling.

For a variation you can use brown sugar instead which will give it a deeper flavor.

You can include roasted nuts, fruit, jam, or even Nutella spread.

Be creative, try new things as often as possible is one of my mottos.

Tips for Making Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

sourdough cinnamon rolls

The biggest tip I have to share is that you should not rush this recipe.

When working with sourdough a lot will depend on your starter and how robust it is.

This means that it can take a while for things to rise, so patience is required. 

Roll your dough up tightly so it doesn’t come apart and be loose when cut.

Don’t over-bake, you don’t want your cinnamon rolls to go hard.

sourdough cinnamon rolls

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

I will never forget the smell of my mother making us sourdough cinnamon rolls when I was a kid.
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cinnamon Rolls, Sourdough
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 281kcal


For the Dough

  • cup Milk warm
  • 2 tsp Butter melted
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Sourdough Starter fed
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • cups Flour
  • ½ tsp Salt

For the Filling

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Butter melted
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 tbsp Milk


  • Add the egg, starter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until incorporated using the paddle attachment.
  • Add melted butter to milk. With the machine running add the milk mixture.
  • Add flour and salt. Mix until a dough has formed. Remove paddle and cover bowl for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, uncover and put the bread hook in place on the mixer.
  • Knead dough using the hook attachment for 4 to six minutes. Add flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. (Although the dough should feel tacky).
  • Place dough in a buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight until dough doubles in size.
  • In the morning, pour dough out onto a floured surface and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Rollout dough and butter with 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle sugar mix over rolled out dough where it was brushed with butter.
  • Using the long side of the dough roll tightly placing the seam at the bottom of your log.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
  • Place parchment paper in a 9x12 inch dish and allow the paper to come up the sides.
  • Cut the rolled up dough into rounds and place up against each other in the pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until nicely browned.
  • While the cinnamon rolls are baking make the glaze.
  • Sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Add milk, melted butter and vanilla. Whisk together until it is nice and creamy.
  • Remove cinnamon rolls once done, let sit for ten minutes. Cover with the glaze and allow to soak in. Serve warm.



Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

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