Filed under: Breads / Rolls
November 1, 2021

Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls

Super super soft and gooey cinnamon rolls made with sour cream and a hint of nutmeg! These sour cream cinnamon rolls are reminiscent of an old fashioned donut (minus the fried bits). The sour cream does crazy things for this dough, makes it so incredibly tender once baked. 

5 from 16 votes
Yield: 12 large rolls
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Super super soft and gooey cinnamon rolls made with sour cream. The sour cream does crazy things for this dough, makes it so incredibly tender once baked. 


sour cream cinnamon rolls

Make these sour cream cinnamon rolls ASAP

Honestly the best word I can use to describe these is: SMOOSHIEST ROLLS. Because they are so unbelievably soft and gooey and all I want to do is smoosh my face into them (and eat them. All of them!) 

My daughters have this book, Pandas Eat Pickles, and I was reading it to my youngest one evening and noticed that the ‘donut’ and ‘cinnamon roll’ illustrations were on the same page. I stared at them for a moment and my brain went: “MAKE DONUT CINNAMON ROLLS! With sour cream! And nutmeg! It’ll be like an old fashioned donut cinnamon roll!”

So I did! And they were so good! A few weeks later I made them again and loved them even more, I think I also proved them better the second time, and they were even… smooshier. The hint of nutmeg makes these smell like Christmas and reminds you of a donut but what you have really is just a crazy awesome cinnamon roll. Don’t skip that icing! 


Ingredients for Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls 

  • Bread Flour: A flour that’s got a higher protein content, so at least 11% will yield a chewier bread. If you can’t find it, use all purpose but get one with a higher protein content. 
  • Water: this is to cook the flour in for the roux, or tangzhong. 
  • Sour Cream: Full fat! No substitutes here, this is the ingredient that’s going to give our dough that ‘smooshiness’ (I promise I’ll stop using that word… someday). 
  • Canola Oil: Use any flavorless oil, vegetable, avocado or grapeseed. Don’t use olive. 
  • Sugar: This is for the dough, fine granulated. 
  • Milk: Partly to make the roux, partly to dissolve the yeast.  Full or 2%. 
  • Yeast: fast acting or instant yeast. If you use active dry add ¼ teaspoon more. I dissolve both types of yeast in milk before adding to the dough. 
  • Butter: we’re going to brown it but you don’t have to. Melted is fine. 
  • Brown Sugar: For our filling, light or dark is fine. 
  • Cinnamon & Nutmeg: I like a lot of cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. Spice how you like yours! 
  • Powdered sugar: I use organic powdered sugar made with tapioca starch, it tastes better! 
  • Food coloring or raspberry juice: If you want to color the icing. If you want to go natural, squeeze some thawed frozen raspberries through a sieve to get ‘raspberry juice’ and add that to the glaze. 
  • Heavy cream: I love using heavy cream in my glazes because it makes them thick and lush. You can use milk if you like. 
  • Sprinkles: well these aren’t a must but they add so much charm! 

How to make Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls 

  1. We are going to give these rolls the milk bread treatment (tangzhong – read more about this method here) and cook some of the flour with flour and water to gelatinize the starches. It’s a quick roux. 
  2. Get all the dough ingredients into a bowl and knead the dough for about 20 minutes.
  3. A first rise: at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. Make the filling while the dough is rising. 
  4. Make the filling: melt the butter & stir in the rest of the ingredients. 
  5. Roll the dough out, spread filling, roll it up into a log and slice. 
  6. A second rise then bake. 
  7. Once they are cool, make the glaze & ‘frost’. 


FAQ Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls 

Can I make the dough the same day as opposed to an overnight rest? 

Yes, this can be done from start to finish on the same day. Judge your dough by how it looks and feels to know when it’s done rising. 

Can I make the dough fully the night before? 

Yes, make the dough, do a first rise, shape, then set them in the fridge overnight. The next morning let them come to room temperature and then ensure they have risen enough (press your finger into the dough, if it leaves an indentation and doesn’t spring back immediately it’s ready).

How to get the perfect glaze consistency? 

To get a thick glaze add the heavy cream or milk sparingly; add a tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you want. 

How to store these sour cream cinnamon rolls? 

Once baked and glazed these can be stored at room temperature. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. 


Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls Recipe 


Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls

The softest, fluffiest cinnamon rolls ever - made with sour cream.
sour cream cinnamon rolls
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 12 large rolls
5 from 16 votes



  • cup bread flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup water

Sour Cream Dough

  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ cup full fat sour cream 125g
  • 4 cups bread flour 500g
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil 55g
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 100g


  • ½ cup butter 113g
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar 200g
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • 1 ¼ cups organic powdered sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream


  • Make the tangzhong: in a small pot, whisk together the bread flour, water and milk. Cook on medium whisking frequently until the mix turns into a thick paste, about 5 minutes.
  • In a cup or small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and stir to help it dissolve. Let it set for a few minutes.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the yeast mixture, the tangzhong and the remaining dough ingredients. Knead on medium speed for about 20 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set it in the fridge to rise overnight or on the counter for a couple of hours until it has doubled in size.
  • Make the filling and shape the rolls:
  • Place the butter in a frying pan and cook on medium heat. It will melt, then sizzle and sputter. Once it goes quiet transfer it to a heatproof bowl making sure to scrape in the brown specks. Mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and set the mix aside to cool.
  • Grease and line a 13×9 cake pan with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the dough (straight from the fridge) onto a well floured surface to about the size of a half cookie sheet (18×13 inches). Spread the filling onto the dough and roll it up into a log from the shorter side. Using unwaxed dental floss, slice the log into 12 rolls and arrange them in the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a tea towel and let them rise until they are puffy and when you press them, the dough doesn’t immediately spring back (about an hour, more if your kitchen is cold).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the rolls for 30 minutes, until they are slightly browned.
  • When the rolls are cool, make the glaze: whisk together the powdered sugar, heavy cream (use more if the glaze is too thick), pink gel food coloring (or substitute raspberry juice), salt and vanilla. Spread over the rolls and top with sprinkles. Sprinkles not optional.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    These are a soft and pillowy DREAM. I made the dough as directed but then my creativity got the better of me and for the filling I instead whipped together a batch of homemade cranberry/orange jam and smeared it across the rolled out dough. I reserved about 2 tbsp of the jam mixture to add to the frosting later for some extra color and flavor. On top of the jam I added a sprinkling of brown sugar and a light dusting of cinnamon before rolling them up, cutting into 12 rolls, and arranging in a 13×9. I let them rise overnight in the fridge, took out in the morning, and baked. Since the cranberry jam was so moist, they did end up taking a little longer in the oven. Once out of the oven, I whipped up the glaze but added 1 or 2 oz of softened cream cheese and the 2 tbsp of reserved cranberry jam. Smeared it all over the rolls, and Voila! They were amazingly soft and fluffy, and the cranberry added a delicious tartness. Also, the red/pink color was so lovely that they would be the ideal Valentine’s Day breakfast.

  2. 5 stars
    These are beyond delicious! I prepped them in the evening, put the shaped rolls in the fridge overnight, covered with saran wrap, then took them out the next morning and let them come to room temp for about an hour then baked them as directed.

  3. Can you make these and then refrigerate after shaping and cutting to where you basically can pull them out of the fridge and bake?


  4. 5 stars
    These are excellent! Super easy to make and recipe is easy to follow. I made them late afternoon and rolled them later in the night and left them in the fridge. Took them out first thing in the morning to proof and bake. Think maybe they over proofed but didn’t seem to affect the flavor! Super excellent!

  5. 5 stars
    Made these for Christmas morning for the gluten free crowd (subbed in a GF baking blend 1 for 1). I was initially skeptical because they weren’t much to look at when they came out of the oven (you know…no gluten structure), but they tasted amazing. Such a hit with a picky crowd.

    • Hello, can you share what gluten-free flour you use for these cinnamon rolls? I am gluten-free and I’ve been trying to find a successful recipe to use.

  6. 5 stars
    I tried these cinnamon buns for my Christmas Eve day celebration… I’ve made many cinnamon bun recipes in the past and these are by far the best… they are soft and fluffy and delicious. Days later the tiny bit that was left was still good! I made them completely and put in the fridge overnight and cooked in the morning. I can’t comment on the glaze because I did my traditional cream cheese glaze. I will definitely be making these again… would like to try the pink glaze with a few jimmies… my granddaughter will go crazy!

  7. 5 stars
    THE best cinnamon rolls I’ve made! So delicious and perfect for Christmas morning. Recipe was very clear and easy to follow!

  8. 5 stars
    these were so unbelievably delicious. the dough came together beautifully and i was able to knead it by hand fairly easily. i added a little orange zest to the filling and about 2 oz mascarpone to the frosting (plus a little extra cream) and i don’t regret it a bit. made our christmas morning extra special!

  9. 5 stars
    If you aren’t making these cinnamon rolls, I really don’t know what to say lol. Hands down some of the best ones I’ve ever made. And will continue to make. Your recipes never fail!!

  10. 5 stars
    Absolutely DIVINE!!! Made these for a wintry morning and shared with various groups. Each person came back with the same feedback, “these are the BEST”, “they are so soft”, “the texture is great!”. Even those that don’t typically enjoy cinnamon rolls were coming back. This truly was an easy baking method overall (even with the stovetop portion). I made the dough early afternoon, rolled out the cinnamon rolls at night, proofed overnight in the fridge, and baked in the morning. Best way to wake up. We were impatient and put the glaze on right when they came out so they went almost like a cinnamon/sticky bun cross-over. Also, if you don’t have nutmeg, I subbed cardamom instead as we are big cardamom fans. Another great recipe, Sam!

  11. I’m anxious to try this recipe for my annual Christmas brunch! Question – how big are these?

    Also, how versatile is this recipe in terms of fillings. Could I use this for, say, a jam based filling?

    • You sure can use a jam filling – might want to put something in there to thicken it (sometimes jam fillings fall to the bottom when the rolls bake). These are big – I got about 12 in a 13×9″ pan but you can always make them smaller, just roll the dough out into a longer, thinner log.

    • I baked half the batch right away and they were the fluffier, pillowiest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted. I froze the rest and when I tried to bake them off this morning, they didn’t rise at all. I pulled them from the freezer last night and proofed them at room temperature for 2.5 hours. What went wrong?

  12. 5 stars
    We made these cinnamon rolls today…and wow!!! Just speechless! I’ve been baking for nearly 40 years and I’ve never made a better roll! EVER!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! It’s everything you said and more!! This is a keeper for my family!!??