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Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

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Sourdough cinnamon rolls are probably the best way to enjoy breakfast or a cup of coffee in the afternoon. With an added boost from a slight sourdough tang, and a subtle chewy texture, these soft and buttery cinnamon rolls are worth the wait to make them!

These are all sourdough starter, with no added commercial yeast or baking powder. A great beginner sourdough recipe with sourdough discard.

white baking dish with sourdough cinnamon rolls, with three plates with cinnamon rolls beside

Cinnamon rolls by themselves are amazing. The buttery dough, the cinnamon swirl, and all the frosting.

But add in the slight tang and hint of sour that comes from a mature sourdough starter, and you have magic. The sourdough balances the sweetness of a typical cinnamon roll.

sourdough cinnamon roll on grey plate, with second roll and baking pan in the background

This sourdough cinnamon rolls recipe is made with a 100% hydration starter and has a really nice dough to work with, but if you want to try your hand at big, billowy sourdough cinnamon rolls made with a high hydration dough, try these billowy sourdough cinnamon buns.

I like this recipe because you can use your unfed sourdough discard with it, and its really easy! This is a perfect beginner sourdough baker recipe!

close up view of grey plate with sourdough cinnamon roll on it, with a second roll in the background

How to make this recipe

For the full recipe, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below. Don’t let the number of steps and the time involvement to scare you off! This recipe for sourdough starter cinnamon rolls is not hard to make and each step is broken down into small chunks.

Here is a general overview of how to make this recipe:

Baker’s Schedule:

This recipe takes a bit of time, so its important to understand how the timing will work so you can adjust your schedule. I like to think about when I want them to be done, and then work backwards to know when to start.

Day One:

  • Mixing the sponge and autolyze – 30 to 40 minutes
  • Mixing the dough and stretch and fold – 1 hour
  • Overnight bulk rise – 8 to 12 hours

Day Two:

  • Assembling the cinnamon rolls – 30 minutes
  • Final Proofing – 1 to 2 hours
  • Baking – 30 to 40 minutes

Mix the sponge.

This step is also known as an “autolyse” and helps the flour to fully hydrate, and will help to shorten the kneading time.

  1. In the large bowl of your stand mixer, combine the starter, warmed milk, maple syrup, and flour.
  2. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Mix the dough.

  1. To the bowl of your stand mixer with your sponge, add the butter, egg, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, combine the ingredients about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until you form a super soft dough.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment on your mixer and knead on low speed for about 5 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth and feel slightly bouncy and tacky to the touch. If the dough is still too sticky, add a tiny bit more flour.

Bulk Rise.

  1. Lightly oil your bowl, turn the dough over to coat, and cover it with a damp towel.
  2. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Perform 1 set of stretch and folds. Grab one side of the dough and pull and stretch it up and out of the bowl, and then fold it over to the center of the bowl.
  4. Turn the bowl 90 degrees to the right and repeat the stretch.
  5. Repeat turning the bowl and stretching until you have stretched it a total of 4 times. This helps to add air to the dough and to help develop its gluten structure. The dough should fee more soft and supple now.
  6. Cover the dough again, and allow the dough to rest, at room temperature, for 8-10 hours. It should be doubled in size. (This time is for a kitchen kept at 70 F).
collage showing steps to make sourdough cinnamon rolls

Assembling the cinnamon rolls in the morning.

  1. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the sugars and spices for the filling.
  3. Lightly flour a clean counter.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 12″ x 18″. Work gently so you don’t push out all the air from your dough. If at any point your dough starts to show resistance and isn’t easy to roll, cover it with a cloth and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before trying again.
  6. Spread the melted butter over the dough. Take it all the way to the sides. It will seem like too much, but it will work, trust me!
  7. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the melted butter, going almost all the way to the edges of the dough.
  8. Starting with a long edge of the dough closest to you, roll the dough up, tightening it with your hands as you go. Work slowly, and roll the dough as tightly into a coil as you can.
  9. Use a serrated knife to cut the coil into 12 equal rolls.
  10. Place the rolls in the bottom of the 9×13 baking pan 1″ apart.

Proofing the cinnamon rolls.

  1. Cover the pan and allow it to rest at room temperature, for about 1-2 hours, or until the dough on the rolls are nice and puffed and have almost doubled in size. (This time is based on a 70 F degree kitchen).

Baking instructions.

  1. In the morning, bring the rolls back to room temperature on the counter as you preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Bake the rolls for 30-40 minutes, or until the rolls are just starting to turn golden brown.
  3. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for about 15 minutes before frosting and enjoying.

Mix the frosting.

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the softened butter, softened cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  2. Add in the vanilla and a little of the milk. Mix to incorporate.
  3. Continue adding the milk in a small amounts until you get the desired consistency.
collage showing steps on how to assemble sourdough cinnamon rolls

What kind of starter do I need for this recipe?

These sourdough cinnamon buns use a 100% hydration sourdough starter. To make sure your starter is the right hydration rate, make sure you read “Feeding Your Sourdough Starter“.

The great thing about this recipe is you can either use sourdough discard or fully active sourdough starter. Either work fine! Make sure it has been out of the fridge for at least 1 day and has had been fed recently. Starter that has been lounging in the fridge for a week or more won’t work as well.

overhead view of white baking dish filled with sourdough cinnamon rolls

How to store sourdough cinnamon rolls

Store these cinnamon rolls, loosely covered with plastic wrap, on the counter for 3-4 days. They reheat well in the microwave if you want them to be nice and warm.

overhead view of two plates with sourdough cinnamon rolls and forks

Your sourdough starter can do so much more than make bread! Try your hand at these other sourdough starter recipes:

overhead view of white baking dish with sourdough cinnamon rolls, serving utensil on the side and white plate and two forks beside

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overhead view of one sourdough cinnamon roll on a plate with fork beside
Yield: 12 rolls

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

close up view of grey plate with sourdough cinnamon roll on it, with a second roll in the background

Sourdough cinnamon rolls are the perfect way to start your day! Sweet and doughy, with the perfect sourdough tang!

Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Sponge:

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed to 110F
  • 3 tsp good quality maple syrup
  • 1 cup flour

Dough:

  • entire sponge recipe
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Filling:

  • 6 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a few small pinches ground cloves

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Mix the sponge.

  1. This step is also known as an “autolyse” and helps the flour to fully hydrate, and will help to shorten the kneading time.
  2. In the large bowl of your stand mixer, combine the starter, warmed milk, maple syrup, and flour.
  3. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Mix the dough.

  1. To the bowl of your stand mixer with your sponge, add the butter, egg, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, combine the ingredients about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until you form a super soft dough.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment on your mixer and knead on low speed for about 5 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth and feel slightly bouncy and tacky to the touch. If the dough is still too sticky, add a tiny bit more flour.

Bulk Rise.

  1. Lightly oil your bowl, turn the dough over to coat, and cover it with a damp towel.
  2. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Perform 1 set of stretch and folds. Grab one side of the dough and pull and stretch it up and out of the bowl, and then fold it over to the center of the bowl.
  4. Turn the bowl 90 degrees to the right and repeat the stretch.
  5. Repeat turning the bowl and stretching until you have stretched it a total of 4 times. This helps to add air to the dough and to help develop its gluten structure. The dough should fee more soft and supple now.
  6. Cover the dough again, and allow the dough to rest, at room temperature, for 8-10 hours. It should be doubled in size. (This time is for a kitchen kept at 70 F).

Assembling the cinnamon rolls in the morning.

  1. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the sugars and spices for the filling.
  3. Lightly flour a clean counter.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 12″ x 18″. Work gently so you don’t push out all the air from your dough. If at any point your dough starts to show resistance and isn’t easy to roll, cover it with a cloth and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before trying again.
  6. Spread the melted butter over the dough. Take it all the way to the sides. It will seem like too much, but it will work, trust me!
  7. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the melted butter, going almost all the way to the edges of the dough.
  8. Starting with a long edge of the dough closest to you, roll the dough up, tightening it with your hands as you go. Work slowly, and roll the dough as tightly into a coil as you can.
  9. Use a serrated knife to cut the coil into 12 equal rolls.
  10. Place the rolls in the bottom of the 9×13 baking pan 1″ apart.

Proofing

  1. Cover the pan and allow it to rest at room temperature, for about 1-2 hours, or until the dough on the rolls are nice and puffed and have almost doubled in size. (This time is based on a 70 F degree kitchen).

Baking instructions.

  1. In the morning, bring the rolls back to room temperature on the counter as you preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Bake the rolls for 30-40 minutes, or until the rolls are just starting to turn golden brown.
  3. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for about 15 minutes before frosting and enjoying.

Mix the frosting.

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the softened butter, softened cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  2. Add in the vanilla and a little of the milk. Mix to incorporate.
  3. Continue adding the milk in a small amounts until you get the desired consistency.

Notes

Store these cinnamon rolls, loosely covered with plastic wrap, on the counter for 3-4 days. They reheat well in the microwave if you want them to be nice and warm.

The temperature of your house will affect how long this recpe takes. The times listed are for a house kept at 70 F. If your house is colder, this recipe could take longer for the sourodugh yeast to do its thing. If your house is warmer, this recipe could take less time. Adjust accordingly.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 112mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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