These Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls are made with half white whole wheat flour, a cinnamon sugar filling and cream cheese frosting. You will not believe how light and fluffy these rolls bake up!
Saturday Mornings sometimes require a special breakfast. A fresh batch of these Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls gets everyone up and ready for the day.
I wanted to make my kids something special for weekend breakfasts but I wanted it to be a little bit heartier and healthier, the result are these Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls. They are made with half whole wheat flour which adds fiber and protein.
The filling is a blend of brown and granulated sugars. We like to eat them plain without any frosting, but I’ve included a recipe for a cream cheese frosting if you prefer. They are delicious with or without frosting.
You can make these by hand or in your stand mixer. I make them in my stand mixer because it is easier to incorporate the butter. These take a bit of work and planning to make, but like most good things in life the reward is worth the effort.
This cinnamon roll recipe uses basic pantry ingredients that you likely already have at home.
- Milk – I tested using 2% and whole milk.
- Yeast - I used Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast. I also really like baking with Platinum Yeast from Red Star.
- Granulated Sugar
- White Whole-Wheat Flour – I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour which has a 12.2% protein content.
- All-Purpose Flour – I used Central Market Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.
- Eggs – Two eggs.
- Butter – Unsalted butter. This is used in the dough, filling and cream cheese icing.
- Brown Sugar – To be used in the cinnamon roll filling.
What kind of flour to use
This recipe uses a combination of white whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.
White Whole Wheat Flour has a milder flavor and lighter color than whole wheat flour while still providing the nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour. I love to bake with it because recipes turn out very similar taste wise, but it adds just that little bit extra nutrition. It has a slightly higher protein content than AP flour which is a good thing for yeast dough recipes such as these cinnamon rolls.
Equipment needed to make homemade cinnamon rolls
Making cinnamon rolls from scratch is a labor of love. You can make them with just a bowl and wooden spoon, but the following equipment will make the task of preparing the dough much faster and easier.
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook Attachment – You can mix these up by hand but a stand mixer with a dough hook will make speedy work of it.
- Silicone Baking Mat – I like to roll my dough out on a large pastry mat, it is marked with measurements too. This also helps with clean up!
- Rolling Pin
- Tea Towels – You can use plastic wrap or a light tea towel to cover the dough while it rises
- Baking Sheet or Pan – I have made these in a 9 X 13 inch cake pan and also a cookie dough sheet.
Tips on making whole grain cinnamon rolls
- Make sure the yeast is active. The milk and yeast mixture should be foamy after 5 minutes. If it is not, discard and start over.
- Don’t add too much flour to the dough. The cinnamon roll dough should be sticky. Add one tablespoon of flour at a time if it is sticking to the bottom of the bowl too much. If you add too much flour, the rolls will be heavy. Remember when you roll out the dough it will absorb some of flour then too.
- You can cut off about ½" off the ends of the dough log, so the rolls will be a more even thickness.
How to make these into overnight cinnamon rolls
After you roll, cut the dough and place on your desired baking sheet, cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, remove the rolls from the fridge and let them sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Prepare frosting if desired and frost once slightly cooled.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup Milk warmed to about 100 -110F degrees
- 1 packet active yeast 2 ¼ tsp.
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups White Whole-Wheat Flour
- 2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour plus more as needed, divided use
- ½ cup Butter softened and cut into tablespoons
- 5 tablespoons Butter softened
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz. Cream Cheese softened
- ¼ c. Butter softened
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Milk
Making the Dough
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine warmed milk, yeast and sugar. Stir and let the mixture rest for five minutes until it becomes bubbly.
- Stir in eggs, salt, and whole-wheat flour.
- Alternate adding the butter and two cups of all-purpose flour, mixing after each addition. Attach dough hook on stand mixer, and mix dough on low speed. Add remaining ½ cup of flour, two tablespoons at a time, until dough is sticky but pulls away from sides. Total mixing time will be approximately 8 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a large lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1.5 – 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
Rolling out the Dough
- Once the dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough.
- Filling: In a small bowl whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle oven the dough evenly.
- Starting with the long side of the dough, tightly roll up the dough end to end. Press the seam together to seal. Using a serrated knife or floss, cut the rolled-up dough into 12 rolls. Place cut rolls on a 9 X 13 inch baking pan, leaving a little space between each roll. Cover and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Bake cinnamon rolls at 350℉ for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 190°F.
- Remove rolls from oven and let cool slightly. If desired, top the rolls with cream cheese frosting before serving.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached. Spread prepared cream cheese frosting over slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.
Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from Wood and Spoon Blog.
You will not believe how light and fluffy these rolls bake up! If you don’t tell anyone they probably wouldn’t even know that they have a little bit healthy twist.
I hope you enjoy these cinnamon rolls as much as my family does!
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