Food & Swine

Champion Cinnamon Rolls

Champion Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls could be considered my ‘best recipe’.  They were the first contest I’d ever entered and the first contest I’d ever won ($500).  Lucky me, I guess.  This recipe has been adjusted a bit, I like a larger batch of dough to knead and this makes 12 very large cinnamon rolls. They are ultra soft, perfectly tender, sweet rolls.

I hope you know that I truly don’t measure much in my kitchen.  I just create doughs until they ‘feel right’ etc.  I tried measuring and this is what I’ve come up with for you. I should tell you this recipe does require plenty of time, patience and a little luck to pull them off perfectly, with tall tops, perfect texture and balance of richness.  Practice making them will alleviate any of the hiccups, trust me.  (Plus who can resist a great sweet roll?)

Champion Cinnamon Rolls

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it is truly the one in my recipe box that I never wanted to share and wanted to keep a secret.  Although… the best foods in life are the ones that are shared.  I hope you make these for your kids, grandchildren, or anyone that you want to have a special moment with.  Enjoy!

There are many tips and tricks to making perfect cinnamon rolls… my suggestion is jump in and practice and if you have questions feel free to email me at  I’ll reply promptly with an answer to any question you have.

Foamy yeast after it has ‘proofed’.


Mashed potatoes are helpful in creating the proper texture in these rolls.


Expert egg cracker.


Salt in bread baking is so important.  Don’t forget it… measure it in your palm, you’ll remember this way.


Making buttermilk… or ‘sour milk’ as it is also called.  Mixing milk with vinegar. Regular milk is fine too.


Whisking away on the wet ingredients.


After the wet ingredients are mixed, flour is added and dough comes together.  Lightly dust work area with flour.

Flurries… not a blizzard.


Kneading the prepared dough. Push out, pull back, turn. Repeat.  Great kneading technique is the key to great bread.  By this I mean hand kneading.


Ready to let the dough have it’s first rise.


After the dough rises…


We de-gas to remove the air from the dough.


Then we roll out and fill.


After butter and cinnamon sugar mixture is in, we roll up ‘jellyroll style’ and pinch seam to seal.


Make slices with unflavored dental floss.


After their final rise, ready to bake.


The finished product.



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Champion Frosted Cinnamon Rolls

Cristen’s Blue Ribbon Cinnamon Rolls
Servings: 12 Giant Cinnamon Rolls
Author: Cristen


Dough Ingredients

  • 2 packets 4 ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 C warm water 110 degrees
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk warmed to 110 degrees
  • 8 TBSP Butter room temperature
  • eggs at room temperature lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup smooth mashed potatoes
  • 7-8 cups all purpose flour

Filling Ingredients

  • 8 TBSP Butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • Dash of salt

Vanilla Icing Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 3-4 TBSP milk
  • Pinch of salt


Dough Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, proof yeast with warm water and honey in a small bowl until creamy.
  • To large mixing bowl with yeast mixture add milk, butter, eggs, sugar, salt and potatoes.
  • Whisk well until combined. Add flour, mixing with each 1 cup addition. Stir well until dough comes together.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, by hand, until smooth and elastic.
  • Place in greased bowl, flip dough over so both sides are well greased then cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until double. (60-75 minutes)
  • Punch dough down to degas.  Let rest for 10 minutes, covered.

Filling Instructions

  • Mix in a small bowl: brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt. Set aside to use once dough is rolled out.

Vanilla Icing Instructions

  • Whisk ingredients until smooth, add milk or more powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. Set aside until rolls are out of the oven and cooled 15 minutes. *Double frosting batch if desired.


  • On a lightly greased surface roll dough into 12x24 inch rectangle.
  • Spread butter evenly over dough.  Sprinkle filling evenly over butter. (Leave 1” unfilled at end of roll so it seals easily after rolling up.
  • Roll up long end to long end.  Pinch seam at the end of the roll.
  • Score the dough in 2 inch increments.  Slide unflavored dental floss under roll.  Bring up ends of floss and criss cross at the center and pull quickly, slicing through the dough.
  • Place 6 slices each, cut side up in 2 well buttered 9x13”cake pans.
  • Rolls should not be touching at this point.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. (60-75 minutes) *Towards end of second rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake the rolls in a 350 degree oven for 28-32 minutes until their internal temperature registers 190 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.  Do not let the roll tops overbrown.  Tent with foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking if necessary.
  • Remove rolls from oven.  Let rest 30 minutes then drizzle with icing. Serve warm.


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  • Reply sophiebowns July 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm


  • Reply ceil slings September 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I think I need to become a taste tester for you!

  • Reply Sandy Miller September 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Have you ever formed the rolls and put them in the ref. overnight, take them out of frig in am and let them set out an hour and then bake? Or would it be better to bake and reheat the next day and then frost?

    I have a new email!

    Sandy Miller

  • Reply Sandy Miller March 24, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Could I cut the recipe in half?

  • Reply Laura Jennings September 26, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Please explain “mashed potatoes.” Are you saying just mash up some potatoes or full blown mashed potatoes complete with milk & butter?

    • Reply Cristen October 5, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Hi Laura! Any type of potato works, I like Russet best because it is starchy and fluffy. Mash a plain potato up or use mashed potatoes that are leftover. The point of the exercise in adding the potato is more about the starch disrupting the gluten formation and yielding a more tender roll as a result. Let me know if you have more questions, I have had success adding mashed leftover baked potatoes, mashed potatoes homemade and potato flakes with water! :)

  • Reply Gail M July 25, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    I love these rolls as does my family. But I have a question about the recipe as posted in your website. When reading the Filling Instructions, it calls for adding brown sugar and sugar, yet in the ingredients above sugar is not listed for a Filling Ingredient. Should I be adding sugar to the filling or not?

    • Reply Cristen August 30, 2021 at 5:54 am

      Ahhhhh Gail, thanks for catching that! Indeed sugar was also in my initial recipe (this dang thing has been modified so many times over 10 years YIKES), I will fix that! Just brown sugar in the filling! Cristen

  • Reply Emmylin Franklin December 10, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Wanting to make these ahead for Christmas morning. Have you tried freezing them? Wondering if it would work best to bake then freeze, or freeze them raw and allow to thaw in the fridge overnight? Any suggestions?

    • Reply Cristen December 17, 2021 at 8:48 am

      I have frozen them before, but they just aren’t quite the same! There are recipes out there that work for overnight rolls! Alton Brown has one I have heard people use! If you decide to freeze and re-warm, don’t frost, be sure they are cooled before packing for the freezer. Remove as much air as possible in the bag before freezing! That will keep a fresher flavor.

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