Croissants and cinnamon rolls combine to create this magically delicious treat!! These no knead croissant cinnamon rolls feature a lazy and easier croissant dough base filled with sticky cinnamon sugar and all lovingly topped with a gooey cream cheese frosting. They're surprisingly easy to make and truly taste just like store bought!!!
** Before I scare you off with the word "croissant" - this recipe uses an infinitely easier and quicker cheat croissant dough recipe that anyone can tackle! **
I debated for a long time whether or not to name this recipe croissinnamont rolls (and it's officially the only name I use when I talk about them in real life). But as fun as that name is, I went a little more boring and decided to call them croissant cinnamon rolls. Mainly because these aren't exactly famous and most normal people probably wouldn't know what I was talking about lol
But names aside: guys. These cinnamon rolls taste EXACTLY like Cinnabon. I'm not exaggerating and that's not a phrase I use lightly!!
I've been trying to recreate their iconic rolls since FOOOOOREVER and there was always something that wasn't quite the same. Either the icing was too cheesy, the filling was too grainy, or the dough was too soft or too dry.
So I can confidently tell you that these are the ones. The only slight difference is these taste more buttery because of the croissant dough we're using - but who would complain about that?? The bread is perfectly soft and fluffy and rich, the filling is perfectly sticky and gooey, and the icing is the perfect level of cheesiness and creaminess.
- what makes these no knead croissant cinnamon rolls the best?
- lazy girl's cheat croissant dough
- what makes this croissant dough different?
- cutting the cinnamon roll dough
- egg washing the cinnamon rolls
- how to make no knead croissant cinnamon rolls
- when to frost the rolls: hot, warm, or cold?
- no knead croissant cinnamon rolls storage
- Check out these other recipes!
- No Knead Croissant Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
what makes these no knead croissant cinnamon rolls the best?
A few days ago, I was scarfing down some Cinnabon rolls and (while looking like a goof) started studying every little nook and cranny. I noticed the dough was kind of flaky and almost felt like a hybrid between a croissant and a milk bun, the center obviously had that sticky sugar swirl and the frosting just barley had a hint of cheesy flavor to it.
Sooooo here were the features I knew these buns needed to have:
- slightly flaky, but still soft and fluffy dough
- an almost caramel like center
- a cheesy but not sickeningly cheesy frosting
And this recipe is a triple check. The croissant inspired dough adds additional flakes and bubbles that a traditional homemade cinnamon roll dough lacks. The center is perfectly gooey and not at all crystallized! And the frosting features slightly less cream cheese and more butter than other homemade cinnamon roll recipes to get a more authentic flavor. Allllll wrapped up in a no knead, no fuss package!
lazy girl's cheat croissant dough
I feel like the way I've lived my life has very well established me as an extremely lazy person, so naturally we need a lazy croissant dough to fit my lifestyle.
There are a few tweaks and special tricks to this dough which make it no knead, low effort, and faster to make when compared to classic croissants. Even the laminating is slightly different - so we only need 2 laminates to get those beautifully flakey layers.
what makes this croissant dough different?
1) Frozen butter. Instead of making a butter square for laminating within the dough, we're mixing frozen butter straight into the dough which shaves off a good 6 hours worth of waiting and work.
2) No knead. Kneading would actually RUIN the dough because it'll break up the frozen butter prematurely. So skip the work and just let the dough mingle on it's own.
3) Lamination. Traditional croissants require several rolls and folds of the dough to build those layers of butter. This dough requires 2. You could do more laminations if you wanted some added flakiness - but 2 is definitely enough!
How we achieve this is by rolling the dough out into a rectangle and then tightly rolling it up into a tube (instead of folding the dough like a letter). This creates much more layers with much less laminating needed!
cutting the cinnamon roll dough
I used to HATE cutting cinnamon rolls with floss, but I kept seeing other bakers use it, so I decided to give it another go. I personally find it easier to use a knife, but the thing that makes me lean towards using floss is that it's not as prone to squishing and smashing the rolls - which means you'll have an overall nicer final roll!
It's really up to you if you want to use a knife or floss to cut the dough, but here's what to keep in mind for either one:
- Knife: a very sharp, serrated knife is best for getting cleaner cuts. Cut the rolls in a sawing motion and avoid simply pressing down or that can flatten the dough
- floss: make sure to use flavorless / unscented floss so you don't get a minty taste on your rolls! Wiggle a long piece of floss under the log, lift the ends up and twist over the log. Pull the ends to cut through (pictured above)
egg washing the cinnamon rolls
A little out of character for your typical homemade cinnamon roll recipe, but really a lot of this recipe is out of character. The egg wash helps achieve 2 things:
1) The egg yolk adds richness and helps the top brown (like a croissant)
2) The use of slightly more heavy cream in the egg wash allows it to seep in between the nooks and create that signature sticky center (inspired by the viral trend of pouring cream into your dish!)
how to make no knead croissant cinnamon rolls
make the croissant inspired dough:
1. Slice & freeze butter. Cut the stick up into about 12 slices and freeze. It'll take about 20 to 30 minutes for the butter to freeze. Make sure it's SOLID before using!
2. Mix dry ingredients together to combine, and toss frozen butter in dry mix. Just mix to evenly coat the butter in the flour and try to avoid breaking up the butter pieces as much as you can.
3. Add milk and water, and mix together to form a shaggy dough. She's not going to look super pretty - but that's all there is to making the dough!
4. Pop the dough into the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours to proof or up to 24 hours. I personally like making the dough the night before and proofing it overnight.
laminate the dough:
1. Roll the dough out into a rough rectangle. It should be about 10x6 inches, but a little larger or smaller won't hurt. I find it's easiest to do this on a piece of parchment paper (and you'll see why in step 3!) The butter pieces are going to break up a bit now, which is totally fine.
2. Roll the dough up into a tube. Kind of like how you roll a yule log or cinnamon rolls.
3. Turn the log 90 degrees and repeat. If we were making croissants, I would say repeat it more than 2 times to get a REALLY flaky bread, but this dough is a mixture between cinnamon rolls and croissants. So laminating twice is enough!
If you feel the butter getting soft between your hands or the dough is becoming difficult to roll, simply lift the parchment paper and dough, and place onto a large cookie sheet. See why the parchment paper is handy? Cover and pop into the fridge until the butter firms up again and the dough gets a chance to relax (about 30 minutes should do).
4. After laminating, cover and place the dough in the fridge to rest again for 1 hour or up to 24. This is again to allow the butter to firm up and for the gluten to relax.
* Note: you're going to have some chunky pieces of butter in the dough - that's exactly what you want! It'll create extra flakes once it bakes up!!
make the filling:
1. Toss together sugar and cinnamon to combine.
roll, fill, shape:
1. Roll the rested dough out into a rectangle again. This time it should be about 15x10 inches large.
2. Spread butter over top. Leave a little border around the edges.
3. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
4. Roll into a tight log from the longer end.
5. Cut the ends off and cut the remaining dough into 12 rolls. You can bake the ends separately or just choose to leave them on (they'll just be slightly wonkier looking).
6. Arrange in your baking pan and proof until puffed up. They'll need about 1 to 2 hours to proof (depending on how cold your home is). The rolls should about double in size.
7. Mix together egg and heavy cream and brush over risen rolls.
8. Bake until golden brown and puffed up.
1. Mix together frosting ingredients.
2. Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes before frosting.
when to frost the rolls: hot, warm, or cold?
I found the perfect amount of time to wait before frosting the rolls is 10 minutes on the dot. That gives them enough time to cool slightly (so the frosting doesn't melt all over the place) but they'll still be warm enough to slightly melt and give you the gooiest cinnamon rolls!
no knead croissant cinnamon rolls storage
Homemade cinnamon rolls are always best served fresh and warm, but you can store them for up to 2 days at room temperature or around 5 days in the fridge.
They taste best reheated if they've been sitting out for more than 1 day. Simply pop onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 5 to 10 minutes, or until warm.
Check out these other recipes!
No Knead Croissant Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
For the croissant dough:
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled - plus more for rolling
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 & ¼ teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast *see notes for using active dry
- ¾ cup (180mL) water, room temperature
- ⅔ cup (160mL) whole milk, room temperature
For the cinnamon roll filling:
- ¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¼ cup (60mL) heavy cream
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 2 ounces (55g) full-fat cream cheese (use block cream cheese)
- ¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (130g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the croissant dough: Cut your butter into about 12 even slices. Place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until frozen solid.½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and yeast to combine.* Note: If you're not sure if your yeast is good to use, you can test if it's alive by mixing it into the water instead and letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. It should foam and bubble, otherwise the yeast is not useable.3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour,, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, 2 & ¼ teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
- Add the frozen butter to the dry ingredients and gently toss to combine. Try to keep the butter pieces as intact as you can.
- Add in your water and milk, and mix together until you have a shaggy dough. Don't knead or mix too much! It can break up the butter and create a less flaky final product.¾ cup (180mL) water,, ⅔ cup (160mL) whole milk,
- Cover the dough and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 24. The dough should puff up slightly and look a little less shaggy. I personally prefer to leave it overnight.
- Laminate the croissant dough: Take the chilled dough out of the fridge and turn onto a large floured piece of parchment paper. Stretch the dough out into a rough rectangle that's about 10x6 inches large. You can do this with your hands or a rolling pin. Add flour if it's sticking too much to your hands or rolling pin.
- Working from the 6 inch side, tightly roll the dough up into a log. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the stretching and rolling process once more. If the butter starts to feel soft or the dough starts to shrink in on itself, transfer the parchment paper and dough onto a cookie sheet and loosely cover it with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until the butter is firm again and the dough has relaxed enough to roll.
- Once the dough has been laminated twice, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- Shape the rolls: Lightly flour the chilled dough and roll into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over top leaving about a ½ inch boarder along the edges.¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter,
- In a medium bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon to combine. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the buttered dough.½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar,, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Starting from the 15 inch side, roll the dough up tightly into a tube. Cut the ends off the log, and then cut 12 equal rolls using a sharp serrated knife or unscented dental floss.
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper (for easier cleanup!) Arrange the rolls in your baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a lint free tea towel, and set aside for 1 hour or until about doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Make the eggs wash: Mix together egg yolk and heavy cream in a small bowl to combine.1 large egg yolk, ¼ cup (60mL) heavy cream
- Uncover the risen rolls and brush the tops with the egg wash. Make sure to use it all for an extra gooey center!
- Bake the rolls in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Cool the rolls for 10 minutes before frosting.
- Make the frosting: While the rolls cool slightly, combine the frosting ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk together until well combined.2 ounces (55g) full-fat cream cheese, ¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter,, 1 cup (130g) powdered sugar,, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Spread the frosting over the warm rolls. Try to avoid letting the rolls cool for more than 10 minutes or the frosting won't melt perfectly into the cracks.
- These are best served warm!