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a wedge of cinnamon roll has been cut out of the main cinnamon roll and is sitting on a small plate in the foreground, swirls of cinnamon sugar visible on both sides.

just one (epic) cinnamon roll [small batch]

This scaled down cinnamon roll uses minimal ingredients to make one epically tasty treat.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings 1 epic cinnamon roll


the dough

  • 3 tablespoon warm milk (around 95°-100°F)
  • 5 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided (1 teaspoon with the yeast, 4 teaspoon with the dry ingredients)
  • ¾ teaspoon instant yeast (active dry or instant)
  • 175 grams All Purpose Flour (1-1½ cups. Start with 1 cup, add up to ½ cup more if needed.)
  • ½ teaspoon whole nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 egg, beaten (preferably room temperature)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter

cinnamon sugar filling

  • tablespoon brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoon butter, softened


  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tablespoon milk
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened (optional)


the dough

  • Combine warm milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Whisk and set aside 5-10 minutes until slightly foamy while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Combine flour, remaining 4 teaspoon sugar, nutmeg, and salt (if using) in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add beaten egg, melted butter, vanilla, and yeast mixture. Stir with a spatula, gradually incorporating flour from the sides of the well into the liquid center to form a shaggy dough.
  • When the dough is just starting to stick together but still has visible dry patches of flour and some floury bits in the bottom of the bowl, turn it out onto a clean countertop and knead 2-3 minutes until a cohesive, slightly tacky dough forms. After kneading, the dough might feel a little rough and sticky, but there shouldn't be any visible dry patches of flour and, while it might leave some residue on your hands, it shouldn't cling to your hands when you touch it.
    If the dough is too sticky: Dust 1 tablespoon of flour onto the countertop and knead it into the dough, repeating as needed.
    If the dough feels too dry while kneading: Knead with lightly oiled hands to incorporate moisture into the dough.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, cover, and let rise for 1 hour in an off oven with the oven light turned on, or in another warm (75-78F) spot in your house. It should rise a little bit — maybe 50-75% — but might not double in size.
    If the dough hasn't risen at least 50% in the first hour, let it sit for another hour.

cinnamon sugar filling

  • Combine brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cinnamon, and allspice in a small bowl. Set aside.


  • Punch down the dough, cover it, and return it to the bowl to rest for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the melted and softened butter.
  • Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and roll into a rectangle approximately 17"x7" and ¼" thick. Use a bench scraper to square off the dough as you roll to keep a rectangular shape.
    Dust the counter with flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking, but don't use too much or you'll end up with raw flour rolled into your cinnamon roll.
  • Arrange the dough rectangle so one of the long (17") edges is facing you. Brush off any excess flour, then generously brush the surface of the dough with melted butter all the way to the edges.
    Sprinkle about ⅔ of the brown sugar mixture onto the buttered dough, using your hands to spread it out into an even layer with no empty patches. Leave a strip about ½" wide along the top long edge of dough free of cinnamon sugar — this will help seal it shut.
  • Roll the dough into a log starting with one of the bottom corners. For a tighter roll with more layers, gently lift and stretch the dough slightly toward your body before each forward roll.
    Arrange the finished roll so the seam side is against the counter.
  • Use your rolling pin to flatten the log. Be gentle but firm — you don't want to tear the layers of dough and filling inside it. You just want to flatten it into a strip about 2" wide and ½" high.
  • Flip the strip of dough over so the seam side is facing up. Spread the softened butter over the surface and edges of the dough. Top with the remaining cinnamon-sugar filling, again using your fingers to spread it out so there's no bare spots or gaps.
  • Starting from one end of the dough, roll the the strip up into a coil and tuck the open end underneath it. Place inside a well-greased 5x5" oven-safe baking dish (with a square of parchment paper on the bottom just to be safe).
    Cover and set aside to rise for 1 hour in a warm spot (or 8-12 hours in the fridge) until slightly puffy.
  • During the last 30 minutes of rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, until the internal temp at the center registers 190°F on an instant read thermometer.
    After 15 minutes, tent with aluminum foil to prevent the top from browning too much.
  • Remove from oven and let cool in the dish on a wire rack before icing.


  • WITHOUT CREAM CHEESE: Whisk powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk together in a small bowl until a smooth icing forms. You can add more powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time or more milk ½ teaspoon at a time, whisking between additions, to adjust the consistency as needed.
  • WITH CREAM CHEESE: Whisk softened cream cheese, milk, and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 3 tablespoon at a time and whisk until a thick, smooth icing forms. Adjust the consistency as needed by adding ½ tablespoon powdered sugar or ½ teaspoon milk, whisking between additions.
  • Wait until the cinnamon roll is cool to apply icing or frosting or the heat will cause it to melt and slide off the roll.

Serve warm. Enjoy!



    • Warm milk: Ideally a temp of 95-100F. It should be lukewarm or warm, not hot.
    • If you don't have a perfectly 5x5" baking dish, a round 6-7" oven-safe ramekin or 6-7" square baking pan would also work. 
    • If your kitchen is 70F or cooler, you may find you have trouble getting the dough to rise. Put it in your off oven with the oven light on to give it a warm spot to rise. If after an hour it still hasn't grown by 50-75% or more, let it sit for another hour with the oven light on. You can also transfer it to the fridge for 8-12 hours and do a cool rise instead.
    Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let us how it was!