It doesn’t get better than breads! And cinnamon rolls are basically the best breakfast bread. By adding caramel pecan to the mix you have a sweet dish to start off any special day!
How to make Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
I think I’ve established over the years that I love sweet recipes. I love cinnamon rolls and have about 8 different flavors and versions I make.
I also love caramel so it made sense to make a caramel pecan version. Now these are not for the faint of heart when it comes to sugar.
They are sweet on top of sweet on top if more sweet. The rolls, the filling, the caramel sauce, and then the cream cheese frosting!!!
Are Cinnamon Rolls breakfast food?
Maybe they started out that way, they also started out non-frosted!!! I mean I serve them for breakfast on special occasions but usually, I’d consider them a treat or dessert. A dessert I eat for breakfast but certainly not healthy…
Now October 4th is Cinnamon Roll Day AND my youngest birthday so clearly a breakfast food on that day.
Tips for the perfect homemade cinnamon roll
How to get fluffy cinnamon rolls (not too dense or dry)
It’s all about getting the dough right. And what it comes down to is not adding too much flour. You want enough that the dough isn’t too sticky to handle but not so much that you end up with dry cinnamon rolls.
The biggest tip is don’t add all the flour at once. How much flour you need will be different depending on the humidity, weather and altitude of where you live.
So when adding the flour add half the flour first, mix until the dough is smooth and slowly add more flour 1/2 C at a time until the dough starts to pull away and clean the sides.
That’s when you stop adding flour and just knead. Knead until the gluten relaxes and the dough is less sticky and when you stretch out a small bit it stretches vs breaks. This will keep your dough fluffy vs dense and tough.
Just take me to the cinnamon roll recipe already!
If you’d rather skip my tips and tricks for the perfect cinnamon roll, and get straight to baking this caramel pecan cinnamon goodness — scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find the printable recipe card.
How to get cinnamon rolls like Cinnabon
Cinnabon rolls are larger than most at home rolls and they have a higher swirl to dough ratio than a lot of homemade rolls. I don’t focus on making the super large rolls because they are more than even I can eat, so I focus on the heavy swirl and filling part.
The larger you roll out the dough and the thinner you roll it the more swirls you’ll have. So a smaller rectangle means less swirls, less filling and more dough heavy roll.
Also don’t skimp on the cinnamon sugar filling for that ooey gooey cinnabon result. I like my butter and sugar filling fairly thick, it means more of a mess when cutting the rolls and plating them but it also means a more gooey filling – which is a win for me.
When the recipe says let rise an hour or until doubled in size which do you go by? Time or size?
Always go by size, things like the temperature in your house, weather and altitude will affect how quick or slow your rise is. To help me I take a picture of my dough with my phone when the rise first starts for comparison.
Remember the rolls will get wider and taller. The overall volume of the dough/rolls should double in size, that won’t mean they double in both height and width though. Just use your best guess.
The difference between frosting, icing and glaze
Now the biggest decision you have to make is – what do you top your cinnamon rolls with? Or do you leave them plain?
a Glaze is a mixing of sugar and liquid (water or milk) mixed thin enough to be poured and usually translucent and is super shiny. The consistency of thin corn syrup or a thick sugar syrup. Think of a glazed donut.
Icing is a mixture of powdered sugar and liquid thicker than a glaze, thinner than a frosting and usually white. It can be poured or spread and has more shine and is smoother than a frosting.
Frosting is made with fat and sugar and is whipped thick and fluffy. It is a thick spreadable consistency, not pourable. It can be spread on the outside of cakes and used a cake filling as well.
For cinnamon rolls I use a cream, cheese frosting, yes even with all that caramel, but some of my kids prefer it without so I do half and half for my family.
Can cinnamon rolls be frozen?
Like any yeast based dough you can freeze before either rise or after they’ve been baked. My favorite for cinnamon rolls is to freeze after you you have shaped the rolls.
Place the rolls you are going to freeze about an inch apart on a parchment lined tray and freeze. Once the rolls are frozen you can take them off the tray and place in side a freezer bag.
Squeeze out the air and double bag. They will be good in the freezer for 2-3 months. (Keep an eye out for freezer burn)
When you are ready to eat them pull out however many you want to bake and place in a baking tray, cover and let thaw and rise. It will take a few hours – depending on the heat of your house.
Or you can pull them out of the freezer, place in a pan (a pan you’ve added the caramel sauce too), cover and refrigerate, they will still thaw and rise but it will take much longer – a good option for pulling them out the night before and having rolls ready in the morning.
Will cinnamon rolls rise in the fridge?
YES! A refrigerator slows down the yeast so they rise much much slower. You can make your rolls the night before you want to eat them, cover then and let them rise in the fridge overnight.
NOW depending on the temp of your fidge they might not rise quite enough or they might rise a little too much. After some tests you’ll know just how long you can keep your rolls in the fridge and have them be perfect in the morning.
If they are under risen just leave them on the counter for a little bit to warm up and rise a bit more before baking. And the next time just start them earlier the previous day.
If they are over proofed what I do is press down on them a little. There really isn’t much you can do at this point, but bake them.
Remember that a slower rise in the fridge will often cause the dough to have a more yeasty flavor, which some people prefer but some don’t.
Homemade Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Roll Recipe
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To make these cinnamon rolls you’ll need
- Active dry yeast
- Cooking spray
- A good mixer with a dough hook is easiest – I like my Bosch with this dough hook
- Baking dish
- Parchment paper
If you loved these caramel pecan cinnamon rolls, you’ll love these other breakfast recipes!
To watch me make these cinnamon rolls in a live cooking show click on the video in the recipe card below.
You can find all my cooking show style recipe videos on YouTube, or my short recipe videos on Facebook Watch, or my Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 C water warmed, between 110°f and 115°f.
- 8 Tbsp butter melted (then cooled to 110°fi-sh)
- 3/4 cup whole milk warmed
- 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 1 lrg egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 C all purpose flour
- 3/4 C light brown sugar packed
- 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 1/2 C light corn syrup
- 1/3 C butter
- 2/3 C heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 C pecans chopped
- 8 Tbsp butter softened
- 3/4 C packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 C pecans chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz full fat cream cheese softened
- 4 Tbsp butter softened
- 2 1/2 -3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- lightly stir the yeast, sugar and warm water together in the bottom of your mixing bowl
- let sit 5-10 mins (until doubled in size) to activate the yeast
- With the mixer on low add the milk, butter, sugar, egg and salt
- Add the flour 1 C at a time you want the dough to be slightly sticky – but just starting to pull away from the sides.
- Pour it into a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise, someplace warm, until doubled in size, about 60 mins.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugars, syrup, and butter
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil, about 5-8 minutes
- Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes
- Stir in whipping cream
- Pour 1 1/2 C into the bottom of a 9×13 pan, save the rest for later,
- Sprinkles pecans all over the caramel in the bottom of the pan
- Flour your counter top and pour the dough on to it, press it out into a rectangle then roll it out to about 15-26 inches or so. It will be about 1/4 inch thick and give you more swirls this way. The thinner it is the more twists.
- Cover the dough from edge to edge with the soft butter. Use it all, don't be stingy.
- Mix the sugars and cinnamon and cover it entirely, again use it all, it will be thick.
- Starting at the shorter side start rolling up along the long side.
- using non flavored floss cut into 15 pieces
- line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and place the pieces down on top of the caramel
- let rise a second time until poofy – and almost completely filling the pan – about 60 mins
- Bake at 375 for 22-25 mins
- The rolls should bounce back when you press them – take them out!
- Beat the frosting ingredients together
- Spread the frosting over the warm rolls, and drizzle with the rest of the caramel sauce and more chopped pecans