01/10/2014 01:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Cinnamon Buns From Scratch

It all started with a Facebook post from a friend sharing the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Buns recipe. (Yes, Laurie, it's all your fault!) I've wanted to make cinnamon buns for ages, but now I was downright obsessed. I studied the Pioneer Woman's recipe and it looked yummy, but it made seven pans of buns and had a few ingredients (like coffee) that I thought my kids wouldn't appreciate. I also thought, amateur kitchen scientist that I am, that using whole wheat for half of the flour would help compensate for all the butter the recipe called for.

Then came a snow day! This was my big chance to make cinnamon buns my way. And I did. And they are YUM! Even made with whole wheat flour, they are light, fluffy, and delightful. Plus, whole wheat flour looks kind of like cinnamon, anyway. I asked my 16-year-old if she could tell I'd used whole wheat flour, and her answer was a surprised no. Success!

I wouldn't call this recipe easy, but it's not hard either. It's really more about timing than anything--using an iPhone as a kitchen timer was especially useful for this recipe. But luckily, it wasn't too time-consuming in the end; I started these after breakfast, and they were ready before lunch!

OK, here goes:

Cinnamon Buns from Scratch


  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used organic canola)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package active dried yeast
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour + 1/3 cup white flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Rolled-in Topping:
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Loads of cinnamon (I probably used 2 to 3 Tablespoons)
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

1. Put the first three ingredients into a pan on the stove (I used a Le Crueset Dutch Oven) and heat until just about boiling. Turn off the heat, cover, and wait 45 minutes.

2. Add yeast. Give it a minute or two to "activate."

3. Add the flour (less the 1/3 cup white flour). Stir it into the liquid, cover, and wait an hour.

4. After an hour, add the 1/3 cup white flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. At this point, the mixture is still in the pan. Mix it up gently and then transfer it to a well-floured counter surface, then press it out into a large, long rectangle. Spread melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon over the surface of the dough as the topping you'll roll into the dough.

6. Gently roll up the dough (I used a pizza scraper to help it along) and slice it up into rounds, then place in two round and buttered pie pans. Let sit for 30 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and start making the glaze (this is the best part--the whole point of eating cinnamon buns!). Mix it all up with a whisk.

8. Bake for 16 minutes. Add the glaze. Enjoy!

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