These gingerbread cinnamon rolls are soft, ultra gooey, filled with an easy gingerbread filling, and topped with a classic cream cheese frosting. They have molasses and spices to make them taste like real gingerbread! The dough is an easy, no knead dough that comes together without an electric mixer! They're the perfect cinnamon rolls for a holiday celebration and the recipe includes a make ahead option so you can prep them the night before.
I've updated this recipe to make the rolls even fluffier and more delicious! Enjoy them with this quick and easy gingerbread latte.
- ☃️ Why you'll LOVE this recipe
- 📝 Key ingredients
- 👩🍳 How to make gingerbread cinnamon rolls
- ✔️ Expert cinnamon roll tips
- 🥄 Storing leftover cinnamon rolls
- 😴 How to make overnight cinnamon rolls
- 🎅 How to make dessert taste like gingerbread
- 🍞 The trick to making ultra gooey cinnamon rolls
- 🧁 Classic cream cheese frosting
- 🎁 How to decorate Christmas cinnamon rolls
- 📖 Recipe FAQs
- 🎄 More related recipes:
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
☃️ Why you'll LOVE this recipe
- Filling: The gingerbread filling is so flavorful and makes the rolls extra gooey.
- Gooey: Pouring on heavy cream right before baking makes these rolls fluffy and gooey. No dry rolls here!
- Easy: The no knead dough is so easy to put together - just stir everything together and let it rise (about 45 mins) and you're ready to roll.
- Festive: They're the perfect cinnamon rolls for a holiday brunch or to bring to your next Christmas get together.
📝 Key ingredients
Read through for all the tips you will need for success!
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below.
- Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg: Choose spices that haven't been sitting for too long so that you get the best flavor. Store them in an airtight container to help keep them fresh and flavorful for longer!
- Molasses: Dark molasses is my favorite to use here. I wouldn't use blackstrap molasses because it's more bitter and will overpower the rolls. You should make these gingerbread cupcakes with any extra molasses you may have!
- Yeast: I prefer to use a traditional activated dry yeast but you can use the same amount of instant yeast. Mix the instant yeast right into the flour, no knead to dissolve it beforehand.
- Heavy whipping cream: Use a heavy or whipping cream (about 35%) for pouring over the rolls. This steams the rolls and combines with the filling to create the most gooey rolls ever.
- Butter: Have the butter very soft for the dough and the filling so that it's much easier to incorporate. Use a good quality real butter for best results.
- Cream cheese: Use full fat cream cheese. Lower fat cream cheese will make a watery frosting that just won't taste that good.
- All purpose flour: Weigh the flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup.
👩🍳 How to make gingerbread cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls step by step
Step 1: Combine warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Stir until yeast dissolves. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so that a foam starts to form on top. If a foam doesn’t form in 10 minutes, discard and try again with another packet of yeast.
Step 2: In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and stir. Make a well in the middle and add the molasses, butter, eggs, vanilla, milk, and yeast mixture.
Mix until a dough forms. Cover the bowl with a dish cloth and place in a warm place (see notes) to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
While it rises: Butter a 9” by 12” baking pan while it rises and mix all of the filling ingredients together.
Step 3: Punch down the risen dough and give it a few folds to combine until smooth. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface.
Step 4: Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread the filling evenly on top of the dough.
Step 5: Roll into a log, starting at the bottom long edge. Mark the roll into 12 equal pieces.
Step 6: Using a piece of string or unflavored floss, wrap the string around the log and pull to cut. Arrange each roll into the baking pan. Let rise until doubled in size in a warm place, about 30 minutes.
Step 7: While the rolls rise, preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Pour the heavy cream evenly over the rolls.
Step 8: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top. Let the rolls cool inside the pan – make the frosting in the meantime.
Cream cheese frosting step by step
Step 1: Beat the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer or with electric hand beaters until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and chunks of cream cheese in a few additions, beating very well in between. It should be fluffy.
Step 2: Spread the frosting on top of the rolls while they are still warm so that the frosting melts into the rolls. Serve warm!
✔️ Expert cinnamon roll tips
- Dissolve the yeast in a separate bowl: By double checking whether or not the yeast is active, this helps prevent rolls that don't rise. If the yeast doesn't foam up, try a different batch or packet of yeast.
- Measure the flour properly: For best results use a kitchen scale! If you don't have a scale on hand, be sure to fluff the flour with a spoon before gently adding it into the measuring cup and scraping off the excess without packing it in.
- Don't over knead the dough: You only need to mix it up until it's combined! No need for kneading for a long time.
- Use unflavored floss or cotton string to cut the rolls: The dough is soft, and this helps ensure that you get an even and clean cut roll.
- Don't skip rising the dough: This is essential in creating fluffy rolls. It allows the flour to hydrate, and for the yeast to create pockets of gas that will rise the dough. The rolls come out dense if the dough doesn't get a chance to properly rise.
🥄 Storing leftover cinnamon rolls
These baked gingerbread cinnamon rolls can be stored in an aairtight container or wrapped tightly in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
I highly recommend heating the leftover rolls up again before enjoying them. This makes them extra soft and they'll taste as if they were freshly baked!
Store baked and wrapped rolls in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Heat up before eating so that they become soft and gooey again.
😴 How to make overnight cinnamon rolls
To make your life even easier, I’ve included an overnight option for these gingerbread cinnamon rolls:
Prepare the rolls the night before and stop before letting the assembled rolls rise (the second rise). Wrap baking tray tightly to cover and immediately place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.
Once you're ready to bake them, take the tray with rolls out of the fridge and remove the covering. Let them come to room temperature, and rise to fill out any gaps in the pan (if needed).
Pour cream on top of the rolls before baking and bake according to the rest of the instructions.
🎅 How to make dessert taste like gingerbread
I’ve made this recipe a couple of times to really get that gingerbread flavor to pop. The filling has lots of spices and a touch of molasses to really get that flavor across. I tried it without the molasses and they tasted like spiced cinnamon rolls - delicious but not enough like gingerbread.
There’s also a touch of molasses in the dough - it helps to add that deep classic flavor without being overwhelming. I used dark molasses and found that it worked the best! It's also the most common type of molasses you can find.
Lastly, don't use expired spices! They lose flavor the longer they sit. Store any opened spices in airtight containers to preserve their flavor for longer.
🍞 The trick to making ultra gooey cinnamon rolls
My favorite way to make gooey gingerbread cinnamon rolls is to pour a bit of heavy whipping cream over the rolls right before baking. The cream gently steams the rolls in the oven and combines with the filling to make ooey gooey sticky bottoms. They are never dry and stay fluffy for days thanks to the cream!
The addition of molasses into the filling also helps make an extra gooey, scrumptious filling. I've made it without the molasses and it's definitely better with. The molasses combined with the spices really makes the gingerbread flavor pop.
🧁 Classic cream cheese frosting
I top these gingerbread cinnamon rolls with a classic cream cheese frosting that I use for all of my rolls. You just can't go wrong with it! When you just make it, it's very thick and fluffy. If you prefer a thick frosting over your rolls, then you want to frost them when they're completely cool at room temperature.
I prefer a cream cheese frosting that is a little more melty and seeps into the crevices. To get this, frost the rolls while they're still warm. You can pop the rolls into the oven for a few minutes to help the frosting melt until you get the consistency you prefer.
🎁 How to decorate Christmas cinnamon rolls
If you're bringing these rolls to a Christmas brunch party - deck them out! Top them with holiday sprinkles, crushed candy canes (or peppermints), and mini gingerbread men.
Use this soft gingerbread cookie recipe to make the cutest gingerbread men! They don't spread in the oven and make the perfect dessert topper.
Expert Tip: If decorating with sprinkles, put them on right before serving because the sprinkles will bleed and it will look messy after it sits.
📖 Recipe FAQs
The best type of molasses for baking is dark molasses because it has the perfect level of richness and flavor. Blackstrap molasses can also be used for baking but I don't prefer it because it is a little too dark and bitter for me.
The dough is going to be very sticky and a little bit wet as soon as you mix all of the ingredients together. It will look more like a dough after it rests and rises as the flour absorbs more liquid. If it looks too sticky and runny (like a pancake batter and not a dough), then add a little more flour to make it resemble a dough.
I don't recommend leaving out the molasses because it is really essential it giving the rolls a rich gingerbread flavor and helping the filling turn out extra gooey.
I recommend using all of the spices listed for the most authentic gingerbread flavor. If you don't have all of the spices, you can make use what you have - the gingerbread flavor might be a bit more subtle and not as deep.
🎄 More related recipes:
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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls [No Knead]
- 9" by 12" baking tray
- ½ cup water warm
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast 7g or 2 ¼teaspoons
- 5 cups all purpose flour 600g
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons molasses unsulphured, and not blackstrap
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk warm
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup unsalted butter very soft but not melted
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon ground
- 2 teaspoons ginger ground
- ½ teaspoon cloves ground
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg ground
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- Combine warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Stir until yeast dissolves. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so that a foam starts to form on top. If a foam doesn’t form in 10 minutes, discard and try again with a different packet of yeast.½ cup water, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 packet active dry yeast
- In a large bowl combine sifted flour, salt, and stir. Make a well in the middle and add the molasses, brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, milk, and yeast mixture.5 cups all purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons molasses, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¾ cup unsalted butter, 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, ½ cup milk
- Mix until a cohesive dough forms. Cover the bowl with a dish cloth and place in a warm place (see notes) to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Have the butter very soft, almost melted, to blend easier. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside to use later.½ cup unsalted butter, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons molasses, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger, ½ teaspoon cloves, ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Butter a 9” by 12” baking pan with a bit of cold butter and set aside.
- Punch down the dough and transfer onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 18” by 24”. Spread the filling evenly on top of the dough.
- Roll into a log, starting at the bottom long edge. Mark the roll into 12 equal pieces.
- Using a piece of string or unflavored floss, wrap the string around the log and pull to cut. Arrange each roll into the baking pan.
- Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C) while you let the rolls rise until the cinnamon rolls puff up and fill out the pan some more.
- Pour the heavy cream evenly over the rolls. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top. Let cool inside the pan – make the frosting while it cools.½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Beat the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer or with electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.½ cup unsalted butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add vanilla extract and chunks of cream cheese into the butter in a few additions, beating very well in between. It should be fluffy.1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 4 oz cream cheese
- Spread on top of the rolls while they are still warm so that the frosting melts into the rolls a little bit. Serve warm!
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water and a bit of sugar first
- Measure the flour properly
- Don't over knead the dough
- Use unflavored floss or cotton string to cut the rolls
- Don't skip rising the dough