These no knead gingerbread cinnamon rolls are soft, ultra gooey, filled with an easy gingerbread filling, and topped with a classic cream cheese frosting. They are the perfect cinnamon rolls for a holiday celebration and the recipe includes a make ahead option so you can prep them the night before.
Why you will LOVE this recipe:
- Filling: The gingerbread filling is so flavourful 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.
How to get all the flavour
I’ve made this recipe a couple of times to really get that gingerbread flavour to pop. The filling has lots of spices and a touch of molasses to really get that flavour 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 as well, really helps to add that deep classic flavour 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 flavour the longer they sit. Store any opened spices in airtight containers to preserve their flavour for longer.
Yes, you can make them the night before!
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 (second rise). Wrap baking tray tightly to cover and immediately place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Once you are ready to bake them, let them come to room temperature and rise to fill out any gaps in the pan. Pour with cream and bake according to the rest of the instructions.
How to make cinnamon rolls gooey
The top tip 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. Really makes the gingerbread flavour pop too.
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 melt-ey 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.
If you're bringing these rolls to a party or want to impress everyone even more - deck them out! Top them with holiday sprinkles, crushed candy canes, and mini gingerbread men. I had some leftover dough from my dulce de leche cookie recipe so I cut out some gingerbread shapes and decorated them with reserved cream cheese frosting from the rolls.
Use this soft gingerbread cookie recipe to make the cutest gingerbread men! They won't spread in the oven and make the perfect dessert topper.
Note: If decorating with sprinkles, put them on right before serving because the sprinkles will bleed and it will look messy after it sits.
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below. But read through these for all the tips you will need for success!
Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg: Choose spices that haven't been sitting for too long so that you get the best flavour. Store them in an airtight container to help keep them fresh and flavourful for longer!
Molasses: Dark molasses is my favourite to use here. I wouldn't use blackstrap molasses because it's more bitter and will overpower the rolls.
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.
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 (35% or higher) for pouring over the rolls and the frosting. You need the fat content to make the rolls nice and gooey and for a fluffy creamy frosting.
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.
Step by step
Step 1 - Check and bloom yeast. 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 - Make dough. 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.
Step 3 - Mix and rise. 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. Butter a 9”x12” baking pan while it rises and prepare the filling.
Step 4 - Filling. Have the butter very soft Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside to use later.
Step 5 - Roll and fill. Punch down the dough and transfer onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 18” by 24”. Spread the filling on top of the dough, leaving a 1” border on the top long edge. Roll into a log, starting at the bottom long edge. Mark the roll into 12 equal pieces.
Step 6 - Cut. Using a piece of string or unflavoured 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 - Bake. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). 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.
Step 8 - Frosting. Beat the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer or with electric hand beaters until light and fluffy. Add chunks of cream cheese into the butter in a few additions, beating very well in between. It should be fluffy. Add vanilla and cream, and beat until fluffy.
Step 9 - Spread frosting on top of the rolls while they are still warm so that the frosting melts into the rolls. Serve warm!
The best type of molasses for baking is dark molasses because it has the perfect level of richness and flavour. 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 most important step to getting buttery, light, and fluffy cinnamon rolls is making sure the flour is properly measured. I use a scale to weigh the flour for the most accurate results. A cheap kitchen scale works wonders. If you don’t have a scale on hand, you can measure the flour properly using dry measuring cups. Fluff up your flour with a spoon, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level off the top with the flat edge of a knife without packing in the flour. It isn’t as accurate as using a scale but it’s the next best option.
My favourite tip however, is to handle the dough as little as possible. The less effort I put into the roll dough, the fluffier they turn out – every time!
The heavy cream poured onto the rolls before baking really make a huge difference! They turn the filling into a beautiful gooey mess and steam the dough into puffs of clouds.
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 flavour and helping the filling turn out extra gooey.
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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
- 9" by 12" baking tray
- ½ cup water warm
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast 7g
- 5 cups all purpose flour 600g
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup butter softened
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk warm
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon cinnamon ground
- 1 teaspoon ginger ground
- ¼ teaspoon cloves ground
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ground
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 oz cream cheese slightly softened for 10 minutes
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3-5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sprinkles (optional)
- 3 candy canes, crushed (optional)
- 3-5 mini gingerbread men (optional)
- 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.½ cup water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 packet active dry yeast
- Sift flour into a bowl. Add salt and stir. Make a well in the middle and add the molasses, butter, eggs, vanilla, milk, and yeast mixture. Mix until a cohesive dough forms. It's ok if it's still a little lumpy and it should be sticky.5 cups all purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ½ cup butter, 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, ½ cup milk, ½ cup molasses
- Cover the bowl with a dish cloth and place in a warm place (see notes) to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Butter a 9”x12” baking pan while it rises and prepare the filling.
- Punch down the dough and transfer onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 18” by 24”. Spread the filling on top of the dough, leaving a 1” border on the top long edge.
- Roll into a log, starting at the bottom long edge. Mark the roll into 12 equal pieces. Using a piece of string or unflavoured 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.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). 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.⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- I like to make the filling as the dough rises to save on time. 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 butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 ½ tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon cloves, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Beat the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer or with electric hand beaters until light and fluffy.½ cup butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Add chunks of cream cheese into the butter in a few additions, beating very well in between. It should be fluffy. Add vanilla and cream, and beat until fluffy.4 oz cream cheese, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 3-5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Spread on top of the rolls while they are still warm so that the frosting melts into the rolls a little bit. Top with sprinkles, crushed candy canes, and gingerbread men. Serve warm!2 tablespoons sprinkles, 3 candy canes, crushed, 3-5 mini gingerbread men
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