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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are made with a rich gingerbread filling and topped with cream cheese frosting. A must-have during the holiday season! |

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

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  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cinnamon rolls
  • Diet: Vegetarian


There's really nothing better than warm cinnamon rolls, and these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are no exception. The tender dough rolls around a rich gingerbread filling loaded with warm spices, and each one is frosted with a cream cheese frosting. They're a must-have on Christmas Day and would be a fantastic brunch option during the holiday season!


For the tangzhong:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons (70 grams) water
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons (70 grams) milk
  • 3 tablespoons (25 grams) all purpose flour

For the dough:

  • 4 cups + 2 tablespoons (495 gramsall purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (41 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) whole milk, warmed but not hot
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the gingerbread filling:

  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons (60 grams) molasses
  • 3/4 cup (165 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams or 4 ounces) block cream cheese, softened (1/2 block)
  • 3 cups (360 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Make the tangzhong:

  1. Add the flour, water, and milk to a small saucepan, and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat on to medium and continue whisking while it heats. Once the tangzhong has thickened (it should be thick enough that whisking leaves streaks), remove it from the heat to cool until just warm.

Prepare the dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk, eggs, butter and tangzhong to a stand mixer.
  2. Knead with the hook attachment for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be smooth but will also be very soft and slightly sticky. You can also knead by hand by transferring the dough mixture onto a clean and dry surface and kneading for 5-10 minutes until it turns into a soft and smooth dough ball.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled mixing bowl, cover with plastic cling wrap, and place into a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size (or overnight in the refrigerator).

Make the gingerbread filling:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the softened butter and molasses until smooth and combined. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice until well-combined. Set aside, as well.

Assemble the gingerbread rolls:

  1. After the dough is doubled, use your hand to punch it down.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle approximately 12x16-inches in size, with the long side facing you.
  3. Gently spread the molasses-butter across the dough, leaving a ½-inch strip bare along the top. Then sprinkle the spiced brown sugar evenly over top of the butter.
  4. From the longside (side closest to you), roll the dough up into a tight log. Use string, floss, or a sharp serrated knife to slice it into 12 even rolls.
  5. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Place the rolls into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and place back into a warm place. Allow it to rise for about 20-30 more minutes, or until doubled in size.

Bake the gingerbread rolls:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Remove the plastic cling wrap and place the risen rolls into the oven to bake in a 350F preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow the rolls to cool slightly but note that you will want to frost the rolls while they’re still warm.

Make the cream cheese frosting:

  1. Add all of the cream cheese frosting ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and beat together using a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. (You can also mix together using a whisk and spatula).
  2. Spread the cream cheese frosting onto the rolls while they’re still very warm. Serve immediately.


How to store: Store leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

How to reheat: The easiest way to reheat a cinnamon roll is to microwave it for about 30 seconds. Be careful to microwave for too long as it can harden the dough and cause the cream cheese frosting to melt.

How to freeze: You can easily freeze the baked cinnamon rolls for later, but store the frosting separately. After thawing and reheating the rolls, spoon on the icing right before serving.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American