I love cinnamon rolls—and I don’t just mean eating them. I also love making them. There’s something so satisfying about whipping up a simple, sweet yeasted dough and baking it up with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Then there’s the whole roll and slice thing, which still amazes me every time. But as much as I love the process, it’s a long one and I’m always short on time. In fact, it’s been years since I’ve made cinnamon rolls more than once a year (they are a Christmas morning traditional)—until now, thanks to this new shortcut recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls.
Using pizza dough in place of homemade makes home baked cinnamon rolls possible nearly whenever, even if you don’t enjoy baking as much as I do in the first place. This recipe is ridiculously easy and a great way to get kids in the kitchen since there’s no wait time for the dough to rise. You just top, roll, cut, and bake. And then, of course, eat.
The first step to making these is—get ready—buy pizza dough. You’re not looking for a pizza crust, but rather a round of white flour pizza dough. If it’s frozen, thaw it first. I find that pizza dough is easiest to work with at room temperature, so let it sit out for a few minutes if you have the time.
Preheat the oven to 375 and, in the meantime, on a floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough. Ideally, you want to make a 12″ x 15″ rectangle, though because pizza dough is so elastic, getting exact measurements may be hard. As long as your rectangle is approximately this size, you’ll be fine.
Then, slather softened butter all over the surface of the dough. Mmm.
On top of the butter, sprinkle a healthy amount of cinnamon sugar. I also add some lemon zest, because why not.
It’s already time to roll. (See how easy this is!) Starting at the long end closest to you, roll the dough tightly into a log. Then, cut the log into twelve pieces to get a dozen cinnamon rolls. Just keep in mind that, if your rectangle was small, you might get as few as nine rolls. That’s okay! Nine thicker rolls is better than twelve thin ones, so don’t cut the log into pieces any smaller than 1 – 1 1/2″.
Place the cinnamon rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a well greased muffin pan (one cinnamon roll per well!) and bake for 12 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t get too golden brown. Because pizza dough is more dense than regular sweet roll dough, you want these to be slightly undercooked in the center so that they will have that soft, pillowy cinnamon roll texture.
These are great plain, but you can also make a quick icing by whisking together confectioners sugar and a little bit of milk or water. Allow the rolls to cool and, when just warm, drizzle with icing and serve.
Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 9-12 rolls
1 round (about 1 lb) pizza dough
4 tablespoons softened butter, plus more for greasing pan (if using a muffin tin)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Zest of 1/2 a lemon (optional)
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk of choice, you can substitute water
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease a muffin tin with butter. In the meantime, on a lightly floured work surface, roll the pizza dough into an approximately 12″ x 15″ rectangle.
2. Using a butter knife, evenly spread the softened butter over the surface of the rolled dough.
3. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Evenly spread the mixture over the butter and, if using, sprinkle with lemon zest.
4. Starting at the long edge closest to you, roll the dough tightly into a log. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 1 to 1 1/2″ pieces. Place the pieces, cut side up, on the prepped pan or one in each well of the muffin tin. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the outside is just starting to turn golden brown. Remember: These are better when slightly undercooked. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the icing.
4. To make the icing, whisk together confectioners and milk, adding the milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over just warm rolls and serve.