Grandma Dorothy's Cinnamon Rolls

Debra Loftin


These are the cinnamon rolls that my husband's mother used to make for the family. I recently found the recipe again after 25 years, and was anxious to see if they were still as good as I remembered. They were better! This recipe makes a lot, so make sure you have a HUGE bowl to put the dough in to let rise and enough pans to put the rolls in for baking. You'll be the hit with your family and the neighbors!


★★★★☆ 1 vote

At least 30 large cinnamon rolls
5 Hr
30 Min



  • 3 1/2 to 4 c
    warm (not hot) water
  • 2 pkg
    (7tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 c
  • 3/4 c
    vegetable oil
  • 2
    eggs (room temp. are best)
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp
    pure vanilla extract
  • 9 c
    all purpose flour (approx)

  • 3 stick
    butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 c
    sugar (*opt. can use 1 cup packed brown sugar and 2 1/2 cups white sugar)
  • ·
    **using the brown sugar will make the rolls gooey and sticky on the bottom.
  • 2 Tbsp
    cinnamon, ground (*i used costco's "ground saigon cinnamon" it has a stronger flavor)
  • 2 to 3 c
    raisins and/or chopped nuts (*optional)

  • 8 oz
    cream cheese, softenend
  • 1/2 c
    butter (1 stick)
  • 3 1/2 c
    powdered sugar

How to Make Grandma Dorothy's Cinnamon Rolls


  1. In large bowl, combine water and yeast. Mix together well, until yeast is dissolved. *Using a wire whisk at first works good.
  2. Add 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup oil~mix well. Add eggs and mix well. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla. *I used Kirkland (Costco) pure vanilla.. any good quality pure vanilla would work.
  3. Start incorporating the flour into the liquid. Start with 3 cups flour, mixing well with wire whisk. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The last few cups added, you will need to use your hand to mix the dough, working the flour into the dough from around the side of the bowl. Do this until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, and still just a little "sticky". *Don't worry if there is flour that doesn't get worked in. You can always work it in when it's time to knead it.
  4. Using large workspace, dump dough onto a generously floured counter or table. Knead the dough for approximately 10 mins, continuing to work more flour in until it is smooth and no longer sticky.
  5. Put dough into a LARGE oiled bowl, and turn over to have it oil side up. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and then towels.
  6. Place bowl in warm place for dough to rise until doubled in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours)
  7. Punch down dough into bowl. Continue to "punch" in bowl another 8 to 10 times. Recover with plastic wrap and towels and let rise a second time.
  8. Dump dough out of bowl onto floured counter, gently working flour in, just to make it easy to handle and no longer "oily". Divide dough in half, and set 1/2 aside. Using your hands, push down on the dough to remove some of the air bubbles. Now, with rolling pin, roll dough into 15x24 rectangle (approx.~it can be made bigger.
  9. After rolling dough out to preferred size, cover with softened butter all the way to edges and top, leaving a space on bottom edge of dough. Generously sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over top of butter. (*Optional... raisins and/or nuts can be added at this point)
  10. Starting at the top, roll the dough down toward you, keeping it fairly "tight". If necessary, stretch the dough on the sides to keep the sides even. Spread out the butter/cinnamon sugar mixture on the dough onto the stretched sides. Use the space of dough at the bottom to pinch the roll shut.
  11. With a sharp knife, cut the roll of dough into 2" sections. *You should get 12-18 rolls out of each roll of dough. Put rolls in greased baking pan, leaving some space to allow the rolls to rise.
  12. Place on center rack of preheated 375F oven, and bake 25-35 mins, until golden brown on the top, and pulling rolls in the center of pan slightly apart to make sure they're done and not "doughy".
  13. While rolls are baking, in large bowl, mix cream cheese and butter together until creamy, using electric mixer. Add powdered sugar, and beat until creamy. *A teaspoon or two of milk can be added at this point if you want icing to be creamier. Personally, I like leaving it nice and thick. Spread icing on rolls while they are still warm. Put 'extra' icing in container and put in the fridge for those rolls you want to have a little more icing.
  14. To store, cover pans loosely with foil.
    Place a cinnamon roll on a plate, grab a cup of coffee or a large glass of milk and enjoy!

Printable Recipe Card

About Grandma Dorothy's Cinnamon Rolls

Course/Dish: Sweet Breads
Main Ingredient: Non-Edible or Other
Regional Style: American
Other Tag: Heirloom

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