Nothing signals the holidays like eggnog. These Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls use the popular spiced drink in the dough, the cream bath and the creamy frosting.
Introducing the last cinnamon roll of the year: The Ones with Eggnog.
This eggnog cinnamon roll recipe has come about in stages over the past several years. As I happened to have leftover eggnog sitting around, I used it in this sweet dough…or as the pour over cream bath or even the frosting at different times, but never all at once.
But for you we’ve pulled out all the stops and given you a triple eggnog punch. You’ll find in eggnog in the dough, as the cream bath and in the frosting. Plus, you’ll find hints of nutmeg, the classic spice that is paired with eggnog.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- eggnog flavored throughout the whole cinnamon roll
- easy-to-work-with sweet yeast dough
- ooey gooey cinnamon roll centers
- smooth spiced cream cheese frosting
What does eggnog taste like?
Eggnog is a thick, creamy, milk-like drink that you can buy in the store during the holidays. Or you can make eggnog at home. But what does this weird drink taste like?
I’ll be honest…I’m not a huge fan of eggnog flavor. Many store bought brands have a strong bubblegum flavor to me. However, homemade eggnog is much better. It is sweet and should have a flavor like a melted custard. Make sure that you find eggnog that you love before making these rolls. Because that flavor will be infused throughout the rolls.
Tips for Making Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls
- I like to use Red Star Platinum yeast which is an instant yeast. This means you don’t have to let the yeast “proof”. If you don’t use instant yeast, be sure to allow the yeast to proof in the warm milk until it is frothy. This will take an extra 5 minutes or so.
- Be sure that your milk is warm to activate the yeast, but not too hot so that it kills the yeast (about 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit). You’ll also want to warm the butter so it is soft and mixes in easily. We LOVE our Thermoworks ThermaPen to quickly test meat temperatures. This probe thermometer is AMAZING. Get it here.
- Bring the eggs to room temperature also by placing them in a glass of warm water before adding them to the mix. If the ingredients are not cold, they’ll help the yeast to do what it needs to do quickly and give a beautiful rise to your cinnamon rolls.
- To mix the dough, use a stand mixer, bread machine on the dough setting or mix by hand. We usually use our bread machine but our second choice is the stand mixer.
- The dough will be tacky and soft. It shouldn’t completely stick all over your hands, but if you touch it should feel tacky and not dry and floury. Don’t be tempted to keep adding flour! Bread flour absorbs liquid more quickly so you may need a touch more flour if you use all purpose flour.
- After you’ve rolled the dough, spread the cinnamon filling on top and roll-up jelly-roll style. Cut into as many rolls as you’d like. For this recipe we did 8 rolls for a 9×13 pan. If you need to feed a bigger crowd, make 15 rolls in a 10×15 baking pan.
- Add heavy cream to the cinnamon buns before baking. THIS is the secret ingredient and what makes the rolls rich and gooey. You can use half and half or whole milk, but we don’t recommend any less fat milk than whole milk.
- The baking time will vary based on how big the rolls are, what type of pan, how close the rolls are packed, etc. They could take up to 25-30 minutes. Check the rolls at 20 minutes. If they are getting too browned, cover loosely with foil for the remaining baking time.
- Add the icing while the rolls are warm and allow it to soak in, or if you’d like a pretty frosted look, spread the cream cheese icing on when the rolls are at room temperature. Some readers have added half right away and saved the rest of the frosting until the rolls are cooled. This adds to the gooeyness!
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
We often make the eggnog cinnamon rolls and get them to the point of the second rise (when they are rolled out, cut up and put in the pan). Cover and refrigerate until morning.
The morning you want to bake them, pull them out of the refrigerator. They may have doubled in size in the fridge overnight. If they have, let them sit for 30 minutes to get the chill off, then bake. If they did not rise in the fridge overnight, allow them to rise at room temperature. Plan about at least an hour for this. Then pour on the cream and let them bake as the recipe suggests.
Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough:
- 1 cup warm eggnog about 115 degrees F**
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast I like Red Star Platinum Baking Yeast
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup salted butter very soft, almost melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 cups bread flour (540 grams
For the Filling:
- 3/4 cup salted butter melted
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar firmly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
For Topping the Unbaked Rolls:
- 1/2 cup eggnog for pouring over the risen rolls
For the Glaze:
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup salted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons eggnog
- Pour the warm eggnog in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast overtop.
- Add the eggs, butter, salt and sugar.
- Add 4 cups of flour and mix using the beater blade just until the ingredients are barely combined. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes so the flour has time to soak up the liquids.
- Scrape the dough off the beater blade and remove it. Attach the dough hook.
- Beat the dough on medium speed for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. **The dough will be tacky and will still be sticking to the sides of the bowl slightly. That's ok! If it is too sticky, add up to 1/2 more cup of flour as you knead the dough. Just add a small amount at a time. Don't be tempted to add too much flour or it will make the rolls dry. The dough should be slightly sticky.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.
- Use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place it in the greased large bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a towel or wax paper.
- Set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until not quite double. I like to turn on the oven to the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes. Then turn off the oven and place the dough to rise in there. It normally takes about 30-60 minutes for the dough to rise but the time can vary based on weather and even altitude. Do not allow the dough to rise too much or your cinnamon rolls will be airy.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon, mixing until well combined. Set aside.
- Sprinkle a pastry mat generously with flour. Turn out the dough onto the pastry mat and sprinkle the top of the dough with a light dusting of additional flour.
- Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about a 20×10″ rectangle. (the size of the rectangle can vary…it does not have to be exact!)
- Use a rubber spatula to smooth the filling over the whole dough rectangle.
- Starting on the long end, roll the dough up tightly jelly roll style.
- Cut into 8 slices and place in a greased 9×13″ baking pan.*
- Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Warm the eggnog until the chill is off. Don’t make it hot…you just don’t want it cold. It should be warm to the touch.
- Once the rolls have risen, pour the heavy cream over the top of the rolls, allowing it to soak down in and around the rolls.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Check the roll after about 20 minutes of baking. If they look like they are getting too browned, place a piece of foil over the top of the pan for the remainder of the time. **Note…the time will vary based on how big the rolls are, what type of pan, how close the rolls are packed, etc. To see if they are done, lightly pull up on the edge of the cinnamon roll in the center. If it looks cooked and not too doughy, it is done.**
- While the rolls are cooling, prepare the frosting.
- In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer. Blend well.
- Add in your favorite extract and the powdered sugar. Beat until combined.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls.
- Store in an airtight container.
- **Note…we only cut 8 rolls which means they are large and high calorie. You can cut them smaller and make as many as you’d like so that they are less calories.
- *The Calorie count shows the amount with ALL of the frosting used. There will be less calories in the rolls if you don’t use all of the frosting at once.
- **Different yeast calls for slightly different proofing methods. We follow Red Star Platinum’s temperature guidelines. Please check your yeast packet to see what temperature the milk should be at.
- *The calories shown are based on the recipe making 8 rolls, with 1 serving being 1 frosted roll. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**