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apple cinnamon rolls with icing in a oval baking dish

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

This twist on classic cinnamon rolls includes an autumnal favorite: baked apples which naturally complement the cinnamon sugar filling in this recipe.
Course bread, Breakfast, sweets
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, cinnamon, cinnamon rolls, icing, rolls, sweet rolls
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 9


For the dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the apple filling:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus additional for buttering the pan
  • ¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1 pound chopped peeled and diced apples (I use a combination of Granny Smith and Gala)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk


For the dough:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and heat so it’s warm but not simmering (110ºF/ 43ºC). Add the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar, whisking to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the milk mixture and the egg and mix on low until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the melted butter and continue to mix on low speed until a dough ball forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough is still sticky, sprinkle it lightly with additional flour.
  • Lightly grease a large bowl with the vegetable spray and add the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1½ to 2 hours. Punch down the dough, then use or refrigerate overnight (this works best if you want the rolls for breakfast).
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out into a 16-inch x10-inch rectangle that is about ¼-inch thick, squaring off the edges as you work.

For the apple filling:

  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Add 2 tablespoons of the dark brown sugar and stir until the sugar has melted. Add the apples and stir to combine. Cook until the apples become soft and any liquid they release evaporates, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Melt the remaining butter in another bowl.
  • Brush the surface of the dough with half of the butter then spread the cinnamon sugar mixture in an even layer, leaving a 1” line down one of the long sides furthest from you. Add the apples over the top, patting them down to ensure they stick. Drizzle with the remaining butter.
  • Starting with the end closest to you of the long side of the dough, roll the dough up into a tight coil. Cut the log into 9 even slices, about 1¾” thick. This can be done with a knife or using cooking twine.
  • Butter a 3½-quart baking dish and arrange the dough coils in the dish. At this point the rolls can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
  • Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until the dough has risen again, about 1 hour (it may take longer if the dough was refrigerated overnight).
  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Bake until the rolls are golden brown and fluffy, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

For the glaze:

  • In a small bowl stir together the sugar, vanilla and milk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth.

For serving:

  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled buns and serve warm or at room temperature.