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Soft Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

How many times have you tried (and failed) to make a gooey soft homemade cinnamon roll? Too many to count, probably. And instead of trying again you went for a can or something frozen and that works, sure. But if you want to try again, I’ve got just the thing you need here–secret ingredient included. 

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Freezer Friendly, Make Ahead, Big Batch

A baking dish of cinnamon rolls with one removed and a spatula inside

I love these things.  They are truly soft homemade cinnamon rolls–in fact, they are so soft that I left the pan sitting out on the stove all night without any plastic wrap on them–I know–I am such a rebel.

And they were still soft in the morning. I’m a rebel or a genius, I’m not sure which. You can decide.

And speaking of genius, let’s talk about what makes this recipe so good.

Don’t pass out.

They have mashed potatoes in them, and a cup of the water you cooked them in.

Now before you start up a protest, let me tell you why this works: it’s the starch in the potatoes that helps keep things moist, not to mention that this is a very wet dough. The wetter you can keep it without adding too much flour, the better off your soft cinnamon rolls will be.

You can use leftover potatoes from dinner the night before as long as they aren’t loaded down in odd stuff like chicken broth, cheese or pepper. I have used leftover ones that had just butter and salt in them and I’ve made them plain-oh-plain just mashed straight from the pot. I couldn’t tell a difference. Try to puree your potatoes very smooth with a mixer. Cook them all the way through and avoid any big lumps. That wouldn’t be too good.

one cinnamon roll on a plate on a red napkin

If for some reason you forget to save the water from your potatoes it’s perfectly fine.  I’ve done that too, and you can just add a cup of regular water, they will be fine.

This recipe makes two 9×13 pans of rolls. It’s a HUGE recipe. If you don’t want to make that many, just cut this recipe in half or freeze the other half before their second rise and you can make them later.

For the icing, you can make something from scratch, but WHY? I use a can of cream cheese cake icing and it’s still awesome. Shortcuts where you can people.

If you’re gonna spend 3 hours making cinnamon rolls, I say make SOMETHING easy. I mean–what do you think I am?  A workaholic bread-baking, farming mom and writer?


Yeah. Gotcha.

Let’s make rolls.

Truly the softest cinnamon rolls you'll ever make or eat. They're a little labor intensive but just right for a special occasion.

Soft Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Always soft and light, these cinnamon rolls are made with mashed potatoes in the dough--but don't worry, you won't ever know it. All you'll taste is yum.
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 24 people
Author Rachel Ballard


For the dough:

  • 1 cup lump free mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup reserved potato water or plain water is fine
  • 1 cup tap water
  • 12 tablespoons butter or margarine melted and cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 envelopes yeast
  • 1/2 cup WARM water
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 1/2 cups bread flour

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk optional


  • Combine the yeast and 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl. Let rest 5 minutes.
  • Combine the potatoes, potato water, butter, sugar, salt and tap water in a very large bowl.
  • Mix well, then add eggs, yeast, and 2 cups of the flour to the potato mixture. Blend well with a wooden spoon. 
  • Add flour, 1 cup at a time until a soft dough forms and all 8 1/2 cups are incorporated. 
  • Once everything is mixed, spray with non stick spray or pat with oil and cover with plastic wrap until doubled in size--2 hours or so. 
  • Once doubled, divide dough in half and gently knead on a floured surface sprinkling with flour as you go just to keep it from sticking, about 5 to 7 minutes until the dough is smoother and more elastic.  Roll one into a 12x18 inch rectangle.
  • Mix the sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl. 
  • Spread half the butter on the dough and sprinkle on half the sugar mixture, reserving the rest for the other half of your dough. 
  • Roll from the long side and cut slices about 2 inches thick or use dental floss or string to cut slices. 
  • Place in a greased 9x13 pan.
  • Repeat with other half of dough. (You can freeze rolls at this point if you want to).
  • Cover with greased plastic wrap and rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes until doubled. You can also place the rolls in the refrigerator overnight and bake them in the morning (they will not need any more rising if you have them in the fridge overnight). 
  • Bake in 350 degree oven 30 to 35 minutes. Tent with foil halfway through if they get too dark.
  • Cool 15 minutes and the drizzle with icing.

To make the icing

  • In a large bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth with a hand mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar until incorporated. Thin with milk if the frosting is too thick. Spread over the warm cinnamon rolls so it soaks in. 


Calories: 150kcal
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

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  1. OK, I’ve made these and they are very tasty. I like the recipe, but I think baking them at 350d is too hot. They came out crispy on the outside. I personally don’t like them that way. I’ve tested my oven and it’s accurate. Next time, I’ll do 300-325d oven temp. That way, the insides of the buns will be done at 200d and the outsides will, hopefully, be soft.

    1. They shouldn’t be crispy. I bake mine in a ceramic baking dish and they don’t ever get hard on the outside. Tenting the dish with foil will also slow the browning process. The more sugar that there is in a bread, the faster they darken. –Rachel

  2. Hi Racheal,
    I make cinnamon rolls for Christmas every year. I am looking forward to try this recipe. I want to make them this weekend and freeze them for Christmas morning. What is the processes for thawing and cooking the frozen rolls.

    I enjoy watching all of your videos. God Bless!

    1. Hey Jackie,

      I don’t usually bake them from frozen but I do shape and do the second rise all night in the fridge then bake in the morning. If you wanted to freeze them, I’d shape them and freeze. Then take the pan out and cover them with greased plastic wrap and let them thaw–probably 6 or so hours on the counter. Once they are thawed but not risen, I’d put them in the fridge Christmas Eve and let them rise all night in the fridge then bake in the morning. I think that will work! –Rachel

  3. Hi Rachael
    I made these today. Everything turned out great but the bottoms were doughy. I put them on the middle rack, on 350 for 35 mins. Had to bake them longer but they were still a bit doughy.

    1. Hey Jeannie, what type of pan did you use? Metal ones may need a bit longer and it’s absolutely okay to bake them longer. All ovens cook a bit hotter or cooler than what they say they are so yours may just run a tad cooler. When in doubt, trust your own judgment and bake an extra five minutes and check them again. I use a knife to poke down in the center and make sure they are done. –Rachel

  4. 5 stars
    These are AMAZING! I just made my first batch and they turned out great! I watched Rachel’s YouTube video making these too so that helped me along the way.

  5. There was another cinnamon roll recipe on your site a while back that did not have the mashed potatoes in it. I made it and everyone loved it. Do you still have that recipe?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Sandra, I don’t delete recipes so if you’re sure it came from me, it’s still here. There’s a search bar on the top of the site you can use to look for any recipe but there are only two other cinnamon roll recipes on my site. This one, made with pizza dough: https://feastandfarm.com/worlds-easiest-cinnamon-rolls/ and this giant cinnamon roll: https://feastandfarm.com/twisted-giant-cinnamon-roll/ If it wasn’t one of those, then you must have used another site’s recipe. Thanks! Rachel

  6. Hey, American expat here and wanted to try these but just realized there are no metric system measurements. Not sure how sensitive the dough is if I just convert online to grams/milliliters and round up to make the recipe easier. Anya device before I go destroy a bunch of dough? Thanks!!

    1. Hey Tia–yeah this particular recipe has never been converted to grams. I’d say use the standard Google conversions and see how it does.I do most of my breads in grams these days but this one is older and I just haven’t gotten there yet. My advice would be to make a half batch just to test (use a whole egg) and see how they turn out. The dough is quite sticky so if it helps, watch the YouTube video that corresponds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y5mnyr-AAE –Rachel

  7. 5 stars
    OMG. These are SOOO delicious. I made these a few days ago. These are hands down one of the best cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted. Funny story: When I was measuring out the mashed potatoes my cousin looked at we with the strangest look. My mom even went to the store to get cinnamon rolls in case they didn’t turn out. I can’t express how amazing these are. I have my second batch in the oven right now, and have been saving my appetite just for this. Thank you so much for this recipe. Love you and I hope you and your fam have the best new year! Kentucky is the best!

    1. I’ve not tried it but I suspicion it would be too soft. There’s a cinnamon swirl bread here on the site if you’d like to try that instead. –Rachel

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.