Apple Cinnamon Rolls

By Maria Lichty

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Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting-These light and fluffy cinnamon rolls will remind you of apple pie, but in cinnamon roll form! They are the perfect breakfast treat for fall!

Apple Cinnamon Rolls on plate

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Perfect Fall Cinnamon Rolls

My dad’s cinnamon rolls are the BEST! If you’ve mad them, you know. And if you haven’t read the hundreds of comments!

I created a new cinnamon roll recipe for fall (with my dad) and you are going to LOVE them! Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.…YES! They are the perfect cinnamon rolls for fall.

Think of apple pie and cinnamon rolls in ONE recipe. Oh yeah, you are excited now! You will love the juicy apple filling that is surrounded by lots of brown sugar and cinnamon…and don’t forget about that brown butter cream cheese frosting. They are DREAMY!

Serve these decadent sweet rolls for a special breakfast, brunch, or even dessert!

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon Roll Dough

My dad’s classic cinnamon roll dough is PERFECTION! He used his same dough for the apple cinnamon rolls because why change a recipe when it is perfect in every way? The dough is soft, satiny, and makes the BEST cinnamon rolls.

It is a yeast dough, but don’t be scared. The dough is actually easy to make and the more you make cinnamon rolls, the more confident you will get. You too can master cinnamon rolls! My dad’s recipe is the best cinnamon roll recipe, so you are in good hands:) Read the original recipe for tips, most apply for this recipe too.

Apple Filling

The apple filling makes these cinnamon rolls extra special. The cinnamon rolls are filled with a sweet, sugary, apple filling that will remind you of your favorite apple pie. We like to use Honeycrisp apples or Granny Smith apples.

We don’t peel the apples, but if the peels bother you, you can certainly peel them before chopping them up. Sauté the apples in butter, brown sugar, and a little bit of nutmeg. The nutmeg isn’t overpowering, but will give the apples that extra fall flavor.

The apples get rolled up into that perfect cinnamon roll dough with lots of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon! Bake until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown and your house smells better than any fall candle:)

Apple Cinnamon rolls being rolled out on counter

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know I LOVE all things brown butter so I suggested to my dad that we make a brown butter cream cheese frosting to finish the apple cinnamon rolls. He loved the idea so we whipped up some frosting and slathered it all over the fluffy cinnamon rolls.

The brown butter cream cheese frosting was the perfect ending to the cinnamon rolls. The nutty, caramel flavor from the brown butter complimented the apple cinnamon rolls SO nicely.

If you aren’t a brown butter fan, you can make our regular vanilla frosting or a plain cream cheese frosting.

Make in Advance

If you want to make the cinnamon rolls in advance, you can refrigerate them overnight and bake in the morning. After you put the rolls in the pans, cover with plastic wrap and put the pans in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, pull the rolls out and let them come to room temperature while you preheat the oven. You want them to rise a little before baking. Bake and enjoy!

You can also make the frosting in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature and stir again until smooth.

How to Store

Cover the cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container on the counter for up to four days. I recommend reheating in the microwave for 15 seconds. You can’t beat a warm cinnamon roll!

You can also freeze the baked cinnamon rolls, frosted or unfrosted. Place cooled cinnamon rolls in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to two months. Defrost before serving. Frost if you froze them unfrosted.

You can freeze unbaked, unrisen, rolls in the pan. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap AND aluminum foil. Remove them from the freezer and allow them to thaw and rise. Bake, frost, and enjoy!

More Cinnamon Roll Recipes

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with frosting in pan
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Apple Cinnamon Rolls

The perfect cinnamon roll recipe for fall. They will remind you of apple pie and that is a VERY good thing!
4.60 from 10 votes



  • 2 packages active dry yeast (4 ½ teaspoons)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (to proof the yeast)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (you might need more if the dough is sticky, up to 9-10 cups)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 large apples chopped (we like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, you can peel them if you want)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Softened unsalted butter, about ½ cup total
  • Brown sugar, about 1 ½ cups total
  • Cinnamon, about 2 tablespoons total



  • For the Cinnamon Rolls: Add yeast to 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stir with a spoon and set aside for about five minutes.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter or shortening, sugar, and salt to hot water and beat for 30 seconds. Let cool to lukewarm temperature. Stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in the beaten eggs.
  • Gradually stir in the remaining flour and mix with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Knead by hand, add a little flour if the dough is still sticky. Knead until dough feels satiny and smooth.
  • Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
  • For the Apple Filling: While the dough is rising, make the apple filling. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped apples, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Stir so the apples are coated in the butter and brown sugar. Cook until slightly soft, but not mushy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Divide dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough into a rectangular shape, about 22 X 13 inches. Spread dough evenly with 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Top with half of the brown sugar. Place half of the chopped apples on top of the brown sugar dough and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon.
  • Gently roll up dough into one long roll. Cut rolls, using a piece of dental floss or thread, about two inches thick. Place rolls into a greased 9X13 baking pan, leaving a little space in between each roll so they have room to rise.
  • Now follow the exact same steps with the other half of the dough, using the remaining ingredients.
  • Place rolls in a warm spot and cover with a towel. Let rolls rise until double in bulk, about an hour. Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. The insides should be soft, but not doughy. Remove pans from oven and let cool until slightly warm on a wire rack.
  • For the Frosting: While the cinnamon rolls are cooling, make the frosting. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, turn up the heat to medium high. Continue stirring and look for small golden bits that will start to settle on the bottom of the pan, this should take around 3 to 5 minutes and the butter will have a nutty aroma. Once this happens, take it off the heat and pour into a medium, heat-safe bowl to cool to room temperature. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the brown butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. If you need to add a little more milk, you can.
  • Spread the frosting over the apple cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!


If you want to make the cinnamon rolls in advance, you can refrigerate them overnight and bake in the morning. After you put the rolls in the pans, cover with plastic wrap and put the pans in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, pull the rolls out and let them come to room temperature and rise a little. Bake and enjoy!


Calories: 296kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 257mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 180IU, Vitamin C: 1.4mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1.7mg
Keywords apple cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.60 from 10 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. fun recipe for the weekend since I’ve never bothered to make these from scratch, a nice way to control all of the ingredients in too, thank you for the detailed picture of the apple filling too, that helps!

  2. These look amazing!! I have made a number of cinnamon rolls, but never with apples! Definitely giving these a try.

    I’m preparing to welcome my first little boy into the world in just a few short weeks (ah!). Do you have any thoughts on freezing the rolls before they’re baked? Oh what a delicious postpartum treat this would be 🙂

  3. These look so good! By any chance, do you know if these rolls would come out well if I substituted butter for the 6 TBSPs of Crisco? 

  4. 3 stars
    I’m an experienced baker and I sell a lot of cinnamon rolls. whenever I make a recipe for the first time, I follow it exactly rather than immediately changing things, otherwise you don’t know what you don’t like, if that makes any sense.
    The rolls were good, but not great and if I’m going to spend that kind of time on a recipe, the end result better be darn terrific.
    Way too much sugar in the cake itself for our tastes, so I cut the sugar in half. I also used bread flour instead of regular flour. Because Bread flour is higher in protein and gluten, it gives yeasted dough an extra lift and just makes a better finished product. I also peeled the apples, since we don’t care for the texture of apple peel in this. I diced the apples smaller and made more of an almost spreadable apple filling because our 6 testers didn’t think the random pieces of apple added much of anything. I also added some cornstarch to the filling so it wouldn’t separate.
    I switched out the 2 cups of hot water for milk and here, if you were so disposed, you could use instant milk powder in the hot water, whole milk or low fat. The milk made the finished dough richer and fluffier than the original version. Since I have a combi steam oven, I baked the rolls at 350 for 25 minutes with 30% steam (although conventional baking works just fine 🙂 ) This updated version was a huge hit with all tasters and you could really see how the more condensed apple filling made a difference, where you could really taste the apple filling.
    I have to say I loved the addition of brown butter in the icing!

  5. 5 stars
    Um, these are amazing. They make a lot more than I thought they would so I gave to most of my neighbors and some came by looking for more?! Absolutely delicious. Definitely had to proof for several hours, not for 30 minutes though. This recipe took a while because of the proofing, etc. so i’d make sure to make them when you’re planning on being home for most of the day. ABSOLUTELY delicious can’t wait to add this in to regular rotation

  6. 5 stars
    I made these several times to rave reviews! Love the brown butter frosting. I love your recipes so much, I bought three of your cookbooks for Christmas presents this year and one for myself. It inspired my son to make dinner every Sunday with recipes from your book. THANK YOU!

  7. I love all your recipes I’ve made so far!! I just bought the pumpkin pie spice to make your pumpkin sheet cake and it was a hit with my coworkers. I was wondering since I have pumpkin pie spice but not these individual spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) could I use that and how much? Thanks in advance!

  8. 5 stars
    These rolls are fantastic! I made homemade apple butter last fall and used it as the filling. They are heavenly with the brown butter cream cheese frosting. I will definitely be making these again in the fall.