In The Kitchen: Brioche Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Frosting

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brioche cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting | wit & delight

Here in Minneapolis we were lucky, wearing t-shirts and sandals well into October. But November has made her entrance, welcoming us with chilly winds and cold, drizzly rain. I’ve finally pulled all my sweaters out, and my hat and mittens, too. Curled up by the fire with a book is my favorite spot on days like these, but baking in the kitchen takes second place. Brioche cinnamon rolls are a family favorite, although they are quite a treat; saved for special occasions like Christmas Eve morning and New Year’s Day. Or that first cold Saturday in autumn, when all we want is warmth and a little cinnamon-flavored comfort.

brioche cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting | wit & delight
brioche cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting | wit & delight

Brioche Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Frosting

I use a no-knead brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. This dough is wonderful because it can be mixed together and then stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The brioche master recipe will make about 4 pounds of dough, and this recipe only needs two.

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Brioche dough (see note)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • a good pinch of salt


On a lightly floured surface, fold the dough over 3 or 4 times and then form it into a ball. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Brush the entire surface with the melted butter. In a small bowl mix together the sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Spread the mixture evenly over the butter topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar.

Roll the dough up, starting at the short end. Using a sharp kitchen knife or a scissors, cut the log into 8, 10, or 12 equal pieces. (The 12 pieces here made medium-large buns, cutting less pieces will make larger buns.)

Set the buns on a parchment-lined sheet pan, 1 1/2 to 2-inches apart. Loosely cover the buns and let them rest between 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the have almost doubled in size. (You can set these up the night before and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning take them out and let them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, just until the centers are set when poked with your finger (they should be caramel colored). Let them cool for about 10 minutes. Spread the brown butter frosting (recipe follows) over the warm buns.

brioche cinnamon rolls with brown butter icing | wit & delight
brioche cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting | wit & delight

Brown Butter Frosting Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a good pinch of salt


Brown 4 tablespoons of the butter: Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. You need to stay close to the pan; don’t walk away from it. Swirl the butter around until it starts to brown — it will smell nutty and you’ll see little brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the brown butter and bits into a freezer-safe bowl, and let cool for 10 minutes. When the butter is partially cool, place the bowl in the freezer and let the butter chill until solid, about 30 minutes (you can also put it in the fridge to cool down, but it will take a bit longer). When the butter is solid (but not frozen!), take it out and place it in the bowl of a standing mixer.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the cream cheese to the mixer, and beat on high until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mix on low until combined. Increase the mixer to medium-high, and beat again until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.

brioche cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting | wit & delight

BY Sarah Kieffer - November 6, 2014

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November 6, 2014 3:01 pm

These look incredible. The frosting is so thick! YUM!

November 18, 2014 5:08 pm

How fantastic do they look? I love how you got the rolls so tightly swirling – mine have always spilled over in an ungainly way 😛

November 26, 2014 3:32 pm

Hi Kate! Do you mean that you can roll the dough out, do the butter/brown sugar/cinnamon/cut bit, then immediately put them in the fridge to “set up overnight” instead of first letting them ride for 2ish hours after cutting? My husband and I are newlyweds and this is our first holiday season together, so these brioche buns are going to be our first shared holiday tradition! Thanks!

May 10, 2015 3:30 pm

We feel like we are in heaven stumbling upon this blog!

May 10, 2015 4:04 pm

This makes all of us here hungry! Keep it up!

December 20, 2015 8:34 am

You write to “mix together the sugars” – does your recipe above omit white sugar? In what quantity?

December 23, 2017 11:04 am

This may be a silly question, but Ive read the recipe for brioche, and now I’m reading your cinnamon roll recipe. The original recipe says a 2 hour rise, I assume I don’t let them rise twice that long, correct? So immediately after mixing do the knead then rest, then cut, then rise?

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