Panera Cinnamon Rolls – CopyKat Recipes

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Warm from the oven and smothered in rich frosting, homemade cinnamon rolls may be the best reason to get out of bed on the weekend. Try making this Panera Cinnamon Roll recipe the next time you want to indulge yourself.

Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a plate.Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a plate.

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What makes Panera Cinnamon Rolls so good? 

There are a lot of vanilla cinnamon roll recipes out there, but most are pretty much the same. Not these Panera Cinnamon Rolls! The difference here is the icing that includes orange extract, taking these rolls in a whole new delicious direction.

These rolls are perfect for breakfast, brunch, or just as an afternoon snack. 

Why you’ll love this Panera Bread Cinnamon Roll recipe

This recipe is straightforward enough to make on Sunday morning for a late casual breakfast. The rolls with a fluffy texture, buttery cinnamon sugar filling, and sweet icing make this the best cinnamon roll recipe.

And since it doesn’t use cream cheese frosting, they store and reheat wonderfully, so you can make them in advance and catch up on your sleep! 

Panera Cinnamon Rolls ingredients

For the dough, you’ll need:

  • Whole milk
  • White granulated sugar
  • Yeast 
  • Eggs, room temperature
  • Unsalted butter, melted
  • Flour
  • Salt

You can use instant or dry active yeast. 

Bread flour is preferred because you’ll end up with slightly softer rolls, but all-purpose flour will also work. 

For the filling, you’ll need:

  • Dark brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • Ground cinnamon

Saigon cinnamon is a popular choice for its intensity and slightly sweet flavors. Use Korintje cinnamon if you want something a little milder taste.

For the icing, you’ll need:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter, melted
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Orange extract 
  • Whole milk, half & half, or heavy cream
Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls ingredients on a tray.Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls ingredients on a tray.

How to make Panera Cinnamon Rolls

To prepare the dough:

  1. In a small pan, warm the milk over low heat until it reaches about 105°F or just over body temperature. It is worth using an instant-read thermometer because you don’t want the milk to be too hot. 
  2. Whisk about a teaspoon of sugar into the warm milk and sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Wait until the milk starts to foam. If there is no reaction after ten minutes, the yeast is probably expired, and you should restart the recipe with fresh yeast. 
  3. Pour the warm milk with activated yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining cinnamon roll dough ingredients. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can get by using a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. 
  4. With a dough hook attachment, mix the dough for 5 to 7 minutes to bring everything together. The dough will still be sticky, but you shouldn’t see any patches of dry ingredients. 
  5. Use a dough scraper to help transfer the dough into a large, greased mixing bowl. 
  6. Lightly grease the top of the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 
  7. Place the bowl in a warm place in your kitchen and allow the dough to double in size. It will take an hour or more. 
Collage of making dough for copycat Panera cinnamon rolls.Collage of making dough for copycat Panera cinnamon rolls.
  1. will take an hour or more. 

To prepare the cinnamon rolls:

  1. Use the beater attachment of a stand mixer at medium speed to incorporate the dark brown sugar, softened unsalted butter, and ground cinnamon. Place aside.
  2. Once the dough doubles in size, remove the cover and punch it down. Let the dough rest for five minutes. 
  3. Lightly flour your work surface and use a bowl scraper to transfer the deflated and rested dough onto it. 
  4. Roll the dough into a 15 X 30-inch rectangle. If the dough contracts when you roll it out, let it rest for a few more minutes and try again.
  5. Spread the cinnamon brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough. 
  6. Roll the dough up from the bottom. Seal the seam by pinching it together. 
  7. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces with a serrated knife. 
  8. Lightly grease a baking tray or line it with parchment paper. Place the cinnamon rolls on it, leaving space between each. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for half an hour.
Collage of making filling and rolling dough for copycat Panera cinnamon rolls.Collage of making filling and rolling dough for copycat Panera cinnamon rolls.

To bake and finish the cinnamon rolls:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Put the baking tray of rolls in the oven and cook until golden brown, about 25 minutes. 
  3. Take the cinnamon rolls out of the oven and let them cool slightly for 10 minutes on the baking tray. 
  4. While the cinnamon rolls are cooling, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar, salt, melted unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and orange extract. Add just enough whole milk to the mixture to make the icing spreadable. 

Alternate frosting – For a richer topping, make cream cheese icing instead.

Vanilla icing for copycat Panera cinnamon rolls in a bowl.Vanilla icing for copycat Panera cinnamon rolls in a bowl.
  1. Top the cinnamon rolls with the icing. 
  2. Serve and enjoy!
Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a plate and platter.Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a plate and platter.

What to serve Cinnamon Rolls with 

What’s better than eating a fresh Panera Cinnamon Roll? Enjoying the best cinnamon rolls with one of these ideal sides:

  • A hot beverage. Coffee, preferably a dark roast, or perhaps a cup of strong black tea, is the perfect side. The bitterness of the beverages works well with the sweetness of the cinnamon roll.
  • Fresh fruit. Slightly sour fruit like strawberries or raspberries can help balance a cinnamon roll’s heaviness. 
  • Granola. Sprinkle some granola over the top of a cinnamon roll to add a satisfying crunch. 

Cinnamon rolls are great for special breakfasts and desserts too.

How to store copycat Panera Cinnamon Rolls

This Panera Cinnamon Roll recipe makes a lot of rolls, but you don’t have to eat them all at once. They will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to five days. Or freeze them for up to a month. Take them out of the freezer and defrost the rolls overnight in the refrigerator to reheat the next day. 

What is the best way to warm up a cinnamon roll?

If you are in a rush, you can wrap a cinnamon roll loosely with a damp paper towel and nuke it for 20 seconds, but for warm and crispy rolls, use the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the cinnamon rolls on a baking tray and sprinkle a tablespoon of water over each cinnamon roll to prevent them from drying out. 
  3. Cover the baking tray with aluminum foil and heat for 10 to 15 minutes. 
Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a platter.Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a platter.

More Panera copycat recipes

Recipes for cinnamon lovers

Check out more of my easy bread recipes and the best copycat Panera Bread recipes right here on CopyKat!

Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a plate.Copycat Panera cinnamon rolls on a plate.

Panera Cinnamon Rolls

You can make cinnamon rolls like Panera Bread with this copycat recipe.

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Course: Breakfast

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Panera Recipes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Rising: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 12

Calories: 533kcal

Ingredients

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 cup milk lukewarm 110°F
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast or one 1/4-ounce packet of Platinum Yeast from Red Star
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons butter melted
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour all-purpose will work
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon Saigon cinnamon is preferred

Cinnamon Roll Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream enough to make a thick but spreadable frosting

Instructions

  • Heat milk, make sure it does not exceed 110°F. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast to the milk. Do this to make sure the yeast has not expired. Wait a few minutes to ensure the yeast is active, as it will get foamy.

  • Using a stand mixer combine in the mixing bowl, mix milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, flour, melted butter, salt, and eggs. Mix to combine. Use the mixer to knead the dough with a dough hook for about 5 to 7 minutes. The dough will be very sticky, and that is ok. Grease a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray place the dough in the bowl. Spray some non-stick cooking spray on top of the dough, and cover the dough with a towel.

  • Set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until double, depending upon the temperature of your house, this could take between 60 to 90 minutes.

  • When doubled, punch down the dough and let it rest for 5 minutes.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the 8 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of packed brown sugar, and the cinnamon. Mix with a mixer until this forms a paste. Set aside.

  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle. Evenly spread the brown sugar mixture over the dough.

  • From the long edge, roll up the dough and pinch the edge to seal.

  • Cut the dough into 12 slices.

  • Spray non-stick cooking spray onto a baking sheet. Place the dough slices cut side down into the pan. The cinnamon rolls should not touch each other at all. Leave enough room for them to expand. Cover the baking sheet with a towel and allow the cinnamon rolls to rise for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Your time may vary, depending on how thick the rolls are. So start to check the cinnamon rolls for doneness, they may need 5 to 10 minutes more time.

  • Remove browned cinnamon rolls from the oven.

  • Allow the rolls to cool for about 10 minutes before spreading on the frosting.

  • Make the icing: In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, salt, melted butter, vanilla, and orange extract. Stir to combine. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk, you want to add just enough to make the icing spreadable. Spread icing onto the cinnamon rolls.

Nutrition

Calories: 533kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 613IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg



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