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Homemade Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls in an Instant Pot


Learn how you can use your Instant Pot to make the prep process for from scratch cream cheese cinnamon rolls so much easier! These are great for a holiday like Christmas morning.

Learn how you can use your Instant Pot to make the prep process for from scratch cream cheese cinnamon rolls so much easier!  These are great for a holiday like Christmas morning.

Affiliate links used in this post. Read more about my link usage here.

Homemade cinnamon rolls have been a tradition in our family for years. We make them in big batches for easy Saturday morning breakfasts. I also love to give them to our neighbors at Christmas…just wrap them up in a tin foil pan with a few paper plates and forks for a really special, easy, inexpensive gift. I've always used (and loved) the Pioneer Woman's recipe, modifying it here an there over the years until I had it just like we like it. Over the years, I've added cream cheese to the filling/frosting, added seasoning, taken away a cup of flour here and there – you really just have to modify to fit your family with this one.

I love the process of making these with the kids, but it's not something I do every weekend. It's a long, drawn-out process…definitely a labor of love. We typically double the recipe and make 10-15 pans at a time to freeze. They thaw and recook beautifully and you'd never know they were made weeks/months ago! And, trust me, all of the effort is so worth it – these are insanely delicious.

If you and your family make these beauties too, let me let you in on a secret:  your Instant Pot has the potential to make the process ten times easier. You guys know I love the Instant Pot for freezer meals, but it can do so much more! You can prep the dough, let it rise, and cool it for rolling all in the same place. It's a total game-changer for any kind of bread dough, especially larger batches like this recipe requires!

Today, I thought I'd share my modified recipe and walk you through the step-by-step process of letting your Instant Pot do the tricky work for you.

For this recipe, you'll need…

1 quart whole milk

1 cup sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

Two 0.25oz packages active dry yeast

9 cups all-purpose flour (plus about an extra cup reserved for kneading)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

generous pinch of salt

2 8oz packs cream cheese

3 sticks butter

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cinnamon

For frosting…

8oz pack cream cheese

1 32oz bag powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter

splash of coffee

pinch of salt

(If you want a handy dandy printable copy of the recipe, scroll to the bottom of the post.)

First thing's first…with a liner in your Instant Pot, add milk, oil, and sugar and stir well.

Use your yogurt setting (not available on some models…I have an Instant Pot DUO 6 quart) and press the “adjust” button until you see “boil” on your screen. Place a lid on your pot if you have one (I use this one) and allow the boil cycle to complete, about 10-15 minutes. It helps to whisk your milk every 3-5 minutes during this process.

Once your boil cycle is complete (your pot will beep when it's done), test the milk. It shouldn't be boiling, but should feel warm if you hold your hand above it and should be giving off some steam. If it's not, do another boil cycle, covering your pot while it heats and stirring regularly.

Once your milk is as warm as needed, allow it to cool. I like to set mine on our stove so it can cool from the bottom too on the stove grate. It will need to cool to where it's luke warm (but not hot) to the touch before moving on to the next step – if you have a digital thermometer, it needs to be under 110 degrees.

Once the milk is cool, sprinkle your yeast on top and let it activate for a minute or two. It should start to smell “yeasty” after a few seconds.

While the yeast activates, mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).

Add dry ingredients into the milk/yeast mixture to form a dough (about a cup at a time). The dough shouldn't be mushy or very wet once all dry ingredients are added.

Then, put the inner liner back in your Instant Pot to allow your dough to rise. To do this, use the yogurt setting and select the 8-hour option (you won't let it rise for this long, but this is the lowest automatic setting).

Allow dough to rise for at least an hour (you can do it for a few hours if desired). You might have to poke it down with a fork a couple of times to keep from overflowing.

(NOTE: several readers reiterated that the standard Instant Pot lid doesn't need to be used for this – the dough can rise into the pin and create a huge mess, even causing the lid to get stuck. I highly recommend the glass lid for this!)

Once dough has risen, refrigerate dough for an hour or two to make for easier handling. I usually like to refrigerate dough overnight before moving on to the next step.

Once dough is cooled, plop (very technical term 😉 ) half of your dough onto a floured surface and sprinkle with a little bit more flour.

Knead dough until it is firm and easier to work with. You can add in more flour if needed.

Then, roll out into a very long piece. I usually make mine about 2 feet by 1 foot, with a thickness of maybe 1/4″. Little helpers love to get in on this step!

Next, make your filling. To do this, microwave 2 8oz blocks of cream cheese and 3 sticks butter in 30 second increments until melted. Once melted, mix in 2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup cinnamon. Blend well. (You'll use this whole bowl on both halves of the dough.)

Spread half of the filling mixture on your first rolled half of dough.

Then, gently, roll the end of the dough away from you into a log.

Cut log into 1″ pieces (doing this with a floured knife helps) and fill your greased containers (I normally do it in these pans, which hold 4-5 rolls each, but I ran out this day, so I was filling every Pyrex dish I've got 😉 ).

Allow rolls to rise on your counter for 15-20 minutes while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Once rolls rise, bake for 20ish minutes, or until tops of rolls start to turn golden brown. Repeat for the other half of the dough and filling.

While rolls bake, mix your frosting. Microwave 1 8oz block of cream cheese and 1/2 stick butter for 30 seconds or so, until stirrable. Microwave another 30 seconds if needed. Once you can stir easily, add in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, splash of coffee, and pinch of salt. Whisk together well, until there are no lumps.

Once your rolls are out of the oven, pour frosting over while still warm. You'll want it to get all in those nooks and crannies…that's what makes it good!

I bake my rolls before freezing…once they're frozen, you can cover them with foil (my husband says tenting the foil is best) and stick them in a 300 degree oven for 45-50 minutes to cook them from frozen.

These make amazing gifts (everybody raves over them) and, even though the process is kind of long, you can make a ton in a day to let them last for months!

And, just in time for the holidays, I have a free printable gift tag if you're giving these to loved ones for Christmas! Click here for that post. 

Printable recipe…

Homemade Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls in an Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Prep Time:3 hrs
Cook Time:20 mins
Total Time:3 hrs 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Two 0.25oz packages active dry yeast
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour plus about an extra cup reserved for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 2 8 oz packs cream cheese
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon
  • For frosting...
  • 8 oz pack cream cheese
  • 1 32 oz bag powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • splash of coffee
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  • With a liner in your Instant Pot, add milk, oil, and sugar and stir well.
  • Use your yogurt setting (not available on some models...I have an Instant Pot DUO 6 quart) and press the "adjust" button until you see "boil" on your screen. Place a lid on your pot if you have one and allow the boil cycle to complete, about 10-15 minutes. It helps to whisk your milk every 3-5 minutes during this process.
  • Once your boil cycle is complete (your pot will beep when it's done), test the milk. It shouldn't be boiling, but should feel warm if you hold your hand above it and should be giving off some steam. If it's not, do another boil cycle, covering your pot while it heats and stirring regularly.
  • Once your milk is as warm as needed, allow it to cool. I like to set mine on our stove so it can cool from the bottom too on the stove grate. It will need to cool to where it's luke warm (but not hot) to the touch before moving on to the next step - if you have a digital thermometer, it needs to be under 110 degrees.
  • Once the milk is cool, sprinkle your yeast on top and let it activate for a minute or two. It should start to smell "yeasty" after a few seconds.
  • While the yeast activates, mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
  • Add dry ingredients into the milk/yeast mixture to form a dough (about a cup at a time). The dough shouldn't be mushy or wet once all dry ingredients are added.
  • Then, put the inner liner back in your Instant Pot to allow your dough to rise. To do this, use the yogurt setting and select the 8-hour option (you won't let it rise for this long, but this is the lowest automatic setting).
  • Allow dough to rise for at least an hour (you can do it for a few hours if desired). You might have to poke it down with a fork a couple of times to keep from overflowing.
  • Once dough has risen, refrigerate dough for an hour or two to make for easier handling. I usually like to refrigerate dough overnight before moving on to the next step.
  • Once dough is cooled, plop (very technical term 😉 ) half of your dough onto a floured surface and sprinkle with a little bit more flour.
  • Knead dough until it is firm and easier to work with. Add more flour if needed.
  • Then, roll out into a very long piece. I usually make mine about 2 feet by 1 foot, with a thickness of maybe 1/4".
  • Next, make your filling. To do this, microwave 2 8oz blocks of cream cheese and 3 sticks butter in 30 second increments until melted. Once melted, mix in 2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup cinnamon. Blend well.
  • Spread half of the filling mixture on your first rolled half of dough.
  • Then, gently, roll the end of the dough away from you into a log.
  • Cut log into 1" pieces and fill your greased containers.
  • Allow rolls to rise for 15-20 minutes while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Once rolls rise, bake for 20ish minutes, or until tops of rolls start to turn golden brown. Repeat for the other half of the dough and filling.
  • While rolls bake, mix your frosting. Microwave 1 8oz block of cream cheese and 1/2 stick butter for 30 seconds or so, until stirrable. Microwave another 30 seconds if needed. Once you can stir easily, add in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, splash of coffee, and pinch of salt. Whisk together well, until there are no lumps.
  • Once your rolls are out of the oven, pour frosting over while still warm. You'll want it to get all in those nooks and crannies...that's what makes it good! Serve warm.
Servings: 4 -5 dozen rolls
Author: Leslie @ Lamberts Lately

 

Hope you enjoy, friends! You can check out more of my Instant Pot posts here.

 

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58 Comments

  1. Suzanne Griffin says:

    Oh my goodness! I am in love with my Instant Pot all over again! Thank you for adapting your recipe – I love to cook and bake but have no imagination for developing or adapting recipes. So I very much appreciate your work! Homemade cinnamon rolls, here I come! Thanks!

    1. You are so welcome…hope you love them!

  2. Love this idea! For freezing, leave frosting off until re-warmed, yes? I know, I’m overthinking!….. Enjoying your blog, dreaming of implementing new things!

    1. I always go on and put the frosting on when baking the first time!

  3. Alethea Crossman says:

    In freezing, do you frost them before freezing? Or after the 2nd bake?

    1. You can do it either way…I put it on the first time I bake!

  4. So the instant pot is used to mix and proof the dough then it’s baked in the oven? Didn’t know you could use one for this. Thanks.

    1. Exactly. The rolls can be cooked in the Instant Pot using the PIP method, but I prefer to do that in the oven so you get that crunchy outside on them.

  5. These look amazing. I think I’d eat almost the whole batch. We love cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning too. Thanks for linking to our Keep In Touch link party.

  6. I have yet to try using my InstaPot for making anything other than main dishes but these have tempted me! They look delicious. Featuring when my link party opens up tonight!

    1. Thanks so much for the feature!

  7. When frozen, what temp do you cook at?

    1. I usually bake at 300-325 for 25-30 minutes. If you see that is not thawing the center, you can always crank it to 350 for the next batch! I do recommend covering with foil while reheating.

      1. well, I’m really confused now. The post says to reheat at 300 degrees for 45 min. The tag says 350 degrees for 45 min. Now this reply says 300 -325 for 25 – 30 minutes. Which one is correct?

        1. I usually go for 325 for 30ish minutes, possibly longer depending on the size of your pan and how defrosted the rolls are. Start with that and you can always add 10 minutes if needed.

  8. I’d just like to leave a hint about cutting the dough. Instead of a floured knife, use dental floss instead. It works great for cutting dough! Just slide the floss under the dough to the right place, lift and cross the threads, pull together and it’s cut. So fast and easy!

    1. That’s a great tip – I’m definitely trying it next time!

    2. I always use dental floss or crochet thread (not yarn). They don’t squish down this way!

  9. Paula Salmon says:

    So what to do if you don’t have the yogurt setting?

    1. Unfortunately I can’t say – I get that question a lot, but I don’t have experience with rising in the Instant Pot without that setting. I used to just put the dough in a window sill to rise before I had an IP.

  10. If I dont have the yogurt setting what do I use for the 8 hour rise step?

    1. I wish I could answer that – I get that question all the time! I’ve heard there are ways to set it without the yogurt setting, but I don’t have any experience with it so I can’t recommend it.

    2. Try the website pressurecookingtoday.com. The ladies don’t like to use the preprogrammed setting buttons…I bet they’d have an idea.

  11. 5 stars
    How do you freeze them? They are absolutely delicious! Want to freeze them so they don’t get freezer burnt. Won’t thaw them until Christmas. Just thaw them and heat them normally?

    1. I always fully cook and ice them before freezing. Then, just wrap tightly in aluminum foil before freezing – you could always wrap in plastic wrap first to give them another coat against freezer burn, but I’ve never really had an issue. On serve day, just cover in foil and bake for 30ish minutes!

  12. hillary malvaney says:

    If you defrost before baking what temp and time do you recommend? Same as the first bake?

    1. I would probably do a few minutes less then first bake – maybe 20 minutes, and go down to 300 degrees. This is a total guess, so keep an eye on them!

  13. Can you freeze the prepared rolls and then bake/frost afterward? If you freeze do you have to thaw or can you just make at 325? Thanks!

    1. I’ve never personally done it, but I’ve had readers tell me they have! I can’t vouch for cook times – it’s one of those things I’d set for 350 and set for the lowest recommend cook time, watching closely. I’m sure thawing before cooking wouldn’t be an issue.

  14. What is the reason to heat the milk mixture to almost boiling just to cool it down to around 110°F? Why not just bring it to that temperature?

    1. That process is called scalding the milk. It kills any bacteria that might interfere with the yeast and makes sure your dough rises properly. It’s a really important step to making sure your dough cooperates!

  15. Anyone know how this would work with GF flour?

  16. 4 stars
    Just personal preference probably but this was way too much icing for the three families I served. They loved the rolls but scraped off half of the icing. The icing is good but too much “sweetness.”

    1. Good to consider! They’ve always been just right to me, but to reduce sweetness the frosting could be reduced.

  17. Why does the recipe have double on all the ingredients?

    1. This recipe could always be halved if needed (not adjusting cook time).

  18. I think Donna was referring to your recipe having all the ingredients listed twice – looks like it is a formatting issue of some sort 😉

    1. Ah, I see…gotta love technology. 😉 No idea why it did that, but it’s fixed now! Thanks for letting me know, guys.

  19. Mary Coul says:

    5 stars
    Hi! Are you stirring in your dry ingredients by hand? I’ve onky made rolls with a mixer and a dough hook….wondering about how to do it the best way in the IP. Thanks!

    1. The dry ingredients are usually just stirred with a fork – nothing major, just make sure they’re incorporated! Then, when I put the dry ingredients in, I like stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula at first then getting in there with my hands to mix at the end – it’s a little messy, but it makes sure they get mixed well.

    2. Me too! I inherited a large kitchen aid mixer and would rather use it.

  20. Can your recipe be cut in half?

    1. You can! Same general process and cooking time for everything.

  21. What are these liners you speak of?

    1. Were you asking about the pans? There’s a link in the post!

      1. “First thing’s first…with a liner in your Instant Pot, add milk, oil, and sugar and stir well.” What’s the liner? Is it the pan?

        1. That’s just your inner pot!

          1. Oh ok! I thought it was something like those slow cooker liners for easy clean up. Thanks for clarifying! Can’t wait to try this!

  22. Have you ever tried to use jams or Nutella instead of the cinnamon filling? Would it work?

    1. No, but that sounds delicious! I’d thin the Nutella out with some milk to make it easier to spread.

  23. I’m not a baker so forgive this elementary question….do I need to sift the flour first?

    1. You can if you’d like – it would help with clumps – but I didn’t.

  24. Confused by yeast amount-How are you measuring 20.05 oz of yeast ? Usually measure yeast by the teaspoon so can’t relate to this. Sounds like a lot of yeast for 9 cups of flour would love to try a half recipe but not sure of yeast amount

    Thanks

    1. It’s two .25oz packs of yeast – sorry for the confusion! I updated the post to make it a little clearer.

  25. It says 1 cup of sugar, then further down it says 2 cups! Is it 1 or 2?!

    1. Hi Ashley! The 1 cup of sugar goes in the milk in the first step; the 2 cups is for the filling you’ll spread on the dough before rolling it up.

      1. Duh! Insert face palm lol. I tried them tonight! I do not have the yogurt button on mine, I did some researched and used the keep warm button. It took 3 times longer lol, but it worked. They are rolled out and in a pan to be cooked in the morning. Thank you!