Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls

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This gooey eggnog cinnamon rolls recipe makes 6 soft and fluffy enriched cinnamon rolls that are filled with a cinnamon and nutmeg filling and topped with an eggnog cream cheese icing. These holiday cinnamon rolls only require one rise or can be made ahead of time to bake later or the next day.

Eggnog cinnamon rolls on a plate with a glass of eggnog and a small Christmas tree in the background.

THE BEST SMALL BATCH CINNAMON ROLLS: HOLIDAY EDITION

Did you know that my small batch cinnamon rolls are one of the most popular recipes on my site? The recipe itself makes cinnamon rolls that are soft and fluffy, only require one rise, and can be prepared in advance for convenience. The bonus part about that recipe is that it is a version of my regular cinnamon rolls, just half the batch (it’s truly that simple to make a small batch sometimes!).

Instead of 12 rolls, the recipe makes 6, which is nice when you need a smaller batch or, you know, a craving hits and you’d rather not have 12 rolls on the other side of the process. This recipe for eggnog cinnamon rolls is based off of the small batch version of the best cinnamon rolls with all of the eggnog flavor to boot.  

WHAT IS “TIKTOK STYLE?”

When I started brainstorming how I wanted to approach these eggnog cinnamon rolls, I couldn’t help but think of the viral TikTok cinnamon rolls situation: a can of pre-made cinnamon rolls baked in a dish of heavy cream and topped with a doctored-up icing. 

An eggnog cinnamon roll on a plate with a fork. A bite has been taken out of it.

It just felt right to soak these eggnog-flavored rolls in actual eggnog, and the end result was even better than I’d imagined it would be. They’re loaded with flavor, dripping with gooey eggnog, and still nice and fluffy on the inside. If you’re a fan of eggnog, you’re going to absolutely adore this holiday version. 

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INGREDIENTS FOR FLUFFY EGGNOG CINNAMON ROLLS

There are four distinct parts to this small batch of cinnamon rolls: the soft dough, the buttery cinnamon-nutmeg sugar filling, the syrupy spiced topping, and the eggnog frosting on top.

YEAST DOUGH FOR CINNAMON ROLLS

Yeast breads can be lean (just yeast, flour, and salt) or enriched (yeast, flour, eggs, butter), and in the case of these eggnog cinnamon rolls, we’re making an enriched dough:

Aerial photo of ingredients for eggnog cinnamon rolls with text overlay.

For these rolls you will need:
• warm water
• active dry yeast
• warm eggnog
• granulated sugar
• salt
• vanilla extract
• an egg
• all-purpose flour
• softened butter

SPICED SUGAR FILLING

For the filling, we are loading up the insides of these rolls with tons of flavor. The best homemade cinnamon rolls are absolutely stuffed with cinnamon sugar filling, and these eggnog rolls are no different. We’re adding nutmeg to an already super cinnamon-y (technical term) filling.

For the filling, you’ll need:
• melted butter
• granulated sugar
• brown sugar
• ground cinnamon
• ground nutmeg

SPICED SYRUP TOPPING

The addition of a syrup to the rolls before baking gives them even more flavor and ensures you’ll have cinnamon-nutmeg sugar in every single bite.

For the spiced syrup, you will need:
• butter
• brown sugar
• ground cinnamon
• ground nutmeg

EGGNOG CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

This easy cinnamon roll recipe includes a version of my cream cheese frosting. I wanted to keep the traditional flavor of a cream cheese frosting, but with the nature of these gooey rolls and modeling them after the TikTok ones, I wanted something a little looser.

Aerial photo of ingredients for eggnog cream cheese icing with text overlay.

For the eggnog cream cheese icing, you will need:
• full fat block cream cheese
• eggnog
• powdered sugar
• vanilla extract
• salt

HOW TO MAKE MY EGGNOG CINNAMON ROLL RECIPE

If this is your first time making an enriched yeasted dough, I’m here with all the helpful pictures, explanations, and to basically walk you through this whole thing. I promise, it’s very simple, and you’re going to wind up with six perfect cinnamon rolls at the end of the whole process, guaranteed!

PROOF THE YEAST

First, you’ll want to ensure that your yeast is good and alive. Inactive, expired, or dead yeast will result in deflated sad cinnamon rolls. Let’s make sure that yeast is working before we do all that work for nothing!

Pour some warm water into a bowl (you’re aiming for about 110ºF [43ºC] on an instant read thermometer). If you don’t have one of those, simply use your wrist as a guide to get the temperature just right.

A glass bowl of proofing yeast.

Hold your wrist in a stream of warm water from the tap. If you can feel the temperature of the water, it’s either too warm or too cold. If the feeling seems to disappear into your skin, it’s perfect.

Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the water, whisk it with a fork, spatula, or wooden spoon, then allow it to activate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

MIX THE DOUGH

Once your yeast appears active, you’re going to add the warm eggnog, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and egg. Mix all of these ingredients together, then start adding the flour.

Wet ingredients for homemade cinnamon rolls in a bowl with a spatula.

I prefer to use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula and my hands to make my yeast doughs, but you are welcome to use the dough hook attachment and the bowl of a stand mixer.

I find doing things like making cinnamon roll dough by hand gives me more control and helps me understand better exactly what my yeast dough needs, but especially if you’re a beginner, there’s nothing wrong with using a stand mixer.

You’ll start by adding just 1 cup of the 2 and ¼ cups total and allow the dough to come together.

Once together, you’re going to add the softened butter, which has been cut into pieces, to the dough. This might seem odd and lead to a strange texture, but just like we cut fat into homemade pie crust and buttermilk biscuits to create flaky layers, we’re doing the same here with our eggnog cinnamon rolls, so just trust the process.

When the butter is mostly incorporated, add the remaining 1 and ¼ cups of flour and continue to blend until the dough has mostly come together. It will likely still be shaggy, but it should pull away from the sides of the bowl fairly easily.

Next, turn the dough out dough on a well-floured surface. I’ve built wiggle room into this homemade cinnamon roll recipe for adding more flour, but kneading by hand in this step is where you will become the most familiar and comfortable with what the texture of enriched yeast dough should feel like.

You’ll want to knead your dough for about 8-10 minutes, adding flour about 1 Tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky, until it smooth and elastic.

I know it sounds like a long time to be kneading, but you can take short breaks when you need to! There is no reason to rush this process.

When it’s done, your dough should resemble the surface texture of PlayDoh when it is done.

ALLOW TO REST

During yeast bread making, this is where you’ll allow your dough to have a first rise. Allowing the dough to rise builds the gluten structure, but since we are going to roll and shape this dough, we want the gluten structure to be quite relaxed, otherwise we’ll have a hard time trying to shape it into rolls.

Your dough will only need about 10 minutes to rest, so fill the time by getting the filling ingredients ready to go.

MAKE THE FILLING

I’ve found that the best cinnamon roll filling is done in two parts: a butter layer and a separate spiced sugar mixture.

Eggnog cinnamon roll filling in a bowl with a spoon.

It will look like a ton of filling, and it is! There is no shortage of flavor in these rolls and plenty of filling to go around.

PREPARE THE DOUGH

Once the dough has rested for about 10 minutes, it will be nice and pliable and willing to shape.

Use a rolling pin and your hands to gently stretch the dough into a large rectangle that is about 9″ by 12″ in size.

While this measurement doesn’t need to be perfectly exact, I always use a tape measure, ruler, or ruled rolling mat. The size should be pretty close to 9″ by 12″ so that we have enough surface to work with when rolling and cutting into equal pieces.

BRUSH WITH MELTED BUTTER

All of that melted butter is going right onto the rectangle of dough.

Someone is using a pastry brush to put melted butter onto cinnamon roll dough.

It will seem like a lot of butter, but again, trust the process. Use a pastry brush to brush the butter almost to the edges, leaving about a ½” border.

SPRINKLE WITH FILLING

Next, spread the cinnamon-nutmeg sugar mixture evenly over the melted butter. It will start to soak in, which is what you want.

Eggnog cinnamon roll dough before rolling into a log.

Spread as far as you spread the butter, again, taking care to maintain that ½” border.

ROLL INTO A LOG

After your dough is covered in butter and cinnamon-nutmeg sugar, you’ll roll it into a tight log.

A log of eggnog cinnamon rolls ready to be sliced.

Starting with the 12″ long end, slowly and carefully roll the dough over itself to form a log, doing your best to keep the seam side down. I like to use my fingers or palms on either end of the log to gently squeeze the log to “contain” the uneven ends.

CUT INTO INDIVIDUAL ROLLS

Lastly, cut the log into 6 equal slices. I much prefer to use a sharp knife (serrated works best) to do this step. Lots of folks have had success using the unflavored dental floss method, but I do not love this method.

A log of eggnog cinnamon rolls sliced and ready to put into a baking dish.

It’s important to use a sharp knife so you don’t smush the rolls, but don’t worry if you ruin the shape. They will still bake perfectly and, most importantly, still taste delicious. Also, don’t worry if filling spills out.

PLACE IN BAKING PAN

Once your log is cut into individual rolls, place them in a prepared pan (sprayed with baking spray) cut side down. I like to use either an 8″ square baking pan (3 rows of 2) or an 8″ or 9″ pie plate or cake pan (1 in the center and 5 evenly spaced around it).

You can really use any small baking dish that will contain 6 rolls nicely.

Gather any cinnamon-nutmeg sugar that fell out, sprinkle that over the rolls, then press gently on the tops of the rolls to slightly flatten. Cover the rolls loosely with foil or a clean dish towel.

ALLOW TO RISE

This is where the rolls will rise for 1 and ½ hours. In this time, they will puff up, which builds gluten structure and builds pockets of air for those flaky layers.

If your kitchen is particularly cold, you may need to let the dough rise for 2 hours or sit them near a heat source.

​ADD THE TOPPING

Right before baking, make up the syrup topping, simply mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then spoon evenly over all 6 of the unbaked rolls. 

ADD THE EGGNOG SOAK

Lastly, before the rolls go in the oven, pour the eggnog into the baking dish. Yes… Just pour it right in. 

The eggnog should make its way around the dish on its own, but you can encourage it along by swirling your pan or just adding more liquid. 

BAKE THE FLUFFY CINNAMON ROLLS

Once your rolls have been topped with the syrup and eggnog has been added to the dish, cover the rolls and bake for 25 minutes. After that time, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Covering the rolls will ensure the rolls soak up the eggnog rather than the heat of the oven evaporating it completely. It will also keep the syrup on top of the rolls from burning. 

MAKE THE EGGNOG GLAZE

While the eggnog rolls bake, you can make the cream cheese icing.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth. Next, turn the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract, eggnog, and the salt continue mixing until smooth. 

If you feel like you want it to be thinner, add some more eggnog. Just remember that when you spread it onto the warm rolls, the heat from the rolls will start to melt the icing, so it will naturally thin out.

SPREAD ONTO THE WARM CINNAMON ROLLS

Allow your rolls to cool for a bit before adding the icing, about 15 minutes. Believe me, I know it will be so hard to wait, but I promise those rolls will be much more enjoyable not completely piping hot.

Use an offset spatula, silicone spatula, or the back of a spoon to spread the cream cheese frosting into every crevice. You won’t regret that.

Also, I have been known to keep a small bowl of extra cream cheese frosting on hand to spread onto individual bites, but… That’s just me. Highly encouraged for you, of course.

CAN I MAKE THESE EGGNOG CINNAMON ROLLS AHEAD OF TIME?

My favorite part about yeast bread is that YES, you can almost always do things ahead of time, whether it be so that you have warm cinnamon rolls for the morning (hello, Christmas morning or any event during the holiday season that involves a holiday breakfast or brunch!) but don’t have to get up early, or you just want to have some cinnamon rolls in the freezer ready to go if the craving strikes.

CHILL OVERNIGHT

Think of the refrigerator as a “pause” button for your yeast bread. After the rolls are shaped and in the pan, you can cover them tightly and chill them for up to 18 hours and turn them into overnight cinnamon rolls just like that.

This is a great option if you’re making eggnog cinnamon rolls for a holiday– you can spend a bit of time bringing the dough together, then have glorious rolls the next morning with very little hands on time.

You’ll just need to allow the rolls rise for about 1 hour before adding the topping and soaking eggnog and baking them.

You can also make the eggnog cream cheese icing and store it at room temperature up to 18 hours in advance.

FREEZER

If you want to completely bake these eggnog cinnamon rolls and then freeze them, you can keep them in the freezer covered tightly for up to 3 months. Just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and warm before enjoying.

If you want to freeze unbaked rolls, you’ll need to parbake the rolls for 10 minutes at 350°F (177ºC). Allow to cool completely, cover tightly, then freeze. Remove the rolls from the freezer and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Finish baking them the next day for the remaining 18-22 minutes before frosting and enjoying. 

CAN I MAKE THESE ROLLS WITHOUT SOAKING IN EGGNOG?

You can absolutely make these eggnog cinnamon rolls without adding the additional eggnog into the dish. You can keep or omit the spiced syrup, your choice. Just don’t add the eggnog to the baking dish and bake uncovered. If you are using the spiced syrup topping, you may want to cover the rolls to prevent burning.

CAN I USE PRE-MADE CINNAMON ROLLS FOR THIS RECIPE?

If you don’t want to make your rolls from scratch, that’s totally fine! Store-bought packages of cinnamon rolls usually have 10 rolls in them, so you’ll want to double the recipe for the syrup topping and use about 1 cup of eggnog for the soak. You will need a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

There are so many ways to enjoy my favorite homemade cinnamon roll recipe, and I hope that this holiday edition will become a family favorite for you, just like they have ours.

EGGNOG CINNAMON ROLLS RECIPE FAQs

Of course! This is my traditional small batch cinnamon roll recipe, but with a cinnamon-sugar syrup on top and baked in eggnog. If you leave out the eggnog, you’ll just have an extra cinnamon-y version of those cinnamon rolls. You could also replace the eggnog with heavy cream.

You can use spiked eggnog if you’d like! Just be sure everyone eating your eggnog rolls knows it’s in there.

Think rich and creamy, like melted ice cream. The flavor of eggnog is heavily on the “eggy” side, but in a sweet way (think custard). It is spiced primarily with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

This gooey eggnog cinnamon rolls recipe makes 6 soft and fluffy enriched cinnamon rolls that are filled with a cinnamon and nutmeg filling and topped with an eggnog cream cheese icing. These holiday cinnamon rolls only require one rise or can be made ahead of time to bake later or the next day.
Prep Time20 minutes
Bake Time32 minutes
Resting Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 22 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 6 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

DOUGH

  • ¼ cup (60mL) warm water
  • 1 and ⅛ teaspoons (3.5g) dry active yeast or half of one packet
  • ¼ cup (60mL) warm eggnog
  • 2 and ½ Tablespoons (32g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and ¼ to 2 and ½ cups (270-300g) all purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • 3 Tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into 4-6 pieces

FILLING

  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter melted
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (50g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 and ½ Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg

TOPPING

  • ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter melted
  • ¼ cup (50g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup (180mL) eggnog

EGGNOG CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 2 ounces (57g) cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30mL) eggnog room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

DOUGH

  • Spray a baking dish1 with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  • Place warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Whisk with a fork, wooden spoon, or spatula and allow to rest and activate for 10 minutes. 
  • Once the yeast mixture is active and bubbly, add the eggnog, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and eggs. Whisk to combine.
  • Gradually stir in flour. If using a stand mixer, use your dough hook. If mixing by hand, continue to use a wooden spoon. Add 1 cup of flour, allow dough to come together, then add the softened butter and continue to blend. When butter is mostly incorporated, add the remaining 1 and ¼ cups of flour and blend until dough has mostly come together. It may still be shaggy, but it should pull away from the sides of the bowl fairly easily.
  • Turn out dough on a floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes, adding flour about 1 Tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky, until smooth and elastic. Your dough should resemble the surface texture of PlayDoh when it is done. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling. 

FILLING

  • In a medium size bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk or stir until well-blended. Set aside.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 9" x 12" in size. Dough will be very elastic, so be patient and keep rolling. There is no need to rush this step.
  • When you have your rectangle, brush the melted butter evenly over the dough, leaving about ½" border around the edges. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the melted butter.

SHAPE THE ROLLS

  • Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough up into a tight 12" log. Use your fingers or palms on either end of the log to gently squeeze the log to "contain" the uneven ends. Using a sharp serrated knife and taking care to keep the seam side down, cut the log into 6 even slices. Don't worry if filling spills out.
  • Place the slices cut side down in the prepared pan, gather any cinnamon-sugar that fell out, sprinkle over the rolls, then press down gently to flatten slightly. Cover loosely with foil or a kitchen towel. Allow rolls to rise for 1 and ½ hours. 

TOPPING

  • When cinnamon roll dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon topping over the risen cinnamon rolls, then pour eggnog into the baking dish, being sure to get all around and between each cinnamon roll.
  • Cover the rolls with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 5-8 minutes until rolls are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes while you prepare the eggnog cream cheese frosting. 

EGGNOG CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth.  
  • Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the powdered sugar. Add the eggnog, vanilla extract, and the salt continue mixing until smooth. If you want a thicker frosting, you can add more powdered sugar, but it is meant to be a looser icing rather than a frosting.
  • Spread eggnog icing onto slightly cooled rolls and serve rolls immediately. Remove leftover eggnog cinnamon rolls from the baking dish and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 8-10 seconds before serving. See notes section below for other storage and preparation suggestions.

Notes

  1. Baking dish: I like to use either an 8″ square baking pan or an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan or pie plate. If using a square dish, arrange them in 2 rows of 3. If using a round pan, place one in the center and the other 5 evenly spaced around it.
  2. Make ahead: this dough can be made the ahead of time through the step that involves slicing the log into individual rolls.  Cover rolls with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight or up to 18 hours. In the morning (or when you are ready to bake the rolls), remove them from the refrigerator and allow to rise in a warm environment, about 1 hour. Continue with adding the topping and eggnog and bake as instructed.
  3. To freeze baked rolls: baked rolls freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm before enjoying.
  4. Two options to freeze unbaked rolls: parbake the rolls for 10 minutes at 350°F (177ºC). Allow to cool completely, cover tightly, then freeze. Remove the rolls from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Finish baking for the remaining 18-22 minutes before frosting and serving OR freeze them after slicing and pull them out the night before you want to bake them and allow them to thaw and rise covered at room temperature and bake when ready.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 515kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 479IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 3mg

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These rolls are so soft and tender. I baked up a batch and I had hungry eyes eyeing the oven just waiting for them to finish baking.