These Brown Butter Brioche Cinnamon Rolls are soft and fluffy, gooey, cinnamony, and topped with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. The brioche dough is rich and buttery, layered with a brown butter filling that’s made with brown sugar and cinnamon. To top these off, I made a brown butter cream cheese icing that is sweet, slightly nutty, and full of those beautiful flecks of browned butter.
I’ve been dreaming of a classic cinnamon roll recipe for a while but wanted to add a little something special to elevate it just a bit. Enter brown butter. Browning the butter, which essentially toasts the milk solids in the butter, gives it a deeper flavor that’s toasty and slightly nutty. If you’ve never browned butter before, this is your sign to go for it! It’s one of my favorite flavors to add to my sweet recipes (it’s delicious in savory ones as well!) when I want an extra layer of flavor added.
Tips for Browning Butter
- Don’t walk away. Butter goes from perfectly browned and toasty to burnt very quickly so the most important thing to remember is not to step away from the pot while it’s on the stove. It also helps to continually stir the butter once it gets foamy and starts to take on color to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn.
- Look for the brown bits. The brown bits that form on the bottom of the pan are exactly what you want! Once you see those and the butter has a nutty aroma, you’ll know it’s done. Those brown bits are the milk solids from the butter getting toasty. The butter should also turn a deep golden color.
- Remove from heat immediately. Once you’ve got the butter perfectly browned, remove from the heat right away to stop it from cooking and browning any further. I also like to immediately pour the butter into a heat-safe bowl or container just to be sure the residual heat from the pan it was cooked in isn’t browning it any further.
More Brown Butter Treats You Don’t Want To Miss
How to Make Brown Butter Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
- Make the dough. This brioche dough is simple to make and comes together in a stand mixer. First, heat the milk and butter over low heat, until it reaches 90°F. This is just to take the chill off, but be sure not to get it too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir in the yeast then add the other dry ingredients. Add in the eggs as the dough is coming together in the mixer. Mix for about 5 minutes then allow the dough to rest for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Make the filling. You’ll first brown the butter, which you can save some time by browning the butter for both the filling and the frosting altogether. After the butter is browned, measure out and set aside 4 Tablespoons for the frosting. Combine the remaining brown butter (about ¼ cup) with brown sugar and cinnamon to make a spreadable paste. This will be spread onto the brioche dough to create the filling.
- Make the rolls. Once the dough has proofed, roll it out into a large rectangle measuring about 15” x 19” then spread on the brown butter filling. Make sure to leave a 1” border on all sides. Roll it up into a log, working from the longer side of the dough. Trim the edges off then slice the log into about 1 ½” wide pieces using a serrated knife. Place the pieces in a ½ sheet baking pan lined with parchment paper. Allow the rolls to proof, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Bake the rolls. Once the rolls are lined up in the pan, drizzle ½ cup of heavy cream over the rolls. This makes them extra ooey and gooey (I’ve heard this is the way Cinnabon does it!). Bake at 350°F for 20-23 minutes, until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown. The internal temperature of the rolls should be 190°F, if you want to double-check that they are done inside.
- Make the frosting. You can make the frosting while the cinnamon rolls bake or while they’re cooling. Beat the cream cheese in a mixer until smooth, then add the powdered sugar, reserved brown butter, vanilla, and milk. Mix just until everything comes together.
- Slather with frosting and enjoy. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for about 15 minutes before adding the frosting on top. If you want a thicker coating of frosting, you can allow the rolls to cool longer before frosting. Using the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, slather the brown butter cream cheese generously over each cinnamon roll. Serve warm and enjoy!
Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll FAQs
Do I have to brown the butter?
Browning the butter isn’t necessary but adds an extra layer of flavor and gives the cinnamon rolls a little bit of nuttiness. If you choose not to brown the butter, you can swap it out for softened butter instead for both the filling and frosting.
How long does the dough need to proof/rise?
The rise time for any yeast dough will depend heavily on the temperature of the room. If the room is chilly, it will take longer for the dough to rise and if the room is warm, the dough will rise quickly. The proofing times in my recipes are just estimates and may still vary. For the best results, find a draft-free area for the dough, ideally a spot that’s a little warm. I like to place the bowl of dough in the microwave or in the oven to create a nice cozy area where the air is trapped, but make sure to keep it turned off!
How do I store these?
I highly recommend devouring these cinnamon rolls warm from the oven or at least on the same day they were baked. If you want to keep them an extra day, store the baked and frosted cinnamon rolls in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge. Warm them up in the microwave to make them soft and gooey again.
Can I prep these ahead of time?
Yes! These work well to make the dough and assemble the rolls the night before then bake them the next morning. Once the rolls are assembled and arranged on your baking sheet (through step 7 on the recipe card), loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, pull out the pan, keep the plastic wrap on, and allow them to warm up to room temperature for about 1 – 2 hours until they puff up. Preheat the oven, drizzle the heavy cream over the cinnamon rolls, and bake as the recipe instructs. You can make the frosting while the cinnamon rolls bake or make it ahead and store it in the fridge.
More Scratch-Made Pastries You’ll Love
- Almond Cream Brioche Buns
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
- Apple Cheesecake Pop-Tarts
- Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake Loaf
- Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
Lastly, if you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and tag @sweetkitchencravings on Instagram or TikTok. Or if Pinterest is more your style, you can save my recipes to your collection there. Happy baking!
Brown Butter Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
For the Brioche Dough
- 1 ½ cups (350g) whole milk
- 6 Tablespoons (80g) unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons (18g) instant yeast
- 6 cups (780g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (116g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 larger eggs, at room temperature
For the Brown Butter Filling
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup tightly packed (215g) brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (16g) cinnamon
- ½ cup (120g) heavy cream
For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 Tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter
- 8 oz (1 block or 227g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ½ cups (280g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Brioche Dough: Add the milk and butter to a small saucepan and heat over low until the mixture reaches 90°F. Add the milk and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the yeast to the bowl and give it a quick stir.
- Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl. Mix on low speed and add in the eggs as the dough is coming together. Once the eggs are incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, or until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl and is very smooth.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl greased with cooking spray or oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 – 1 ½ hours.
- Brown Butter Filling: In a medium pot, add the 1 cup + 4 tablespoons butter (for both the filling and the frosting) and melt over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, brown the butter until it becomes foamy and a deep golden brown color. You’ll know it’s done when you see darker brown bits on the bottom and the butter has a nutty aroma.
- As soon as the butter is browned, remove it from the heat. Set aside about 4 Tablespoons for the frosting. Add the remaining brown butter (which should be about 1 cup) to a bowl and combine it with the brown sugar and cinnamon to create a paste. Set aside.
- Assembly: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the dough is ready, remove it from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Gently press out any air bubbles.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle measuring approximately 15” x 19”. Spread the brown butter filling evenly across the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on each side. Roll up the dough into a log, rolling from the long side. Place the log so the seam side down. Using a serrated knife, trim and discard the edges then slice the log into 1 ½” size pieces. Place the pieces cut-side up onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Loosely cover the buns with plastic wrap and allow them to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Drizzle the heavy cream over the buns. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before frosting.
- Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth with no lumps remaining. Add the 4 Tablespoons of reserved brown butter, plus powdered sugar and vanilla and mix just until fully combined.
- Once the cinnamon rolls are baked and have cooled slightly, slather the brown butter cream cheese frosting over each cinnamon roll. These are best enjoyed fresh and warm!
- Brown Butter: You’ll need brown butter for both the cinnamon roll filling and the cream cheese frosting. You can melt and brown all the butter at once and then measure out 4 tablespoons and set aside for the cream cheese frosting.
- Storing: Brioche Cinnamon Rolls are best enjoyed fresh from the oven but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a day. Warm up in the microwave.
- Make Ahead: These can be prepped the day before through step 7 then refrigerated overnight and baked the next morning. See the FAQs in the post above for more details.