Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls- 2 ways 

This is the only from scratch sourdough cinnamon roll recipe you’ll ever need! Make them with an active sourdough starter or sourdough discard, whichever you happen to have on hand.

sourdough discard cinnamon rolls

If you had asked me just a few years ago if I would want sourdough cinnamon rolls I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Before establishing my own sourdough starter the only sourdough I had was store-bought and honestly, it was too tangy and hard to chew. Never in a million years would I have imagined not only baking my own sourdough bread from scratch but incorporating my starter into several sweet and savory meals each week. But here I am, baking for my family and sharing recipes with all of you. 

The Versatility of Sourdough

Sourdough’s versatility extends beyond traditional bread baking. In sweet dishes such as the best cinnamon rolls I’m about to show you, cookies, muffins, and pancakes, sourdough can enhance flavor and texture. On the savory side, it can be used in pizza dough, crackers, and casseroles turning an ordinary recipe into an even more delicious sourdough recipe. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Benefits of Using Sourdough in Cinnamon Rolls

Sure, you could just make cinnamon rolls using traditional yeast and I’m sure they would be delicious. Actually, I know they would because that’s how I made mine until I started baking with sourdough. Now I prefer to bake mine using an active starter or discard depending upon what I have on hand. 

Not only does sourdough add a tangy taste and beautiful texture to cinnamon rolls, but there are added health benefits too. The natural fermintation of sourdough helps break down gluten which can make sourdough easier to digest and help your body better absorb nutrients. Sourdough can also contribute to stable blood sugar recipes. Basically, incorporating sourdough into your everyday recipes can be good for your gut! 

Today I’m excited to share one of my family’s favorite sweet sourdough treats with you that can be made two ways; using an active sourdough starter or sourdough discard. Plus I’ll share my secret ingredient that will amp up a simple icing recipe. 

sourdough cinnamon roll dough

Sourdough Starter Cinnamon Rolls

Dough Ingredients

  • Whole Milk
  • Active Sourdough Starter
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter

Filling Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Coffee

Baker’s Schedule for Sourdough Starter Cinnamon Rolls

8:00am: Feed starter
8:00pm: Mix dough and refrigerate overnight
7:00am: Assemble and shape rolls for second rise
9:00am: Bake

How to Make Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Step 1: Activate your sourdough starter by feeding it the night before you want to mix the dough. You will need 3/4 of a cup of active and bubbly starter. I like to feed 2 Tablespoons of starter with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water. This ensures that I have enough active starter and gives me a little extra to add to my discard jar. 

Step 2: After your starter is active (typically takes 6-8 hours) mix your dough by adding milk and starter to a large bowl. Stir together with your dough whisk or fork to combine. 

Step 3: Next, whisk in sugar and room temperature egg until well incorporated.

Step 4: Add flour and salt to your bowl, stirring until a shaggy dough begins to form. Then, add room temperature butter, mixing with a stand mixer paddle attachment until fully incorporated. It’s important to use room-temperature butter or this will be difficult. 

Step 5: Cover the bowl and allow the dough to bulk ferment overnight in the fridge or on your counter for 8-9 hours. The dough will double in size during the rise time. 

Step 6: Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape using a floured rolling pin. 12×18 inches is a good size.

Step 7: Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.

Step 8: Spread the room temperature butter over the dough. Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top and roll the dough up tightly into a log shape. 

Step 9: Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 equally sized pieces. 

Step 10: Arrange the rolls in a baking pan and cover with a towel for the final rise for about 1-2 hours until they become visibly larger. You can speed up the second rise time by placing the rolls on top of a warm oven. 

Step 11: Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Step 12: While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Add softened butter and powdered sugar to a medium-sized bowl and mix together. Then add a splash or two of cold coffee and stir. Trust me. You will love the flavor the coffee adds to the frosting. This is the ingredient that has everyone asking about my frosting. But, if you are out of coffee, you can use milk in its place. You want the frosting to be creamy and without lumps. 

Once the rolls are out of the oven, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before icing. If you frost them too soon, it will melt and slide off of the sides of your cinnamon rolls finding it’s way into the bottom of the pan.

Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

The great thing about using the discard version of this recipe is that there’s no second rise time. You will still ferment the dough overnight but due to adding baking soda and baking powder, you will not have to wait on a second rise. You can bake the rolls right away.

Dough Ingredients

  • Whole Milk
  • Sourdough Discard
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder 
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter

Filling Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Coffee

Baker’s Schedule for Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

8:00 pm: Mix dough and refrigerate overnight
7:00 am: Add baking soda and baking powder to dough and mix. Assemble and shape rolls.
7:30 am: Bake rolls

How to Make Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

You will use the same recipe above however, note the difference in the ingredients. For discard cinnamon rolls, you will need to add baking soda and baking AFTER bulk fermentation (overnight rise). The process is the same except for adding these two additional ingredients. Because sourdough discard does not have rising power, adding both baking soda and baking powder will boost the rise. 

Because you are using sourdough discard, you can skip step 1 which is feeding your sourdough starter. Continue on with step 2 but after step 5 you will need to add baking soda and baking powder to the dough and knead for about 5 minutes in the stand mixture using your dough hook attachment or on a floured work surface. Do this until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Then continue on to step 6 where you will roll out your dough.

How to Make Ahead and Freeze Cinnamon Rolls

Both recipes are perfect for making ahead when you have time and freezing. This will save time in the kitchen, especially on holidays when you want to enjoy time with loved ones. 

My preferred method of freezing cinnamon rolls is parbaking and then freezing. To parbake means baking them part of the way until they have expanded their full height but have not started to brown. This should take about 15 minutes. Then take the pan out of the oven and let it cool completely. This is important! You do not want to wrap them while they are still hot or you’ll have frost forming. Let them cool all the way and then double wrap them in plastic wrap and cover the top with aluminum foil. Then just place them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Baking Cinnamon Rolls From The Freezer

The night before you’re ready to serve them, take them from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator. Let them thaw overnight. The next morning, bake them at 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. You can make the icing while they bake. 

Tips and Tricks

  • Store any leftovers at room temperature loosely covered for 2-3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
  • You can assemble the cinnamon rolls and bake them the next day by covering them with plastic wrap and storing them in the refrigerator. Be sure to allow some time to sit at room temperature while the oven is preheating.
  • Allow more baking time if you are using a glass baking dish.
  • You can bake these in a cast-iron skillet! The heat is distributed evenly and the presentation is perfect. Do note that cooling time will be longer before adding frosting. 

These fluffy sourdough cinnamon rolls make a delicious breakfast on Christmas morning, or any other day of the year. I think you’ll find that these homemade cinnamon rolls quickly become a family favorite and are a great make-ahead option for busy seasons of life. 

Additional Sourdough Recipes You May Want To Try

How To Establish Your Own Sourdough Starter

My Go-To Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough Gingerbread Men Cookies

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls using sourdough starter or sourdough discard.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Fermenting Time 12 hours
Servings 12

Ingredients

Dough Ingredients Using Active Starter

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature

Filling Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Splash or two of cold coffee

Dough Ingredients Using Discard

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder added after fermentation
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda added after fermentation

Instructions

Instructions Using Active Starter

  • Activate your sourdough starter by feeding it the night before you want to mix the dough. You will need 3/4 of a cup of active and bubbly starter. I like to feed 2 Tablespoons of starter with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water. This ensures that I have enough active starter and gives me a little extra to add to my discard jar.
  • After your starter is active (typically takes 6-8 hours) mix your dough by adding milk and starter to a large bowl. Stir together with your dough whisk(LINK) or fork to combine.
  • Next, whisk in sugar and room-temperature egg until well incorporated.
  • Add flour and salt to your bowl, stirring until a shaggy dough begins to form. Then, add room temperature butter, mixing with a stand mixer paddle attachment until fully incorporated. It’s important to use room-temperature butter or this will be difficult.
  • Cover the bowl and allow the dough to bulk ferment overnight in the fridge or on your counter for 8-9 hours. The dough will double in size during the rise time.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape using a floured rolling pin. 12×18 inches is a good size.
  • Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Spread the room-temperature butter over the dough. Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top and roll the dough up tightly into a log shape.
  • Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 equally sized pieces.
  • Arrange the rolls in a baking pan and cover with a towel for the final rise for about 1-2 hours until they become visibly larger. You can speed up the second rise time by placing the rolls on top of a warm oven.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
  • While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Add softened butter and powdered sugar to a medium-sized bowl and mix together. Then add a splash or two of cold coffee and stir. Trust me. You will love the flavor the coffee adds to the frosting. This is the ingredient that has everyone asking about my frosting. But, if you are out of coffee, you can use milk in its place. You want the frosting to be creamy and without lumps.
  • Once the rolls are out of the oven, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before icing. If you frost them too soon, it will melt and slide off of the sides of your cinnamon rolls finding it’s way into the bottom of the pan.

Instructions Using Discard

  • You will use the same recipe above however, note the difference in the ingredients. For discard cinnamon rolls, you will need to add baking soda and baking AFTER bulk fermentation (overnight rise). The process is the same except for adding these two additional ingredients. Because sourdough discard does not have rising power, adding both baking soda and baking powder will boost the rise.
  • Because you are using sourdough discard, you can skip step 1 which is feeding your sourdough starter. Continue on with step 2 but after step 5 you will need to add baking soda and baking powder to the dough, and knead for about 5 minutes in the stand mixture using your dough hook attachment or on a floured work surface. Do this until the all the ingredients are well incorporated. Then continue on to step 6 where you will roll out your dough.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating