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Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Kiersten James

These fermented sourdough cinnamon rolls (aka sourdough sticky buns) will become a Christmas morning favorite! Includes both traditional icing and cream cheese frosting.

Oh, how I just love these! There’s nothing better than when my daughter comes down in the morning after a good sleep and says “what smells so good?!”.

This sourdough cinnamon rolls recipe is one of those nostalgic family favorites your children will remember into adulthood. I make it as a Christmas morning staple and pretty much any other time it’s requested – especially during those cold, cozy months.

Give yourself at least 18 hours for the two rises. If your house is on the colder side, I’d even start them two nights before you plan to bake to make sure that the sourdough cinnamon rolls fully go through their second rise.

They’re worth the wait…trust me!

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

This recipe uses active and recently fed sourdough starter as no additional leavening agents are used in the recipe. The rise in the dough comes strictly from the starter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup sourdough starter (active and recently fed)
  • 1/4 cup melted salted butter
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Avocado, olive, or coconut oil for greasing
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Instructions:

Combine melted butter, maple syrup. active sourdough starter and buttermilk in a medium sized bowl until well combined.

You can swap out regular milk for buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand. I always have way more buttermilk than I need from making homemade greek yogurt so it’s just an added bonus.

Slowly stir in the flour until the dough forms a ball around the spoon and there is no dry bits of flour left. 

Flour a surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and soft. 

BULK FERMENT THE SOURDOUGH CINNAMON ROLLS

Form the dough into a ball and place it into a well oiled bowl to rise on the counter for the next 12 hours. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid to prevent a crust from forming on the dough.

A damp tea towel will eventually dry out and if you forget to moisten it periodically, the quality of the dough suffers – I learned this from experience quite a few times because I got distracted with the kids and housework.

FILL, ROLL & CUT THE CINNAMON ROLLS THEN GO THROUGH THE SECOND RISE

After the bulk fermentation period, it’s time to roll, fill, and cut the cinnamon rolls. Flour a surface and gently roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 9×13″ and 1/2″ thick.

Melt down 1/2 cup butter and stir in the cinnamon and brown sugar for the filling. Let the dough rest for a few minutes while you prepare this.

Spread an even but hearty layer of filling on the dough leaving a border of about 1-2″ around the edges. 

Roll the dough into a log by taking the long side and rolling it towards you, tucking the edges in as you go. 

Put the cinnamon log seam side down and cut the log into 1.5″ pieces with a very sharp knife, pizza cutter, or dough scraper. 

Grease the bottom of a 12″ cast iron pan or your preferred baking dish and place the rolls 1-2″ apart. 

Place in a warm place, cover with a clean towel and let the cinnamon rolls rise for a second time until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool in the pan. 

While the sourdough cinnamon rolls are cooling, prepare your topping if you wish to use one.

We do tend to eat the cinnamon rolls plain most of the time as they are that delicious on their own but for an extra touch, here are the two toppings I make the most:

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 stick salted butter (softened)
  • 4oz cream cheese (softened)

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer on high speed until whipped. Spread liberally over the cinnamon rolls and serve.

Traditional Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk

Stir the milk in 2 tablespoons at a time until dissolved until you reach the consistency you desire for icing. Drizzle/pour the icing over the cinnamon rolls and serve.

Enjoy!!!

To reheat, place in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes.

More Sourdough Recipes

Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins With Discard

Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sourdough Strawberry Scones

Sourdough Blueberry Muffins (Quick Discard Recipe)

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 8-10 large cinnamon rolls
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 14 hours
Total Time: 14 hours 25 minutes

These fermented sourdough cinnamon rolls will become a weekend and Christmas morning family favorite! Includes instructions for both traditional icing and cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup sourdough starter (active and recently fed)
  • 1/4 cup melted salted butter
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Avocado, olive, or coconut oil for greasing
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Instructions

  1. Combine melted butter, maple syrup. active sourdough starter and buttermilk in a medium sized bowl until well combined. You can swap out regular milk for buttermilk if you don't have any on hand. I always have way more buttermilk than I need from making homemade greek yogurt so it's just an added bonus.
  2. Slowly stir in the flour until the dough forms a ball around the spoon and there is no dry bits of flour left.
  3. Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and soft.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a well oiled bowl to rise for the next 12 hours. Cover with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid to prevent a crust from forming on the dough.
  5. After the bulk fermentation period, it's time to roll, fill, and cut the cinnamon rolls. Flour a surface and gently roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 9x13" and 1/2" thick.
  6. Melt down 1/2 cup of butter and stir in the cinnamon and brown sugar for the filling. Let the dough rest for a few minutes while you prepare this.
  7. Spread an even but hearty layer of filling on the dough leaving a border of about 1-2" around the edges.
  8. Roll the dough into a log by taking the long side and rolling it towards you, tucking the edges in as you go.
  9. Put the cinnamon log seam side down and cut the log into 1.5" pieces with a very sharp knife, pizza cutter, or dough scraper.
  10. Grease the bottom of a 12" cast iron pan or your preferred baking dish and place the rolls 2" apart.
  11. Place in a warm place, cover with a clean towel and let the cinnamon rolls rise for a second time until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.
  12. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool in the pan.
  13. Serve plain or topped with cream cheese icing or traditional white icing. Serve immediately and enjoy!
  14. To reheat, place in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes.

Notes

Cream Cheese Icing:

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1.5 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 stick salted butter (softened), 4oz cream cheese (softened). Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer on high speed until whipped. Spread liberally over the cinnamon rolls and serve.

Traditional Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk. Stir the milk in 2 tablespoons at a time until dissolved until you reach the consistency you desire for icing. Drizzle/pour the icing over the cinnamon rolls and serve.

Give yourself at least 18 hours for the two rises. If your house is on the colder side, I'd even start them two nights before you plan to bake to make sure that the sourdough cinnamon rolls fully go through their second rise.

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