Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

By Erika on December 13th, 2018 / / 137 Comments

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

Oh. MY. There are no words for how delicious these cinnamon rolls are. These are BETTER than Cinnabon- super moist and so flavorful! When I see Cinnabon copycat recipes on the internet I think about how similar these are but mine are a little different. I use scalded milk. Why? Well, my grandmother used scalded milk and that’s the only way I have ever made them. I remember making a version of these when I was a kid and I used the HOT scalded milk…needless to say my cinnamon rolls did not rise and it was a major disaster. I also use a little more salt in the dough to enhance the flavor and cut the sweetness a little. Then of course is the apple filling. Once again, Oh. MY. These are the cinnamon rolls you dream about- gooey in the center, with a cream cheese frosting. Now add the tart apples and this is a serious cinnamon roll.

I always make these Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls the day before Christmas and heat them up Christmas morning… they are always a huge hit in my house and disappear instantly!

 Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls 11 | The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls 10 | The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls 8| The Hopeless Housewife


Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls |The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife


Yield: Makes 12 cinnamon rolls

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls


For the dough:

  • 1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk (Heat milk until bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Cool until lukewarm)
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)


  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, divided
  • 5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • In a small bowl, add yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar to the lukewarm water and let it sit until it dissolves, about 10 minutes.
  • In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment, (or a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer) add scalded milk, melted butter, egg, remaining sugar, and salt and mix on low speed until combined.
  • Add half of the flour and mix until smooth.
  • Add yeast mixture and continue to mix on low.
  • Slowly add the remaining flour (if using an electric mixer you will have to stop when it's getting hard to mix and use a wooden spoon to incorporate the rest of the flour as best you can- the motor of the electric mixer will burn out- then turn dough to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, folding the dough over onto itself and pushing down repeatedly). For a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes.
  • Remove dough, place in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside on countertop or warm place. Let it rise until it is double in size, about 2 hours.
  • While dough is rising, make the filling. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and all the granulated sugar in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the apples. Sauté until apples until give off liquid; turn up the heat to medium-high and cook until slightly caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • When dough has risen, remove cover and, using your fist, punch the dough down and remove from the bowl.
  • Roll out on a well-floured surface into a 16x24 inch rectangle and spread the remaining 2 tablespoons butter almost out to the edges, but not quite.
  • Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly across the butter.
  • Spread the apple mixture over the brown sugar as evenly as you can.
  • Roll into a log, starting from one end to the other, lengthwise, so the log is 24 inches.
  • Using a sharp knife, gently cut 2 inch slices with a sawing motion (try not to push too hard to pinch the dough), this will give you 12 cinnamon rolls.
  • Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment. The cinnamon roll slices close together, but not touching, in the pan.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough is doubled, 1 1/2-2 hours.
  • While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, being careful not to over-bake them.
  • While the cinnamon rolls are baking, mix cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt together with an electric or stand mixer on medium speed and set aside. When cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, spread the glaze over the top and serve.
  • Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

    Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls | The Hopeless Housewife

    show comments 137 responses

  • Dawn Isabelle says:

    This pan of cinnamon rolls was a huge hit Sunday morning- gooey in the center and super moist and soft, YUM

  • Eileen Richards says:

    OMGGGGGGGGGG, these are so delish!!!! LOVE this recipe so much, thanks for sharing!

  • Allison says:

    I’m adding this to my list of things to make!

  • Sonja says:

    Now that looks delish!

  • christina says:

    Have you tried to refrigerate after the rolls have been placed in the pan, before the second rise and bake them the next day? I would imagine they are best right out of the oven.

    • Erika Erika says:

      Hi Christina, the other day I tried, but I think I let them sit out too long before placing them in the refrigerator so they did not rise after taking them out- I have heard it’s possible but haven’t tried it the right way. And these are really good heated up the next day by the way, I put a little butter on them and they are still gooey and moist…

    • Meryl says:

      I don’t know about putting them in the fridge to rise, but in testing to prepare for Christmas, I just baked the second half of a batch I made a few days ago. (We ate the first half fresh. The second half was just as good!) I made the rolls and let them go through the second rise in the pan, then put them in the freezer. Today I let them thaw for a couple of hours on the counter and baked like normal. (I think they could be thawed overnight in the fridge also.)

      • Joanne says:

        Once the rolls have been placed in the pan, before the second rise, wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap. Put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, take the plastic wrap off and put them into a cold oven. Put another pan on the rack below, and fill that pan with 2/3 cup of boiling water. Leave them in the oven for about 30 minutes. They will rise. Once the rolls have risen (that will be the second rise), take them out of the oven, heat the oven to the proper temperature, then bake them. I’ve done this many times and it does work. Can’t wait to make these myself.

      • Linda says:

        I routinely make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. I put them on the pan, wrap in foil and stick them in the freezer. Take them out about an hour before you want to bake them to thaw. It sure saves time that last few days before a holiday. I also use disposable pie tins for the ends ( the rolls not as pretty) and wrap those. What a treat to find a tin of unbaked yummies in the freezer later in January!

  • Cheryl says:

    1/2 lukewarm water? Is it only half lukewarm?

  • rosemary says:

    your recipe says this ????1 package yeast (about 2 /14 teaspoons)???? Can you let me know correct amount> Thanks

  • Gina says:

    Christmas morning was my first thought when I saw this recipe. How do you usually warm them up? Oven? How long?
    Thanks so much for sharing this.

  • This looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks

  • Suzanna says:

    Holy moly, these look delicious! Forgive a silly question, but is scalding milk as simple as heating it until it almost burns?

    • angie says:

      When you scald milk, you heat it to just BARELY simmering. Do not let it boil. (Once you see tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan, you’re good.)

  • Thanks, for such a great recipe! I can’t wait to bake some for my me and my family! They really look so good and yummy!

  • Paula says:

    These look absolutely divine! Could you please tell me what is scalded milk? I’m in the UK and have never heard of it!

    • Erika Erika says:

      Just heat the milk until it’s almost boiling, about 180 degrees farenheit, it will be frothy and bubbling. It changes the texture of the recipe a little.

  • Chez says:

    I shall bake this good looking bit of food tomorrow! …question, though: does this bake in a microwave oven as well?

  • Great recipe something to make during the Holidays with Hot Coffee

  • Katy Browne says:

    These sound AWESOME but I don’t have a stand mixer. Is it possible just to mix by hand or electric beaters in a regular bowl?

  • Karee says:

    Oh my heck, I am making a batch of these tomorrow! My neighbors will be at my door. Last wk we made 2 batches of Orange Rolls and I made the mistake of opening a window. The doorbell was soon ringing!
    Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you and your family.

  • Darilyn says:

    This recipe looks awesome…a must try. Keep em coming!

  • Michelle says:

    These look gorgeous! They are so perfectly cut and iced, I don’t think mine would look like that! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas 🙂

  • Julia S. says:

    What a recipe! I definitely will be trying these for sure!

  • Katie says:

    Your recipe was really easy to follow. I have never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before….very time consuming. Thanks for the post!

  • hanan says:

    I made the, they were perfect everyone loved them.
    Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • These look and sound absolutely amazing!!!

    • Kathi altamura says:

      These sound so yummy! I love anything with cinnamon and apples
      And making it into a roll Devine!! Thanks for sharing can’t wait to make these.

  • Nicole says:

    what kind of yeast do we need? active or instant?

    and do you thing that i can do only half of the recipe?


  • Hayley says:

    I have a daughter who is allergic to dairy and eggs. Would the recipe still work ok using soy, rice or almond milk?
    Thanks for sharing, they look delish!!

  • carrie Vazquez says:

    thank you so much.
    I was looking for a good cinnamon bun and here it is. my mother-in-law was a great cook and baker but I never felt she would leaves so young. I miss her and all her great treats and help. please email me anytime. and keep up your kindness and good heart.

  • Rachel says:

    These turned out wonderfully, I did exclude the apple bit and made ol fashioned buns. One thing though is that I set the dough out to rise and it never did. The ONLY thing I did wrong was SF all of the sugar on the yeast and water mix, I don’t think that could be the reason? Any thoughts?

  • Samantha says:

    I live in Colorado, so we sometimes have snow in May. Today was one of those days and I decided to whip these up for breakfast. I wasn’t able to get my rectangle of dough to 16×23 (perhaps because I don’t have a rolling pin and had woken up super early so I was impatient) and I’m not great with a knife so I ended up with 8 enormous rolls. I cooked them for an extra 10 mins or so and was amazingly pleased with how they turned out – no high altitude alterations needed! They were a huge hit with my boyfriend & friends and didn’t last long!

  • Kate says:

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe! I made these with my fiancé today…a perfect treat for a cold Melbourne Winter’s day. Thanks again 🙂

  • Donna W says:

    These were so fluffy and so tender- I am so excited I found this amazing recipe! That cream cheese icing- I could eat a whole bowl…

  • Patty says:

    Do I have to grease the bowl with oil before putting the dough into it and wait for it to rise?

  • Patty says:

    When you put the dough in the bowl to wait for it to rise, did you grease the bowl with oil?

  • Patty says:

    Do I need to grease the bowl with oil before putting the dough in and wait for it to rise?

  • Katy says:

    do you use salted or unsalted butter?

  • Beatrice says:

    These were awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever been this proud of a dessert I made. I feel like the time and effort are definitely worth it in the end. I made the dough in a breadmaker to cut down on the time, and it was perfectly fine. Will make this a yearly fall tradition!

  • Missy Chesbro says:

    I want to use apple pie filling instead. ,, ,(in my area we also have Carmel apple pie filling). Yum!!!! Leaving all the apple filling ingredients out of this, anyone have any other suggestions for modifications)

    • beth says:

      My next batch is gonna be sticky buns…Just eliminate the apples. Instead while the dough is rising on medium heat melt 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup Karo syrup 1/2 cup unsalted butter till sugar is combined. Spread on the bottom of your pan and add crushed pecans. Then proceed with putting the roll on top and let rise then bake

  • beth says:

    Just made these yesterday. .. amazing! My next batch will be made into sticky buns ands regular cinnamon rolls. They are so spicy and gooey… i wantedto seewhat they were like the next day. I just heated one up and they’re just as soft and gooey as yesterday. Wouldn’t change a thing to the base of the recipe

  • Kimmy Sam says:

    These were seriously hands down the BEST cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted and I made them myself! My kids flipped! Thanks for the amazing recipe- I will be making these a lot!!

  • Laura says:

    These were the biggest, fluffiest, most amazing cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten, let alone ever made!

    I made half of the batch apple pie and half just cinnamon. I measured the milk AFTER I scalded it, so my dough was a bit wetter than in your photos.

    When it was time to roll them, the dough had almost tripled and was spongy, soft and bouncy (but still workable without sticking to anything). When they rose the second time, they filled the pan completely and baked into the softest pillowiest rolls! (Oh, I also rolled the dough on a buttered surface instead of a floured one, and used my hands instead of a roller to kind of shape it into a rectangle)

    And that icing…. HEAVEN! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  • Jennifer Sale says:

    Wowzers. These were incredible. My son ate almost the whole pan within the day– BEST. RECIPE. EVER.

  • Kathy says:

    Because this is an old recipe, is the reason for scalding the milk because in the olden days bakers used raw milk from the farm and it wasn’t pasteurized? Many modern recipes don’t require scalding.

  • Brandi says:

    Have you ever doubled this recipe? Or should I just make two batches?

  • Wendy says:

    I already have these in the oven, but was wondering about a couple things…
    I had to drain a lot if juice out of the apples as they cooked in the pan. Is that what you experienced?
    And by 1/4 cup cream cheese, do you mean 2 ounces?
    I’m baking them tonight then will be serving them in the morning. Should I put the icing on them tonight or right before serving?

  • Amanda says:

    Can you make the dough using a bread machine?

  • Erin says:

    Best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had!!!! I made them with the bread machine. They turned out perfect. I will definitely be making them again.

  • Keryn says:

    These are super tasty!
    I cut down on the sugar and butter in the filling – I spread apple mix (2T sugar only) first, then sprinkled on about 1/2 cup brown sugar (instead of 1 cup) and finished with a generous dusting of cinnamon. Also left off the glaze. They freeze really well after they have been baked. Hubby just asked if he could have another “piece of awesome” 🙂

  • Fun size wife says:

    They are so pretty!

  • Wow, these look great! Cinnamon rolls and apples, hard to go wrong with those together.

  • trie kaka says:

    ooo…. my god… what a temptenting pie…
    cant wait to make it happen, since i love apple pie so so much !

  • kimberley mchale says:

    I made these today, they were amazing! so yummy I will be making these again.

  • Jenny Morris says:

    Hi love the look of these cinnamon buns. Do you drizzle or spread the cream cheese mixture after cooking.

  • Nicole says:

    I made these for Christmas morning this past year and the were a huge hit! I teach Home Ec and wanted to know if you think I’d be able to half this recipe with out any problems- I know with baking it sometimes doesnt work out. Thanks!!

  • Do you know the nutritional value of this recipe?

  • Dan V says:

    Maybe you can clarify in the directions, when cooking the apples/filling… the directions just say to “add sugar” to the butter and apple mix. I took that as add all the sugar, brown and white, into my pan. (I added the cinnamon too, b/c I wasn’t sure). I’m sure it will turn out fine this way too (just a basic apple pie filling), but then I read further down in the instructions that the brown sugar and cinnamon was to be added on the dough. Thanks!

  • T says:

    I used granny smith apples, and tried to carmelize them… I drained 1 1/2 cups of liquid out of them, and because of all the juice, they did not carmelize…they simply got mushy!

  • Bonnie says:

    These are UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! My family flipped out over them!

    A couple things to note:
    – My dough did not rise after 2 hours, but it rolled out BEAUTIFULLY and then rose once it was formed into the rolls.

    – I had to drain a lot of liquid out of the pan when I was caramelizing the apples.

    Neither of these “challenges” took anything away from how AWESOME these came out Just wanted to share!

    • Audra says:

      Bonnie, I had the same issue and used some of that liquid in the glaze. It was delish. Not too much though- you don’t want it too thin.

  • Ashley says:

    Looks so delicious! Pinned. 🙂

  • Stuart says:

    Fantastic recipe, lovely apples and cinnamon. May adapt it for rhubarb as well!!!

  • Jennifer says:

    Just made these and oh my gosh are they delicious! So soft and sweet and perfect. I just need to work on my rolling technique. I have never had a dough turn out so well. Thanks for the recipe! ♡

  • Olivia says:

    Do you have to use Granny Smiths or can you use a different type of apple? I don’t have any Granny Smiths on hand.

  • Olivia says:

    This recipe looks so good? Could I use a different type of apple? Like gala or honey crisp? I have those on hand.

  • Patty says:

    If your a person who preserves, Ball canning has a recipe for apple pie filling. If your in a big hurry you can buy frozen bread dough and get the same effect. This is a yummy recipe.

  • Stephanie says:

    I just made these and boy were they worth all the trouble. I did make a mistake with the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. I added it all to the apples before I realized that they were to be mixed separately. What didn’t fit in the dough, I added in the bottom of the pan before I put my rolls in to rise. They baked up perfectly! No soggy bottoms, just moist flavorful rolls. This recipe is a keeper!

  • Marcy Key says:

    Something I will be trying!

  • Efrain says:

    Can I make these and refrigerate to bake in the morning?

  • Bonnie says:

    I want to make these ahead of time, but instead of baking them and heating them up the next day, can I refrigerate them after they rise in the baking pan? Or will that mess things up? I really want these in the oven early morning for company because the house will smell amazing! Please let me know what’s best!

  • Veena says:

    For those who have tried this recipe out and loved it did you use bread flour or all purpose flour? Also where can I find bread flour? Residing in CA, USA

  • Deb says:

    There is a lot of liquid from the apples. Do I thicken that?

  • Peggy Lindquist says:

    This past summer I’ve been experimenting with varied cinnamon rolls. Found this on Pintrest & it is “delicious”! Rather than making my apple filling from scratch, I substituted a can of chopped apple pie filling. I will make again! Thank you for sharing!

    • Peggy Lindquist says:

      Just made this cinnamon roll again but substituted a can of pumpkin, dried cranberries and sliced almonds rather than the apple pie mix. Oh so good & so “fallish”. Recipe is definitely a keeper!

  • I’m having trouble getting mine to rise and certainly arn’t as pretty as yours. But I doubled the recipe and I miss read and added all of the sugar to my yeast and warm water would that kill the yeast?

  • Jolynn says:

    Hi there! I came across your blog on Pinterest and this recipe sound soooo yummy! I had a question. Could you use pie filing for the filing part?
    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Charlie says:

    Is it possible to leave these in the fridge overnight and then bake them the next morning, instead of reheating?

  • Lori P says:

    These are absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. Definitely a keeper

  • Kim says:

    Oh…my…goodness! This was the first time I attempted making yeast cinnamon rolls and are they ever delicious!! I did make a little boo-boo and put the brown sugar in with the apples, quickly realized what I did and drained the apples before putting them on the dough. I saved the brown sugar mixture, boiled it down a little and then spooned it on top of the cooked rolls….so good. Next time I’ll try the proper glaze.

  • Diana Wimbish says:

    Definitely a good recipe. Took like forever to make them with two different sets of rise but it was worth it. Nice size rolls with great flavor. Definitely would make them again.

  • Virginia says:

    Can I use vegetable oil instead of melted butter?

  • Ashley says:

    Hi! My glaze is not liquid at all just clumps. Help!

  • Thank you! Our younger son likes apples in everything & is coming with his fiance Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to make these, very close to my Nanny’s recipe with scalded milk.

  • Laufa Oakley says:

    Do u cook the apple first or uncooked for the filling?


    Hi Erika, I want to try to make this recipe, but don´t know what is the active yeast. Can you help me?
    Greetings from Spain.

  • Kristin says:


    Could you use frozen chopped apples instead of fresh?

  • Robyn Ferrari says:

    Looks to be a nice recipe, in the process of making. Step 7 was not clear at all about just using the one sugar. I added both sugars. You should have made it clear at that point that the brown sugar was saved for the next step.
    I just hope it turns out now.

  • Robyn Ferrari says:

    Hello, forgot to add that your photos show sultanas in the scrolls but it’s not in the recipe.

  • CareyBerry says:

    Made this recipe for Christmas breakfast this morning and the rolls were excellent. A little undercooked, but that was totally my fault.

  • Bithìah says:

    The recipe was a hit with my family. Was asked by my family to make more for New Years.

  • Jill says:

    These are amazing!! Making for the second time today!! Great recipe, thank you for sharing!

  • Amy says:

    What a fun new twist to cinnamon rolls, I can’t wait to give them a try. Thanks a million.

  • Cris says:

    It’s normal the apples make so much juice while riding?
    Or I’m doing something wrong

  • Darlene says:

    Not afan from dough not fluffy enough. Not really like a pie pie

  • Kim says:

    How do you think this would work with gluten free flour

  • Safflower says:

    Those cinnamon rolls are simply amazing and even if I know the recipe by now I always come here to see how other mums have managed this one. Simply yummy!

  • Kelly says:

    These are THE BEST cinnamon rolls ever! They’re pretty time consuming but so worth it! I’ve made them a few times now and I’ve never been able to get them to look so pretty (mine always turn out different sizes!) but looks don’t matter they still taste wonderful! Everyone I’ve made these for keeps asking when I’ll be making them again, thank you for sharing your recipe!!

  • I made cinnamon rolls before but never like this. I will try your recipe this weekend and I will let you know if my children enjoy it. Have a superb 2018!

  • Melanie says:

    This recipe was not only delicious, but the meticulous instructions for how to make it, made it turn out perfectly the very first time. I will say that it does take some time, but it is well worth it.

  • Janet Gillis says:

    I found this recipe today and just had to try it. Absolutely marvelous !! I would definitely recommend this. I found the icing a tad too sweet but I know the kids are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE these !

    Thank you so much for sharing !!

  • Le Ann Helm says:

    These rolls are amazing, only have one complaint Under the filling they list both brown and white sugar. So when you go to caramel ize the apples, the directions just say mix in sugar not specifying brown,white or both sugars. I made the mistake of using both sugars to carmelize the apples making it soupy- luckily to correct this small amount of flour added to the mixture plus throwing in the cinnAmon corrected this and then I buttered the dough and spread out the apple mixture. Not gonna lie, these are a lot of work, but our amazing

  • sarah says:

    Would love to make these, but I can’t seem to find the recipe on this page.

  • Crystal says:

    Overall, these were delicious! I shared with some friends and people at work who also loved them. One question though… I definitely had to add milk to the icing to make it the right consistency. I can’t imagine not doing so as it was clumpy and mostly dry. Adding milk made it perfect. Wondering if the recipe missed this part. Am I the only one that has had this issue?

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