If you love cinnamon rolls and love bacon, you’re going to love these sweet and salty bacon cinnamon rolls! Homemade cinnamon rolls filled with a brown sugar bacon filling then topped with cream cheese icing and candied bacon, they’ll be a new family favorite for Sunday brunch or a leisurely breakfast!
Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite indulgences, especially for holiday get togethers. But they’re also great just for enjoying with the family on Sunday for brunch when you have a little more time than during the week.
These bacon cinnamon rolls combine my love of cinnamon rolls with my love of sweet and salty foods (hello bacon wrapped dates). The bacon adds a nice crunch and salty edge to the sweet cinnamon rolls and together they’re just amazingly good.
Plus I don’t know many people who don’t like cinnamon rolls nor many people who don’t like bacon so these two together – yeah, make them!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Bacon – if you don’t like bacon, don’t make this recipe. If you do like bacon, you’re going to love the bacon pieces in the filling AND the candied bacon topper on the cinnamon rolls.
- Stand mixer recipe – if you have a stand mixer, the dough for these is simple to make. And then all you have to do is let it rise and fill them so overall pretty simple!
- Sweet and salty flavor – unlike normal cinnamon rolls that tend to be pretty sweet, the added bacon in these cuts the sweetness a bit with the salty!
- Super soft – the butter in this recipe keeps the cinnamon rolls incredibly light and fluffy, just how cinnamon rolls should be!
- Milk – ideally you’d use whole milk for this recipe but if necessary (or if it’s what you have on hand) you could also use 2%.
- Active Yeast – make sure that you’re using active yeast for this recipe so that the gluten has time to develop with the slow rise. A fast acting yeast may not give the same results.
- Flour – this recipe is written to use all-purpose flour and unfortunately cannot be made with gluten free flour since it don’t contain the gluten needed to make the dough double when it rises.
- Bacon – any sort of bacon should work fine. I used hickory smoked in particular for this recipe but applewood smoked, maple, or really anything that has a little sweet flavor to it should work great.
- Butter – since butter is such a key component to the filling, I always recommend using a high-quality butter like Kerrygold or Kalona Supernatural butter. You also want to make sure the butter is softened so it can incorporate into the ingredients properly.
Alright here we go. If you’ve ever made cinnamon rolls before, you know that they are a bit of work. Nothing too complicated but they do take some time and effort.
Don’t let that scare you – nothing about this recipe is hard, just follow the instructions and you’ll be golden!
1 – Make bacon Cinnamon Roll Dough
The first thing you need to do is make the cinnamon roll dough. Start by warming the milk until it’s lukewarm. You can either do this in the microwave (typically about a minute), on the stove, or even in the oven.
Your goal is to warm the milk so that it’s lukewarm but not hot so it doesn’t kill the yeast in the cinnamon rolls.
To determine whether the milk is too hot, place a clean pinkie finger into the milk and if it’s too hot to leave there for more than 3 seconds, the milk is too hot and will need to cool off before adding to the yeast. If it’s still cold, continue to heat.
Once the milk is warmed, add one tablespoon of sugar and the yeast and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes while the yeast activates (blooms). You’ll know the yeast is ready when it’s gotten fluffy.
Once the yeast is fluffy, add the eggs and remaining sugar to the mixing bowl and using a whisk or paddle attachment, whisk the ingredients together.
While that is whisking, combine the flour and salt together in a bowl.
Add the flour and mix to begin incorporating. I like to do a little flour at a time so I don’t get a cloud of flour dust back in my face.
Switch to a dough hook attachment and let it knead on medium high speed for two minutes. Add the butter two tablespoons at a time then knead, giving the butter time to incorporate before adding the next bit of butter.
Once all the butter is added, knead for an additional five minutes on medium-high speed.
Scrape the sides of the bowl down and cover with either a damp towel or a piece of plastic wrap that’s been sprayed (the bottom side) with non-stick baking spray. The dough will be soft and sticky.
Let the dough rise in a warm location until doubled.
2 – Make the Candied bacon
While the dough is rising, make your candied bacon so it’s ready to go when the rolls are done.
If you want to make candied bacon to go on top, preheat an oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Lay the bacon on the baking sheet – no overlapping bacon. Sprinkle half the brown sugar on top of the bacon.
Place the bacon in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the brown sugar on top begins to bubble. Remove from the oven and flip the bacon. Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar and place back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes or until the brown sugar looks caramelized.
Make sure to watch the bacon carefully after you flip because the brown sugar (and the bacon) can go from caramelized to burnt quickly.
Remove from the oven and let cool for just a minute before using tongs to remove and put it on a plate. If you let it cool completely on the baking sheet, the sugar hardens, making it extremely difficult to remove.
3 – Make the Rolls
Once the dough has doubled, place the dough onto a floured surface. Use your hands to press the dough into a rectangle, trying to keep the corners as square as possible for easy rolling later.
Once it’s in a rectangle, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thin.
Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Spread the softened butter over the entire surface of the rectangle of dough. Top with the cinnamon sugar mixture then use your hands to gently press the cinnamon sugar into the butter. This will help keep it from boiling out of the rolls while baking.
Sprinkle the cooked bacon bits over the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Roll the dough up starting at the bottom, trying to keep it as tight as possible. Once you finish rolling, press the edge of the dough into the rolled dough to seal it.
Slice into 2″ thick rolls with a very sharp knife that’s been dipped in flour. Pull the knife through the dough rather than pushing it down on the rolls or sawing through the dough. If you saw through, you’ll end up with sad misshapen rolls.
For even sized rolls, cut the ends off first. Then cut directly in the middle of the roll, then cut in the middle of each of those two sections so you have four rolls. Cut each of those sections into half again so you have eight perfectly sized rolls.
Once the rolls are rolled and cut, it’s time to let them rise again. You didn’t think you were done did you?
Place the rolls into a greased 9×13 baking pan, leaving about 1/4 inch of space between them. If you don’t have room in the pan to leave space between them, split them into two pans. They need that space to allow them to rise in the pan.
Cover with a damp towel and let the cinnamon rolls rise for another 30-45 minutes or until they’ve again doubled in size. Once they’re doubled in size, they’ll likely be touching either – totally okay!
4 – Bake Cinnamon Rolls
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the rolls have doubled in size, bake for 45-50 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (so you know they’re not gooey in the center).
If your oven bakes hot, you can bake them for 25 minutes then cover with tin foil to bake for the remaining time so they can still bake inside without getting too golden on the outside.
5 – Make Icing
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Use the paddle attachment to beat the ingredients together for about two minutes until it’s nice and fluffy.
Add the milk and beat for another minute to finish off the frosting!
Once the cinnamon rolls are done, set them on a cool rack and spread cream cheese icing on them right away if you want a thinner melted layer or wait for them to cool for 15 minutes for thicker, stay-on style, frosting.
Finish them off by topping with small pieces of the candied bacon (if you want) or you can totally eat them with just the frosting!
If you have any leftover candied bacon, it would be delicious used in these bacon and brie bites!
Serve warm or after they’ve cooled (if anyone can wait that long). These would also be really good topped with just a bit of maple syrup – I love the maple flavor with the salty bacon! If you like maple, you’ll love this Texas sheet cake recipe too!
This post was originally written as a mini maple bacon roll recipe and has since been updated to a full-size homemade bacon cinnamon rolls recipe. If you would like the original recipe, you can get a printable copy here.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week. If you aren’t going to finish them within a week, freeze.
Freeze the rolls individually in plastic wrap then placed into a sealed airtight container. Take out of the freezer and allow to come to room temperature before warming in the oven for a few minutes or the microwave for 30 seconds to heat.
Reheat cinnamon rolls by placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a cold oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and allow the cinnamon rolls to warm up with the oven. Or if you’d rather use the microwave, simply microwave for 20-30 seconds to warm them.
You only want to let the dough rise until it doubles in size. I typically set a timer to check them after 30 minutes then again every 15 minutes or so until the dough has doubled. If you’re not going to be around to watch it rise so it doesn’t rise too much, put the dough in the fridge and let them rise in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Make sure to store these in an airtight container after baking. This will help keep the cinnamon rolls soft and moist for as long as possible.
More Easy Brunch Recipes
- Lemon blueberry muffins – super soft and fluffy blueberry muffins with a hint of citrus with a brown sugar streusel topping.
- Lemon poppy seed bread – a delicious and simple lemon bread that’s topped with a sweet lemon glaze. The perfect summer brunch food.
- Easy strawberry danishes – semi-homemade strawberry danishes that start with puff pastry topped with a delicious cream cheese mixture then get topped with fresh strawberries.
- Strawberry scones – soft scones made with fresh strawberries and topped with a delicious vanilla glaze.
- Cranberry orange muffins – a little sweet, a little tart – these muffins are all parts delicious!
Bacon Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 TBS active yeast
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 7 3/4 flour
- 2 sticks butter softened, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 TBS cinnamon
- 1 stick butter super soft, or melted
- 1 cup cooked bacon chopped
Cream Cheese Icing
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 5 TBS butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 TBS vanilla
- 1/4 cup milk
Candied Bacon (optional)
- 6 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Warm milk either in the microwave (about 1 minute) or on the stove until lukewarm.
- Add 1 TBS sugar and the yeast to the milk and combine. Allow mixture to sit until yeast blooms and starts getting fluffy. Once bloomed, transfer to a stand mixer bowl.
- In a mediu mixing bowl combine flour and salt then set aside.
- Add eggs and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture and using either a whisk or paddle attachment, combine.
- Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix to incorporate. Switch to a dough hook and knead for two minutes on medium-high speed.
- Add the butter 2 Tbs at a time giving it time to incorporate. Once all of the butter is added, continue to knead for 5 minutes on medium high speed.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl, spray the top with baking spray and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and set aside to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with either tin foil or parchment paper.
- Lay bacon out on the baking sheet, making sure not to overlap pieces of bacon.
- Top bacon with half the brown sugar
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until brown sugar starts to bubble.
- Remove from oven and flip bacon over. Top with the remaining half of the brown sugar and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until brown sugar looks caramelized.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute then use tongs to remove to a plate to allow the bacon to completely cool.
- Combine sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place dough on a floured surface and use your hands to press the dough into a rectangle then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle that's about 1/4 inch thick.
- Spread the super soft/melted butter all over the top of the cinnamon roll dough.
- Top with cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Add chopped bacon all over the cinnamon sugar mixture then gently press down with your hands to help incorporate the bacon into the cinnamon sugar.
- Roll the dough starting at the bottom until you've completely rolled the dough into a long tight roll. Press the end gently into the dough to seal.
- Slice into 2" thick rolls using a sharp knife. Pull the knife through the rolls rather than pushing or sawing through the rolls.
- Place rolls into a greased 9x13 baking dish with about 1/4 inch of space between them. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for another 30-45 minutes or until the rolls have doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees when your cinnamon rolls have about 15 minutes left of rising time.
- Bake rolls in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and either frost immediately (for a more melted frosting) or allow to cool for 15 minutes before frosting (for a thicker frosting).
- Garnish with small pieces of candied bacon (optional).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Using the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients together on medium high speed for 2minutes.
- Add in the milk or half and half and beat again for another minute.