How to make cinnamon rolls – the 'most popular bake of second lockdown'

You might have heard that baking cinnamon rolls is predicted to be as popular as making banana bread was in the first lockdown.

Yes, back in April and May, social media feeds were filled with images of the fruit-filled cake, but this time around, Waitrose says you can expect to scroll through posts about how people have perfected their dough and got the icing ratio just right.

If you want to give it a go, there are many ways to make the sweet treat and the one you choose really depends on the result you’re looking for.

Fundamentally, cinnamon rolls are just a type of dough rolled up with a filling of sugar, cinnamon and butter. The key is to get that right, spread it in a thick, even layer over the dough, roll it up and then slice into pieces.

We’ve put together a guide to the buns so you can choose how to make yours.

These recipes are all delicious but get harder and more time consuming as you go down the page.

Easy: The cinnamon swirl

Perhaps the easiest type to create as you can use shop bought puff pastry.


  • 1 pack ready roll puff pastry
  • 50g butter (at room temperature)
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar


Medium difficulty: American style cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing

These rolls, created by Bake Off contestant Martha Collison for Waitrose are a little more complicated than using pre-made dough.

You need flour and yeast, which were hard to get hold off in the last lockdown but the supply chain seems to be better this time round.

For the dough

  • 75g butter
  • 100ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g strong plain flour
  • 7g easy bake/quick yeast
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 2 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Eggs
  • Oil, for greasing

For the filling

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 150g dark brown soft sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

For the topping
25g butter, softened
50g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract 

Harder (but worth it): Gail’s bakery cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns are one the most popular pastries sold at Gail’s and now you can make them yourself at home.

This recipe has a lot of steps but it is easy to follow and a great weekend activity for the family to enjoy.

Try not to get overwhelmed with what is involved. It’s all laid out below and there’s some breaks in between for the dough to prove.

Dough ingredients

  • 35g fresh yeast
  • 170ml cold water
  • 300g plain flour
  • 640g strong white bread flour
  • 95g butter, at room temperature
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 20g fine sea salt
  • 300ml milk
  • For laminating the dough: 400g butter, chilled.


  • 170g light muscovado sugar
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 2 heaped tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g butter, melted

For the topping

  • 120g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon


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