Classic cinnamon rolls are delicious but we wanted to add a little texture; therefore, we created this soft pecan cinnamon rolls recipe and topped them off with a homemade pecan cream cheese frosting. The smell of warm cinnamon is one of the best smells. Especially when you know the smell is coming from the oven, which has cinnamon rolls baking inside. These pecan cinnamon rolls with pecan cream cheese frosting will hit the spot.
These pecan cinnamon rolls are light, not too sweet, and filled with a brown sugar-butter-cinnamon-pecan mixture that is fantastic. The filling melts beautifully while baking, creating a sweet gooey middle that we can't get enough of. This combined with a slightly sweet dough and pecan cream cheese frosting is unbeatable. All you need to add is a warm cup of coffee and your day will start out pretty great!
A few words before you begin
Homemade cinnamon rolls can be daunting and we totally understand. To be honest, we were a little nervous to make them from scratch! This is why we wanted to make a simple recipe that (hopefully) isn't too intimidating. Our pecan cinnamon rolls recipe isn't hard but it can be a little time consuming due to proofing time. Long story short, you make the dough, let it proof, roll out the dough and layer the cinnamon sugar butter mixture, roll the dough into a log, slice the log (to make the iconic cinnamon roll shape), let it proof again, and then bake. The longest part of this recipe is the proofing! We promise the rest is a piece of cake.
Pro tips for our pecan cinnamon rolls recipe
The dough should be sticky but not to the point where it sticks to every surface it touches. If that's happening, add 1-2 Tbsp of flour and mix. You can lightly flour the rolling pin as well if the dough is sticking to it.
If you live in a warm climate, you can simply leave the covered bowl outside (we would suggest in the shade, not in direct sunlight). You can also cover the bowl with a warm cloth and keep it inside!
Trim them off and bake them in a separate dish! We hate food waste so we try to use every part of a recipe. This dough is still good, it just has less cinnamon pecan filling!
We recommend using parchment paper AND nonstick cooking spray in case the gooey center runs out of the dough while baking. This will help prevent a mess when cleaning the dishes!
After they proof for 45-60 minutes comes a KEY step. Pour ⅓ cup heavy cream over the rolls before putting them in the oven. This keeps the centers niiiiiiice and gooey.
Yes! The heavy cream will make them look pale and undercooked but trust us, take them out after ~20 minutes of baking so the middle is still soft and gooey. If they're still underdone after cooling, you can always put them back in for a minute or two!
Ingredient notes for our pecan cinnamon rolls recipe
- Microwave the milk for 30-45 seconds until it feels like warm bath water is ideal. If you have a thermometer, you want it around 110 degrees. The yeast likes a warm and cozy environment but we don't want it scalding hot!
- Be sure the yeast package says "active dry yeast," not "instant" or "quick yeast." The proofing time will be different for quick/instant yeasts.
- Let the melted butter cool slightly. We don't want it scalding hot because if the butter is hot and eggs are cold, you may get some chunks of scrambled eggs in your dough.
- Make sure the butter and cream cheese are softened before making the frosting! They will mix SO much easier than if they're right out of the fridge. We recommend pulling them out of the fridge when you start making the dough. This way they're softened by the time you make the frosting.
- We love using high quality ingredients and this includes the pecans. Bergeron Pecans is a Louisiana-based company that produces great pecans that is our go-to!
We would love for you to rate and comment on this recipe if you try it at home! We love hearing feedback and how our recipes turn out for you. Please connect with us on social media as well! Post a photo or story on Instagram and be sure to tag us so we can see it and share!Print
Pecan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe with Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting
Freshly baked cinnamon rolls is one of the best smells that exists. This soft pecan cinnamon rolls recipe is topped with a pecan cream cheese frosting that will make your taste buds jump for joy!
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 9 rolls 1x
- Category: Breakfast, Desserts
For the dough:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup warm milk (whole or 2%)
- 2 ¼ tsp (1-1/4oz package) active dry yeast
- 2 eggs, room temp
- ⅓ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
For the filling:
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 1 ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
For the frosting:
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 4oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
For the dough:
- Warm milk and place in a stand mixer bowl then add sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until fragrant.
- Add eggs, butter, vanilla, salt, and flour. Using dough hook, knead/mix on medium speed for ~7-8 minutes, until dough is soft and smooth. You can knead by hand if you would like! Dough should be sticky but not sticking to the sides or bottom of the bowl.
- Place dough into another large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let sit in a warm environment for ~1 ½ hours, or until it doubles in size.
- Once dough has doubled, move onto a well-floured surface and roll into a rectangle (~14x9"). If dough is sticking to rolling pin, lightly flour it.
For the filling:
- Mix butter, sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over dough.
- Gently roll up, starting from the 9" side, until a log is formed. Slice 1" slices (you should have 9-12 slices).
- Prepare a 9x9" baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place rolls into dish, leaving some wiggle room.
- Cover dish and let proof again in a warm environment for 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pour heavy cream evenly over rolls until they're just covered. Bake 20-25 minutes until edges are slightly golden brown.
For the frosting
- While the rolls are baking/cooling, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and pecans and whip until smooth.
- Spread over rolls, top with extra pecans if desired, and enjoy!
- Be sure to keep in an air-tight container or else the rolls may dry out.
- We highly recommend reheating them in the microwave before eating!
- Serving Size: 1 roll
- Calories: 408
- Sugar: 27
- Sodium: 299
- Fat: 18
- Saturated Fat: 10
- Unsaturated Fat: 3
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 54
- Fiber: 1
- Protein: 6
- Cholesterol: 79
Keywords: cinnamon rolls, cream cheese frosting, pecan cinnamon rolls, easy cinnamon rolls, pecan cinnamon rolls recipe, pecan cream cheese frosting
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