Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing

Gloriously gooey—barely had time to snap a photo before inhaling these!

I have got to say, there’s been a real mishmash of exciting and bizarre things going on in my life lately. Feel free to apply that to any and every subject you can. What you really want to know is how it applies to food, right?

Meat. It means tons and tons of meat: pulled pork, roasted and barbecued chicken, beef roasts, and everything in between. I have started having daymares from it all. Something sweet had to come in … something comforting and decadent. Did someone say “cinnamon buns?”

Once again I have America’s Test Kitchen to thank for another homerun recipe. These truly are quick cinnamon buns. I even screwed them up the first time and each bite was still perfect. Cinnamon buns are usually quite cumbersome to make, and are hardly considered something to “whip up” on a weeknight, but here we have it. A no-frills approach to a fabulous morning, noon or night staple. Try it today!

Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing
Makes 8 buns

From ATK’s New Best Recipe; instructional images from here

Printer-friendly recipe


1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, for pan

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. table salt
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Biscuit Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for work surface
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. buttermilk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425°F. Pour 1 tbsp. melted butter in 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat pan. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. To make cinnamon-sugar filling: Combine sugars, spices, and salt in small bowl. Add 1 tbsp. melted butter and stir with fork or fingers until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside.
  3. To make biscuit dough: Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 tbsp. melted butter in measuring cup or small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed (dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.
  4. Pat dough with hands into 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Following illustrations below, fill, roll, cut, and arrange buns in buttered cake pan. Brush with 2 tbsp. remaining melted butter. Bake until edges are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Use offset metal spatula to loosen buns from pan; without separating, slide buns out of pan onto greased cooling rack. Cool about 5 minutes before icing.
  5. To make icing and finish buns: While buns are cooling, line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup); set rack with buns over baking sheet. Whisk cream cheese and buttermilk in large nonreactive bowl until thick and smooth (mixture will look like cottage cheese at first). Sift confectioners’ sugar over; whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Spoon glaze evenly over buns; serve immediately.

Rolling Up Cinnamon Buns

1. Brush dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with filling, leaving 1/2-inch border of plain dough around edges. Press filling firmly into dough.

2. Using bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Starting at long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal.

3. Roll log seam-side down and cut evenly into eight pieces. With hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep filling in place.

4. Place one roll in center of prepared nonstick pan, then place remaining seven rolls around perimeter of pan.

Eeeee! This makes me way too excited.

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