Cinnamon Apple Rolls

A 9x13 dish full of cinnamon apple rolls topped with pecans
A while back I decided to join the Willow Bird Baking challenge. One of the first challenges was making a sweet roll using Julie’s roll recipe. I split the recipe in half and made raspberry lemon curd rolls and these cinnamon apple rolls. I love the idea of adding apple to an otherwise traditional recipe! The little bits get tender and sweet as they bake and taste amazing with all of that cinnamon in there! I topped these with a brown sugar frosting for a more “caramel ” flavor. These will definitely become a staple in our house, I say that because I may or may not have eaten three in one day 🙂 I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and that you’ll enjoy them as much as we did! P.S. what kind of “sweet rolls” do you love? I’m thinking about making orange rolls or maybe even these not-so-sweet rolls- they look rather delicious!


Cinnamon Apple Rolls Recipe

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Course: Breakfast, Rolls
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Rest: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 24 Rolls
Calories: 427kcal
Author: Life Made Simple Team
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  • (Click here for complete recipe for Willow Bird Baking’s rolls)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package ( 2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 2 cups milk minus 2 Tbsp
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter - room temperature
  • 4 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
brown sugar frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter - room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk - + extra if you want it to be more of a glaze
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla
garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup pecans and walnuts - toasted and chopped


  •  In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Whisk to combine and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy.
  • Meanwhile, combine vinegar and milk in a 2 c. measuring cup. Allow to sit while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  •  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in yeast and milk mixture, using the pastry hook mix (knead) until a ball begins to form. Place ball of dough in a large lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  •  In the morning, prepare filling by combining all ingredients in a medium size bow. Mix to combine.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into two equal balls. Roll out one ball on a lightly floured surface. Spread half of the filling over the rectangular slab of dough. Roll up and cut into 12 rolls. Place in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Repeat with the second ball of dough. Cover pans with a dish cloth and set in a draft-free area for 1½ hours or until rolls have doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rolls into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown in color. Remove rolls and place pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.
  •  Meanwhile, to prepare the frosting, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter and brown sugar. Heat until the sugars begin to dissolve and bubbles form around the edges (be careful not to burn the sugar). Remove from heat and add in whole milk, salt and vanilla, then the powdered sugar. Spread over warm rolls. Garnish with toasted nuts, serve immediately.


Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 174mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 295IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg

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Sweet Roll Dough recipe from Willow Bird Baking 

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  1. Lemon curd sweet rolls with frosting are really good… I’m a real sucker for the traditionnals cinnamon and nuts rolls… or sticky buns tough!

  2. I’ve really been wanting to try orange cinnamon rolls and raspberry cinnamon rolls, but these look so good I’ll have to add them to my list!