Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls

Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls by Sarah Franzen

 After successfully recreating my grandmother’s cabbage burgers, I wanted to give her cinnamon rolls a try.  I called around to the aunts and received a few recipes that were pretty similar.  This particular one Grandma would use to save time and when she was making rolls to accompany dishes that were not also made from dough, like chili.  In addition to the following recipe, I received the one she used to make them completely from scratch.  That recipe is actually for double the dough required.  Grandma would use part of it for the outside of the cabbage burgers and the other half for a dozen cinnamon rolls.  But that’s for another post, when I have a little more time and can knock out the rolls and burgers all at once.

Since this is the recipe I’ll probably be making more often than not  (mostly for time sake), and since it was the first one I was able to attempt, here’s Grandma’s Cinnamon Roll recipe using Hot Roll Mix.


  • Hot Roll Mix (I personally use Pillsbury)
  • 1 Cup hot water (for Hot Roll Mix)
  • 2 Tablespoons softened butter (for Hot Roll Mix)
  • 1 Egg (for Hot Roll Mix)
  • Flour for dusting surface
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1.5 Cups brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons cinnamon (I love cinnamon, so I use closer to the 3 mark)
  • 2 Cups powdered sugar
  • Small amount of milk (add to powdered sugar to make glaze)


Preheat oven to 375; grease baking dish with butter or cooking spray

Follow directions on the box to make regular dough (don’t add extra sugar): Combine mix and yeast, mix well; add hot water, butter and egg; stir until soft dough forms

Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix by Sarah Franzen

Turn out onto lightly floured surface.  It always seems to take more flour than I think it should to keep it from sticking.  So don’t get too stingy, or you’ll find yourself with dough-webbed hands trying to figure out how you are going to scoop out more flour without making an even bigger mess.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth; Cover and let rise

Grandma's Cinnamon Roll Dough by Sarah Franzen

The box says to just let the dough rest 5 minutes, but Grandma’s recipe says to wait until the dough has tripled in size.  This took longer than 5 minutes for me.  I was also making chili in the slow cooker that day. To help speed up the process, I put the dough back in the bowl, covered it with a tea towel, and balanced it on top of the slow cooker.  You can also put a heating pad underneath or simply wait for it to rise by itself.

Cinnamon Roll Dough Rising by Sarah Franzen

Stop following the directions on the box at this point.  Once the dough has tripled in size, roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle about a half-inch thick.  Brush with melted butter

Cinnamon Roll brushing with Melted Butter by Sarah Franzen

Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon for Rolls by Sarah Franzen

Spread the sugar and cinnamon mix over the dough on top of the melted butter.  It seems like a lot, but just pile it on the best you can, it’s worth it!

Sugar and Spice on dough for Cinnamon Rolls by Sarah Franzen

Roll up from the long side.  I should have pinched and sealed the ends better, but they still turned out fine.

Rolling Cinnamon Rolls by Sarah Franzen

Cut in 1 inch slices, I went 2 finger widths apart. Place cut side down in greased pan, let rise until they spread out to fill the pan.

Cinnamon Rolls Ready for Baking by Sarah Franzen

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes

Baked Cinnamon Rolls by Sarah Franzen

Let cool completely.  Mix powdered sugar and small amount of milk.  Adjust the amount of milk until you have a smooth consistency to spread over the rolls.

Cinnamon Roll Glaze by Sarah Franzen

Finished Cinnamon Rolls by Sarah Franzen

Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls Served by Sarah FranzenDelicious!  Another one of Grandma’s recipes in the books. I love it when our kitchen has the taste and smell of home.

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  1. Looks just like the ones Mom used to make!

    Too bad I can’t run over to your house and have a few. Brings back some really good memories of after school goodies.

    1. They were great! I wish you could just come over too. Next time we visit we’ll have to make a dozen or two! 🙂

  2. Hi Sarah,
    I’m new to your site.
    I’ve looked for the Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix and can’t find it anywhere.
    Can you help me with this? Also you mentioned combining the mix
    with yeast. Does the yeast come packaged with the boxed mix?
    Thank you for any help you can give me! The rolls look amazing!
    Robin M.

    1. Dear Robin,
      First of all, welcome!  And thank you so much for your questions.  They are both great ones!  We’ve moved several times; and it’s definitely easier to find the Hot Roll mix in certain places.  But so far, whether it’s been Nebraska, Iowa, New Jersey, or Connecticut, I have been able to find boxes in the baking section.  Usually it’s located on the top shelf near other mixes like muffins and cakes.  
      Here is a link to the Pillsbury site where you can type in your zip code and find the nearest distributor.  Hopefully there is one close by.
      Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix

      Otherwise, you can find it online at sites like Amazon, but most likely you’ll be spending more.
      Amazon Hot Roll Mix results

      The final option is to make your own.  I have personally not tried this recipe.  There are a few options online, but this one appeared to be the closest.   (NOTE this is for 4 batches! So you can make the full amount and store some for future use.  Or divide all of the measurements by 4 for one batch of cinnamon rolls.)
      Taste of Home Hot Roll Mix Recipe

      To answer your second question, yes.  If you can find the boxed mix a packet of yeast is already included.
      I hope this helps, and if I come up with any other alternatives to using the hot roll mix I’ll let you know.  Or if anyone else is reading that has a great substitute, please feel free to chime in!

      Thanks!  Many blessings and happy baking!

    2. I order at amazon

      1. Dear Rine,
        Thank you so much for your input!  It’s good to know that someone else has been successful with ordering the hot roll mix through Amazon!
        We appreciate you taking the time to let us know!
        Many Blessings,

    3. I live in Hawaii and when my first thanksgiving on island rolled around I couldn’t find the mix anywhere and it’s a family tradition to make rolls w this mix. I could however buy from Amazon!

  3. You can also order from Walmart online, it’s cheaper than Amazon.

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