Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls – with a picture tutorial

Gooey, delicious cinnamon rolls made from scratch! YUM!

So most of the recipes I post are tasty, easy and healthy. This recipe is a bit of an outlier. It is DEFINITELY tasty. I’m not sure this recipe qualifies as healthy, but it is healthier than your average cinnamon roll. Easy? Well…… I just don’t know an easy way to make cinnamon rolls. If there were an easy way, I’d love to learn it. This recipe does require a bit more effort than most recipes on this blog, but it’s worth it. These cinnamon rolls are so delicious!

One perk about this recipe is that these cinnamon rolls are ready in less than 90 minutes, which is quicker than a lot of other cinnamon roll recipes out there.

In case you’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, I’ve included pictures of the different steps involved. Don’t worry – none of the steps are hard, they just take a bit of time.

First, you start off by making your roll dough. You can do this in a bread machine, a Kitchen Aid, or by hand. Whichever works for you.

Once you have your dough kneaded, you will need to roll it out on a flat, greased (or floured) surface. I prefer to grease the surface because I don’t want additional flour to get mixed in with my dough. But flouring the surface works too – whichever you prefer.

So here’s the dough all rolled out. I’ve tried to make it sort of rectangle-shaped, but you can see that it’s not perfect. It’s okay if it isn’t perfect, it will all be fine in the end. I roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch, and the length and width of the dough are about 1 foot by 2 feet. This just gives you an idea of how to roll your dough out, it doesn’t have to be exact.

Next, you’ll spread butter over the dough. I soften my butter in the microwave – and I try to simply get it soft enough to spread without melting the butter. But usually, some of the butter melts. No worries – everything will still turn out fine. After spreading the butter over your dough, you will cover the butter with a cinnamon/sugar mixture. (You can see in my picture that there are some darker areas – these are areas where the butter melted. )

Next, you’re going to roll up the dough. You start rolling from one of the long edges, like shown in the picture below.

Once you’ve rolled up the dough, you’re going to cut the dough into individuals rolls with a length of about 1.5 inches and place them in a 9×13 pan. To cut the rolls, I use a piece of floss. Just slip the floss under the dough and wrap it around the dough to pinch off one roll.

Place the rolls in a greased 9×13 pan. They will spread when they rise and cook, so try to keep the rolls as far apart from each other as you can.

Now, all the hard work is done. The cinnamon rolls will rise for 15 minutes and bake for 20-25 minutes.

These are the cinnamon rolls after baking. I let them cool for a while and then frost them. I don’t like too much frosting on my cinnamon rolls (because I’m “trying” to be healthy ). If you want more frosting on your rolls, just double the frosting recipe below.


Looking for other whole wheat recipes? Try these:

Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Bread

100% Whole Grain Cornbread

100% Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: 15

Time: 90 minutes

For the rolls:

  • 3 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 C hot water
  • 1/2 C butter (softened)
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/3 C cinnamon

For the frosting (feel free to double the frosting if you like LOTS of frosting on your cinnamon rolls):

  • 4 ounces neufchatel cheese (can sub cream cheese)
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 C powdered sugar
  1. Combine the flour, white sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add the eggs, water, and vegetable oil and mix until well combined. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. (I do this in my Kitchen Aid, but you can also do it in a bread machine or by hand.) See this tip about kneading dough.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150F.
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured or greased flat surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle (about 1 foot by 2 feet) with a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  5. Spread the softened butter over the dough.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Spread the cinnamon mixture over the butter.
  8. Starting from one of the long edges of the dough, roll up the dough.
  9. Use floss to cut the dough into individual rolls, approximately 1.5 inches long.
  10. Arrange the rolls in a greased 9×13 pan.
  11. Place the rolls in the oven and turn the oven to OFF.
  12. Let the rolls rise in the oven for 15 minutes.
  13. Without opening the oven, set the oven temperature to 340F and set your timer for 20 minutes. (Yes, the rolls will be cooking in the oven as the oven heats up.)
  14. Check on the rolls after 20 minutes. If they are lightly golden on the top, they are done. If they are not yet golden, let them cook another 2-3 minutes.
  15. Once the rolls are finished cooking, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  16. For the frosting, combine the neufchatel cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl and mix using a hand mixer.
  17. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing with the hand mixer until the sugar is well incorporated.
  18. Frost the rolls once they have cooled.


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