Super Sweet Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

These super sweet homemade cinnamon rolls are a great start to any day.  Making cinnamon rolls from scratch is one of the most rewarding baking experiences you can have because of all the homemade components and making dutch oven cinnamon rolls is a true camp accomplishment!  Don’t let that scare you though.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  You will love that you can use this cinnamon roll recipe at home or at camp and they can even be prepped for cooking and kept chilled overnight.

Super Sweet Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

iced cinnamon rolls in dutch oven

You can cook these indoors or outdoors

I love cooking outdoors and challenging myself to try to learn and understand the old ways of doing things.  Sharing that experience is the reason behind this site.  Don’t let that scare you away from recipes like these.  This cinnamon roll recipe also works great baking in a modern oven.  In fact when I made this batch I also made some inside too and I’ll throw a few indoor cooking tips in here too.  Read through my notes on making these, or scroll directly to the bottom for the recipe.

Cinnamon Roll Dough

The first thing you need to prepare is the cinnamon roll dough.  A good yeast sweet dough should be lightly kneaded, but not to the extent of bread.  This creates plenty of air pockets for a nice fluffy roll without the chew that you would get from bread.  Using scalded milk will also help make a lighter springier roll.

Combine scalded milk (cooled) with sugar, salt, and yeast.  I like to allow the yeast to proof as I think even instant yeast works better this way.

Mix in the flour a little bit at a time until it pulls away from the edges of the bowl.  Knead on a well floured counter-top or dough-board for about 6 – 8 minutes.  Only add enough flour to keep it from sticking.  When I knead dough at camp I use one of these flexible cutting boards but you can also find larger pastry mats on Amazon.

Cover in the bowl and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

dough ready to rise

Cinnamon Roll Filling

The cinnamon roll filling is what makes these so great.  I use a mix of brown and regular sugar and a lot of it.  If you don’t want these to be quite as sweet just use 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of 3/4.  I also like to heat the butter sugar mix to a boil to lightly caramelize the sugars and incorporate them into the butter as a sauce.  As it cools it will thicken so you may need to reheat to spread it on the dough.

Cinnamon Roll Icing

icing in a bag

A great trick with the icing is to make it in advance and put it in a quart size bag.  Keep it chilled in a refrigerator or cooler.  When you are ready just cut the corner and use the bag to apply to the cinnamon rolls.  This recipe makes plenty of extra icing for your sweet tooth.

 Making the Cinnamon Rolls

When your dough has doubled in size roll it out to a 12×18 inch rectangle.  If it’s smaller that’s fine, just try to keep it about that ratio.

Spread the filling evenly over the dough leaving a half inch at the top and bottom.

dough covered with filling

If the filling looks thicker to you that’s because of me cooking it a bit.  This is part of what makes these so sweet.  Don’t worry if you didn’t cook your filling at all. They will be just fine.

Roll the cinnamon rolls up into a log and pinch the seam closed lightly.  Use a string to cut them into 1 inch pieces like pictured below.

cutting cinnamon rolls

You will want to let these rise again before baking.  I like to prepare these the night before and then let them slowly rise in my fridge or in the cooler if I’m camping.  That way I don’t have to get up at 4 AM to start making cinnamon rolls.

If you are making these at home, just spray your baking sheet with non-stick spray and lay the cinnamon rolls flat about an inch apart.  I like it when they stick together and you get that soft pull apart dough.  If you prefer a crispier edge then lay them 2 inches apart.  Cover with plastic wrap to rise.

For dutch oven cooking I suggest cutting out a piece of parchment paper that will fit perfectly in the bottom of the dutch oven.  This way you can lay the cinnamon rolls out perfectly to fit inside.  Spray it lightly with cooking spray and lay the cinnamon rolls on it.  I set the cut out on top of a full piece that I use to pick up and move the cinnamon rolls.  Cover with plastic wrap to rise.

cinnamon rolls on parchment paper

Baking

After a long night of tossing and turning anticipating the oh so sweet taste of cinnamon and icing hitting your tongue, you leap from your sleeping bag and spring to work.  If you’re smart you’ve staged a charcoal chimney full of charcoal and maybe even a pot of water for coffee.

Free tip: Boil the water on the charcoal chimney and have the coffee ready right away!

Use a dutch oven charcoal cooking chart to find the right number of coals for your size dutch oven.  Normally you’ll find that they call for about 2/3 of the charcoal on top and 1/3 on bottom.  I suggest switching to 3/4 on top and 1/4 on bottom.  This is just to be a little extra cautions so you don’t burn breakfast.

Set the cinnamon rolls out and let them warm up to room (outside) temperature.

Pre-heat the dutch oven for 10 minutes before using the parchment paper to lower the cinnamon rolls in.

I baked mine for about 20 minutes.  This might vary slightly depending on the size of your dutch oven and the number of cinnamon rolls you are cooking at once.  Check the rolls after 5 minutes to make sure they aren’t burning on the bottom.  You should be able to smell it by opening the lid.  If they are just move the dutch oven off the bottom coals for 5 – 10 minutes to cool.

Use the parchment paper to pull the cinnamon rolls back out when they are done.  Let cool for 10 minutes before icing.

iced cinnamon rolls in dutch oven

Printable Recipe

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Super Sweet Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 4 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Instant active yeast Or one packet

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1/2 cup Melted butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cinnamon

Cinnamon Roll Icing

  • 4 tablespoons Softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Instructions

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  1. Scald the milk by bringing it just to the point of beginning to boil and then allowing to cool.

  2. When milk has cooled mix in sugar, salt, and yeast to milk and allow yeast to proof.  It should form some foam bubbles on the top.

  3. After yeast is proofed begin adding flour and mixing until dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl.  

  4. Roll dough out onto a floured counter-top or dough-board and knead for 6 - 8 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking.   

  5. Spray a medium sized bowl with cooking oil or non-stick spray.  Roll dough into a ball and place into bowl covered with towel or plastic wrap.  Set bowl in warm place and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  1. While dough is rising prepare cinnamon roll filling.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan or bowl and mix well.

  3. Optional: Heat to a light boil to start caramelizing the sugars.  Be sure not to overcook.

Cinnamon Roll Icing

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

  2. Spoon the icing into a quart sized ziplock bag for storage.  You can cut the corner of the bag when ready to use icing.

Super Sweet Cinnamon Roll

  1. When dough has doubled in size punch down and roll out onto floured counter-top or dough-board.  Roll out into an approximately 12 x 18 inch rectangle.  It's ok if it's a little smaller than this.  

  2. Spread the filling evenly over the dough leaving a 1/2 inch section at the top and bottom.  Try to get as close to sides as possible.

  3. Beginning at the bottom roll the dough up into a log.  Lightly pinch shut at the seam.

  4. Using string cut the log into 1 inch thick slices.  If you don't have string a knife will work, just try to slice cleanly so you don't flatten the cinnamon rolls.

  5. Coat parchment paper, foil, or a baking dish with non-stick spray.  For dutch ovens I recommend cutting a circle out the size of the bottom of your oven.  You can also use a round cake pan that fits inside your dutch oven if that is easier.  If you are cooking this at home a 9x13 inch glass pan is perfect.

  6. Lay the cinnamon rolls flat on coated parchment paper, foil, or in baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap.  

  7. For immediate cooking let these rise 30-60 minutes, or until they've nearly doubled in size.  If you are preparing these for the next morning place inside a fridge or cooler to slow the yeast.  In the morning set them out to warm for approximately 30 minutes before baking.

Dutch Oven Baking Instructions

  1. Use a dutch oven charcoal chart to light the right amount of coals for your dutch oven for 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Preheat your oven for 10 minutes with 3/4 of coals on top and 1/4 on bottom.  

  2. Use the parchment paper or foil to lift and set the cinnamon rolls into the dutch oven.  Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown.  With this ratio of coals you shouldn't have to worry about burning but it's always a good idea to check about 5 minutes in.  If they smell like they are beginning to burn simply move the dutch oven off the bottom coals and allow it to cool.  You should be able to place it back on the coals after 5 - 10 minutes to finish up.

  3. Use a fork to slightly pull apart the center roll to check for doneness.  If the dough is still sticky and raw back for 5 - 10 more minutes and check again. 

  4. Use the parchment paper or foil to lift them out of the dutch oven. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before icing.

  5. Cut a corner off of your bag of icing and squeeze out over the cinnamon rolls to coat.  Enjoy warm.

Indoor Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  

  2. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

  3. Use a fork to slightly pull apart the center roll to check for doneness. If the dough is still sticky and raw back for 5 - 10 more minutes and check again. 

  4. Remove from oven and place on wire rack or pot holder. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before icing.

  5. Cut a corner off of your bag of icing and squeeze out over the cinnamon rolls to coat. Enjoy warm.

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