Soft, fluffy, and buttery, these indulgent Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls are frosted with cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with chopped pecans. They make a scrumptious breakfast or snack!
Table of Contents
- The Perfect Mashup of Two Breakfast Favorites!
- The List of Ingredients
- What Is the Best Flour to Use for Cinnamon Rolls?
- Let’s Make Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls!
- Should Cinnamon Rolls Be Touching Before Baking?
- Recipe Tips
- How to Store and Reheat Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
- Can I Freeze These?
- Get the Recipe
- More Sweet Breakfast Recipes
The Perfect Mashup of Two Breakfast Favorites!
There are two easy bakes that are always guaranteed to be a hit at my house: banana muffins, and cinnamon rolls. Anytime one of these beloved recipes makes it into the oven, you can bet that the family will be excited about that! This is why I did the obvious – and delicious – and combined the two into this one flavor-packed recipe.
Even if you’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, you can easily make this simple recipe. It sounds a lot harder than it is! A simple, sweet yeast dough gets extra flavor and moisture from mashed banana, while the filling is amped up with chopped pecans and a little nutmeg. Two rises and a quick bake give the rolls all the soft, fluffy, stretchy, goodness you could ask for. If you’re looking for the ultimate holiday or birthday breakfast, this is it!
The List of Ingredients
This recipe contains three parts: the dough, the filling, and the cream cheese frosting. For each part of the recipe, you’ll need a short list of basic baking ingredients.
- Milk: The milk should be warmed to just above body temperature, about 105°F.
- Sugar: A little granulated sugar to sweeten the dough and activate the yeast.
- Yeast: Active dry yeast.
- Eggs: For best results, let the eggs come to roughly room temperature before using them in the recipe.
- Banana: Mashed ripe banana gives the dough its distinctive banana bread flavor.
- Flour: All-purpose flour or bread flour can be used in this recipe.
- Butter: The butter for the dough should be cubed and at room temperature.
- Butter: For the filling, melt the butter.
- Sugar: A blend of brown sugar and granulated sugar gives the filling a warm sweetness.
- Spices: Mostly cinnamon, with a little bit of nutmeg.
- Pecans: Chop the pecans or buy them already chopped.
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar makes a silky-smooth frosting.
- Cream Cheese and Butter: Soften the cream cheese and the butter to room temperature.
- Milk: Or half and half.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
What Is the Best Flour to Use for Cinnamon Rolls?
You can use either all-purpose flour or bread flour to make cinnamon rolls. Either is fine! Some bakers swear by bread flour for a better rise and bake when using yeast. If you do use bread flour, you may want to add a tablespoon or two of extra liquid to keep the dough soft and slightly tacky.
For gluten-free baking, you’ll want to carefully select a gluten-free 1:1 flour and add xanthan gum or other ingredients to give it enough stretch and elasticity for two rises. That can be tricky, depending on your flour and dietary needs, and you may want to check with the flour company’s customer service for specifics.
Let’s Make Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls!
When you’re getting ready to make these banana bread cinnamon rolls, keep in mind that you need time not only for baking, but for the dough to rise twice. Depending on your kitchen’s temperature and humidity, these rise times will vary – I usually recommend budgeting an hour for the first rise and half an hour or so for the second rise.
Make the Dough
- Proof the Yeast. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine your warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Whisk these ingredients lightly to mix them a bit, and let the yeast proof for 5 minutes, until it becomes frothy. If the yeast doesn’t turn frothy, you’ll have to start again with fresh ingredients – either the yeast was old or the temperature of the liquid was not quite right (see the Recipe Tips section below).
- Add the Remaining Dough Ingredients. Once the yeast mixture has proofed, add the eggs and banana, whisking to combine. Switch the attachment to a dough hook, and add in the flour and salt. Knead these ingredients on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until a smooth ball of dough forms and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Finally, while the mixer is running, add the pieces of the cubed butter a few at a time. Knead for another 5 minutes.
- First Rise. Once the dough is kneaded, take it out of the bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
- Roll Out the Dough. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a clean, floured surface, and roll it into a large (21×16) rectangle, about 1⁄4″ thick.
Fill and Cut the Rolls
- Add the Filling Ingredients. To fill the banana bread cinnamon rolls, spread the melted butter evenly over the rolled-out dough. Next, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Sprinkle this mixture over the melted butter, and top with chopped pecans.
- Roll Up the Dough and Cut It. Starting at one edge, roll up the dough into a log, and cut it into ten rolls. Place the rolls into a greased baking dish, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap (sprayed with non-stick spray, so it doesn’t stick to the dough), and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Bake! Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the preheated oven, and bake them for about half an hour, or until golden brown on top and baked through.
- Cool. Cool the baked cinnamon rolls in their pan, on a wire cooling rack, while you make the frosting.
Make the Frosting
- Beat the Frosting Ingredients. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat on a medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy. (For a thinner frosting add more milk.)
- Frost the Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls. Spread the frosting over the cinnamon rolls while they are still warm, and then sprinkle the rolls with chopped pecans.
- Enjoy! Serve your banana bread cinnamon rolls warm.
Should Cinnamon Rolls Be Touching Before Baking?
That’s a matter of taste. You can place the cinnamon rolls close enough together that they touch once they’ve risen, or you can try to space them out (you may need two baking pans) so that they don’t touch. The benefit of having the sides touching is that the rolls will have soft, pull-apart edges. Cinnamon rolls that are baked not touching will have more golden-brown, firm edges.
But wait, there’s more! More tips for the perfect cinnamon rolls, that is. Check out these helpful hints, and enjoy your soft, cozy batch of banana bread cinnamon rolls.
- Warm Milk: I like the extra richness you get from milk, but warm water may be used instead.
- Chopped Pecans: Chopped walnuts or other nuts may be used instead.
- Yeast Temperature: Having the correct temperature of milk is very important when making these cinnamon rolls. If your milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Too cold, and the yeast won’t activate. The proper temperature is between 105°F – 110°F (warmer than body temperature, but definitely not scalding or boiling).
- Dough Texture: When kneading the dough, you can tell if it’s ready by pressing on it. If it stays pushed in, it needs to be kneaded longer. If it springs back, it’s ready. The dough should be tacky, but not stick to your fingers when touched.
How to Store and Reheat Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Because of the cream cheese icing, they should be stored in the fridge for safety.
To reheat, you can bake the rolls again at 350°F until heated through, or give them a quick microwave.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes, you can. Cool the baked cinnamon rolls down, wrap in plastic wrap, and then store in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw before reheating.
Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup mashed banana
- 6 cups flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, cubed, room temperature
- ½ cup melted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 4 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- 1-2 teaspoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add milk, sugar and yeast. Whisk to combine and let proof for 5 minutes, until frothy.
- Once proofed, add eggs and banana and whisk to combine. Switch the attachment to a dough hook and add flour and salt. Knead together on medium speed for 5 minutes, until a smooth ball forms and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. While the mixer is running, add pieces of the cubed butter, but not all at once. Continue kneading for another 5 minutes.
- Once kneaded, remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Proof for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled, turn out the dough onto a clean, floured surface. Roll the dough into a 21×16" rectangle that is about 1⁄4" thick.
- Evenly spread the melted butter over the rolled out dough. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the melted butter and top with chopped pecans. Roll the dough into a log and cut into 10, 2" pieces.
- Spray a 9×12 baking pan with baking spray. Place the rolls evenly spaced into the pan.
- Cover the rolls lightly with a tea towel or saran wrap (sprayed with non-stick spray, so it doesn’t stick to the dough) and let the rolls rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Once risen, place the rolls into the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and baked through. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Make the frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla and salt. Beat on a medium-high speed for 3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
- For a thinner frosting add more milk. Spread the frosting over the rolls while they are still warm. Once frosted, sprinkle the rolls with chopped pecans. Serve warm.
- Rolls may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Because of the cream cheese icing, they should be stored in the fridge for safety.
- Warm milk – Warm water may be used instead.
- Chopped pecans – Chopped walnuts may be used instead.
- Having the correct temperature of milk is very important when making these cinnamon rolls. If your milk is too hot it will kill the yeast. Too cold and the yeast won't activate. Proper temperature is between 105°F-110°F.
- When kneading the dough you can tell if it's ready by pressing on it. If it stays pushed in, it needs to be kneaded longer. If it springs back, it's ready. The dough should not be tacky but not stick to your fingers when touched.
More Sweet Breakfast Recipes
- Easy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Coconut Banana Crunch Muffins
- Banana Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes
- Fluffy Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes
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