These delicious gooey sweet potato cinnamon rolls are the best way to welcome fall. Top them with cream cheese frosting for the perfect combination. The recipe includes instructions for overnight cinnamon rolls making them perfect for holiday mornings!
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These cinnamon rolls are THE breakfast for fall. I am calling it here and now. Cinnamon rolls are already completely irresistable but add in a little sweet potato plus a touch of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves and these cinnamon buns are something seriously special!
Ingredients and Substitutions
All the usual suspects plus sweet potato puree and warming spices make these sweet potato cinnamon rolls something special.
- Milk warmed to about 110° - the milk should feel warm but not too hot.
- Quick Rise Yeast
- Sweet Potato Puree or pumpkin puree *Keep reading for easy directions for making sweet potato puree!
- Large Egg
- All-Purpose Flour or bread flour
- Brown Sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Ginger, Ground Nutmeg, Ground Cloves or swap them with pumpkin pie spice or simply use additional cinnamon.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Sweet Potato Puree
Sweet potato puree is as easy as cooking a sweet potato and then mashing it up. Before you begin, make sure to thoroughly clean the sweet potatoes. However, peeling them is not necessary.
There are three methods for cooking sweet potatoes that I suggest:
- Instant Pot - Check out this post for full instructions on cooking sweet potatoes in an instant pot. This is my preferred method as it required the least amount of time and is the easiest IMHO.
- Slow Cooker - The slow cooker is great if you are prepping a BUNCH of sweet potatoes. Since sweet potato puree can be frozen for later use this is a great way to batch cook and save your future self some time. Follow the instructions here for baking sweet potatoes in the slow cooker.
- Oven - If you have the time and you are only cooking one or two sweet potatoes then baking them is a great option. Follow the baking instructions here.
After you have cooked the sweet potatoes using your preferred method, allow them to cool enough that you can safely handle them without burning yourself.
Carefully remove the sweet potato skin. You should be able to peel it away from the potato very easily using your hands. Discard the skin and then gently mash the remaining sweet potato using a fork. It should be very tender and mash easily.
Making homemade cinnamon rolls is much easier if you have the right equipment.
- Must-have equipment includes measuring cups and spoons, a large bowl, plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, a rubber spatula, a serrated knife, and a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- The list of equipment that isn't 100% necessary, but makes the job MUCH easier is pretty short, but oh so worth it. Having a stand mixer with a dough hook takes almost all of the work out of kneading which is usually the most labor-intensive part of this recipe. I have a KitchenAid mixer that I got as a wedding gift over 10 years ago and it still works great so I would say that if you like to bake it is well worth the investment.
Before you get started ...
Before you begin to make these rolls, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the recipe. Also, be sure to sit your butter out to soften and your egg out so that it can come to room temperature. Also, be sure that you have already prepared your sweet potato puree.
Homemade cinnamon rolls can be intimidating if you are new to baking. But as long as you follow the directions they really are not as difficult as you might think. Before you begin be sure to read over the recipe and familiarize yourself with all the steps.
Add the warm milk and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top and gently mix. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture is beginning to get foamy.
Stir the sweet potato puree, egg, and melted butter in with the milk and yeast. Mix until smooth and well combined.
If you don't have a mixer or prefer to mix by hand mix the dough using a wooden spoon and rubber spatula until it comes together, then transfer it to a well-floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. If you aren't sure how to properly knead dough, then check out this helpful video.
Next, add the flour and salt. Use your mixer's dough hook attachment and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until the dough has come together. Then, increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 5-6 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
Tip: You will know that you have kneaded your dough enough when you can gently poke it with one finger and it is not sticky, and the indentation from your finger fills back in quickly.
Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 ½ - 2 hours). For overnight rolls, allow the rolls to rise in the refrigerator overnight for 8-10 hours.
Transfer the risen dough to a well-floured surface and roll it into a 14x16-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin around the edge of the dough.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Use your hands to sprinkle this mixture over the buttered dough, then gently rub the sugar into the butter.
Starting from the longest side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal in the edges as much as you can and then keep the seam facing down
Cut off about 1-inch from the ends of the dough since they are not as full or uniform in size as the rest. Use a large serrated knife to cut the dough crosswise into 12 even pieces. Place the cut rolls in a greased 9x13-inch pan.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let the cinnamon rolls rise again for about 1 hour. After 30 minutes, begin to preheat your oven to 350° F
Bake the cinnamon rolls uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown on the edges. They should be slightly underbaked so they stay soft in the middle.
While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency.
Allow the sweet potato cinnamon rolls to cool for 5-10 minutes then spread the frosting over the top and enjoy!
Here are some of my favorite ways to change up this recipe:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Turning these sweet potato cinnamon rolls into pumpkin cinnamon rolls is super easy! Simply swap the sweet potato puree for pumpkin puree and swap the ginger, nutmeg, and cloves for pumpkin pie spice. Follow the remainder of the recipe as it is written.
TikTok Cinnamon Rolls
Honestly, since I discovered this viral cinnamon roll hack it's pretty much become standard in my house!
To make TikTok cinnamon rolls, in addition to the listed ingredients you will also need:
- 1 Cup of Heavy Cream or Half and Half
- 4 tablespoons of melted butter
- 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- chopped pecans to taste (you can omit these if you prefer)
Add the heavy cream or half and half to the baking dish before adding the cinnamon rolls. Then, before baking combine the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Pour this mixture over the top of the cinnamon rolls.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let the rolls cool for 5-10 minutes then top them with the frosting.
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
To make these cinnamon rolls the night before, prepare them up to step 10. Cover the rolls tightly and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. (16 hours max!) The next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and allow them to rise on the counter for 1-2 hours before continuing with step 12.
Store leftover cinnamon rolls tightly wrapped in the fridge or freezer. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. To reheat from frozen it's best to allow them to thaw before heating.
More Sweet Potato Recipes
If you looking for more sweet potato recipes then I've got you covered! Be sure to check out my sweet potato pancakes for an easier sweet potato breakfast. For a more traditional sweet potato recipe, my sweet potato casserole is seriously the best! Lastly, for a more unique recipe don't skip sweet potato and bacon turkey burgers!
FAQs and Troubleshooting
There are a few things that can cause cinnamon rolls to be tough. The most common issues are not kneading the dough enough or allowing the dough to rise for too long (AKA over-proofing).
The dough has been kneaded enough when it is no longer sticky and when you poke it, the indention pokes back out quickly.
You can tell if your dough is over-proofed using a couple of methods. If the dough smells like alcohol, or it doesn't spring back when it is gently poked then it may be over-proofed. Check out this article to help you salvage over-proofed dough.
To prevent dry cinnamon rolls, be sure to slightly underbake them. Remove them from the oven when the edges are just turning golden brown. In addition, you can bake the rolls covered with aluminum foil for the first 15 minutes OR check out my section on the TikTok method which results in the softest and most tender cinnamon rolls ever!
Cinnamon rolls that won't rise were usually made with bad yeast or the temperature where they are left to rise is too cool. If a cool temperature is to blame then the rolls will eventually rise, but it will take longer. To speed things up fill a baking dish with boiling water and place it on the bottom rack of a cold oven. Place the dough on the middle or top rack and shut the door (make sure your oven is NOT on)
To ensure that your yeast is good, make sure that you use milk that is heated to 110 degrees F (it should feel like warm bathwater) and make sure you allow the yeast, milk, and sugar mixture (from step 1) to get foamy before going to step 2. If this mixture doesn't get foamy after 10-15 minutes then the yeast is probably not good. You will need to try again with fresh yeast.
- Before you begin be sure to read through the recipe and be sure to check out the troubleshooting section.
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook Attachment or a large bowl and a wooden spoon
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Large Bowl
- Clean Kitchen Towel or plastic wrap
- Rubber Spatula
- Serrated Knife
For the cinnamon rolls:
- ¾ cup Whole Milk warmed to about 110°
- ¼ cup Sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoon Quick Rise Yeast (¼ oz package)
- ¾ cup Sweet Potato Puree
- ¼ cup Butter melted
- 1 Large Egg at room temperature
- 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
- pinch Salt
- ⅓ cup Butter softened
- ⅔ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cloves
For the cream cheese glaze:
- 2 oz Cream Cheese softened
- 1 ½ tablespoon Butter softened
- ¾ cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1-2 tablespoon Milk
- Add the warm milk and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl if you prefer to mix and knead by hand). Sprinkle the yeast on top and gently mix. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture is beginning to get foamy.¾ cup Whole Milk, ¼ cup Sugar, 2 ¼ teaspoon Quick Rise Yeast
- Stir in the sweet potato puree, room temperature egg, and melted butter. Mix until smooth and well combined.¾ cup Sweet Potato Puree, ¼ cup Butter, 1 Large Egg
- Next, add the flour and salt. Use your mixer's dough hook attachment and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until the dough has come together. Then, increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 5-6 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you prefer to mix by hand, use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a dough begins to form. Then, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes.4 cups All-Purpose Flour, pinch Salt
- Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 ½ - 2 hours). For overnight rolls, allow the rolls to rise in the refrigerator overnight for 8-10 hours.
- After the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a well-floured surface and roll it out into a 14x16-inch rectangle.
- ⅓ cup Butter
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Use your hands to sprinkle this mixture over the buttered dough, then gently rub the sugar into the butter.⅔ cup Brown Sugar, 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger, ½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg, ½ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- Starting from the longest side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal in the edges as much as you can and then keep the seam facing down.
- Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Cut off about 1-inch from the ends of the dough since they are not as full or uniform in size as the rest. Use a large serrated knife to cut the dough crosswise into 12 even pieces. Place them in the greased pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let the cinnamon rolls rise again for about 1 hour. After 30 minutes, begin to preheat your oven to 350° F
- Bake the cinnamon rolls uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. They should be slightly underbaked so they stay soft in the middle. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese glaze.
For the cream cheese glaze:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture reaches a pudding like consistency.2 oz Cream Cheese, 1 ½ tablespoon Butter, ¾ cups Powdered Sugar, 1-2 tablespoon Milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Allow the rolls to cool for 5-10 minutes then spread the icing over the sweet potato cinnamon rolls and enjoy! If desired you can also top them with a dash of cinnamon and/or chopped and toasted pecans.
Be sure to read the entire post for tips, tricks, and help troubleshooting.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.