This cinnamon rolls recipe is the easiest way to make delicious, buttery, gooey, sweet cinnamon buns! Your entire kitchen smells heavenly and they only cook for 2 hours so they are fairly quick for using the slow cooker! Paired with my homemade cream cheese icing, they melt in your mouth! Perfect for a Sunday brunch, afternoon dessert, or an easy summer breakfast idea!
Say what?!!!! Healthy Slow-Cooker Cinnamon Rolls? Yup, at your service! I don't think any amount of pictures will explain how tasty these treats are. Slow cooker is the way to go!
I usually wake up super early, even on the weekends, because that's what happens when you have kids. So, I started making these scrumptious tastes of heaven at like 7 am and they were ready to go by 9! These cinnamon buns are very easy and fun to make! They would be perfect for a Mother's Day Brunch idea! Looking for other Mother's Day meals, try my Gluten-Free Fruit Crisp or this Green Veggie Frittata!
Ingredients to make healthy cinnamon buns
You will need the following ingredients:
- whole wheat flour - I opted to make whole wheat cinnamon rolls so of course I used whole wheat flour for my healthy buns, but you can also use all-purpose flour or bread flour.
- unsalted butter - I always prefer unsalted because then you can add in your own flavoring without having a salty taste to it. You will need butter for the cinnamon rolls and the homemade icing.
- half and half - buy your half and half from the store or make it your own. I made my own using half light cream and half 2% milk.
- granulated sugar - this is also known as powdered sugar.
I also have another homemade dough recipe that I use for my pizza. If you decide to make your dough with the pizza dough ingredients, then you won't need the baking powder, baking soda, or half and half. Click here for link to homemade pizza dough! Also, since this is a slow cooker meal, you obviously need a crock pot. I have a family of 5. My kids are all little so the smaller size crock pot has been useful in our family. I've linked the one I have. Cuisinart programmable slow cooker!
Quick Tip: You can always just buy the dough premade which will help save time.
How to make this treat
Step 1 - line bottom of slow cooker with parchment paper, extending paper halfway up sides.
Step 2 - make the dough, in a food processor or blender, add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Pulse to combine. Pulse in the cubed butter and half and half. Dump dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently for 15 strokes or until smooth. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out into a 15 x 10 inch. rectangle. In a small bowl combine ¹⁄3 cup melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Step 3 - Spread the brown sugar mixture onto the dough with a pastry brush. Slice the rectangle into ½ inch strips and roll each one up to form a bun. Arrange rolls, cut side down, in prepared cooker.
Step 4 - Using a pastry brush, brush with more melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon combo. Sprinkle with more cinnamon, if desired. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. (Tops of rolls will be slightly wet). If possible, remove the insert from the slow cooker. Cool rolls, uncovered for 30 min. Spread with cream cheese icing.
Ingredients for the homemade cream cheese icing
You will need the following ingredients:
- softened cream cheese - I recommend reduced-fat. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge about a half hour before mixing it to make sure it is soft enough.
- unsalted butter - softened. Take your butter out of the fridge about a half hour before mixing it to make sure it is soft enough.
- powdered sugar or sub for pure maple syrup - if you use powdered sugar you will need a few drops of milk, as needed. (your choice of milk)
How to make cream cheese icing
In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and if choosing pure maple syrup, stir that in, as well. If using powdered sugar, stir in sugar and drops of milk as needed. Spread the cream cheese icing onto the buns! Your children can help with this part because messy icing looks just as delicious!
Here are a few suggestions on some swaps you can make for each of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe card.
Whole Wheat Flour - you can use all-purpose or bread flour as a substitution here. Bread flour will help the rolls have a fluffier, chewy texture, and with the all-purpose flour, the rolls may be softer.
Half and Half - feel free to make your own half and half. To do this you just use half light cream and half 2% milk. Evaporated milk or whole milk also works here.
Unsalted Butter - I always say to use unsalted butter because of the sodium content. It's best practice to try and lessen the sodium in your diet (according to my registered dietician sister) which is why I stick with unsalted. If this is an area you aren't concerned about, salted butter works just as well.
Extra Topping Ideas
Once your delicious cinnamon buns are done cooking and the icing has already been smeared on top, you may want to add some additional toppings. Here are a few suggestions to add on top.
- chopped nuts - walnuts, pecans
- drizzle some pure maple syrup on top
- if you really want to get fancy add a scoop of vanilla ice cream
- sprinkle even more cinnamon on top
- diced fruit - bananas, strawberries, apples
Tips and FAQ's
You sure can! Just use almond milk, vegan butter, and vegan cream cheese to make the recipe completely dairy-free.
Store your cooled cinnamon buns in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in your freezer for up to 3 months.
Use a sharp, serrated knife or steel dough cutter to cut the dough into strips. Cut the strips to make them about ½ an inch wide.
Other desserts to try
If you give this dessert a try don't forget to rate the recipe below! Always love hearing what you all think. You can also Stay in touch with me through social media on @Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Don't forget to tag me when you try one of my healthy recipes!
Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls
- slow cooker
- blender or food processor
- kitchen aid stand mixer
- Rolling Pin
- pastry brush
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter cubed and softened
- ⅔ cup half and half homemade is half light cream, half 2% milk
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup pure maple syrup divided in half
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 oz cream cheese, reduced fat softened
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- few drops almond milk as needed
- For the rolls:First, line the bottom of the slow cooker with parchment paper. Use enough where it hangs over the edge of the slow cooker.
- Next, to make the dough: in your food processor or in your Kitchen Aid stand mixer, add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Pulse to combine. Pulse in the 6 tbsp of cubed, softened butter and half and half. Mix until dough is formed. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently for 15 strokes or until smooth.
- Using a rolling pin lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough out into a 15 x 30-inch rectangle. In a small bowl combine ⅓ cup melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a brush, spread mixture onto rectangle.
- Slice rectangle into ½ inch strips and roll each one up to form a cinnamon bun. Arrange buns in prepared slow cooker. Brush with more butter, sugar, cinnamon mix. Sprinkle with more cinnamon. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Tops of rolls will be slightly wet.
- Let rolls cool completely before icing.
- For the icing: In a small bowl combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and ½ cup pure maple syrup. Stir to combine. Sprinkle a small amount of powdered sugar in and a few drops of almond milk. Whip until as smooth as you can get it!
- Drizzle icing on top of buns! Sprinkle with more powdered sugar to look pretty!