These tender, delicious Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls are made with mashed potatoes in the dough and taste like rolls your grandmother would make!

This Amish Cinnamon Buns recipe makes two 9 x 13-inch pans of soft rolls. One to eat and one to freeze for later!

One cinnamon roll on a white plate in front of pan of rolls.

Why You Must Make

  • The addition of mashed potatoes make these super tender!
  • Who doesn’t LOVE homemade cinnamon rolls??
  • This recipe has been around for decades.

My mom and her cousins spent many afternoons playing at her grandmother’s house in her small North Dakota hometown. Her beloved Dama was a short Irish woman, who topped out at 4 feet, 8 inches, and seemed to always be wearing an apron, ready to offer a cozy hug.

I have a treasured copy of a compilation of her recipes put together by one of my mom’s cousins. I never got her cinnamon roll recipe, but I’d like to think my Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe would be something she’d love to make for her daughers and grandchildren.

The bread recipes include Dr. Wink’s Brown Bread and Dama’s Banana Bread, but no yeast bread. However, I know she made yeast bread as one of my mom’s favorite memories was to practice her bread-making techniques by kneading Dama’s fleshy arm. No wonder my mom made such terrific bread! Practice makes perfect.

Ingredient Notes:

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients on a sheetpan with labels.
  • Warm Water 120º is the ideal temperature. It is very hot tap water (our water heater is set to this temperature). If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer to check, run your hot water until it’s almost hot enough that you need to pull your finger away. That should be about the right temperature.
  • Sugar – White Granulated Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil – Canola or your favorite vegetable oil
  • Mashed Potatoes – unseasoned, no milk. I cubed, cooked, drained then mashed a medium russet potato. You could also use reconstituted instant potatoes as long as only water is added, no flavorings or other ingredients. I have not tested this alternative.
  • Egg – Large egg
  • Salt – Table salt. Kosher is coarser and table salt disperses better in the dough
  • Active Dry Yeast – I use Red Star Yeast
  • Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
  • All-purpose Flour – I use King Arthur brand
  • Bread Flour – Also King Arthur brand
  • Butter – at room temperature
  • Brown Sugar – Packed, meaning press it into the cup.
  • Cinnamon – I use McCormick brand, just regular grocery store cinnamon.
A cinnamon roll on a square white plate with a bite removed on a red handled fork.

Recipe Tips

  • A combination of all-purpose and bread flour works nicely. The bread flour provides enough structure with the extra gluten and the AP flour moderates so they’re still tender.
  • PRO-Tip: Make sure to measure your flour properly. Scooping into a flour bin (or spooning flour into your measuring cup), then swiping the top with an offset spatula to clear the top of the cup is the best method.
  • Knead the dough until tacky, but no longer sticky.
  • PRO-Tip: The ideal proofing temperature is 75-95°. My oven has a proof setting that is 85°.
  • I like rolling my dough out on a large Silpat called a (Amazon affiliate link) Roul’pat. It helps contain the flour to mainly the mat making for easier cleanup. 
  • Use only enough flour to prevent sticking. If too much is incorporated, the rolls won’t be as tender.
  • Only add 12 rolls to each pan. This gives them room to rise as they proof and room to rise again in the oven.
  • This simple powdered sugar and butter frosting is a classic choice, but you can also use a homemade cream cheese frosting if you prefer.

My family goes a bit crazy for cinnamon rolls. When the kids were all wee ones, Bill would buy them Sara Lee’s frozen version to zap in the microwave for quick weekend breakfasts. He still scours the frozen food aisles with fingers crossed that somehow production has been resumed.

He grew up spoiled by his grandmother’s homemade cinnamon rolls. She would bake up a batch every Saturday morning along with loaves of bread—all ingredient amounts were from sight and touch, so there were no recipes to pass along. Since Sara hadn’t come through for him, and Nick was heading back to college in a few days, I thought I’d treat them both to some old-fashioned goodness.

These old-fashioned cinnamon rolls got the hubby’s seal of approval! I hope you’ll enjoy this cinnamon “buns” recipe, too

Overhead view of one cinnamon roll on a round white plate with a red handle fork.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a Difference between Cinnamon Rolls and Cinnamon Buns?

Yes, typically cinnamon buns have nuts like pecans along with a gooey sweet sauce baked on the bottom. Cinnamon rolls are usually nut free and frosted. But these terms are often used interchangeably.

What Kind of Cinnamon is Best for Cinnamon Rolls?

Cassia Cinnamon is preferred over Ceylon Cinnamon. It’s the type that’s found in McCormick’s cinnamon and is more pungent than Ceylon cinnamon. It is the variety that’s most popular in the U. S.

How Do You Store Homemade Cinnamon Rolls?

Keep them in the pan they’re baked in, cover them with plastic wrap, and store them at room temperature. They’ll keep well for 2-3 days. You may also store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How Do You Freeze Cinnamon Rolls?

Freeze them in the pan sealed with a layer of plastic wrap, then foil to keep them airtight. You can freeze them for 6-8 weeks. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

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a frosted cinnamon roll on a round white plate with 2 cinnamon sticks

Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Yield 24 rolls

Sweet, tender cinnamon rolls topped with a vanilla buttercream icing.

Ingredients

  • 1-½ cups warm water, about 120º
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup mashed potatoes, unseasoned, no milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 envelopes active dry yeast (6 3/4 teaspoons), I use Red Star Yeast
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups bread flour
  • ⅓ cup butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons cinnamon

Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, place the warm water, sugar, oil, potatoes, eggs, and yeast. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add salt and mix again. Add milk powder and all-purpose flour. Beat for 3 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the bread flour (not all, only enough to make the dough workable). Transfer to a lightly floured surface (or use your stand mixer with a dough hook) and knead for 10 minutes.
  4. Grease a large, deep bowl with oil.
  5. Form the dough into a smooth ball and place it in the bowl. Using your hands, grease the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and/or a towel and place in a warm, draft location to rise until doubled, about 1-3/4 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough to release air bubbles. Form again into a smooth ball and turn to regrease. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Punch the dough down again, then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle approximately 15 wide by 12 inches tall. Make sure to square the corners nicely. It will be about 1 inch thick. Spread the dough with the softened butter, up to about 1 inch from the top long edge.
  8. Grease two baking sheets or a 9 x13 and 9 x 9 baking dish.
  9. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon. Sprinkle this over the butter. Tightly roll the dough from the bottom long side up. You may need to pat the ends in to make the rolls square on the ends. Using a serrated knife, cut the roll using a saw-like motion into rounds. Place rolls on the baking sheet cut side up.
  10. Cover rolls with a towel and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot for one hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 325º.
  12. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes, then raise the oven temperature to 350º and bake for 5 minutes longer (I check the rolls to make sure they’re at least 190º internally and increase baking time if needed). Remove the rolls from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. To make the frosting, place the butter, flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until blended. Spread on top of the rolls prior to serving.

Notes

Total time does not include proofing times.

This recipe is adapted from Marcia Adams' "Cooking from Quilt Country."

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1 roll

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 261mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 5g

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