Violet Bakery's Cinnamon Buns Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Genius Recipes



46 Ratings

  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 12 buns

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Author Notes

If you can make scones (or muffins or banana bread), you can make these sparkly, gloriously poufed cinnamon rolls—no waiting for yeast to do its thing. It’s all because the tiny Violet Bakery didn’t have the space to proof yeasted doughs, so founder Claire Ptak had to get crafty with a quick bread-style technique inspired by cookbooks from the 1950s. Don’t expect these buns to precisely recreate the yeasty flavors and pull-apart texture of a slower-risen roll—but they achieve something magical in their own right. And they do a remarkable job of hitting all the other notes of a classic cinnamon roll: the poofy, soft innards and cascading, buttery crust, the sparkle-dusted first bite giving way to sticky-sweet goo. Adapted slightly from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak (Ten Speed Press, 2015). To read the whole story, head here. —Genius Recipes

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

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Violet Bakery's CinnamonBuns

  • For the filling
  • 75g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
  • 250g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • For the cinnamon buns
  • 560g (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 240g (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 300g (1 1/4 cups) cold milk
  • sugar, for dipping
  • butter, for greasing the pan
  1. Heat the oven to 390°F (200°C) (355°F/180°C convection). Generously butter a 12-cup deep muffin pan.
  2. First, prepare the filling. Melt the butter and leave in a warm place so that it remains liquid. Mix together the light brown sugar and cinnamon until no lumps remain, then set aside.
  3. Now make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients with the cubes of butter and mix until you have a coarse meal. Slowly pour in the cold milk while the mixer is running, until the dough forms into a ball and comes away from the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and leave to rest for a few minutes. Fold the dough gently over itself once or twice to pull it all together let the dough rest a second time, for 10 minutes.
  4. Clear a large surface, dust lightly with more flour, and roll out the dough into a large rectangle until almost 1/8 inch (5mm) thick. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter and, before the butter hardens, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on to the butter. You want a good, slightly thick layer.
  5. Now roll the long side, keeping it neat and tidy. Gently tug the dough toward you to get a taut roll while rolling away from you in a spiral. Once it’s all rolled up, gently squeeze the roll to ensure it’s the same thickness throughout. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll crosswise into 12 even slices. Take a slice of the cinnamon roll, peel back about 2 inches (5cm) of the loose end of the pastry and fold back under the roll to loosely cover the bottom of the roll. Place in the muffin pan, flap side down. Repeat with remaining slices.
  6. Bake the buns for 25 minutes, or until golden and well-risen. As soon as they're out of the oven, flip them over onto a wire cooling rack so that they don't stick to the pan. Dip each cinnamon bun into a bowl of sugar. These are best served right away while still warm, but can also be served at room temperature or re-warmed in a low oven (especially good with a scoop of ice cream for dessert).


  • Bread
  • Grains
  • Cinnamon
  • Milk/Cream
  • Bake
  • Serves a Crowd
  • Spring
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Christmas
  • Easter
  • Mother's Day

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Greg Crawford

  • Kou Ishiwata

  • Carlos Acevedo

  • L Kaylor

  • Tracy

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Popular on Food52

88 Reviews

Greg C. January 1, 2024

Wow. To have delicious cinnamon rolls in two hours vs 12 or 14 is remarkable. And while the dough, obviously, is different than traditional cinnamon roll dough, it's flaky and flavorful. The recipe couldn't be easier to make. I didn't have a deep muffin pan so had to use my standard one and that was fine. The rolls expanded up instead of out and that created a nice visual. And yes, the kitchen smelled amazing as they baked. This one is a keeper!

Wendy May 3, 2023

Surprising and delightful addition of cardamom. I make these often for guests

Kou I. October 12, 2020

I have to agree with other reviewers who were less than impressed about this. I followed the recipe to a T, even weighed the ingredients to be more exact, but ended up with a biscuity, boring confection. My dough never pulled from the sides of the bowl, any my butter and milk were chilled. Consequently, I had to work the dough more than I would usually, but it never came off the sides of the bowl. The result is meh. Give me my yeasty buns anytime over this mess!

Kou I. October 12, 2020

I have to agree with other reviewers who were less than impressed about this. I followed the recipe to a T, even weighed the ingredients to be more exact, but ended up with a biscuity, boring confection. My dough never pulled from the sides of the bowl, any my butter and milk were chilled. Consequently, I had to work the dough more than I would usually, but it never came off the sides of the bowl. The result is meh. Give me my yeasty buns anytime over this mess!

Aubrey April 25, 2020

These were wonderful! Super easy and flavorful, I would definitely make again. Instead of rolling them in sugar once baked, I just dunked them in a simple vanilla glaze. I baked 14 and froze about 6 unbaked rolls. I cut each roll about 1 inch thick.

Carlos A. April 7, 2020

Didnt like it. Followed recipe to the letter and tasted bland, dry, and stiff. Disappointed. Should've stuck with traditional yeast-included recipe.

FourCats February 2, 2020

Came out great! I too wish instructions said what size to roll instead of how thick. I think I rolled mine about 12" x 16". Important to roll pretty thin since there is no sugar in the dough.

Suz December 7, 2019

Very tasty - the dough part is almost like pastry! One tip though - do not use a silicone muffin pan, as they won’t bake through. I made a half recipe, as there are only 2 of us. They’re fairly large...

L K. October 22, 2019

I was so excited to see this recipe. In the 60’s we made these in Home Ec class. My family of 7 loved these when I would bake a batch for them, even in the evening I would bake them, they would devour them. So easy and delish, I could never find that recipe. Thank you!

debra G. September 6, 2019

Made them and was disappointed. Very dry and the cardamom was almost over powering. they taste like a baking powder biscuits. Wont make again

Allie J. October 6, 2019

perhaps you overbaked, skimped on butter or sugar? i've made these several times now and every time they're nice and crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and the cardamom is wonderful (you have to like cardamom). but i truly love the cardamom/cinnamon/etc. spice family.

Nancy January 15, 2019

I just made these and we love them. Granted, they don't have that lovely yeasty quality that "normal" cinnamon rolls do but the recipe makes up for that by providing a much quicker treat to be had. 35 minutes listed for prep was spot on which meant in roughly a bit more than an hour you can have warm, cinnamon bliss on the table. That's not to say that they don't rise because they do, quite beautifully. They were perfect warm from the oven and a hit. Now I'd love to see you procure Ptak's lemon elderflower cake recipe - please!!!

Suzanne C. January 13, 2019

Disappointed in this recipe. Followed directions to the T and they look exactly like the video, but have very little flavor. They are mostly dough when you bite into them. Will not make again!

Olivia December 30, 2018

This recipe is easy and rewarding!

I subbed eggnog for the milk just because I had it on hand. I liked the sugar idea, but found the buns really did need a glaze to balance out the doughy/hard exterior. I topped them with cream cheese icing and they were a hit! They weren't the same the next day, but were excellent rewarmed in the microwave (kept it moist and didn't dry out when reheating as opposed to the oven.) Going to make these regularly! Such a crowd pleaser.

Q: Wondering what would happen if you baked them all together in a skillet instead of the muffin tins. Would they still turn out? Has anyone tried?

Josho December 28, 2018

I would love to know what the approximate dimensions of the rectangle are when rolling out the dough.

Kt4 December 28, 2018

I just rolled a rectangle until it was the desired thickness. If you watch the video, you can get an idea of the size around 1:15.

Esvee December 23, 2018

Don’t cinnamon rolls normally have yeast? I’ve avoided making them for this reason for years. How do these rise?

Tracy December 24, 2018

2tbs baking powder

Kt4 December 24, 2018

Like scones, muffins, and banana bread do - baking powder :)

Josho December 28, 2018

If you read the "whole story," you'll find out why this recipe doesn't use yeast. (Apparently the bakery was too small to take up space proofing dough.)

Esvee December 28, 2018

Thanks! I totally skimmed the article so missed all of that. Who knew!

Esvee December 28, 2018

Thanks! I totally skimmed the article so I missed all that. Who knew!

Tracy December 23, 2018

OMG....turned out amazingly delicious! I used my six muffin tin for double sized morning buns....I cooked them for an extra 10 minutes....turned out scrumptious!

Jenny December 23, 2018

I don’t like cardamom — is there a sub — or can I leave it out?

Lee U. December 22, 2018

Are these still good to eat after the day they were baked? Sometimes baked goods that are delicious when fresh and warm are inedible in the coming days.

arcane54 December 28, 2018

I’ve had good luck relating them wrapped tightly in foil. Otherwise, they dry out.

Kt4 December 3, 2018

I've made these and they came out great!! I'm not very practiced with yeast breads or biscuits so was a little nervous but it turned out to be very easy.

I want to make these for a crowd of about 40. Can I freeze these before baking? If so, should I thaw them or put them straight into the oven? And thoughts on using a pie pan or 9x13? I only have one muffin tin but will have access to 2 ovens so should be able to get 4 baking pans cooking at once. Any suggestions will be appreciated!!

Jessica January 25, 2019

Probably too late to help you, but I make these in advance and freeze them in the muffin tin. Just add a few minutes to the baking time!

Casey September 16, 2019

There are 24 muffin tins that would make this so much easier - I have 2 pans and I freeze them the night before un-baked and the morning of I let them thaw and then bake. They are great!

Amy July 19, 2018

I made these dairy-free with coconut oil and cashew milk, turned out great

RP April 24, 2019

Do you think they could be made dairy-free and with almond or other alternative grain free flour?

Violet Bakery's Cinnamon Buns Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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