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Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Like clockwork, my cinnamon roll cravings become pretty intense in September.

Greeting us all at the corner of comfort food and calorie-laden are APPLE CINNAMON ROLLS drowning in caramel icing. Move over every other type of cinnamon roll out there… there’s a new boss in town.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

My little secret to the BEST cinnamon rolls can be found in the little packets you see above.

Red Star Yeast. Quality yeast, and a carefully formulated dough to pair with it, helps guarantee success, no matter how terrified you are of yeast. The Red Star Yeast Platinum line makes working with yeast (even for you first timers!) super simple and approachable. I’m a huge fan of Red Star Yeast and use this yeast exclusively in my kitchen because it’s always a guarantee.

Once the dough is made, allow it to rise in a warm environment, then punch it down so you can roll it out and fill it up.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

The filling = brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and apples.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

You have the option of making them in the morning OR you can get started the night before. Whichever you choose, the rolls bake up into this gorgeous golden brown color. Drizzle with caramel icing and you’ve got one EPIC fall breakfast on the table.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing

Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Gooey cinnamon rolls bursting with chopped apples and topped with a sweet caramel icing for a delicious breakfast treat.
Yield 12 rolls




  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 (0.25oz each) packages (14g) or 4 1/2 teaspoons Platinum Yeast
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces)
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting/rolling)


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped apples (peel if you’d like, about 2 medium apples)


  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons warmed caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)


  • Make the dough: Heat milk to about 95°F (35°C)– use microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer OR no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). With a whisk, manually whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. 
  • Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
  • Fill the rolls: Spread the softened butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, toss the brown sugar and cinnamon together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough. Top evenly with chopped apples. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. Cut into 12 equal rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Allow rolls to rise in a warm environment again for about 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Bake rolls for about 25 minutes until they are golden brown. About halfway through the bake time, I like to cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t brown too much. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  • Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together and drizzle over warm rolls. Serve warm. Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the refrigerator.


Make Ahead Instructions
  1. Overnight: To prepare the night before serving, prepare the rolls through step 4. Cover the rolls tightly and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise on the counter for 1-2 hours before continuing with step 6.
  2. Freezing: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying.
Recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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Sally McKenney

Sally McKenney is a professional food photographer, cookbook author, and baker. She has written, photographed, and published more than 1,000 from-scratch recipes and written three cookbooks. Her thorough step-by-step tutorials give millions of followers the knowledge and confidence to bake from scratch.

Review & Comments

Mary | Reply

Is the milk warmed to 95 degrees Fahrenheit correct? Usually it’s 110 to 115 degrees, when yeast is mixed with liquids. I do love your platinum yeast. The only one I use! Thanks for your time and help!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Mary – this temperature is warm enough to activate the yeast, especially since it is an instant yeast. We’re glad to hear that you enjoy baking with Platinum Yeast! 🙂
Happy baking!

Annie Smith | Reply

Can I use the regular dry active Red Star Yeast in this recipe? That’s all I have and can’t find Platinum Yeast, mine is in a jar.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Annie,
Platinum Yeast is preferred to give the best rise and volume. However, you can substitute Red Star Active Dry Yeast 1-for-1. Use 2 packets or 4 1/2 teaspoons. Rise times may need to be adjusted, just keep an eye on your dough.
Happy baking!

Dorothy Fare | Reply

5 stars
i just finished makeing 2 batches of the rolls. One for our house and one for my daughters house. They rolls are rising for the second time as I am writing this. The question I have is…I have a 2 lb bag of red star yeast. So how much do I use? I tried to figure it out not knowing if 2 pks made up 2 1/2 tablespoons.. So that is how much I used for one batch. Is that correct? They did rise beautifully so I must have made the correct decision.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Dorothy,
Use 1 1/2 tablespoons (or 2 packets) of dry yeast in this recipe. I’m glad to hear they’re rising nicely. Enjoy!
Happy baking!

Lisa Spencer | Reply

Do the apples bake long enough to get soft??

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Lisa,
Yes, the apples become soft during baking.
Happy baking!

Constance Eddy | Reply

5 stars
I have not made this yet. It sounds delicious. I have a question. I have 2 large jars of yeast I keep in the freezer. Do I need to purchase the Platinum. Or can I use the Quick Rise or Active Dry Yeast? Thanks for your help.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Constance,
Yes, you can substitute Quick Rise or Active Dry Yeast for Platinum Yeast. Use the same amount, and follow directions as listed. Rise times may vary, so keep an eye on your dough.
Happy baking!

Nance Nicholls | Reply

5 stars
Can’t wait to try these. Been baking bread for over 60 years and love new yeast recipes.

Ashley E | Reply

This recipe has been my go-to for fall cinnamon rolls! I did find that I had to up the bake time to 45 minutes using a glass baking pan (also – I do not have a convection oven). LOVE this recipe!!!

Clara | Reply

Thanks for your lesson on yeast. I’m going to make many of the rolls receipts. I love to bake.

Geriann markwell | Reply

This will be my new favorite fall recipe!!

Kim L | Reply

I haven’t baked with yeast before. When do you add the yeast in this recipe?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Kim,
I’m excited that you are going to try baking with yeast! It really is easier than you think.
In this recipe, the yeast is added during the ‘Make the dough:’ section of the instructions — Heat milk to about 95°F (35°C)– use microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer OR no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). With a whisk, manually whisk in the sugar and yeast.
Happy baking!

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