Apple Cinnamon Rolls


Breakfast is incredibly important in our house. As a mom of two (with one on the way!). I’m constantly reaching for homemade breakfast treats that will keep my littles excited to roll out of bed in the morning. Those early hours of the day can be hectic, but it’s easier to start the day off on a joyful foot when there’s a breakfast like frosted cinnamon rolls waiting on the table. Unsurprisingly, my kiddos adore anything slathered with a rich frosting, and those mornings that we feast on cinnamon buns usually make our time around the breakfast table pretty sweet (in more ways than one!)

Instead of falling into the breakfast rut of baking the same morning rolls over and over again, I love to experiment with new flavors, fillings, spices, and ingredients to make even the most special breakfasts that much more special. Sometimes there’s a berry filling with zested lemon and other times it’s rich melted chocolate with a sprinkle of toasted coconut or hazelnuts. My kids will eagerly gobble up anything that’s loaded with a gooey filling and a schmear of frosting, but this Mom likes to keep things interesting for herself too. In a festive St. Patrick’s Day twist, I used Stemilt’s crisp Piñata apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar to create apple cinnamon rolls with an Irish cream frosting. These sweet, warmly spiced, and barely boozy treats are fit for grown-ups everywhere, and they look so fab that the kids will be begging for a version they can call their own too.

To make these apple cinnamon rolls, we started with the yeasted dough. This dough is a favorite of mine because it can easily be made in advance and stored overnight for baking the next morning. There’s no more waking up before the sun to get homemade cinnamon rolls on the table in time. Instead, we let the fridge do the work here which saves us some early morning energy and a few extra minutes of sleep. The filling is little more than butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt, but the stars of the show are the piñata apples. These colorful beauties are crisp, sweet, and bake like a dream, making them the perfect choice for our flavorful filling. I like to peel the apples before chopping them finely so that the dough can roll around them tightly, creating perfect little round spirals. The apples soften while baking but hold up well enough to keep their shape and a bit of texture.

The second pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is the frosting. Cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Irish cream liquor whip up into a thick and smooth frosting that stays soft even after it’s slathered on the warm rolls. To keep the recipe kid-friendly, you can substitute in an Irish cream flavored coffee creamer, but if this is a grown-ups only situation, you’ll want to stick with the real deal. These apple cinnamon rolls reheat wonderful and taste delicious even a day or two after they’re baked, but I wouldn’t count on them lasting that long.

I hope you opt to make your mornings extra lucky with these St. Patrick’s Day themed apple cinnamon rolls. I’ll be fighting my kiddos for a forkful over the next week or so, and I just know you’ll love them too. Happy baking!


  • For the dough:
  • 1 cup (240 gm) milk, lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup (60 gm) water, lukewarm
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 6 tbsp (85 gm) unsalted butter, melted but not hot
  • 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (50 gm) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 gm) sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups (385 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 gm) bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the filling:
  • 2 cups peeled and finely chopped Stemilt apples
  • 6 tbsp (85 gm) butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200 gm) brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (340 gm) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (90 gm) Irish Cream liquor

Those early hours of the day can be hectic, but it’s easier to start the day off on a joyful foot when there’s a breakfast like frosted cinnamon rolls waiting on the table.

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  • Yield
    18 servings
  • Prep time
  • Cook time
  • Total time
  • Cuisine
  • In Category
    dessert, breakfast
  • Level


  1. To prepare the rolls:
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine the milk and water and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, egg, egg yolks, and brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, bread flour, and salt. Dump about half of the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Pour in the remaining dry ingredients and knead in the bowl using the dough hook attachment until smooth and slightly tacky, about 7 minutes. If you notice your dough isn’t pulling away from the sides of the bowl or it’s too wet, add flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a little dough “tornado” around the dough hook. Once done kneading, place the dough into a large lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to double in size, about 1-1/2 – 2 hours.
  3. Once the dough has risen, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a large rectangle about 11”x28” in size. Pour the melted butter and spread it out over top. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. Evenly sprinkle the apples over the sugar. Starting with one of the long ends, tightly roll the dough from end to end and pinch the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into 1-1/2” sections and lay them out 2” apart in lightly greased baking dishes or pans. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rise overnight or leave on the counter to rise about 40 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. After the dough has risen, place the pan in the oven and bake until they have turned golden or until the internal temp is 185 degrees F. If you stored the dough overnight, remove the rolls from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Keep the baking dish close to the oven while it preheats to help the rolls come to room temp. Once preheated, bake in the oven for about 22-25 minutes or until the edges are barely golden and the internal temp is 185 degrees. Remove from the oven and prepare your frosting.
  5. To prepare the frosting:
  6. Cream the cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed until combined. Slowly add in the liquor and beat until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar if the glaze is too thin or more liquor (or water for neutral taste!) if the icing it too thick. Spread on the rolls and enjoy while warm!
  7. Notes: As am alcohol-free alternative, use Irish Cream flavored coffee creamer in place of the liquor.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • Calories: 393
  • Carbohydrate Content: 61g
  • Fat Content: 14g
  • Protein Content: 5g
  • Sodium Content: 91mg
  • Sugar Content: 40g