Christmas Morning Cinnamon Buns

It wouldn’t be Christmas morning without having a cinnamon bun in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other as the family gathers by the fire to begin exchanging our thoughtfully-selected gifts. Actually, this tradition of eating cinnamon rolls at Christmas breakfast runs on both David and my side of the family, so I’ve collected a few recipes along the way. I have to admit, I hesitated to share these recipes here because they do call for some “processed” foods and have a LOT of refined sugars. But then again, it’s once a year.

And by the way, I find that these cinnamon buns are so hard to photograph. They look like little aliens, don’t they?

The first recipe comes from my mother-in-law, and is easily prepared the night before and then baked in the morning.



The second recipe came from Elizabeth Weaver, who shared this cherished recipe from her grandmother on Weaver’s blog recently.

Grandma Cora’s Cinnamon Rolls with Carmel Icing


For the Rolls:

    • 2 cups very warm water
    • 3/4 cups sugar
    • ½ cup canola oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 egg beaten
    • 6-8 cups flour
    • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
    • 1 stick of butter
    • Cinnamon
    • Brown Sugar

For the Carmel Icing:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1-1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla


  1. For the rolls: Mix sugar, oil, salt and water in a large bowl and add beaten egg. In 2 cups of flour, add the instant yeast and mix well. Add this to the water mixture and continue adding flour one cup at a time. I use a stand mixer with a bread hook attachment for this step. You can also use a spoon and hands. Keep working in flour until the easy to handle. Don’t work in too much flour, just enough to get the dough into a large workable mound.
  2. Grease your mixing bowl and let the dough rise until doubled. It’s good to punch it down and let it rise again. This gives the rolls a nice texture. To make the rolls, divide the dough into two parts. Roll out in oblong pieces approximately 8”x 14.” Spread about 2-3 T of softened butter on the dough. Then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll them up and cut into 1 1/2 “ widths. Place them in a 9×13 inch baking sheet. Bake at 350 until lightly browned (about 30 minutes in my oven). Do not over bake. Frost when slightly cooled.
  3. For frosting: Melt butter on medium heat in large saucepan, stir until it starts to bubble, then add water. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved and it begins to boil. Remove from heat and cool well before adding powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar until it’s just the right consistency for spreading. This tends to be a runnier icing so be careful not to add too much! Enjoy!

If I had to choose the best of both worlds (easy and less processed foods) I’d make the dough from Elizabeth’s recipe and then use the instructions to make the overnight sticky buns following my mother-in-law’s recipe. Also, as a note – I used a half recipe for the dough and baked them in a smaller pan, so my cinnamon rolls came out much smaller than Elizabeth’s. Either way is delicious!

Mom’s Sticky Buns
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Ruth VanDuzer
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 servings
This recipe comes together with little effort, but you do have to allow extra time for the bread dough to thaw and allow it to rise overnight.
  • 2 loaves frozen bread dough cut into walnut size pieces
  • ½ cup (1 stick butter)
  • 1 large package or 2 small packages vanilla pudding mixture (not instant)
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tps. cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Sprinkle raisins on the bottom of pan.
  3. Place dough pieces in pan.
  4. Combine & heat butter, pudding, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla.
  5. Drizzle over dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight to rise.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  7. Invert and serve