Soft cinnamon roll dough, melted butter, and a sweet cinnamon sugar mix rolled and braided into these pretty little cinnamon twists. This recipe requires a little extra effort but the ingredients for this recipe are simple and you'll end up with a really nice weekend breakfast or afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee.
Create a new twist on cinnamon rolls
This cinnamon twists recipe has all of the great flavors of cinnamon rolls but an extra step or two turns them into pretty little pastries worthy of a bakery display case. The extra layers and the twisting technique deliver a cinnamon roll with even more crunchy outer edges and a soft, sweet, cinnamony interior.
You can make these twisted cinnamon rolls for a weekend brunch, for an afternoon coffee date or for a special dessert at home with your family.
You can serve them as is or make a powdered sugar glaze to decorate them. They're good either way.
- all-purpose flour - I use regular all-purpose flour for cinnamon rolls.
- yeast - you can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. See instructions below and in the recipe card for your type of yeast.
- sugar - white granulated sugar for the dough. For the filling you can use white sugar or brown sugar.
- oil, egg + milk - for a soft dough
- melted butter - for the filling
- cinnamon - this combined with sugar makes up the filling for these twisted cinnamon rolls
How to make the dough for twisted cinnamon rolls
I make my dough in my stand mixer, although you can do it by hand if you prefer, it'll just take more time at the end for kneading.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm milk, sugar, oil, and yeast.
- If you're using instant yeast move on immediately.
- If you're using active dry yeast, then let everything sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
Add the egg (make sure it's at room temperature!) and mix it in. Add the flour and salt. Mix the dough and let it knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or so.
If mixing by hand, it'll take more like 8-10 minutes or kneading. You'll have a soft dough that doesn't stick to the side of the bowl and is smooth, not at all shaggy.
Set the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel, and let it sit for an hour or so, or until doubled in size. To rise dough, I always set it in the oven with the oven OFF but the light on.
Before shaping the twists, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper of a silicone mat.
How to shape the twists
There are two methods here. I've tested both and found that:
- method 1 - rolling and twisting each roll separately works the best, as opposed to
- method 2 - rolling everything like a cinnamon roll log and then cutting and twisting them.
I'll show you each method but I'll note that I had a memory card mishap and missed out on some footage, so I'll explain method 1 without a video.
You can also see method 1 in more step by step photos in my Cheddar Jalapeno Twist Loaf which makes a large bread loaf. You'd follow that method, but working with smaller pieces of dough.
Method 1 for shaping twists
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide it into 10 equal portions. Roll each piece of dough out into a rectangle. You want the rectangles to be about 8-10 inches long on the longest edge. It'll give you better looking twists.
Divide the ¼ cup butter between each rolled out piece of dough and use a pastry brush or spoon to cover the dough. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle it on the dough, dividing equally. Leave one long edge bare as in the bottom right photo above.
Start rolling from the long edge of dough with the filling all the way to the edge. Roll the dough into a log and pinch the seam together - this is why you leave one edge without filling, it'll make it easier to pinch the dough together. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Now with each dough log, use a sharp knife and cut a line lengthwise down the roll, leaving an inch or so at one end intact. You'll now have two strands of dough, connected at the top. (see images below for an idea).
Twist the two strands by laying one over the other and repeating. When you get to the end, shape the dough into a circle. It should just fit. Tuck the ends of the dough underneath the twist and pinch them tight to the dough on the underside of the twist. This will keep them from unravelling while baking.
Place the twist on a prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.
Method 2 for shaping the twists
The photos below show method 2. I wanted to share this method anyway, although I don't prefer it. It makes knots instead of twists because the dough for each twist is shorter.
In the video in this post you can see I try to stretch them and lengthen them but it doesn't work very well. This method still works and the knots are great, they taste great, but I was looking for twists for this recipe. Use whichever method appeals to you.
For method 2, after the dough has risen, punch it down. Roll the dough out into one large rectangle.
Brush all of the melted butter on and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar filling, leaving about 1 inch bare on one long side of the dough. You see this above in the left photo.
Start rolling the dough into a log, starting at the side with filling all the way to the edge and ending with the bare edge of dough. Pinch the bare edge of dough into the log to seal it.
Now cut the dough log into 8-10 equal pieces. (This will depend on how long your dough log is. each portion should be about 4-5 inches long or so.)
Slice the individual logs down the center, keeping a small portion attached at one end to making braiding easier (Photo 1 below). Twist each of the dough strands around each other and then tuck the end under the twist, lightly pinching it to the dough.
Place each twist on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
You can see below the difference in shape between the knots (middle photo) and the twists (right photo).
To bake the cinnamon twists
Once all twists are on the baking sheets, cover them with a towel and let them rise for 20 - 30 minutes or until they've puffed up quite a bit. Preheat the oven during this time.
Bake the twists at 375°F for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Optional: Mix together some powdered sugar with a bit of milk or water for a glaze and drizzle it on top of the twists.
If you have any questions about this recipe, leave a comment below or email me.
Filling: You could substitute the white sugar for brown sugar. Other fillings might be too messy for these twists but you could try something like Nutella. Let me know if you do try something else!
If you want something fruitier, try my Cranberry Sweet Rolls.
Tips and Tricks
Keep the butter away from the edge of the dough that you'll be pinching - it'll help the dough keep closed.
For this recipe I use my stand mixer, a baking sheet and silicone baking mats. I've linked the items in the photos below.
More breakfast recipes with cinnamon
For the Dough
- 1 cup milk (warm)
- ¼ cup granulated white sugar
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg (at room temperature)
- 500 grams all-purpose flour (about 4 cups (see notes))
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Filling
- ¼ cup butter (melted)
- ¼ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the Dough
- Mix the dough by adding the milk, oil, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. If using instant yeast, move on immediately. If using active dry yeast, let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy on top.
- Add the egg and mix it in.
- Add the flour and salt and mix to bring together. Knead for about 5 minutes or so. (If mixing by hand, knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth.)
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set somewhere to rise for an hour or until doubled in size. (I use the inside of my oven with the temperature turned OFF and the light turned on).
- Portion the dough out into 10 equal pieces.
- Roll each portion of dough into a rectangle, about 8-10 inches on the long edge.
- Spread melted butter on each piece of dough, leaving about half an inch along one long edge dry.
- Cover with cinnamon and sugar.
- Roll each rectangle into a log, starting with the edge that has filling along it. Keep rolling and use the dry long edge to pinch against the log and seal it closed.
- Cut each log down the middle, leaving a small portion attached at one end. You'll have two strands of layered dough.
- Twist the two strands of dough around each other to make a braid. Form the braid into a circle and tuck the end of the dough underneath, pinching together.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, cover and let rise for about 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven at this time to 375°F (190°C).
- Bake twists for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Optional: Mix together icing sugar and a small amount of milk or water to make a glaze to drizzle each twist.
- Use your oven, with the temperature turned OFF and the light turned on for rising dough. Or try the microwave (don't turn it on.)
- When measuring flour, I go by 120 grams per cup. If you’d like to use cup measurement for the flour, then measure lightly by scooping your flour into the measuring cup, and not digging your cup into the flour. You’ll get the best results by using a scale though.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
This post was originally posted on November 27, 2020. Updated November 06, 2021 to provide clearer recipe information, nutritional information, ingredient information and a video tutorial. The recipe has not changed.
These cinnamon twists are made with soft cinnamon roll dough and filled with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. These are not like the Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists. This recipe is baked, not fried, and not made with puff pastry either. These are more like twisted cinnamon rolls.
These cinnamon twists were perfect! Thanks so much for posting a recipe with clear directions as well as a sensible one that doesn't require tons of butter. I made no changes other than using brown sugar for the filling only because I've always used it for cinnamon rolls. These twists looked like they came from a bakery and my grandchildren thought they were fabulous for an afterschool treat. This recipe is going in the family favorites cookbook. Thanks so much.
Lisa! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment. I am so happy you all enjoyed this recipe!