Let’s Make Pizza Dough Muffin Pan Cinnamon Rolls
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New Recipe: Pizza Dough Muffin Pan Cinnamon Rolls

Looking for an easy quarantine baking project? Here’s a yummy, no-knead treat the whole family will enjoy.

Photos by Ashley Strickland Freeman

I love a good cinnamon roll. The smell of them baking almost makes it worth the hours of preparing them from scratch…almost. Let me let you in on a little secret, though. What if I told you that semi-homemade cinnamon rolls take just a quarter of the hands-on time? It’s true, thanks to a ball of pizza dough, plus some pantry staples and a simple cream cheese glaze. 

Especially now, as we’re sticking close to home during the coronavirus, prepared pizza dough is a go-to shortcut ingredient in my kitchen. From breadsticks to mini calzones, grilled flatbread, and muffin-cup bread bowls, it’s a great timesaver for family-friendly recipes. But it’s not just for savory treats, as you’ll discover when you make this gooey, generously spiced cinnamon roll recipe. 

With the dough already prepared, you get to skip the kneading and go straight to the best parts of the recipe: rolling out the dough; spreading it with the buttery sugar-and-spice filling; slicing; and then baking the pieces in a muffin pan to create the ideal round shape—and to yield those desirably crispy edges. 

You’ll swear the spiced filling makes these taste just like those mall cinnamon rolls—you know the ones—that waft their cinnamon-sugar goodness through the air as you try to ignore the temptation. And the slightly tangy cream cheese frosting? Mmm.

Don’t be surprised if these easy cinnamon rolls show up on your bi-weekly rotation for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon snacks. It’s a recipe my family knows by heart. Follow along to see how it goes together.

How to make cinnamon rolls using pizza dough

My best cinnamon rolls recipe for these crazy times is perfect if this is your first time baking the treats. This easy recipe requires no active dry yeast, no warm milk, no large eggs, no stand mixer, no dough hook, no kneading, no proofing, not even a large bowl, rolling pin, or a baking pan. But you do need a muffin pan.

1. Let the pizza dough come to room temperature.

The hardest part of making these treats is waiting 1 hour or so for the ball of pizza dough to come to room temperature. But it’s important. The dough will relax and be less likely to shrink back up after you stretch it. Then the recipe takes only 45 minutes total time. 

While you’re waiting, preheat the oven and thoroughly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable shortening or oil so your cinnamon rolls will pop out easily. In a small bowl, you can also combine the two kinds of sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter for the filling. (Whatever you have on hand—salted butter or unsalted butter—is fine here.)

2. Roll out the dough and spread it with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

On a work surface lightly coated with all-purpose flour, pat and stretch the pizza dough to a 12- x 15-inch rectangle. Spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture in an even layer all over the dough to the edges.

3. Roll up the dough, then slice.

Starting on a long side, carefully roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces and place each into a muffin cup with the spirals facing up. There's no need to cover these cinnamon buns with plastic wrap and let the dough rise; they're ready to go.

4. Pop ‘em into the oven, let cool a little, then smear with the cream cheese icing.

Bake the cinnamon rolls at 350° until the centers are done, 15 to 20 minutes. The rolls will be denser and chewier than their yeast roll cousins because of the pizza dough, so be careful not to overbake them. They should be barely golden brown. The goal is a soft, tender—but not raw—center; if in doubt, opt for the lower cook time.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. The key to a lump-free glaze is to allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature, beat it until creamy, and then gradually add the powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla extract.

Spread the rolls with that tasty glaze (it's a little too thick to drizzle), and serve warm.

Get the recipe!

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