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Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls start with the best cinnamon roll dough and are filled with a carrot cake brown sugar filing. These are soft and perfect with cream cheese frosting.

There are more than three days a year when cinnamon rolls are perfectly acceptable for breakfast: Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter. These carrot cake rolls are perfect for all three, but especially when the Easter Bunny visits!

cinnamon rolls with carrots baked in.


What are Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls?

I’d like to say that I am pretty sure I invented Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls. I know that’s a big and bold statement but…the proof is in the date stamp, or at least it was, until I updated this post.

This unique sweet roll recipe has a fluffy yeasted dough and is filled with a brown sugar cinnamon mixture that also has shredded carrots and some carrot cake spices. On top? It’s all about the cream cheese icing, of course. It wouldn’t be carrot cake without cream cheese frosting!

cinnamon rolls with carrots baked in on a white plate.

Why you’ll love this recipe

When I first made these rolls, I used an old cinnamon roll dough recipe. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love that recipe. But since that time I’ve discovered the best cinnamon rolls that ever existed and that is now my gold standard when it comes to making a sweet bread dough. This recipe is fluffy and light and sweet and just like a cinnamon roll dough should be.

The best thing about these rolls isn’t just the flavor, but the fact that they can be made ahead of time. These are overnight cinnamon rolls or freezer cinnamon rolls, or even make them and eat them rolls. Depending on your time limit, you can make them however and whenever you want.

cinnamon rolls with carrots baked in on a white plate.

How to make Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls:

  1. Start with my easy yeasted cinnamon roll dough made with active dry yeast. This dough has egg and sugar in it too, so it’s fluffy and sweet and light.
  2. Yeast needs a specific temperature of water in which it becomes activated. Too cold, it won’t wake up. Too hot, it’ll die. The perfect temperature for active dry yeast is about 100-110°F. I like to use an instant read thermometer to check it.
  3. Make sure to use fresh carrots that you shred for this recipe. Pre-shredded carrots are thick and too hard for the filling of these delicate rolls.
  4. Feel free to add some chopped walnuts or pecans and/or raisins to the filling. Any would be delicious and make these even more like carrot cake.
  5. You can make this all at once or, if you want to make them overnight cinnamon rolls you can. Or freeze them. Directions are in the recipe.

FAQs

What kind of yeast is best for cinnamon rolls?

Use active dry yeast for this recipe – instant yeast requires a different method.

How long do cinnamon rolls last?

These will last up to 3 days on the counter or in the refrigerator.

overhead shot of pan of unfrosted cinnamon rolls

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

5 from 15 votes
Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls start with the best cinnamon roll dough and are filled with a carrot cake brown sugar filing. These are soft and perfect with cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield 12 rolls
Serving Size 1 roll (out of 12)

Ingredients
 

For the dough

  • ¾ cup (178 ml) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon (9g) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • cup (79 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 cups (372g) all purpose flour

For the filling

  • 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup (75g) grated carrots (about 2 medium)

For the Icing

  • 4 ounces (114g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (170g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Place warm water (about 100-110°F) into a measuring cup. (The easiest way to test the water is using an instant read thermometer, but if you don’t have one, think hot bathwater.) Add yeast, sugar and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon. Let rest until it bubbles, about 5 minutes.
  •  Place proofed yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add egg and oil along with 1 cup of flour.
  • Start the mixer and then slowly another 1 ½ cups of flour, stirring in gradually. Run the mixture for about 5-10 minutes or until the dough is elastic. The dough will be slightly sticky and very soft. You may need up to 3 total cups of flour.
  •  Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting and knead until smooth. Place the dough into a bowl that’s been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let rest until doubled. Time will vary depending on room temperature. To rise faster, place the dough in a warm place.
  •  Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Make filling: Stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and grated carrots in a small bowl.
  • Roll dough into a rectangle that is about 12×15”. To fill, spread with melted butter and sprinkle with filling. Roll up lengthwise. Make roll as tight as possible. Cut into one-inch pieces. Place in greased pan so that rolls just touch each other. (You can slice it into 9-12 slices depending on how big you want your rolls.)
  • At this point you have two options: 1. Let rise until doubled (about 20-30 minutes), then bake as directed below or 2. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Let the rolls come to room temperature before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes.
  • Make the frosting: beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, then mix in powdered sugar slowly. Mix until crumbly, then add vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread over warm or cooled rolls.
  • Store loosely covered in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Rolls can be frozen before baking or after, or even after frosting.

Recipe Video

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1roll (out of 12) | Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 1705mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

Favorite Brunch Recipes

Last Updated on March 18, 2023



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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18 Comments

  1. Make sure to use fresh carrots that you shred for this recipe. Pre-shredded carrots are thick and too hard for the filling of these delicate rolls.

  2. This unique sweet roll recipe has a fluffy yeasted dough and is filled with a brown sugar cinnamon mixture that also has shredded carrots and some carrot cake spices.

  3. Oh my goodness, these were sooo good! We could not stop eating them. Mine did not double either when rising so I was worried they would not turn out right but they were perfect!

  4. I am wondering if you meant to put “filling” instead of “dough” on the second line of #6? I didn’t see another place where you were putting the filling onto the dough.

  5. This looks so yummy. I so love carrot cake. Oh i may be giving this a go. But for whatever reason i have a fear of yeast. Always have. Hmm i may have to get over it. haha. Oh I made your Carrot Cake loaves last week. Big hit. so yummy. So moist. Even my neighbor loved it. Oh and my Dodson guy who hates carrot cake loved it. Yippee!

  6. I hear ya! I’d like to be car free too…most of the time. I am obsessed with cinnamon rolls. These look awesome! Cream cheese icing makes everything yummy – even if you don’t like carrot cake, how could you not like these?