Gingerbread Spice Cinnamon Rolls with maple frosting

These Gingerbread Spice Cinnamon Rolls have a maple frosting and are the perfect way to get in the spirit of the holidays!

Gingerbread Spice Cinnamon Rolls with maple frosting |

Do y’all do anything special on Thanksgiving morning? Watch the parade? Play a game of family football? Make a special breakfast?

You see, we’ve never had any Thanksgiving morning special traditions. It was always about the getting ready for dinner: getting the turkey ready, watching my mom and dad make knoepfle (spatsul). Since we’ve lived here in Northern California, we usually travel on Thanksgiving Day to whichever set of grandparents is hosting dinner.

When I asked Facebook last week, so many people said they make cinnamon rolls, watch the parade, and look at the ads for Black Friday. I never thought about cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving. But now? Now I will.

And I think these Gingerbread Spice Cinnamon Rolls need to be the first traditional Thanksgiving breakfast we make. Because what better way to get in the holiday spirit than with gingerbread?

Gingerbread Spice Cinnamon Rolls with maple frosting |

These cinnamon rolls are made using my favorite dough recipe. I’ve made Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls and Zucchini Cinnamon Rolls with this same dough. It works perfectly every time I make it. It’s a rich buttery egg dough, perfect for a cinnamon roll.

My favorite part of these cinnamon rolls is the filling: it’s gingerbread spice. Brown sugar, molasses, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger all mix with butter and are rolled inside the dough. The filling really does taste like a gingerbread cookie!

The hardest part about making cinnamon rolls is waiting for the dough to rise, especially in the morning. Here’s a trick for you: I make my rolls the day before. This dough rises in about 2-4 hours, depending on the warmth in your house. It needs to double in size. If your kitchen is warm from baking or it’s summer, it’ll take less time than if your house is cold in winter. Start the dough midday sometime before you want them served. Once it’s risen, roll it out and fill it. Slice your rolls and add them to your pan.

Note on roll size: you can make 9 larger rolls in a 9×9″ pan, or 12 smaller ones in a 9×13″. Your choice!

Then, usually around dinner time, the rolls are done and in the pan. I cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. In the morning, I take them out of the fridge and uncover them. Preheat the oven and set the pan near it, so they can start to come up to room temperature. Then you bake them – without having to get up at 3am. This is especially helpful on Christmas morning!

You can also make your maple frosting ahead of time. I love, love, LOVE maple. I think the combination of gingerbread + maple is amazing for these rolls. The frosting is super simple to make and really takes them to the next level. If you make it the day before, store it in the refrigerator. Take it out when you take out the rolls. If it’s still too hard to spread when the rolls are ready, you can heat it for about 5-10 seconds in the microwave. Stir, then see if you need to heat it again. Don’t heat it too much though, or it’ll melt!

These rolls are perfect for any occasion!

Gingerbread Spice Cinnamon Rolls with maple frosting |

Especially for reading Black Friday ads. Now that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right? #not


Did you make this recipe?

Gingerbread Spice Cinnamon Rolls


For the Dough:
1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm non-fat milk (heated to about 120 degrees, about 30-45 seconds in the microwave)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Paddle attachment & dough hook for your mixer

For the Filling:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon molasses
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons flour

For the Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon maple extract


  1. Make the Dough: Place milk in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat for 30-45 seconds in the microwave, until it’s about 110 degrees. Add yeast and stir. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Place sugar, butter, salt, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until the butter is distributed throughout the liquids, although it may be chunky. Pour in the milk/yeast mixture and stir for a few seconds.
  3. Add flour and stir with the paddle attachment just until the mixture starts to stick to the paddle. Then replace the paddle with the dough hook. Continue mixing on low speed until the dough forms a ball in the center of the bowl.
  4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough ball in it. Spray the top of the dough ball with cooking spray (lightly) and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 2-4 hours until it doubles in size.
  5. Note on rising: if your house is warm, it should rise no problem. If it’s cold in your house, it may take longer for the dough to rise, so plan accordingly!
  6. Prepare your Rolls: Stir together butter, brown sugar, flour, and spices until it forms a paste.
  7. Once the dough is risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 12” by 9”. Spread the filling as evenly as possible over the rectangle, making sure to reach to the sides so the outer rolls have enough filling.
  8. Roll the dough up tightly from the long end. Slice it into 9 equal rounds. Place the rolls into a 9” pan or 9 1/2” round pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  9. At this point, you can let them rise for about 30 minutes-1 hour until they are swelling up in the pan and bake as directed. Or you can do what I do: cover with plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator overnight until ready to bake.
  10. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. If the rolls have been in the refrigerator, remove them and let them warm up while the oven is preheating. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  11. Make the frosting: Mix cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup with a hand mixer until well blended. Mix in powdered sugar and cinnamon until smooth, stir in vanilla and maple extract. Frost rolls and serve warm.


Need more than 9 rolls? No problem! Slice the log into 12 rolls instead and use a 9×13″ pan. They’ll still be big enough!

All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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  1. I love watching the parade but my lovely husband hates it!!

    These rolls would be great to start as a new tradition to be eating while watching the Thanksgiving day parade! Delish! Oh, that frosting!!!!!

  2. Hey would these work with baking powder?

    • You mean instead of yeast? I’ve never made a cinnamon roll dough without yeast. You can also make these easy by using frozen bread dough or even Crescent Rolls or pizza dough!

  3. These would be an amazing way to start my Thanksgiving! However, like you I also spend my morning packed into the car with my family. There is of course our traditional ‘let’s see how long before someone in this car starts yelling/arguing about something stupid’, but I feel like that isn’t specific to Thanksgiving.

  4. Oh my gosh these look great!!:) Wow! I used to love cinnamon rolls as a kid, but the storebought kind sure didn’t compare to these! Great recipes and you’ve got serious camera talent:)

  5. Love gingerbread cookies. Would totally be all over this but already having some of those zucchini cinnamon rolls. They freeze so beautifully! I just pulled a half batch from the freezer this morning so its defrosted by thurs.That dough recipe is like magic!!!!

  6. I know I don’t comment as much as I should, but these cinnamon rolls….OMG!!!! Have a great Thanksgiving 🙂

  7. My heart just melted. Gingerbread and cinnamon rolls are two of my favorite things. 🙂 I have no doubt that this is a buttery, soft, melt-in-your-mouth dough! These look fantastic Dorothy. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Oh.My.Goodness. Gingerbread and cinnamon rolls just scream Christmas to me. I love love love that dark filling contrasting the white fluffy roll. My eyes can’t handle this! 🙂 Pinning!

  9. You are brilliant! I am seriously considering making these on thanksgiving… holy yum!!

  10. These look entirely incredible! We don’t have too many traditions on Thanksgivinf except getting the food ready and watching the parade. These sound wonderful!!!

  11. Oh my Dorothy, these cinnamon rolls look absolutely incredible! I can almost taste the spicy molasses filling! We don’t typically have many Thanksgiving traditions besides cooking and eating but these cinnamon rolls might have to become one!

  12. Holy MOLD these look incredible!!!!! Good thing I’m on a juice fast so I can eat with wreckless abandon on Thanksgiving. So gotta make these! 😉

  13. Love the flavors in these cinnamon rolls. Can you drive to by Michigan and drop some off for me 🙂 The last two years we ran a 5k on Thanksgiving morning. Crazy! This year we are suppose to get another 6-10 inches of snow. Snow plus running does not go well together.. so I plan to watch the parade on TV 🙂

  14. your dough looks just perfect! we love watching the parade, but now I may need to add cinnamon rolls to our traditional breakfast

  15. These are just amazing! Gingerbread and cinnamon rolls just scream Christmas and I LOVE that! These look insanely good and buttery and just perfect!

  16. Gingerbread and cinnamon rolls are two of my favorites! Like I could go to TOWN on these babies. And the frosting. Girl. Pinned but I really just wish I could dig in!!!!

  17. You’re in California too, huh? I’m in the SF Bay Area. 🙂 I don’t usually watch the parade…I’m more into football…but I’m always in the kitchen getting things ready. I’d love to start Thanksgiving Day…or ANY day…off with these. I’m a huge fan of gingerbread anything, so these are getting pinned!

    • I grew up in Burlingame, and I so wish we could still live there! We’re outside Sacramento now. But my parents are still in the Bay Area and we go often…we’re actually here now! 🙂

  18. I usually wake up and start making the desserts for the Thanksgiving feast later that night. However, this year I’ll make sure to bake a pan of these babies.

  19. Dorothy, you are incredibly creative. Gingerbread cookies (in the form of cinnamon rolls for breakfast? Girl, I LOVE your style!! Even more than I adore those gorgeous spice swirls inside of the rolls. We might switch up our typical coffee cake Christmas morning breakfast this year! 😉

  20. Now this is a Thanksgiving morning tradition I could get behind! These look so good! Thank you for sharing them with us!

  21. No words can explain how much I love these!

  22. My favorite thing about Thanksgiving morning is The Rockettes. Before my daughter was born, I had a fairly realistic chance of being one of them. I absolutely love watching them! Classic!

  23. For the past 10 years or so I spend thanksgiving morning at work decorating for Christmas then rush home at around noon and cook dinner with my momma! I always make monkey bread for my coworkers- they threaten to not show up if I don’t make it LOL. I am addicted to maple- last week I made oatmeal lacey cookies with a maple buttercream in the middle, unfortunately I took them to a baby shower and when I went to get one they were all gone 🙁 Needless to say I have been dreaming about maple frosting lately and this might just be the ticket!!!

  24. Oh dear me those photos are amazing! Definitely trying to make cinnamon rolls this year!

  25. Pingback: gingerbread spice cinnamon rolls with maple frosting. « This is a Test

  26. OMG I am wild about this combo of gingerbread and maple!!!! I love maple anything, it is the perfect natural sweetener! We were the same way growing up, no Thanksgiving morning tradition. We were more of a Christmas morning tradition kind of people. But I am sooooo about cinnamon rolls any day or time!

  27. Great idea to combine gingerbread and maple! There isn’t much better than a warm, gooey cinnamon roll!

  28. I’m in the spirit just looking at these babies. Now I want to make cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving morning. Pinned.

  29. You have done it again, Dorothy. Absolutely, wonderfully delicious. And I love your styling of them!

  30. These rolls look just crazy fantastic. I need a glass of milk just looking at them!!

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  34. These…OMG…look amazing! We are going to have to try! All of your recipes look so delish!

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  36. I don’t have any maple extract – and, unfortunately, I’m not buying some just for this recipe. Can one just add more syrup or do something else to do a similar thing? Thanks.

    • I meant to get a similar tasting frosting. Yikes.

    • You can use maple syrup, but it won’t have the punch of maple flavor that the extract does. Add a little extra vanilla – they’ll still be amazing!

      • Thank you so much, Dorothy! These were absolutely delightful! Hubby and bro-in-law raved! And I almost swooned, too.

        I despise adding a ton of powdered sugar to cream cheese (cc); in my opinion, it defeats the purpose of using cc. 8 oz. cc, ~¼ c. powdered sugar, extra 2 t. vanilla, extra maple syrup (How much? Unfortunately, didn’t measure.) Probably made too much frosting, but it was very delicious.

        Other changes: omitted flour in spice/sugar paste, accidentally used 1 c. milk instead of ¾ c.

      • I’m glad you like them! What’s so funny – when you mention that about the cc frosting. I’ve always just had it really sweet – recipes I used to follow (then created), from stores, etc. Then I made the red velvet cookie cups last week from a cookbook and there was minimal sugar and it was so cream cheesey it kind of blew my mind how good it was. Totally changing my recipes from now on. 🙂

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