Meatless Monday Challenge

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling

on March 8, 2022
last updated March 26, 2024
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These light and fluffy cinnamon rolls have an apple pie filling! What more could you want in a cinnamon bun recipe? Cozy, delicious and topped with icing.
oval baking dish with 6 cinnamon rolls in it, half with icing half without

Looking to up-level your cinnamon rolls? These Cinnamon Roll with Apple Pie Filling add that fresh element to take your cinnamon rolls from delicious to outrageously delicious!

The only thing that can elevate ooey-gooey, fluffy cinnamon buns is adding crisp and fresh cinnamon-coated apples for some extra flavor and crunch.

This recipe is simply the best of both worlds. Light, fluffy and gooey Cinnamon Rolls with an Apple Pie Filling. What more could you want… really? These cinnamon buns are cozy, comforting, and smothered with a creamy icing that takes this breakfast treat to the next level.

Plus, I’ve included my tips for making the best cinnamon rolls with yeast.

baking dish with all cinnamon rolls and one red apple

Arguably the best thing about homemade cinnamon rolls is it’s a sweet treat worthy of dessert disguised as breakfast. And fusing delicious apple pie with classic cinnamon rolls only brings MORE deliciousness to your morning, making these rolls an obvious choice for one of my family’s favorite breakfast recipes.

Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Warm water. To jumpstart the activation of your yeast. It doesn’t have to be piping hot, warm from the tap will do!
  • Brown sugar. To work with the yeast.
  • Instant yeast. This will give you more fluffiness than active-dry yeast in a shorter amount of time.
  • All-purpose flour. For the base of your dough.
  • Granulated sugar. For some sweetness.
  • Salt. To amp up the flavor in your dough.
  • Unsalted butter. For moisture. It’s best for the dough if your butter is melted.
  • Milk. For more moisture.
  • Egg. To act as a binder and help with leavening.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling - powdered sugar, egg, brown sugar, butter, instant yeast, milk, salt, granulated sugar, and warm water

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

Here’s what you need:

  • Apples. To add some crunch and freshness to your rolls.
  • Unsalted butter. For that ooey-gooey center. It’s easiest to work with in this filling when it’s softened.
  • Brown sugar. To add flavor and sweetness to your apples.
  • Cinnamon. What are cinnamon rolls without it?
Cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling - brown sugar, apples, butter, and cinnamon

Simple Icing Ingredients

Here is everything you’ll need to pull off that perfect finishing touch:

  • Powdered sugar. aka confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar.
  • Vanilla extract. For flavor.
  • Milk. To get that perfect consistency.
Cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling - powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract

Cinnamon Buns with Apple Pie Filling Tips and Tricks

Start With Your Yeast

The first step to a fluffy cinnamon roll dough is activating your yeast. This is as simple as mixing it with warm water and sugar and covering it.

After about 5 minutes, you should see bubbles on the surface of the mixture, which will indicate to you that your yeast is activated.

Add your warm water, sugar, and yeast to a bowl and cover it first, then set it aside to activate while you mix the rest of your ingredients.

Adding a packet of instant yeast to a large mixing bowl with hot water and brown sugar

Use a Separate Bowl

While your yeast is activating, use a second, larger mixing bowl to bring the rest of your ingredients together.

Add the flour, granulated sugar, salt, melted butter, milk, and egg to the bowl. It’s best to make sure the butter isn’t too hot when you add it to the mixture. This can risk you curdling the milk or scrambling the egg.

Melt your butter first and then allow it to cool for a couple of minutes before adding it to your dough mixture.

You can melt the butter in the microwave starting with 20 seconds, stirring, and then heating in ten-second intervals, stirring in between until completely melted.

Otherwise, you can melt it in a small pot on the stove over low heat.

adding sugar to a large mixing bowl to make cinnamon rolls

Add in the Yeast Mixture

Once the yeast is activated, add it to the rest of your ingredients and use a whisk or wooden spoon to stir. Your dough will be thick and sticky, so you may even need to use your hands to bring it together.

adding activated yeast mixture to mixing bowl with other cinnamon roll ingredients

Generously Flour Your Surface

Next, generously flour a clean, flat surface, and add some flour to your hands to avoid too much dough sticking to them when you knead. I like to use a large cutting board for easier clean-up.

adding flour to the surface of a cutting board to knead dough out on

Time Yourself

The dough should be kneaded for about 3 minutes. I know 3 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but kneading is a workout!

Time yourself to ensure you are giving the dough the full 3 minutes it requires. As you are kneading, you may find that your surface needs more flour.

Continue to add flour at your discretion, to avoid the dough sticking to your surface.

kneading cinnamon roll dough on a floured surface

Allow it to Rise

Next, it’s time to place your kneaded dough back into the bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel.

With instant yeast, you’ll get a rise pretty quickly! You will allow the dough to rise more later, once the homemade cinnamon rolls are formed, but for now, we are just looking for some height.

Set the dough aside to rise, covered, for just about 10 minutes while you prepare your filling.

covering the cinnamon roll dough for a second time to allow it to rise

Cream Together the Butter, Sugar, and Cinnamon

The first step to making your filling is to add your softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl.

Use a hand mixer or whisk to combine. At this point, the filling will be thick, almost resembling a paste.

Prep Your Apples

Peel your apples and cut them around the core. Then, dice them into small pieces.

Truly, any apples will work in this recipe, but I find any apple that has some tartness is preferred. It adds some contrast to the otherwise very sweet treat.

Avoid super-sweet apples like Fuji if you can. I usually make these with green apples or Pink Ladies.

Add Your Apple

Once your apples are peeled and diced, add them to the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Use a spatula to fold the diced apple into the butter spread, coating each piece.

adding chopped apple to butter and sugar and cinnamon mixture

Roll Out Your Dough

Once your dough has had some time to rise, add more flour to your surface. Turn the dough out onto your floured surface and add some flour to your rolling pin.

Use your rolling pin to roll out your dough into a rectangle shape, roughly 9″ by 12″. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s best to keep the dough as even in thickness as possible for the best filling distribution in your rolls.

Using a rolling pin to roll out cinnamon roll dough

Add Your Apple Pie Filling

Once your dough is rolled flat, pour your filling on top.

Use a spatula to spread out the coated apples, leaving about a 1/2-inch margin on all sides. Again, try your best to get the layer of filling as even as possible on the dough.

Adding apple pie filling to cinnamon roll dough

Roll it Up!

Face the rectangle so that the short side is closest to you. Then, carefully roll the dough away from you, as tight as you can, until you are left with a cylinder, about 12″ long.

Slice ‘Em Up

Slice your cylinder into 6 even pieces, about 2″ wide. You should now be left with 6 individual homemade cinnamon rolls.

Slicing into rolled dough into individual cinnamon rolls

Add To Your Dish and Cover

For these rolls, I used a 13.5″ long oval baking dish, but you can also use an 11.5″ x 11.5″ square or 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

Add your rolls to your baking dish, with the prettiest swirl side up. Leave at least an inch of space in between each roll, to allow them space to spread.

Cover your rolls with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rise for an hour and a half before baking.

using a clean kitchen towel to cover cinnamon rolls so they can rise

The Rolls Will Rise To Fill In Any Extra Space

Once covered, the rolls will continue to rise to fill the extra space in the baking dish.

If after 90 minutes you don’t feel the homemade cinnamon rolls with yeast have enlarged enough, preheat your oven and set the rolls on top.

The heat from the oven should speed up the rising process.

Once your rolls are nice and fluffy, bake them until the top starts to turn golden brown. At 375°F, this should only take 15-25 minutes.

Please note that you may notice some liquid at the bottom of your baking pan—leave it. This is just moisture from the apples. They will bake into your rolls in the oven and actually add moisture.

Make Your Icing

While your cinnamon rolls are baking, whip up your icing!

Start by adding the powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Use your hand mixer on high or a whisk to combine.

While continually mixing, start to slowly add your milk. Please note you may not need all three tablespoons to get the consistency you want.

Ideally, you want a smooth icing that is still thick but easily runs off of your whisk.

Using a hand mixer to whisk while adding milk to the icing

Add the Icing

Once your cinnamon rolls are golden brown, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack. Allow them to cool for about ten minutes before adding your icing.

Ideally, you will add the icing when the rolls are still warm, so some of that delicious, sticky icing is soaked up by the roll.

However, you don’t want to add the icing when the rolls are piping hot because it will completely melt into the rolls.

Storing Your Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling

These Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling will stay fresh at room temperature covered for two days.

In an airtight container in the refrigerator, they will last up to a week. If you want to extend their life even further, you can freeze them for up to two months!

From the freezer, thaw overnight before you dig in. If you want to enjoy one warm from room temperature or out of the fridge, you can microwave them on high for 25-35 seconds.

one cinnamon roll on a cooling rack with icing dripping off the side

Troubleshooting Your Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Why are my cinnamon rolls soggy on the bottom?

If your cinnamon rolls are soggy on the bottom, the dough is most likely the culprit. The dough has to have enough structure to rise properly to avoid a dense and soggy roll.

There are a couple of steps you can take to ensure your dough structure is perfect, including making sure you are using fresh yeast, kneading thoroughly, and allowing enough time for the dough to rise.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to making perfectly fluffy homemade cinnamon rolls with yeast.

How can you keep the filling from leaking out of cinnamon rolls?

To avoid your filling from leaking out, it’s best to not overfill your rolls and to make sure you roll them tight.

Take your time and neatly roll your dough, in an outward motion away from you. Do your best to roll them as tightly as possible.

What’s the secret to perfectly fluffy cinnamon rolls?

Again, ensuring your yeast is fresh is an important step in achieving perfectly fluffy cinnamon rolls. It’s also important to allow ample time for your dough to rise.

Your dough should double in size before you start to roll it out and fill it. The time it takes to double will vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

And lastly, for the fluffiest rolls, don’t over-roll your dough. Roll it out until you it is roughly a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. As soon as it’s the right size, resist the urge to continue to flatten it and perfect it. It’s best not to overwork the dough!

Why You’ll Love these Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling

  • The texture. Light and fluffy dough with an ooey-gooey cinnamon center and sticky and sweet, smooth icing.
  • The extra element. The addition of apples to the traditional cinnamon roll makes these something special!
  • The aroma! These are such a delight to ALL of your senses. This recipe makes your kitchen smell absolutely heavenly!

If you’re loving these Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling and want more delicious brunch ideas incorporating apples, check out this Sweet & Savory Apple and Cheddar Quiche and these Vegan Breakfast Sausage Patties with Apple and Sage.

oval baking dish with 6 cinnamon rolls in it, half with icing half without

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling

5 from 3 votes
Marley Goldin
This recipe is simply the best of both worlds. Light, fluffy and gooey Cinnamon Rolls with an Apple Pie Filling. What more could you want… really? These cinnamon buns are cozy, comforting, and smothered with a creamy icing that takes this breakfast treat to the next level. Plus, I’ve included my tips for making the best cinnamon rolls with yeast.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 rolls


Cinnamon Rolls

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons usually = 1 packet)
  • 2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (+ more for flouring the surface to knead)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk (any unsweetened, unflavored)
  • 1 large egg

Apple Pie Filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 large apples, peeled and diced


  • 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk (any unsweetened, unflavored)


Cinnamon Rolls

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together warm water, brown sugar, and yeast. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to activate. You will know your yeast is activated when little bubbles appear on the surface of the mixture.
    Activating yeast in warm water
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, butter, milk, and egg.
    Adding cinnamon roll ingredients to a large mixing bowl
  • Once your yeast is activated, add it to the large mixing bowl with the other ingredients and stir until it comes together. You may need to use your hands.
    Adding activated yeast mixture to cinnamon roll dough
  • Cover a clean, flat surface with flour, and knead your dough for 3 minutes. Your dough will be sticky, continue to add flour to your hands and the surface as needed.
    kneading cinnamon roll dough on a floured surface
  • Place your dough back in the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel to rise for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, make your apple pie filling.
    Covering cinnamon roll dough with clean kitchen towel to rise

Apple Pie Filling

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, use a whisk or hand mixer to cream together butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
    Creaming together butter, sugar, and cinnamon
  • Peel and cut your apples around the core, then dice them into small pieces. Fold the apple bits into your butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture, and stir until evenly coated.
    Apple pie filling ready for cinnamon rolls
  • Once your dough has doubled in size, add more flour to your surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, roughly 9 x 12 inches.
    rolling out cinnamon roll dough into rectangle
  • Pour your apple pie filling onto your dough and use a spatula to spread it out evenly over the surface, leaving about 1/2 inch margin on all sides.
    Pouring apple pie filling onto cinnamon roll dough
  • Working from the shorter side, use two hands to start to tightly roll your dough away from you, until you’re left with a cylinder, about 12 inches long.
    Tightly rolling up cinnamon buns
  • Slice your cylinder into 6 equal parts, about 2 inches wide to create 6 individual cinnamon rolls.
    Slicing individual cinnamon rolls
  • Add your cinnamon rolls to a baking dish (I used a 13.5-inch oval, but you can also use an 11.5-inch square or 13 x 9-inch rectangular dish), leaving about an inch in between each roll.
    Adding cinnamon rolls to baking dish to rise
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the rolls to rest for about 90 minutes or until they double in size. Note: You will notice some liquid in your pan from the juice in the apples, but that's okay! It will add moisture to your cinnamon rolls when the dough soaks it up. This should not cause them to be soggy.
    Cinnamon rolls doubling in size
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F and bake for 15-25 minutes until the tops of your rolls are golden brown.


  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add your powdered sugar and vanilla extract and use a whisk or hand mixer to combine.
    Sifting powdered sugar to make apple pie cinnamon roll glaze
  • While you are mixing, slowly start to add in your milk until your form a thick glaze. You want it to easily run off of your whisk without being too liquidy. Note: you may not need all 3 tablespoons of milk.
    Checking consistency of cinnamon roll icing
  • Allow your cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling to cool for about 10 minutes before adding your icing. Enjoy!
    Pouring glaze over apple pie cinnamon rolls

Pro Tips

  • Any type of apple will work in this recipe, but my favorites are more tart apples, like Granny Smith or Pink Lady.
  • Apple Pie fan? You’ll love this Mouth-Watering Drunken Apple Pie recipe with Bourbon Drizzle!


Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword Apple, Apple Pie, Cinnamon Roll
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