Apple pie cinnamon rolls are a fun twist on a classic cinnamon roll. These will make your house smell amazing!
Remember how I told you that I went apple picking not too long ago? Well, I decided to make apple pie cinnamon rolls with some of my fruit. My family loves cinnamon rolls, but I don’t make them very often. I’ll make them if we have overnight guests, and since my husband’s parents were in town, I decided to bake up a batch. This time, I wanted to try an apple pie version since I had a lot of apples left over. Plus, it would make the house smell like fall.
Here are some of the mistakes I made. I followed the recipe to a tee, but the apples were way too liquidy. As I attempted to transfer the apples to the rolled out dough, the apple syrup got everywhere. It caused the apples to slip and slide, and I could barely roll up my dough. In fact, a good quarter of the apples fell out of the rolls so I had to scoop them up and top the rolls with them instead. So, if your cooked apples yield a lot of liquid, drain it out (but save it to top the rolls with). The last thing you want is a sloppy mess and apples all over the counter. Believe me, I learned the hard way.
Despite the messy kitchen, these rolls were divine. The apples paired nicely with the sweetness of the cinnamon sugar and the soft and chewy yeasted rolls. I decided not to top mine with glaze or frosting because I knew that my Fuji apples were already going to be sweet and didn’t want to make our breakfast too unbearably sweet. My in-laws enjoyed the rolls, and my husband and Addie did too. I secretly wanted another roll but managed to hold myself back this time. The next time, I might just eat two.
Apple pie cinnamon rolls
- 1 package (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup sugar divided
- 1/2 cup scalded milk cooled to warm
- 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 egg room temperature
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 5 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and diced (I used Fuji)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided
- In a small bowl, add the yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar to the water. Allow it to sit and for about 5-10 minutes until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or in a large bowl if mixing by hand, mix together the milk, melted butter, egg, remaining sugar, and salt on low speed until well combined. Add the yeast mixture and continue to mix. Slowly add in the flour mixture until a dough forms. If needed, add more flour about 1/4 cup at a time. The dough should be pliable but not too sticky.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 2-3 minutes. Then place it into a large well-oiled bowl. Cover and allow it to double in size, about 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium sized saucepan, melt 4 Tablespoons of the butter and sugar. Add the apples and saute until the apples are soft and slightly caramelized. Add 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and coat well. If the apples are too soggy, drain before the next step. You do not want the apples to be too saucy - you can save the sauce to top the rolls.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease a 9"x13" pan and set aside.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, take off the cover and punch the dough down with your fists. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 16"x24" rectangle.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with the 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon. Mix with a fork and set aside.
- Spread the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter onto the dough rectangle. Then sprinkle the top with the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture and make sure it is spread out evenly. Top with the cooked apples, being careful not to add any of the liquid.
- Roll the dough up, jelly-roll style, starting with the longest end of the rectangle. Pinch the seams down and cut the large roll into 12 even slices (a bench scraper works great here).
- Place each roll, cut side up, on your prepared baking pan. If desired, you can top with the reserved apple liquid. At this point, you can cover and store in the refrigerator and bake the next day (allow to thaw for about 20 minutes prior to baking), or you can cover it and allow it to rise another time, for about 1.5-2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Once the rolls have finished rising, place it into your preheated oven for about 20-22 minutes or until the tops start to turn golden in color. If desired, you can add a glaze or cream cheese icing on top. I chose to keep mine plain since they were already sweet enough.