A warm, gooey cinnamon roll is a gift from the dessert gods. But while making this sweet treat from scratch is great therapy — meditatively kneading and rolling the dough to create perfect swirls — it takes more time than most of us have. (Dough made with yeast must rise twice to achieve a soft, pillowy texture, which translates to at least a couple of hours.) There is, however, a time-saving alternative: “lazy” cinnamon rolls in a mug that you bake in the microwave. Yes, the microwave! No yeast or lengthy rise times required. In fact, they take less than 10 minutes to make. Keep reading for the easiest cinnamon roll recipe you’ve ever seen!
The baking process for cinnamon rolls
The cinnamon rolls we’re all familiar with are a labor of love. A yeast-risen dough is rolled into a large rectangle, filled with a cinnamon-sugar mixture and rolled (again) into a log shape. The log is cut into individual cinnamon rolls, which are placed in a baking pan to rise for a second time before baking. Once baked, the cinnamon rolls are drizzled with thick icing. This process produces homemade cinnamon rolls with a sweet and spiced flavor. But, if you’re short on time, satisfy your sweet tooth quickly by making a small batch of cinnamon rolls in the microwave.
Chef’s secret to making microwave cinnamon rolls fast
The microwave is perfect for cooking cinnamon rolls as its rapid heat distribution produces a delicious dessert in less time. Recipe creator Alix Traeger reveals another key shortcut for this treat: “I’m going to be using pancake mix instead of flour because it’s already got its leavening agent in there and we can skip a couple steps,” she says in a video on Tasty’s YouTube Channel. The leavening agents in pancake mix are usually baking soda and/or baking powder. Also, these ingredients don’t require any resting when added to dough and help treats rise nicely as they’re cooking. From there, sugar, milk and other pantry staples can be added to the powdered mix to form a soft dough ball. Who you knew your morning pancake mix could be used for dessert too!
A mouthwatering microwave cinnamon roll recipe
This recipe from Tasty.co uses the no-rise dough trick described by Traeger, and cooks each cinnamon roll in a greased mug. Not only does the mug create an easy-to-serve portion, the surface heats up quickly to evenly cook the treat in under 5 minutes.
Cinnamon Roll in a Mug
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2 Tbs. milk
- 1 ½ cups pancake mix
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
- 2 tsp. water
- 6 Tbs. powdered sugar
- 1 Tbs. milk
- Yield: 2 servings
- For filling: In small bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- For dough: In medium bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, sugar and milk until combined. Add pancake mix and stir with rubber spatula until mostly incorporated.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until mostly smooth. Roll dough to 8-by-6-inch rectangle. Spread filling over dough. Starting with long edge, tightly roll the dough into log. Cut in half crosswise.
- Grease 2 (12-oz.) mugs with nonstick spray. Place 1 cinnamon roll in each mug with cut side facing up. Spoon 1 tsp. water into each mug. Working 1 at a time, microwave cinnamon rolls on medium power 1 minute and 45 seconds. Let cool 1 minute.
- For icing: In small bowl, stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth.
- Drizzle icing over cinnamon rolls. Serve and enjoy.
My taste test
As the cinnamon rolls cooked in the microwave, their sweet aroma wafted through my kitchen similar to when they’re baked in the oven. I doubled the recipe’s filling measurements for a more intensely molasses yet spiced flavor — and it worked. This flavor contrast complemented the butteriness from the dough and sugary icing. The dough had a soft and tender texture, which made it easy to dig into my cinnamon roll portion. Overall, I’ll be whipping up these speedy cinnamon rolls whenever I’m in need of a cozy treat!
For more “lazy” desserts, browse the delicious recipes below!