Bourbon Butterscotch Cinnamon Rolls

This cinnamon roll recipe takes the breakfast you love and adds a boozy, bourbon butterscotch twist.

  • Author: The Simple, Sweet Life
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American



For the salted bourbon butterscotch:

  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

For the cinnamon roll dough:

  • 1 cup milk warm (105 degrees F)
  • ½ cup + 1 TBS granulated sugar divided
  • 1 tbsp. Active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. butter melted
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the cinnamon sugar filling:

  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 ½ tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp. butter softened

For the browned butter frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 12 tbsp bourbon


Brown the butter for the frosting:

  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the butter for the frosting to a gentle boil over medium heat.
  2. Stir continually until the butter is a light brown color. Pour the browned butter into a bowl and allow to set overnight.

Make the bourbon butterscotch:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine all of the bourbon butterscotch sauce ingredients, and cook over medium-low heat.
  2. Once the brown sugar has dissolved, continue cooking the sauce for about 15 more minutes, stirring frequently, until it coats the back of a spatula and has thickened and reduced.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. This sauce will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Make the cinnamon roll dough:

  1. Warm milk in the microwave milk for 45-60 seconds. It should be warm but not hot to the touch (about 105 degrees F).
  2. Place milk into the bowl of your standing mixer, then add 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. yeast to the warm milk. Stir and let it sit (proof) for five minutes or until it becomes foamy.
  3. Add the ½ cup sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture in the bowl of your standing mixer. Use a dough hook to stir until combined
  4. Add 4 cups flour, salt and cinnamon and stir the dough hook, starting on low and increasing to medium.
  5. Knead dough in the standing mixer until a large ball is formed. The dough should be smooth and only slightly tacky to the touch. If the dough seems too sticky and is not forming a ball, add more flour 1 tbsp. at a time until a smooth ball is formed.
  6. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead with your hands until it is smooth and elastic (about 3-5 minutes). Form it into a ball.
  7. Grease a large bowl and place the dough inside.
  8. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and put the bowl in a warm place to rise.
  9. Let the dough rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
  10. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12″x16″ rectangle.
  11. Spread the softened butter for the filling out over the dough.
  12. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Sprinkle the filling over the buttered dough.
  13. Roll the dough into a log along the long edge and use a sharp knife or string to cut the dough into 10-12 rolls.
  14. Place the rolls in a greased 9″x13″ dish with enough room between them to rise. Allow the rolls to rise for 30-40 more minutes or until they fill up the pan.
  15. Bake your cinnamon rolls at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Make the browned butter frosting:

  1. In a bowl, beat together the browned butter and powdered sugar. Add the bourbon and mix until smooth.

Putting it all together:

  1. Pour the bourbon butterscotch over the cooled cinnamon rolls.
  2. Frost with the browned butter frosting.


  • If you overcook your browned butter and it has a burnt smell, you can salvage it by straining out the burned bits with a fine mesh sieve.
  • Storing browned butter: Browned butter can be covered and stored in your refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before making the frosting.
  • Storing the bourbon butterscotch sauce: the sauce will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Cutting the cinnamon rolls: Be sure to use a really sharp knife or a string to help the rolls retain their round shape. To cut cinnamon rolls with string, slide the string under the dough log, bring it up, over and continue pulling until the string cuts clean through.
  • Testing for doneness: To test if your cinnamon rolls are done, use a toothpick to gently tug at the center. You want the to be able to pull the center slightly up and have it look cooked through.
  • Overnight cinnamon rolls: Don’t have time to make these in one go? Simply make the dough and allow it to rise overnight in the refrigerator. To use, bring the dough to room temperature (about 30-60 minutes), roll it out and continue with the recipe.
  • Freezing: If you want to work ahead by freezing your unbaked cinnamon rolls, simply take them all the way through to slicing them up and freeze them (unrisen) in your dish. To bake, allow them to thaw and rise before baking as directed.
  • Storage: Store any leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Bourbon butterscotch adapted from David Lebovitz


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