Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

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Hands down, this is THE BEST recipe for sourdough discard cinnamon rolls. These scratch-made cinnamon rolls are made with active or inactive sourdough starter. Then, they are baked to golden and gooey perfection and topped with a lightly whipped homemade maple-vanilla cream cheese icing.

For the last few years, I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my home. This year, I wanted to highlight not just Thanksgiving dinner, but also breakfast.

The good part of recipe testing sourdough cinnamon rolls is that I had a ton of cinnamon buns to eat. The bad part of recipe testing sourdough discard cinnamon buns is that I had a ton of cinnamon rolls to eat, haha.

After trying a few recipes and methods, this recipe made the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  1. One of the best parts of this recipe is that it uses up extra active starter that you might have on hand. I’ve even made this with starter that was a few hours past its peak, and it worked perfectly. I haven’t tried it with inactive discard yet. If you do, let me know in the comments how it goes!
  2. Not only is this recipe delicious, it also swaps out some traditional ingredients for more nutritious options:
    • Store-bought yeast —> Sourdough starter
    • Butter (some of it) —> Coconut oil
    • Brown sugar (some of it) —> Maple syrup
    • Store-bought vanilla —> Homemade vanilla
  3. Plus, this is an overnight recipe. So the starter combined with the 8-12 hours of rest allow the grains to ferment. According to some, this makes grains more digestible. The overnight fermentation also creates more depth in flavor than traditional pastries and cinnamon rolls.
  4. And…cream cheese icing. Need I say anymore?

Sample Baker’s Schedule

Day before baking

  • 9:00am: Feed your sourdough starter
  • 9:00pm: Prepare the dough–excluding baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Allow to sit overnight on the counter.

Morning of baking

  • 9:00am: Return dough to stand mixer and add in leavening agents
  • 9:05am: Roll and prepare dough
  • 9:15am: Add cinnamon filling, roll, and slice. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • 9:40am: Pull rolls from the oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, make the maple-vanilla cream cheese icing
  • 10:00am: Pour topping on the cinnamon rolls and ENJOY!

Can sourdough discard cinnamon rolls be made ahead of time?

These sourdough discard cinnamon rolls store very well for a few days in the fridge.

But if you want fresh, hot, gooey cinnamon buns right out of the oven, you can prepare the dough up to three days in advance. Just allow it to ferment for 8-12 hours on the countertop. Then, put it in the fridge until you are ready to roll the dough and bake.

If you decide to refrigerate your dough, you will need to pull it out a few hours before you are ready to bake or stick in a very low pre-heated oven (150-170 degrees) to take the chill off of the dough.

Otherwise, it will be challenging to mix in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Tips for Making Perfect Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

  • Use string to slice the dough. This will create a clean, perfect cut. A knife, on the other hand, will squish the dough.
  • Use active sourdough starter. This generally refers to a starter that has been fed 4-12 hours before making the dough. All starter is different, so adjust your baker’s schedule so you use your starter when it has peaked.
  • If you refrigerate your dough, be sure to take it out of the fridge a few hours before you want to bake. It will need to be close to room temperature to add in the leavening agents. Another alternative is to place your chilled dough in a proofing box or warm space.
  • I prefer making these in a cast iron skillet. A baking dish will also work. But cast iron creates a even bake with toasty edges and a gooey middle.
  • An immersion blender is KEY when it comes to making the icing. Cream cheese can be a little lumpy when it melts. So an immersion blender can help with that. But more importantly, by lightly blending it, you will create a slightly whipped, airy icing. The texture and mouth-feel is really elevated this way.

Is it safe to allow the dough to sit out with eggs in it?

When fermenting dough enriched with eggs, I have not had any issues. Most of the time, I use farm fresh eggs that I get locally, so I feel comfortable letting them sit out.

However, if you prefer you can allow your dough to sit on the countertop for 4 hours, then stick it in the fridge for the remainder of the time.

If you opt to put your dough in the fridge, you won’t get the exact benefit of the fermented grains. And the flavor might be slightly different. Still, it will be delicious.

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What You’ll Need

Ingredients

This recipe is adapted from Farmhouse on Boone’s cinnamon rolls.

DOUGH

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, active or inactive
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (not hot)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

CINNAMON-SUGAR FILLING

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

VANILLA-MAPLE CREAM CHEESE GLAZE

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract (or store-bought)

HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH DISCARD CINNAMON ROLLS

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all dough ingredients except the baking soda, baking powder, coarse kosher salt, and cream.
  2. With a dough hook attachment, mix together until the dough passes the window pane test (for me, this is usually 12 minutes. Yours will vary depending on your mixer and dough hydration, etc).
  3. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to sit for 8-12 hours. If you prefer to refrigerate your dough, allow it to at room temperature for 4 hours before refrigerating.
  4. The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Return the dough to the stand mixer and add in baking soda, baking powder, and coarse kosher salt. Mix for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. When the dough is finished mixing, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. If you are like me and rolling into a perfect rectangle is a challenge, you can always trim the edges with a pizza cutter.
  8. Smooth the cinnamon-sugar filling onto the rolled dough. Use a silicone spatula to spread it evenly.
  9. Using a bench scraper to loosen the edge, roll the dough tightly.
  10. Slice to make 8-12 rolls, depending how how thick you want them.
  11. Place the sliced cinnamon rolls into a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and drizzle with 1/4 cup heavy cream.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes or lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  13. Combine all of the vanilla-maple cream cheese ingredients into a small saucepan. Warm on medium-low until the cream cheese has melted and the ingredients are combined.
  14. Using an immersion blender, blend the icing until it is smooth and slightly thickened. Allow to cool slightly. I also like to stir gently with a spoon to remove any large bubbles left over from blending.
  15. Pour over cinnamon rolls, and ENJOY!

Ingredient Alternatives

If you have dietary restrictions, you can make these changes:

  • Replace coconut oil with butter or avocado oil
  • Use honey instead of maple syrup
  • Flax seed “eggs” can be used instead of fresh eggs

Other Sourdough Recipes You Will Enjoy

Sourdough cinnamon rolls in cast iron skillet

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla-Maple Cream Cheese Glaze

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 45 minutes

Hands down, this is THE BEST recipe for sourdough cinnamon rolls. These scratch-made cinnamon rolls are made with active sourdough starter discard. Then, they are baked to golden and gooey perfection and topped with a lightly whipped homemade vanilla-maple cream cheese icing.

Ingredients

DOUGH

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, bubbly and active
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (not hot)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

CINNAMON-SUGAR FILLING

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

VANILLA-MAPLE CREAM CHEESE GLAZE

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract (or store-bought)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all dough ingredients except the baking soda, baking powder, coarse kosher salt, and cream.
  2. With a dough hook attachment, mix together until the dough passes the window pane test (for me, this is usually 12 minutes. Yours will vary depending on your mixer and dough hydration, etc).
  3. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to sit for 8-12 hours. If you prefer to refrigerate your dough, allow it to sit at room temperature for 4 hours before refrigerating.
  4. The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Return the dough to the stand mixer and add in baking soda, baking powder, and coarse kosher salt. Mix with dough hook for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. When the dough is finished mixing, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. If you are like me and rolling into a perfect retangle is a challenge, you can always trim the edges with a pizza cutter.
  8. Smooth the cinnamon-sugar filling onto the rolled dough. Use a silicone spatula to spread it evenly.
  9. Using a bench scraper to loosen the edge, roll the dough tightly.
  10. Slice to make 8-12 rolls, depending how how thick you want them.
  11. Place the sliced cinnamon rolls into a well-seasonsed cast iron skillet and drizzle with 1/4 cup heavy cream.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes or lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  13. Combine all of the vanilla-maple cream cheese ingredients into a small saucepan. Warm on medium-low until the cream cheese has melted and the ingredients are combined.
  14. Using an immersion blender, blend the icing until it is smooth and slightly thickened. Allow to cool slightly. I also like to stir gently with a spoon to remove any large bubbles left over from blending.
  15. Pour over cinnamon rolls, and ENJOY!

Notes

  • If you refrigerate your dough, be sure to take it out of the fridge a few hours before you want to bake. It will need to be close to room temperature to add in the leavening agents. Another alternative is to place your chilled dough in a proofing box. Or pre-heated the oven (around 150 degrees) for a few minutes, then turn off the heat, and stick the dough in the warm oven until workable.
  • An immersion blender is KEY when it comes to making the icing. Cream cheese can be a little lumpy when it melts. So an immersion blender can help with that. But more importantly, by lightly blending it, you will create a slightly whipped, airy icing. The texture and mouth-feel is really elevated this way.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 597Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 350mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 8g

Did you make this recipe?

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Did You Try This Recipe?

Let me know if you tried this recipe. Drop a comment or review below to let me know how it went. Also, if you tried this with inactive sourdough starter discard, let me know how it goes. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m curious to know.

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