Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the best way to start any morning! These sweet, gooey, soft rolls filled with apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel are so craveable, but surprisingly simple to make. Whip up a batch and enjoy for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or a snack with an afternoon cup of tea.
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Wow… these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are amazing! Such a fun twist between a caramel apple and a freshly baked cinnamon roll. You’ll be making these more than once, for sure!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls (the exact measurements and full recipe instructions are below in the printable recipe card):
- Butter – I used regular salted butter.
- Milk – Whole milk is best because of its higher fat content, but 2% would also work.
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Yeast – I used dry active yeast, but rapid-rise yeast would also work well.
- Powdered milk – This may seem like an odd ingredient, but it does help to tenderize the dough.
- Egg – If you can, leave the egg out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you make the cinnamon rolls.
- Light brown sugar
- Granny Smith apples – I used three apples to get the 1 1/2 cups needed for the recipe, but it will depend on the size of your apples. It would be a good idea to have 3-4 apples on hand in case you need that many to make 1 1/2 cups of diced apples.
- Caramel sauce
How to Make Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
To begin, heat the milk, water, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals until warmed and the butter is melted (don’t overheat – it should be warm, not hot to the touch. If it gets too hot, let it cool a bit before adding it to the flour mixture).
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, and the yeast.
Add the warmed milk mixture and the egg and mix with the dough hook attachment until combined. Continue the mix on medium speed with the dough hook, adding more flour as needed, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Roll the dough out into a 10×14 inch rectangle on a floured surface.
Spread softened butter all over the dough.
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then sprinkle over the butter. Peel and dice the apples into 1/4-inch pieces and sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar mixture. Finally, drizzle caramel sauce all over top of the apples.
Starting from one of the short ends, roll the dough up like a jelly roll.
With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 rolls.
Place the cinnamon rolls into a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been greased with non-stick cooking spray. Cover lightly with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake the Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls at 350ºF for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle caramel sauce over the hot rolls.
Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool slightly in the pan for 10 minutes, then serve warm.
Can I Use a Hand-Held Mixer?
Yes, if you do not have a stand mixer, you can use a hand-held mixer to blend the dough together, then knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes, adding extra flour as needed.
- Apples – You can use any tart, firm apples you like. Granny Smith are the most common baking apple variety, but you can use your favorite in this recipe.
- No Caramel – Not a caramel fan? No problem! Just leave the caramel out of this recipe and you’ll still have wonderful apple cinnamon rolls.
- Frosting – Although the rolls are sweet enough as is, you can absolutely add homemade cream cheese frosting or a simple drizzle of frosting to the top of the rolls.
- Pecans – Add 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans to the cinnamon rolls along with the diced apples for extra crunch and flavor.
How to Store Leftovers
The leftovers will keep well covered and either in the refrigerator or on the counter for up to three days. However, they really do taste best the first day they’re made.
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Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Stand Mixer
- 1/4 cup butter cubed
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons powdered milk
- 1 envelope dry active yeast (very fresh)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 5 tablespoons butter very soft, but not melted
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup caramel sauce divided
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the cubed butter, milk, and butter. Heat on high in 30-second increments until warm and the butter is melted. NOTE: the mixture should be warm to the touch, not hot. If it is too hot, let it sit for a few minutes to cool before adding to the flour mixture.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3 cups of the flour, granulated sugar, powdered milk, yeast, and salt. Add the warmed milk/butter mixture and the egg and mix until combined with the dough hook attachment. Continue to knead the dough with the dough hook for 5 minutes, adding up to 3/4 cup of the remaining flour as needed until the dough is soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball. Cover the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a 10x14-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter onto the dough.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle this over the butter on the dough.
- Top the cinnamon/sugar mixture with the diced apples and then drizzle with 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce.
- Beginning at one of the short ends of the dough, roll from one end to the other like a jelly roll. Cut the roll into 12 individual cinnamon rolls. Place the rolls into a 9x13-inch baking dish that has been greased with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cover the rolls lightly with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm location to rise for 30 minutes. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake the rolls at 350F for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle with the remaining 1/3 cup of caramel sauce while hot. Allow the rolls to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then serve warm.