Sandra Lee shares her 'famous' recipe riff on Cinnabon cinnamon rolls

Celebrity chef Sandra Lee knows what people want but can’t have right now – and it’s those delicious, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon and sugar rolls from beloved chain Cinnabon.

Because of stay-at-home orders, the likelihood of getting hands on one of those sticky buns is slim, but luckily, Lee knows the secret to make them … and she’s willing to dish out the details. The chef and lifestyle expert showed Yahoo Life how to make her own version of the sweet treats in food series Cooking for Comfort.

“Everybody loves Cinnabon,” Lee tells Yahoo Life. “Since none of us can go to the mall right now, I thought I’d share with you my remake.”

Sandra Lee Cinnamon Roll
Sandra Lee's Cinnamon Rolls

The ingredients are simple. For the buns, all it takes is biscuit mix, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter, which get rolled up and baked in the oven for 8-12 minutes.

“There’s a couple of different ways to make your icing, ” Lee explains. “But every way starts with butter.” She makes hers by mixing the butter with cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla and a dash of cinnamon.

Most importantly, the icing goes on the buns when they’re still hot from the oven, so it melts into the bun with all of the cinnamon and sugary goodness.

“Wow, those are good,” Lee exclaims after tasting the rolls. “Holy crap. Taste this!”

To see just how good Sandra Lee’s cinnamon rolls are, watch the video above, and read the full recipe below.

Sandra Lee’s Cinnamon Rolls

For the cinnamon rolls:

1 can biscuit mix (substitute: bread dough or puff pastry mix)

2/3 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Nonstick cooking spray (substitute: oil)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (for rolling dough out)

For the icing:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp. heavy cream (substitute: half and half, or leave out entirely)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the dough from the container and let it come to room temp. Cover a flat surface with the flour. Using your hands, roll all of the biscuits into a ball. Roll the dough out onto the flat surface into a rectangle.

Spread the cinnamon into the dough using your fingers. Layer the brown sugar on top, and spread it out across the dough evenly.

Roll the dough up and cut into approximately 1 ½ inch pieces. Lightly spray a baking dish or cupcake tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place the rolls into the baking dish. Spread each roll with a dollop of butter, so the sugar and cinnamon caramelize while they bake.

Place the rolls into the preheated oven. Bake for 8-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing while the rolls bake.

Combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Mix thoroughly using a fork. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and combine. For thicker icing, add more powdered sugar. Stir in heavy cream or half and half to thin it out. Stir in vanilla extract. Add cinnamon and stir until well-incorporated.

When the rolls are done, remove from the oven and top with icing while they’re still warm, so it melts into the rolls.

For more recipe ideas from Sandra Lee, visit

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