There's nothing quite like fresh cinnamon rolls to start your weekend mornings. The warm flavors of apples, cinnamon and brown sugar make these Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling perfect for cozy Fall breakfast or brunch!
Prepare to be wowed by the soft, pillowy cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling. And of course, these wouldn't be cinnamon rolls if they weren't topped with generous drizzles of sweet cream cheese icing!
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A Fall Version of a Breakfast Favorite
Cinnamon rolls are always a weekend breakfast or brunch treat. With this recipe, we take a traditional cinnamon roll recipe and add a filling of warm cinnamon and caramely apples.
There are a few tricks to ensuring these turn out successfully.
Unlike my one-hour cinnamon roll recipe, I recommend allowing the dough to chill overnight in the fridge. This allows the dough to become easier to handle when filling with the apple pie filling.
As an added bonus, the dough will develop more flavor with an overnight rest. This is not to say my one-hour cinnamon rolls lack flavor!
That recipe comes with the huge upside of convenience - prepare, bake, eat all within a short timeframe.
The dough for this recipe becomes a bit sturdier when it's chilled, so it holds up to the filling much better than if you did not chill the dough.
I know this is not a very scientific explanation, but this is the homebaker method that has worked for me over and over!
Apple Pie Filling for Cinnamon Rolls
Now comes the best part of these Fall favorite treats. The apple pie filling!
I recommend cooling and/or chilling the filling before spreading onto the chilled dough. Since the filling contains a decent amount of liquid, chilling or cooling allows the filling to set up a bit more, making it easier to spread then roll up.
To avoid the filling from spilling out when you're rolling the dough, spread the apple filling on just the half of the dough closest to where you begin rolling. As you roll, the filling will get pushed slightly toward the other half and it will not spill out over the end.
And, don't worry if some of the filling does spill out! Cinnamon rolls are not meant to be perfect. They're meant to be delicious!
Once you've filled these cinnamon rolls, carefully slice them using a sharp knife into eight large rolls. Allow them to rest then bake!
And don't forget the cream cheese icing. Add the icing when the rolls are still warm but not too hot otherwise it'll melt. Serve the cinnamon rolls warm.
Yes! After the cinnamon rolls have been filled, rolled, and cut into 8 pieces, place them in the baking tray and allow them to rise for 40 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with a double layer of plastic wrap and freeze up to one month. Defrost at room temperature for one hour before baking.
Yes! Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool completely then wrap them tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and freeze. They may be frozen with or without the cream cheese icing. I like to wrap them individually so that they may be defrosted one at a time. Defrost at room temperature then warm in the microwave or in the oven set at 350ºF (177ºC) for a few minutes until warm.
I have not tried making this recipe with canned apple pie filling. It should work just fine though! Like I recommend in this recipe for the homemade apple pie filling, I'd recommend chilling the canned filling if it's runny. This will help it set and prevent oozing when rolling the cinnamon roll dough.
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Looking for more apple recipes? Give these a try:
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- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour divided
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg room temperature, lightly beaten
Apple Pie Filling:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups tart apples such as Granny Smith, peeled and chopped (about 3 medium-sized)
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup brown sugar packed
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- Apple Pie Filling from recipe above
- ¼ cup unsalted butter very soft
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk if needed
Prepare the Dough
- In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter. Heat on low and stir until the butter is melted and the milk is warm to the touch. If needed, let the milk mixture sit for a few minutes until it is warm but not hot. (It should be around 110°F).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, sugar and salt until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, add yeast and lukewarm milk mixture and stir by hand to combine. Add the flour mixture and egg and mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook until combined. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining ½ cup of flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Only add the remaining ½ cup of flour if needed. You may need some but not all of it. That's fine too! Continue kneading for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Remove dough and gently form it into a ball with your hands. Place it in a bowl greased lightly with vegetable oil and cover with plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to rise 1 - 1 ½ hours in a warm spot in your kitchen then place in the fridge at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. The dough will be much easier to work with once it’s cold. Overnight refrigeration also helps develop the flavor of the dough. If you are in a rush, let the dough rise 1 - 1 ½ hours, skipping the chilling overnight piece. The dough may be a bit more difficult to work with when it’s not chilled, as it’ll be softer. But the recipe will still work just fine.
Prepare the Apple Pie Filling
- About 30-60 minutes before you are ready to remove the dough from the fridge, make the filling. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped apple and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes or until the apples are tender. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook 2-3 minutes longer or until brown sugar is fully dissolved. Allow the apple mixture to cool. Since there is a decent amount of liquid in the filling when it's freshly made, I recommend placing it in a bowl and into the fridge until it's chilled before using to fill the dough. It will be much less likely to spill out of the dough when it's chilled.
- Butter a 9x13-inch rectangular baking pan. Set aside.
Fill the Dough
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Flour a clean work surface and carefully dump the dough out. Roll out dough into a large rectangle until the dough is about ¼-inch thick and measures approximately 16” x 12”. Don’t roll the dough too thin. A thicker dough will hold in the filling much better, making it much easier to roll and cut the cinnamon rolls. It’s okay if a bit of filling falls out when you’re rolling these. Optional: trim / cut the edges with a sharp knife or pizza cutter to form straight edges. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough using a small offset spatula, getting as close to the edges as possible. Stir together the granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the butter, pressing the sugar gently into the dough with your hands or a spatula. Spread the cooled apple pie filling over the sugars and butter.
- Roll the dough into a cylinder, beginning from the long end, pinching to seal the end to the cylinder once you've reached the end. Using a sharp knife, cut off ½ inch off each end. You may discard these ends or squeeze them into the pan to bake with the rest of the rolls. Cut the dough in half in the middle then cut each half in half, repeating once more on each pieces until you have 8 evenly sized rolls. Carefully place the rolls in the prepared pan in a 2x4 pattern. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 40-50 minutes or until doubled in size, in a warm spot (no warmer than 80°F) in your kitchen. Placing the rolls next to a warm stove or in a cold oven with the light works really well.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC) at least 10 minutes prior to when the cinnamon rolls are finished with the second rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the cream cheese icing.
Make the Cream Cheese Icing
- In a medium bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese and butter together until combined using an electric mixer or by hand. Whisk in the vanilla until combined. Add in the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it out to your desired consistency (I usually add in two tablespoons of milk). Slather the icing over the cinnamon rolls and serve warm.
- These rolls are best when served warm the day they are made. They’ll keep up to 3 days in the fridge. Warm gently in a 350°F (177ºF) oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Unbaked rolls can be frozen after their second rise for up to one month. Wrap tightly with two layers of plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost at room temperature for one hour before baking.
- Rolls may be cut smaller to make more than 8. Please note, nutrition information is based on 8 large rolls.
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