Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls


I don’t pay much attention to yeast bread recipes when I see them online because I don’t have the greatest luck with them.  I have accepted over time that my dear mother didn’t pass the bread baking gene to me along with the wonderful baking and cooking recipes and techniques that she did bless me with.  But when I saw this recipe for vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls on Pinterest with a scrumptious photo to go along with it I decided it was time to give yeast dough another try. This recipe is from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and is a post from way back in 2008.  Who could resist Mel’s description of these delectable rolls – ” I am in love with these cinnamon rolls. The dough is so extremely tender and soft, it will blow your mind, and the cream cheese goodness of the frosting is beyond delicious. The filling is made up of brown sugar and cinnamon and it gives a great richness to the standard cinnamon and white sugar combo. Oh my, these really are so good.”  I can’t say it any better than that.


5.0 from 5 reviews
Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls
  • ROLLS:
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3-1/2 ounce package instant vanilla pudding
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6+ cups flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoon milk
  1. In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside for about 5 minutes until it gets bubbly. In a large bowl add pudding and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix Well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend well.
  2. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not over flour the dough. It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Roll out on a floured board to 34x21 inches in size. Spread 1 cup soft butter over the surface of the dough.
  3. In a small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the buttered dough. Roll up tightly. With a knife put a notch every 1-1/2 inch. Cut with a thread or serrated knife. (I used dental floss and it worked great) Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden brown (don't overbake) Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting. For frosting combine butter and cream cheese. Mix well, Add vanilla and sugar and mix again. Add milk for desired consistency.


If you want to freeze some of the cinnamon rolls (the recipe makes lots) shape the rolls and place them on a baking sheet.  Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and a layer to foil.  Store in the freezer. The night before you want to serve them take out the rolls and put them in the refrigerator.  Let them thaw for 8-10 hours.  Remove from the fridge and let them rise until doubled in bulk.  Bake according to the recipe.  If you have less time you can take the rolls out of the freezer and let them come to room temperature on the counter – about 4 hours, then rise until doubled.

If you use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast decrease the yeast amount to 1-1/2 tablespoons.  Mix it with water and sugar, but you don’t need to proof it  just continue with the recipe, adding the yeast/water mixture where indicated.

This recipe is a bit too rich for me so rather than spread the dough with a cup of butter I melted a scant 1/2 cup of butter and brushed it on the dough and used only 1 cup of brown sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon to sprinkle on top of the butter.

This recipe is definitely a keeper and I’m looking forward to serving these yummy rolls for brunch during the holidays.  I love that they can be made ahead. I think I will add a few raisins the next time I bake them and maybe a few chopped walnuts for good measure.  I hope you give this recipe a try. You can’t believe how wonderful they smell as they are baking.  It’s amazing what a little box of pudding mix can do to a yeast dough recipe.

I’m linking this post to Season Sunday at The Tablescaper and On the Menu Monday at StoneGable.


  1. says

    The name alone stopped me in my tracks! OH, I think even I who have NO cooking genes (they skipped a few generations and went to my great niece, the chef) could and would happily make these. I might have to put this on my list to do with Cecelia at Christmas. She likes to cook and so does Addie. They would LOVE these. Thanks for pinning this for us, Cathy!


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  2. says

    Well Cathy, I’m have the same issues. My mother was a wonderful baker and I can’t make a yeast dough anything to save my life. I’m thrilled that you’ve posted this recipe. I love cinnamon rolls and would jump for joy I could actually make these. I’ll let you know. :)
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  3. Pondside says

    I haven’t made cinnamon buns for years – but nothing makes the house smell better! I make Monkey Bread over the holidays, but they are cheater buns!

  4. says

    They do look fantastic! You did a great job Cathy. That pudding that is included really sparked my interest. Keeping this for my grand daughter’s visit; her favourite thing. Thank you.

  5. says

    Those are the most delicious, tenderest cinnamon rolls, ever…I have been making that recipe for many years! I tried other recipes, but kept going back to this one.

  6. says

    I just may have to change our Thanksgiving brunch to include these, Cathy. They look so light and the cream cheese frosting sounds wonderful. And isn’t the vanilla pudding an interesting ingredient?
    I don’t do a lot of yeast baking since the kids left home. But when they all come back, this is the kind of baking I love to do for them.
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  7. Cat says

    I actually made these years ago out of a recipe book called “Fast Fixes With Mixes”. The recipe, at least what I can remember is the exact same as this one. I did make a change too it also, I used cheesecake flavored pudding instead of vanilla. My God, they were wonderful!

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