Welcome fall with these super soft, Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or any time of day!
There is nothing like the smell of home-made cinnamon rolls wafting through your kitchen. Add the smell of apple pie to that, and you are in heaven. These Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls combine the best of both worlds to give you a treat that you’ll want to make again and again.
I love this recipe, because it only takes half the time of regular cinnamon roll recipes. That’s because there’s only a single rise in the pan. The rolls turn out SO fluffy and feathery, even though they’ve only risen one time.
There are a couple of tricks I use whenever I make cinnamon rolls, and I want to show them to you.
First, when I roll out the dough and spread the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture on top, I only spread it about 3/4 of the way to one of the edges.
When I add my apples and walnuts, I just sprinkle them on top of the butter mixture, making sure not to let them get too close to the edge, either. That’s because as you roll these up, everything starts moving toward the edge, and I don’t want my filling falling out. I also like to keep the edge butter-free so that the rolls will seal while rising and baking and not let all my butter escape.
I sautéed the apples in some butter and a little sugar to soften them up a little bit and add some extra flavor. As you can see in the picture, I only put walnuts on 3/4 of the dough, because some people in my family don’t like walnuts. You are free to leave the nuts out as well, according to your preferences.
Once you roll up the dough, it’s time to cut the rolls.
Here’s what I do: I get a piece of sewing thread, about 12 inches long. I slide it under the dough and then cross it over the top.
Then I just pull the string tight, and it cuts right through the dough. Works like magic!
Now you’ll put all your rolls in a 9×13 pan. You should get about 12-14 rolls if you cut them about 1 1/2-2 inches thick.
Now cover them and let them rise until they are nice and fluffy. It should only take about a half an hour. I like to loosely cover mine with plastic wrap (not letting the wrap touch the top of the rolls so it doesn’t stick). I feel like the plastic wrap traps the heat better than a towel, but you could certainly use a towel as well.
Here’s what they look like when they are ready to go into the oven.
And here’s what they look like after a 20-minute bake in a 350-degree oven.
Now you can just eat these plain, or you can smother them with some caramel frosting. Oh yeah. Let’s do that.
For the caramel frosting, you just melt some butter and brown sugar and milk together and bring it to a boil. Let it cool a little and then add powdered sugar. You can spread it on while warm, or wait a little bit. It firms up as it cools.
Now plate yourself one of these beauties and dig in. Relax and savor the classically delicious flavors of fall!
Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough
- 1 cup milk
- 4 Tbsp. butter cut into chunks
- 3 1/2-3 3/4 cups flour divided
- 1 package yeast 2 1/4 tsp.
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
For the Filling
- 2 apples diced (any variety)
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- For the Frosting
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
For the Dough
- Mix the yeast and 1/4 cup warm water and allow the yeast to proof. Make sure the water is not too hot, or it will kill the yeast.
- Put the butter and milk into a microwave-safe bowl and heat one minute and thirty seconds on high. Butter should be mostly melted.
- Mix together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, add the ingredients to the mixer bowl.
- When the milk mixture has cooled slightly, add it to the mixer bowl and mix well with the paddle attachment.
- Add the egg and mix well.
- Pour in your yeast and water mixture and mix again.
- Switch to the dough hook (if using a mixer) and add remaining flour in increments until dough leaves the side of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. When you put your finger in it, it should pull a little, but not totally stick to your finger and stretch out.
- Continue to knead the dough with the dough hook (or by hand) for about five minutes. Allow to rest while you make the filling.
For the Filling
- Add the chopped apples, 1 Tbsp. butter, and 1 Tbsp. sugar to a pan on the stove over medium heat. Saute until the apples start to soften, about five minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix the 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, corn starch and cinnamon.
To Make the Rolls
- Roll dough on clean countertop or large cutting board to about 12x16 inches. Spread filling on top of dough, leaving the far edge bare so dough will stick together after rolling. Add the sauteed apples and walnuts to the top of the filling.
- Start rolling the dough from the long edge and roll to the other edge.
- Get a 12-inch piece of sewing thread. Slip the thread under the edge of the dough, cross it over the top, and pull the string until it completely cuts through the dough. Repeat until you have cut all the rolls.
- Place rolls in a greased 9x13 inch pan.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until rolls have visibly increased in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake rolls for 20-22 minutes, or until light golden brown.
For the Frosting
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter.
- Add the brown sugar and cook for two minutes.
- Add the milk and turn the heat up to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, then remove from the heat. Let cool until you can touch the bottom of the pan. (You can place the pan in another pan of cold water to help it cool faster.)
- Stir in the powdered sugar. Add more if you desire a thicker consistency. (Keep in mind that the frosting will thicken as it cools).
- Spread on top of rolls.
For more great fall-inspired recipes, try these!
Love these Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls? You’ll love these other breakfast treats!