The College Housewife » Recipes » sweets » Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

These unique Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls are a Spring take on the classic that we all know and love, and just as fluffy, gooey and mouthwatering! Celebrate Spring with this homemade iced cinnamon bun recipe for Easter, Mother’s Day or any Spring gathering. I promise, you’ll be a legend!

carrot cake cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing on beige plate with gold fork and flowers

It seems like Abbie and I have a weekly discussion about trying out new and playful recipes for the blog (hello, funfetti white chocolate blondies), but sometimes we feel a little remorse because we both LOVE a seasonal classic and don’t want to miss out. I mean, who doesn’t love classic carrot cake?! 

So, I promise you that these Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls actually are the best of both worlds (yes, just quoted my girl Hannah lol). 

They will fulfill your carrot cake cravings in a new and fun way! I love walking into a party with a dessert that’s a little bit different, but still makes people want to dive in with both hands.

Make it, save it, print it, do whatever you want with it, but above all else, eat them to your heart’s desire! These Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls have become one of my favorites for the Spring Season!

breakfast pastry dough in glass bowl with carrots and butter

Ingredients

So are they really just cinnamon rolls?! Well, yes sort of! The actual dough part of these carrot cake cinnamon rolls are pretty much your basic cinnamon roll dough. The inside filling is where things get fun!

I started off with the basics for the dough ingredients – active dry yeast, warm milk, brown sugar, unsalted butter, salt, eggs and all-purpose flour.

Then things got a little carrot cake-y. The filling includes more butter, brown sugar, carrots, raisins, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg.

And for the icing (literally!) on top of the cinnamon buns, you need salted butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and milk (or cream).

shredded carrot filling over dough

How To Make Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

The steps come in two parts – the cinnamon rolls and the cream cheese frosting!

For the cinnamon rolls:

  1. Dissolve yeast into warm milk for 5 minutes, or until foamy. While yeast is dissolving, combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and eggs into a large bowl. Mix in two cups of flour, and then mix in yeast + milk mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. The dough should be elastic, but not sticky. Sprinkle flour over a large surface and knead for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Place dough in a large, well-greased bowl (I sprayed mine with Pam) and cover with two clean dish towels without touching the dough. Place in a dry area for an hour to double in size.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Punch down the dough and roll out into a large 15×9 rectangle on a floured surface. Spread evenly with softened butter, brown sugar, shredded carrots, raisins, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Very gently roll dough together. Cut slices about 1 inch thick and arrange close together in a greased casserole dish or on a large baking sheet. Brush the tops and sides of rolls with melted butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden.

For the cream cheese frosting:

  1. In a large bowl fitted with a hand mixer or the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add in room temp butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. Beat for 2-3 minutes. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time and 1 tablespoon of milk or cream after every sugar addition. Spread evenly onto warm cinnamon rolls!

Yes, if you really hate raisins you don’t have to add them in. They’re a carrot cake classic in my book!

cream cheese glazed cinnamon buns on baking sheet

Preparing The Iced Cinnamon Buns The Night Before

But, cinnamon rolls are kind of a lot of work…can I make the dough the night before and have a mimosa while I just bake them off…

YES! You can! But there a few easy steps to ensure your carrot cake cinnamon rolls will be just as tasty the next day.

  1. After I let the dough rise once and fill and cut the cinnamon rolls, I wrap them up extremely tight in their baking vessel with plastic wrap. You don’t want any refrigerated air to enter into the rolls or they will begin to dry out and NO ONE wants that.
  2. The second important step – take the rolls out an hour before you bake them to come up to room temp. This will actually let the cinnamon rolls rise again and get super big and puffy! Then, you’re ready to bake!
  3. If you’re really looking for a simple morning, you can even make the cream cheese icing the night before as well! Just seal the batch up tightly in a Tupperware and bring to room temp before slathering all over these delicious carrot cake cinnamon rolls.

cream cheese glazed cinnamon buns on baking sheet and beige plates

Serve at Easter or Mother’s Day Brunch

Gooey, soft, sweet, spiced and warm!

I love serving these homemade cinnamon rolls still warm from the oven and slathered with a generous amount of cream cheese glaze. A hot cup of coffee is totally optional!

I bring these to any Spring gathering throughout the season since my family and friends go crazy for them! They are super delicious for Easter or Mother’s Day brunch, too!

three cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing on beige plate with gold fork and flowers

Top Tips:

  • The perfect temperature for active dry yeast is 100-110 degrees F. Yeast needs a specific temperature of liquid in which it becomes activated. Too cold, it won’t wake up. Too hot, it’ll die. You can use an instant read thermometer to check it, but I check it with my finger. Once the milk is slightly warm, it’s good to go!
  • Make sure to use fresh carrots that you shred for this recipe. Pre-shredded carrots are thick and too hard for the filling of these delicate rolls.
  • For an Italian twist, replace the cream cheese with an equal amount of Mascarpone cheese. The texture of mascarpone is softer, but the flavor is divine. As always, make sure to bring your frosting ingredients to cool room temperature for easy whisking!

More Cinnamon Roll Recipes You’ll Love:

If you make this Carrot Cake Cinnamon Roll recipe, I’d love to know how it goes! Please share with all your friends in the comments below!

For more easy recipes and ideas, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, too! ♥

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carrot cake cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing on beige plate with gold fork and flowers

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Elizabeth
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large rolls 1x
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These unique Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls celebrate Spring with a twist on the classic. Fluffy, gooey and mouthwatering for Easter and Mother’s Day brunch!


Scale

Ingredients

Cinnamon Rolls

1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1 cup warm milk

½ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted + cooled

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten

4½ cups all-purpose flour

Carrot Cake Filling

⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened + 1 tablespoon melted for topping

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 carrots, peeled and finely grated

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting

½ cup salted butter

4 oz (1/2 package) cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup milk or cream


Instructions

For Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Dissolve yeast into warm milk for 5 minutes, or until foamy. While yeast is dissolving, combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and eggs into a large bowl. Mix in two cups of flour, and then mix in yeast + milk mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. The dough should be elastic, but not sticky. Sprinkle flour over a large surface and knead for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Place dough in a large, well-greased bowl (I sprayed mine with Pam) and cover with two clean dish towels without touching the dough. Place in a dry area for an hour to double in size.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Punch down the dough and roll out into a large 15×9 rectangle on a floured surface. Spread evenly with softened butter, brown sugar, shredded carrots, raisins, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Very gently roll dough together. Cut slices about 1 inch thick and arrange close together in a greased casserole dish or on a large baking sheet. Brush the tops and sides of rolls with melted butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden.

For Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large bowl fitted with a hand mixer or the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add in room temp butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. Beat for 2-3 minutes. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time and 1 tablespoon of milk or cream after every sugar addition. Spread evenly onto warm cinnamon rolls!

Notes

To Make In Advance: If making cinnamon rolls the night before, skip step 3 and wrap your baking sheet or casserole dish filled with cinnamon rolls extremely tight with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. One hour before baking, remove rolls from the refrigerator and let rolls come to room temperature before baking.

Keywords: carrot cake cinnamon rolls, iced cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls recipe

Originally published in April 2019, updated March 2020 with updated info and recipe card.

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