Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler Fall temperatures!

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler October temperatures!I’ve mentioned before that my pre-food blogger life involved working in higher education.  I love college sports, and I thought working in college athletics would be a lot of fun.  In fact, my dissertation is about how smaller colleges use athletics as a strategic tool.  When Laura and I first moved up here to New York, I was shoulder-deep in academic journal articles.  I’d finished my coursework before we moved, but the dissertation still loomed in front of me.  So I buckled down and cranked that sucker out.  

In fact, writing the dissertation was kinda easy (well relatively speaking).  We had just moved up to New York, and we didn’t know anyone.  It was January, and it ended up being a record year for snow.  Laura was working long days as she got into the groove of her new job.  That left me snowed in at the apartment with our 2 dogs…and the neighbor who was practicing to become a DJ.  (1) Who practices to be a DJ?  (2) Who practices to be a DJ with wall-thumping music at 8:30am?

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler October temperatures!Neighbor annoyances aside, I was able to really get in there and finish up that dissertation.  But all of the dissertating made me a little stir crazy, so I decided to start taking baking classes in the afternoon at the community college around the corner.  It was a great way to break up the monotony of academic writing.  I’d come home each day and practice whatever new technique we learned in class.

As you can imagine, that led to a lot of baked goods rolling out of our kitchen at home.  So when we moved into our house, I started taking the leftover sweets and treats to neighbors.  They certainly didn’t mind, and I appreciated the ability to bake all sorts of things at home without becoming buried in cakes, cookies and breads.

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler October temperatures!But then one day I get a really bad idea.  Well, to be fair, I thought it was a really good idea.  But it wasn’t good.  Not at all.  I decided I’d take the cinnamon roll recipe I learned from class, but I’d fill it with chopped-up leftover Halloween candy.  Each bite would be different.  Some Snickers.  Some Milky Ways.  Some Reese’s Cups.  All of them thrown in together and rolled up into the dough.  And I even had the brilliant idea to melt some candy corn and drizzle that on top of the rolls.  The result was terrible.  I’m not kidding.

And to make the problem worse, I had about 6 dozen of them.  (I made the mistake of making a full-sized bakery scale recipe.  Oops.)  When Laura came home that afternoon, we taste-tested my creation.  Oh man, it was bad.  But I had already taken a bunch to the neighbors.  (Sorry, Judy!)  But they were all gracious, and no-one commented on the leftover Halloween candy cinnamon rolls.

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler October temperatures!I made up for that mistake the other day with this batch of Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls.  I made a normal-sized batch (i.e. not 6 dozen), but a normal-sized batch was still too much for just one person.  (Laura was at an overnight conference for work.)  So I dropped some of these bad boys off at the neighbors’ house.

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are legit.  I saved myself one for dessert and one for breakfast the next morning…but I had to get the rest out of the house.  Cinnamon rolls are one of those foods that just aren’t safe around me.  I would’ve eaten half that batch in one sitting!

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler October temperatures!For this treat, I used my go-to cinnamon roll recipe, but I added some diced apples into the dough before I rolled it up.  And then I adapted the icing recipe a bit to give it a deeper caramel flavor.  These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler October temperatures!  Enjoy!

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler October temperatures!

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to welcome in the cooler Fall temperatures!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 46 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 555kcal


For the Rolls

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

For the Filling

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 medium apples peeled, cored and diced into ½” pieces

For the Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • cups powdered sugar


For the Rolls

  • Using a countertop mixer with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Stir until well combined.
  • Add eggs and milk; stir until well combined.
  • Add butter to the bowl and gradually increase speed to medium. Let mix for 6-7 min, or until dough is very smooth.
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with towel or plastic wrap. Place bowl in warm spot until dough has doubled in size (~1 hour).
  • Fold dough several times and then let sit for 15 more minutes (covered).
  • Meanwhile, using a small bowl, make the filling by whisking together sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. (Note: The butter will be used later.)
  • On a well-floured countertop, roll the dough into a 12”x16” rectangle.
  • Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle the surface with Filling mixture as well as diced apples, leaving a ½” border on all sides.
  • Starting with one of the long edges, roll dough into a cylinder and pinch edges together to seal.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 10 pieces. (Note: 10 pieces will yield very large rolls. You can cut the rolls smaller (~16 pieces), but you will need to reduce the baking time slightly.)
  • Place cut rolls onto 2 greased 9”x13” baking pans leaving plenty of growing room between them.
  • Cover pans lightly and leave in warm spot until approximately doubled in size. (~40 minutes).
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Bake rolls at 375°F until golden brown and puffed up (~16-18 minutes).
  • While rolls are baking, make the Frosting by placing the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add brown sugar. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and milk and vanilla; stir until well combined. Add powdered sugar; stir until smooth. Set Frosting aside.
  • Once rolls are fully baked, removed from oven and let cool. Spread Frosting over rolls before serving.

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    1. Yeah, don’t try that candy in sweet rolls thing…it really didn’t work out well at all, Dawn! But apples totally worked out…so do that instead! 🙂

  1. So, David, I have been doing this temporary sugar “cleanse” thingie and every time I saw the words “dissertating” or “dissertation” – guess what I thought of!? Yeah – and these rolls don’t help either! I love apple in baked goods and the fact that you pawn off your baked goods on neighbors makes me wanna encourage Lil Shashi to indeed go to college up North so I can move next door to Y’ALL!!!! I’m so loving this twist on traditional cinnamon rolls – heck, even those Halloween candy ones sound downright delicious to me!

    1. Haha…I think that’s just the sugar gods teasing you, Shashi! 🙂 Hey, I’ve been saying for a while now that if lil Shashi comes to college up here in our area, then we’ll take good care of her! I mean she’ll have all the caramel apple cinnamon rolls she can eat! 🙂 (But seriously don’t try the Halloween candy version…those were a terrible, terrible invention.)

  2. Hi David! Like you, it’s dangerous to leave cinnamon rolls around me. I only make them a few times a year, usually when we are heading over to Nashville to visit relatives. I love the addition of apples! I just made oatmeal apple cookies yesterday, they are a little hard to stay away from also! I did pretty good, I only ate two in the middle of the night! 🙂

    1. Hey, only 2 cookies in the middle of the night is very impressive! Although, you know that calories don’t count after dark, right? 🙂 I’m like you, Dorothy…a good cinnamon roll is in danger around me. I can polish it off faster than you can say delicious, and then I’ll be going in for another one! Haha!

    1. Yeah, I have to get rid of tasty treats like these cinnamon rolls…or else I’ll eat the entire darned batch! Thanks so much for stopping by, Cheri! 🙂

    1. Yeah, I’ve had some real bombs of recipes…and those Halloween candy cinnamon rolls top the list. By far. I mean melted candy corn? What was I thinking?? But I definitely made right by the cinnamon roll gods with this one…the caramel + apple addition is quite tasty! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

    1. Haha…too bad you don’t live nearby, Nicole! I’m pretty sure a plate of these cinnamon rolls would have made it’s way to your place by now. 🙂 The caramel icing + apples in these cinnamon rolls was super tasty. Perfect for a nice Fall treat!

  3. Halloween candy cinnamon rolls? I don’t know either this idea was good or bad, but it sounds (in theory) fantastic! I’m not sure why it didn’t practically turn out that well. May be it’s because you didn’t put any lavender in it? You know, lavender makes everything (almost) better. And these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are so good. Glad you’ve fully been enjoying an apple season. I’m going to catch up with it shortly (as soon as I handle all the figs haha). Perhaps, I’ll even make these apple rolls…or maybe lavender apple rolls:)

    1. I totally agree, Ben! In theory, those Halloween candy cinnamon rolls sounded like a ton of fun. And then the melted candy corn “icing” on top. But in actuality they were terrible. But perhaps I should try them again this year…and add lavender in this time! That was definitely the missing element. haha! And don’t even talk to me about those figs of yours…

    1. Yeah, I agree with you Dannii…I usually have to reserve cinnamon rolls for special occasions. Otherwise I’ll eat them all. Every single one of them! In this case, I just had to give them all to the neighbors. Haha! Hope you’re doing well…not long now, right? 🙂

  4. Right, so first off, I remember writing my masters dissertation. I’m starring at it on the shelf right now. It was by no means an easy experience. You have no idea how jealous I am of you for your experience! That said, cinnamon buns are the absolute best, and the addition of apple is super. I know you said it did not work out well when you put a snickers bar in one, but I am intrigued……might have to try it out anyway!

    1. Yeah, that dissertation. Phew. I just tackled it a little bit at a time. Broke it down into more manageable pieces and then steadily went after each one. It certainly did help that most of the writing was done when we moved up here and didn’t have any friends. (That, and we were snowed in…like I couldn’t get the car out of the parking lot type of snowed in.)

      Hey, I’m warning you now. Leftover Halloween candy + cinnamon rolls doesn’t mix well. You’d think it would. But my attempt was a disaster. Although if you come up with a better version, then I’m all ears…or eyes? 🙂 Thanks, Matt!

  5. Oh wow…I was just looking for cinnamon rolls recipe. This is something my daughter likes very much. Whenever we go to a cake shop, we buy a cinnamon roll for her. But after seeing your recipe I think I will stop buying it from now on, rather I would prefer making it at home. Thanks a lot for sharing such a great recipe David 🙂

    1. Hey Puja! For a classic cinnamon roll, I recommend checking out the Maple Cinnamon Rolls recipe that I linked at the bottom of the post. And if you’re in the mood for something a bit more Fall-like, then definitely add the apples and caramel-y icing. Cinnamon rolls are so much fun to make at home…and they really aren’t that difficult at all! 🙂

  6. Oh, David, I can’t even imagine the flavour of the Halloween candy stuffed rolls. OMG. Talk about a freakin’ sugar rush, lol 😀
    Now, these rolls? Woo hoo! I love a good cinnamon roll and these are just perfect for Fall with the caramel and apple! I wouldn’t mind eating one or three of these…hahaha! For reals, though 😉 Pinned!
    P.S. Your neighbours must love you.
    P.P.S I broke out your ‘sandwich’ factoid to friends last weekend 😉 Thanks for that!

    1. Yeah, there was definitely a sugar rush involved with those Halloween candy cinnamon rolls. And there was definitely a rush to drop them into the garbage. So sad since I hate wasting food…but man, these things were just awful. But I think it made it all good again with this caramel apple version! These are perfect for a chilly Fall morning!
      P.S. The neighbors do love…or perhaps hate…me since I’m always pawning off our sweet treats.
      P.P.S. Don’t you feel smart knowing where Sandwiches come from? 🙂
      P.P.P.S Thanks, Dawn!

  7. Dave, it’s amazing how these awesome sounding rolls turned into a gorgeous Feria model with lilac colored hair as I scrolled. Now that’s a surprise ingredient. 🙂
    I’d share these with neighbors too as I’d eat several, love the frosting drizzle. The flavor of brown sugar is one of my favs.

    1. Hey, what can I say? Maybe you need to stop googling Feria models, Kevin! 😉 I’m a huge fan of brown sugar, too…especially when it comes to Fall..and especially when it comes to cinnamon rolls. Thanks!

    1. Oh yes! Hey, you are *almost* my neighbor as it is, Ashley. Come on over a couple hours east, and I’ll keep your kitchen filled with all sorts of treats. (But I might require a taste of some of your delicious eats, too…fair enough?) 🙂

    1. Yeah, those candy corn Halloween cinnamon rolls were pretty awful, Kathy. They seemed like a fun idea in my head…but umph. The apples + caramel icing were way better!! 🙂

  8. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favourite treats! Love them! Can I please move next to you? I would really like to be your neighbour 🙂 Snowy New York must have looked beautiful – what a great idea to break up study time with baking classes. Have a nice weekend!

    1. You may absolutely move over here and be my neighbor, Miriam! I’ll keep your kitchen counter loaded with all sorts of sweet treats. But be warned…I might fold myself up into your suitcase when you go out traveling! 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend yourself!

    1. I know, right? Those Halloween cinnamon rolls sounded like a great idea in my head. Maybe I should try them again sometime…but they really just didn’t work well at all. I’m much more partial to the apple + caramel version anyways! 🙂 Thanks, Megan!

  9. Gah! I would much rather take the bar exam 3.476 times than ever write and defend a dissertation! Good for you, smarty pants! 🙂 No offense, my friend, but those Halloween candy cinnamon rolls sound truly dreadful! Thank goodness you redeemed yourself with these caramel apple cinnamon rolls! You were so right! We were absolutely on the same page this week! 🙂 Pinning!

    1. Eh, writing the dissertation was a long process, but it wasn’t that bad. I just broke it into individual pieces and then tackled one piece at a time. And then one day I was done. 🙂 I’m in awe of you lawyers and the bar exam…I don’t know if I could do that!

      As far as the Halloween cinnamon rolls, no offense taken. They truly were dreadful. But this apple + caramel version totally makes up for that mistake! Haha! Thanks, Rachelle…hope you had a great weekend!

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