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Sticky Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

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If you like my Mom’s Homemade Cinnamon Rolls recipe, then you will LOVE this one for Sticky Caramel Cinnamon Rolls, aka Caramel Rolls! It’s another Norma Jean recipe, and hers were the best. The dough is super soft, filled with a sweet cinnamon sugar mixture, and then baked on top of a caramel “goo” – as my mom called it. 🙂

Overhead shot of caramel rolls, on a wire cooling rack on a white and gray napkin.

Can you believe that my mom had a recipe for something called “goo” (rhymes with chew)? I smile when I think of it, but I actually have it written on a recipe card. Mom’s GOO recipe. The only time she made goo, was when she made her caramel rolls. The goo is the sticky caramel part, that is just a mixture of…

  1. butter
  2. brown sugar
  3. and white syrup

Pretty easy, and now you know while it’s called goo. It’s gooey, sticky, and delicious.

Overhead shot of caramel rolls on a gray cake plate.

Ingredients needed to make The BEST Cinnamon Rolls:

  • Yeast – I use Red Star Active Dry Yeast. (This is a very large amount. I keep a bunch in the freezer, and it lasts a long time.) We have perfect bread-making weather here in Texas, and my bread always rises pretty quickly. You may need a Quick Rise Yeast, depending on where you live.
  • Sugar – The sugar is needed to add sweetness, but also, it helps to activate the yeast.
  • Water – Be sure to use WARM water, not hot and not cold. It should be warm to the touch but not scalding. Scalding water will disintegrate the yeast, and cold won’t activate it at all.
  • Oil – My choice of oil is usually canola. But feel free to use melted butter in place of it, if desired.
  • Salt – Kosher salt is the only type of salt I use now. But regular salt may be used as well.
  • Powdered Milk – If you can’t find powdered milk, use milk in place of the water above. Remember, it should be warm milk if that’s what you’re using to activate the yeast.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour produces the softest, fluffiest rolls!
  • For the cinnamon and sugar layer – Unsalted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  • For the “goo” – Brown sugar, more butter, white syrup, and pecans (optional).
Collage of the bubbly yeast and then the cinnamon roll after rising.
Shot of the cooked caramel goo, and the goo in the pan.
A round pan of the cinnamon rolls ready to bake.

The photo above is what the dough looks like when it’s ready to bake, after almost doubling in size. It should be puffing up slightly above the pan.

A few tips for making this recipe.

This recipe is the EXACT same recipe as Mom’s Cinnamon Roll recipe, except for the additional step for goo.

  1. When you add the warm water to the yeast, sugar, and salt – be careful to use WARM water, not hot. If the water is too hot, the yeast will disappear and you can’t make bread without yeast. Also, do not use cool water because it won’t activate the yeast.
  2. The yeast will bubble up when it’s activated. See the first picture below. (The second picture shows what the dough looks like after it has doubled in size.)
  3. Don’t add all the flour at once because every baking day is different. Some days you will need a bit more flour and some days, you will need less.
  4. The dough should be slightly sticky when ready. Over time, you will learn exactly how much flour is needed to make the ultimate cinnamon rolls.
  5. When the dough is ready, you take a section and pat it into a rectangle, and add the butter, cinnamon, and sugar mixture. Roll it up, and then slice into one inch sections. (See a better demonstration here.)
  6. The second group of pictures above show what the goo looks like. You spread a thin layer on each pan. (I use disposable pans most of the time.)
  7. These caramel rolls only take about 20 – 22 minutes to bake. Be careful to not over-bake.
Side shot of caramel rolls on a gray cake plate with a black background.

Make these rolls next: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting

Please let know if you try this recipe. Be sure to comment and leave a review on the blog so I can see what you think. You can also like my Facebook Page, follow me on Pinterest, and catch me on Instagram.

xoxo ~Sue

Overhead shot of caramel rolls, on a wire cooling rack on a white and gray napkin.

Sticky Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

If you like my Mom’s Homemade Cinnamon Rolls recipe, then you will LOVE this one for Sticky Caramel Cinnamon Rolls, aka Caramel Rolls! It’s another Norma Jean recipe, and hers were the best. The dough is super soft, filled with a sweet cinnamon sugar mixture, and then baked on top of a caramel “goo” – as my mom called it.
4.5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel cinnamon rolls, sticky caramel rolls
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 22 minutes
Servings: 3 pans of rolls
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 Tablespoons yeast – I use Red Star
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups warm water – not hot, not cold
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered milk
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour – or enough to get the right consistency

For the sugar and cinnamon mixture:

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter -softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cinnamon – more or less, depending on your preference

For the caramel “goo”:

  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup white syrup
  • pecans – optional

Instructions

For the dough:

  • In a large standing mixer, combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. Be careful to use WARM water, not hot. If the water is too hot, the yeast will disappear and you can’t make bread without yeast. Mix and let sit for about 15 minutes to get the yeast working. You should see little bubbles in the water.
  • Add the oil, salt, and powdered milk. Stir with a spatula. Attach dough hook to mixer and add about half of the flour. Start the mixer and let the flour absorb. 
  • Gradually add more flour, a little bit at a time until the dough is less sticky and pulls away from the sides of the mixer. You want the bread dough to be slightly sticky, but not too much. When you touch the dough, it should bounce back slightly. Be sure to leave the mixer on for several minutes after you get the right consistency.
  • Grease a large bowl with canola oil. Add dough to the bowl, making sure you smooth it into a ball, by punching it down – starting in the center of the dough. Place dough with smooth side up and cover with a clean towel. Let the dough double (approximately) in size.
  • Once doubled, punch down the dough again – by pushing down with your fists in the middle of the dough, pulling the outer edges in towards the middle. Re-grease the bowl with oil and place the dough with smooth side up. Let rise until doubled in size again.

Prepare pans with caramel “goo”:

  • In a small sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and syrup. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Pour a thin layer of goo in the bottom of three greased pans. Add pecans if you wish.

Add the sugar and cinnamon mixture:

  • Take about 1/3 of the dough, and press it on a well-greased surface, into a rectangle. Using your hands, spread two tablespoons of butter on the dough. Then sprinkle 1/3 cup of brown sugar and one tablespoons of cinnamon all over the dough.
  • Gently roll the dough up into a long log. Using a serrated edge knife, cut dough log into about 1 inch sections. Place sections into pans with goo, and press down slightly, so that the cinnamon sugar is visible on top.
  • Continue with the other 2/3 of the dough. This recipe should make about three pans of rolls, depending on how big you make them.
  • Cover the pans with a clean dishtowel, and let rise again until dough is almost doubled. This dough rises fast in Texas, and only takes about 20-30 minutes to be ready to bake.
  • Bake rolls in 350 oven, for about 22 minutes, or until rolls are nice and golden on the top.
  • Place pans on counter and set timer for 5 minutes. This allows the goo to set up. If you remove rolls to early, the caramel goo will ooze off on to your counter.
  • After 5 minutes, flip pans over onto cooling racks. Then gently massage pan to make sure goo is attached to rolls. Remove rolls and let cool.

Notes

  1. When you add the warm water to the yeast, sugar, and salt – be careful to use WARM water, not hot. If the water is too hot, the yeast will disappear and you can’t make bread without yeast. Also, do not use cool water because it won’t activate the yeast.
  2. The yeast will bubble up when it’s activated. 
  3. Don’t add all the flour at once because every baking day is different. Some days you will need a bit more flour and some days, you will need less.
  4. The dough should be slightly sticky when ready. Over time, you will learn exactly how much flour is needed to make the ultimate cinnamon rolls.
  5. When the dough is ready, you take a section and pat it into a rectangle, and add the butter, cinnamon, and sugar mixture. Roll it up, and then slice into one inch sections.
  6. After the rolls bake, let them set on the counter IN PAN for 5 minutes. Then flip them over and remove from pan. Removing them too soon, will cause the caramel “goo” to ooze all over.
  7. These rolls freeze well in freezer bags, up to about three months.

5 Comments

  1. These are SO good and make a wonderful gift for neighbors, friends or hostess gift for a party at Christmas time…cute cellophane wrap, bow and tag and it’s a sure winner! They will enjoy and will definitely feel so special with this unique treat. Of course, that’s if you can part with them…so delicious!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes, I’ve been giving these as gifts as well. So glad you like them, Holly! 🙂

  2. These caramel rolls are so “goo” that I need to go to confession every time they are made. Why? Well, I hid them and then lie about it until they are all gone or someone finds my hiding place.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yup, the goo is key!! I’m glad you like them! 🙂

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