Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls with Vanilla Bean Glaze

Editor’s Note: With the arrival of Clara, I’m taking a short maternity blogging break. I’m excited to welcome several guest writers, among them, my friend and fellow mother, Kelsey, The Naptime Chef. Welcome, Kelsey!

For many years I was under the false impression that baking cinnamon rolls at home was extremely difficult. I am not sure why, I just felt certain I could never replicate the ooey, gooey, cinnamon-y goodness I found in the rolls from our local bakery. Then I took a great baking class on working with yeast and discovered a simple method for rolls that made the whole idea of making them far more accessible.

Once I mastered the basic formula (which, thankfully, including kneading with a mixer!) I started playing with the flavors. I got the idea to add cinnamon to the actual dough from the amazing Balthazar cinnamon rolls I used to buy at my favorite Upper West Side coffee shop.

Then, I added a dash of nutmeg to round out the warm spices, chopped pecans for texture, and topped everything with a sticky vanilla bean glaze. The resulting rolls were soft and chewy with just the right amount of nutty crunch.

All photos by The Naptime Chef

For my family of breakfast eaters, these have quickly become our go-to Saturday morning breakfast. I prepare the dough after everyone is safely asleep the night before, letting it rise while we watch a movie, then have them ready to bake the moment everyone wakes up. Once they are out of the oven we barely have the patience to let them cool before it is time to dig-in.


Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls with Vanilla Bean Glaze

A soft and chewy cinnamon roll with just the right amount of nutty crunch.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bakery
Servings: 16 rolls
Calories: 287kcal
Author: Kelsey


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast 2 packets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small vanilla bean slit open and seeds scraped, pod discarded
  • 1 Tablespoon milk or more as needed


  • Melt the butter and milk together in the microwave in a small glass bowl. Add it to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sugar, cinnamon, egg, yeast, and salt. Using the beater attachment, beat well for three minutes. Then add half of the flour and mix it on medium speed until the flour is just absorbed. Add the rest of the flour by the half cup and mix well.
  • Switch the beating attachment out for the dough hook and knead the dough with the mixer for about four minutes, or until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand.
  • Place the dough in large bowl that has been lightly oiled and cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Leave it in a warm, dry area to rise for about two hours.
  • Meanwhile, make the filling by melting the butter in a small bowl and stirring in the cinnamon, sugar, and pecans.
  • Once the dough has doubled in volume, usually about 2 hours, roll it into a rectangle about 14×12-inches. Spread the pecan mixture over it, leaving a 1/2-inch border all the way around. Roll up the dough lengthwise, pressing the seam in at the bottom to seal the dough. Cut the log into 1/2-inch wide slices. Nestle the rolls into a large 13 x 9 baking dish and cover them with a kitchen towel again. Allow them to rise for at least one hour at room temperature. Then, cover the dish with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.
  • The next morning, preheat the oven to 375F and bake the rolls for about twenty minutes, or until they are golden brown on top.
  • To make the glaze, mix together the sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla beans and milk until the consistency is just spreadable. Spread the glaze over the warm rolls and serve.


Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1.6mg

What is your favorite breakfast baked good?

About Kelsey

Kelsey Banfield of The Naptime Chef believes you don't have to give up cooking and eating great food just because you have kids. Her first book, The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life came out in March, 2012.

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  1. 5 stars
    Looks nice, I like it

  2. Really can’t wait to try this. Might even be something I can accomplish! I am going to peek at your blog too, The Naptime Chef. I am growing tired of the excuse of a new baby in the house (8 months old already) when my family is eating yet another grilled cheese or tuna melt dinner!!!! Or, worse, take-out — AGAIN!!!!

  3. These sound just fabulous. Love that glaze! Swoon!

  4. 5 stars
    I agree with you, I always felt they may be hard to make too. But they are fun, and really easy:-) These look like a perfect treat for the morning:-) Take care, Terra

  5. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says

    These look great! My favorite baked good for breakfast is a good old fashioned Pecan Sticky Bun! Soooo goooood!

  6. I’ve been dreaming about these since Aimee tweeted about it this morning. They look incredible! It’s been way too long since I’ve had a cinnamon roll.

  7. 5 stars
    Whoa – these look incredibly delicious! I love the added pecans for a little crunch!

  8. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    5 stars
    Kelsey! One of my fave baking buddies 🙂 These look fabulous. And funnily enough, James and I just went to Balthazar for the first time just yesterday. Now I’m regretting not getting the cinnamon roll! Guess I have to make these instead, right?

  9. Has anyone tried these with GF flours? Which ones work best? Simple, please…I’m a newbie!

    • Hi Summer! I’ve never done this with GF flour, but I’ve heard the Cup 4 Cup brand of GF flour is great and I bet it would work for these!

  10. Yum. Cinnamon buns are such a delicious treat!

  11. Boy do these look delicious! It is snowing this morning and I’d love a warm kitchen with these baking away for breakfast.

  12. These look beautiful. I have one question – I thought 2 1/4 teaspoon was one packet of rapid rise yeast. Does this call for 1 packet or 2 packets (which I think is 4 1/2 teaspoons). Sorry to bug, but I want to get it right. Thanks so much!

  13. Such lovely rolls!

  14. Aimee, I am not one for baking but these look good enough to tempt me out of my baking phobia. Delicious.

  15. Yeah, I don’t know why I always had the same impression about at-home cinnamon rolls. Was it the long rise time? The overnight rest? Who knows why I was so misguided. I love the in-dough additions and can’t wait to try your tweaks!

  16. Holy awesome! These sound fantastic!! I can’t wait to try!

  17. 5 stars
    Look delicious. feel hungry looking at it. I would love to take some basic baking course to learn to bake such nice dessert.

  18. Amazing cinnamon rolls. I can’t get enough of cinnamon

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