Soft and fluffy pistachio coconut cinnamon rolls. These homemade cinnamon rolls are made with buttery soft brioche dough and a cinnamon sugar, pistachio and coconut filling. Topped off with a coconut cream cheese frosting for a fun new cinnamon roll treat.
Tell me about these rolls
- Soft and fluffy - these rolls are made with a brioche based cinnamon roll dough. The buttery enriched dough makes them super soft and fluffy, no need to do anything special with cream baking baths!
- Packed with pistachio - these tiny green nuts are probably my favourite! In these pistachio coconut rolls, we've got a couple tablespoons of pistachio paste added straight to the enriched dough and ground pistachios in the filling. Finish things off with a sprinkle of more pistachios when serving for decoration and added punch.
- Sweetened coconut crunch - coconut is baked into the filling of these rolls to adds a hint of sweetness and texture from the soft coconut flakes. And don't forget my coconut cream cheese cinnamon roll frosting on top!
- Cardamom - these cinnamon rolls have an added warmth from a complimentary spice. Cardamom helps to accentuate the pistachio and gives a nuance to the rolls, different from just straight cinnamon.
Ingredient Notes for the Dough
The dough in this recipe is essentially the same as my standard brioche cinnamon roll dough, with a slight tweak. In place of some of the butter, these rolls have a couple tablespoons of pistachio paste - not enough to dramatically alter the colour of the rolls, but giving a subtle pistachio flavour.
- Milk - full fat or whole milk. Warm the milk to 104°F/40C in order to activate the yeast. The temperature is important here - it doesn't have to be precise, but if your milk is too cool, the yeast won't activate. Similarly, too hot and it will kill the yeast.
- Dry active yeast
- Sugar - either superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar work in this recipe.
- Flour - all purpose flour or plain flour.
- Bread Flour - sometimes called strong flour. Using a combination of bread flour and all purpose flour will help with the gluten developing and giving these rolls a super soft texture.
- Eggs - large eggs, ideally at room temperature. One of the eggs will be separated into a white and a yolk, the yolk being reserved for an egg wash right before baking. This egg was is optional - it won't really impact the flavour in any way, just makes the rolls golden and glossy as they bake.
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and cut into small chunks. You can use salted butter here, but it will add salt to the overall recipe.
- Pistachio paste - I like to use my homemade pistachio paste, which is a nice thick pistachio nut butter made from pure pistachio with just a touch of honey. You can buy store bought pistachio butters and creams. For best results, look for a pistachio paste that uses near to 100% pistachio and avoid anything with loads of additives.
Ingredient Notes for the Filling
To make the filling for these rolls, you'll need:
- Butter - unsalted butter, again softened at room temperature. The key for the softness here is that you'll want the butter easily spreadable. Stiff or cool butter can prove difficult to spread and can damage your dough when adding it to the rolls.
- Sugar - superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar.
- Ground cinnamon - it wouldn't be a cinnamon roll without a good amount of cinnamon!
- Ground cardamom - you can buy cardamom powder, pre-ground or you can grind your own using the seeds scraped from cardamom pods. Personally I find grinding my own a bit tough with a mortar and pestle, so I prefer the store bought powders.
- Pistachios - shelled unsalted pistachios, ground into a find crumb. Blitz these in a food processor for best results.
- Coconut - sweetened flaked coconut works best in this recipe. You can use desiccated coconut, but it tends not to offer as nice a texture as the sweetened shredded coconut.
How to Make these Pistachio Coconut Cinnamon Rolls
You'll want to start with making the dough. This follows the same process as my other brioche based cinnamon rolls, such as my Biscoff Cinnamon Rolls or my Caramel and Coconut Cinnamon Rolls. The only difference is that you'll be adding a bit of pistachio paste with the butter before the final 15 minutes of kneading.
Some key reminders:
- Brioche dough is a pretty wet and sticky type of dough. It is unlikely that it will pull itself completely clean of the sides or base of the mixing bowl.
- You will be kneading this dough for about 30 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. This sounds like a long time, but it is necessary for bringing the enriched dough together.
- Technically any dough can be worked and kneaded by hand, but I've not tested this recipe hand kneading. Hand kneading will take significantly longer than using the mixer.
- When done kneading, scrape into a greased bowl for the first proof. I like to use butter for greasing my bowl, since this is a butter bread, but you can use a flavorless oil instead.
Filling and Rolling
Once the dough has had its first slow proof, it's time to roll and fill it. A couple quick tips:
- Mash together your softened butter with the sugar and spices. This will make it a spreadable flavored butter that gives you a good full and even coverage on the dough.
- Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to a large rectangle - I aim for about 12" wide by 15" long, but I don't measure every time. You want the dough to be about ¼" thick.
- Spread the butter mixture first, leaving a little space at the edges. Then sprinkle with ground pistachios and the coconut pieces. Roll tightly, trim off the uneven ends and then slice into 9 rolls with dental floss or thin kitchen twine.
Once you've cut your rolls, these get placed in the lined baking pan for a second proof at room temperature.
When ready to bake:
- Make a quick egg wash using the reserved egg yolk and a splash of milk. Brush this over the rolls.
- Bake in the centre of a preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes. You're aiming for risen, golden rolls.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
As with any cinnamon roll, the options for toppings are really endless! With my Pistachio Coconut Rolls, I've opted for a coconut cream cheese frosting with a sprinkle of pistachio for colour and flavour.
- Powdered sugar - usually this doesn't need to be sifted for a cinnamon roll frosting, since it is a runnier consistency than a buttercream. If your powdered sugar is particularly lumpy, you may wish to give this a sift to ensure there aren't any particularly clumpy patches.
- Cream cheese - soft spreadable cheese from the tub. This doesn't need to be left out to soften, since its already soft and spreadable. This recipe has not been tested with block cream cheese, but if you want to try the substitution, be aware that you will need to allow the cream cheese to soften first.
- Milk - for the frosting, I like to still use full fat or whole milk. The fat content here is less important than for the dough though, so if you want to use 2% or semi-skimmed, it should be fine.
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut - more sweetened shredded coconut flakes. Again, desiccated coconut can be used here, but the texture will be a bit different.
Stir together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and milk to form the frosting. Then add the coconut and stir to combine. Spread this over the warm rolls.
Just like my other cinnamon roll frostings, this one can be adjusted for thickness. You can make it thicker with a bit less milk (or more powdered sugar), or runnier with a bit more milk.
Any adjustments should be made sparingly to avoid needing to make more. For best results adjust to your preferences prior to adding the coconut.
Tips and Tricks
Many of my other cinnamon roll tips will apply to these as well. The key ones being:
- Line your baking pan. This makes it easier to remove the rolls, without worrying about them sticking to the pan or damaging the dish with cutlery.
- Cut your log of cinnamon roll dough with flavorless dental floss or a thin kitchen twine. The pressure of pulling the string around the log means that the roundness of the rolls are better preserved, as opposed to using a knife or dough cutter to slice down into the rolls.
- Let the rolls cool for about 10 minutes before frosting. With cinnamon rolls, you want to serve them fresh and warm, but too hot and the frosting will just slide right off!
A couple of specific tips for these coconut and pistachio rolls:
- Blitz the pistachios in a food processor until they're a fine crumb. They don't need to be dust, but you want small bits (smaller than you're likely to get hand chopping). This will make them easier to sprinkle over the filling.
- To make the filling, it is best to cream or mash together the sugar, butter and spices. This will make you a spreadable spiced butter that can be smoothed over the dough more easily. The process of mashing the sugar and spices into the butter can be done with a spatula. Just rub the ingredients together for a few minutes until combined and smooth.
- The consistency of the frosting can be adjusted if needed. Check that you are happy with the consistency before adding the coconut flakes as it is easier to make adjustments before the coconut is added. The coconut will not really impact the consistency of the frosting, it will just add texture.
My coconut and pistachio cinnamon rolls are best eaten fresh baked. This is the same as my other cinnamon roll recipes. The best rolls are always going to be warm and fresh.
Leftovers can be eaten for a couple of days, if wrapped well. Due to the cream cheese in the frosting, these should be kept in the refrigerator, but that will make make them stale more quickly.
So, these are an overnight cinnamon roll recipe, so technically yes you are getting a head start in advance. Most of the work in terms of kneading will take place the day before.
Now, you could also get further ahead and bake these a day ahead of needing them. If doing so, don't frost them. After baking, allow them to cool before wrapping well with plastic wrap. The following day, you can either rewarm them in the oven or serve them room temperature. Top with the frosting before serving. They won't be at what I would say to be their absolute best (fresh baked on the day) but they will still be delicious!
Looking for more pistachio or coconut inspiration? Try:
- Caramel Coconut Cinnamon Rolls
- Cardamom Pistachio Cake
- Pistachio Cardamom Filled Challah Buns
- Pistachio Panna Cotta
- Coconut Panna Cotta
Pistachio Coconut Cinnamon Rolls
- 8" square baking tray
- stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
Ingredients for the Dough
- ¼ cup full fat milk or whole milk, warmed to 104℉/40C
- 2¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ¾ cup bread flour or strong flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs ideally at room temperature. One of the eggs should be divided into yolk and white. The white will be added to the dough, while the yolk should be reserved for making an egg wash when ready to bake.
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter softened at room temperature and cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoon pistachio paste either homemade (try my pistachio paste recipe) or store bought - aim for a good quality, pure pistachio nut butter.
Ingredients for the Filling
- 7 tablespoon unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ½ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 oz sweetened flaked coconut
- ¼ cup ground pistachio nuts blitz unsalted shelled pistachios in the food processor to get a fine crumb. Plus extra for sprinkling on the top of the finished rolls.
Ingredients for Frosting
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted if particularly lumpy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon spreadable cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon full fat milk or whole milk
- 2 oz sweetened flaked coconut
Instructions for the Dough
- Begin by activating the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and add a teaspoon of your sugar. Give this a stir and set aside until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flours, remaining sugar and salt.
- Add the yeast to the flour mixture when it is ready, immediately followed by two full eggs and one egg white (reserve the remaining egg yolk for an egg wash when you're ready to bake).
- Knead the dough on a low setting for 15 minutes, pausing occasionally at the beginning to make sure all the flour gets mixed in. By the end of 15 minutes, your dough should be sticky, but should be starting to pull itself away from the sides of the bowl.
- While continuing to knead, add the butter a couple of bits at a time, followed by the pistachio paste. Once this is all added, continue kneading for a further 15 minutes on the low setting until you again have a dough that is showing signs of pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
- Scrape the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Sit in the refrigerator for 8 hours to slowly proof (or overnight).
Instructions for the Filling
- Line a square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside for now.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the softened butter, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom until well combined and spreadable.
- Once the dough is finished with its first proof, roll this out on a floured work surface to a large rectangle, about 12" wide by 15" long.
- Spread the butter mixture over the surface of the dough. Then sprinkle the ground pistachios over top, followed by the coconut flakes.
- Roll the dough from bottom to top, forming a long dough log. Use flavorless dental floss or thin kitchen twine to cut the uneven ends off the log and then divide into 9 rolls. Slice these with the floss and place in the lined square pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to proof at room temperature for 2 hours until doubled in size.
Instructions for Baking and Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ (175C/155C Fan).
- After the second proof, make a quick egg wash using the reserved egg yolk and a splash of milk. Beat these together with a form and then brush over the tops of your rolls.
- Bake the rolls in the centre of the preheated oven for 25 minutes until risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes while you make the frosting.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, milk and vanilla. Once you have a smooth frosting, add the coconut and stir to combine.
- Spread the frosting over the rolls and serve.