These are the perfect summertime treat! These Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls are super soft brioche rolls packed full of a homemade strawberry jam and cinnamon and cardamom sugar filling. Topped with a tangy vanilla bean cream cheese glaze and fresh berries.
Why you'll love these
- Soft and buttery brioche dough - this recipe uses my standard brioche cinnamon roll dough, which is super soft and fluffy, packed with a buttery richness that will make these rolls melt in your mouth!
- Homemade strawberry filling - a quick homemade strawberry jam made from fresh seasonal strawberries
- Cinnamon and cardamom - these cinnamon rolls are spiced with a bit of added cardamom, which works to enhance the flavours in the strawberries.
Ingredient Notes for the Strawberry Jam
This recipe starts with a simple strawberry jam, which can also be described more as a thick strawberry sauce. This doesn't require pectin, and also will not need you to cook it to a specific temperature as it is not reliant on setting firm.
To make the jam, you'll need:
- Strawberries - fresh or frozen will work in this recipe, though personally I recommend using fresh to take full advantage of seasonal strawberries in your area! If these aren't in season or the options are limited, frozen are also great here and generally offer a more consistent quality across the year.
- Sugar - just a little granulated sugar or caster sugar to help sweeten up and thick the sauce. You don't need loads here as there will be more sugar in the cinnamon roll filling.
- Lemon juice - a squeeze from a fresh lemon or some bottled lemon juice will help to thicken up the jam and also offers a light and pleasant sharpness and tanginess.
Making the Strawberry Jam
To make the quick strawberry jam for this recipe, you'll need to follow these steps:
- Start off by chopped your strawberries and placing these in a saucepan along with the lemon juice and sugar.
- Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar melts.
- Then bring the strawberry sauce to a boil, stirring more frequently until the mixture thickens into a more jam like consistency. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl. Allow to cool completely.
This jam doesn't need to reach a specific temperature and it isn't intended to set firm like a jam you might make for canning. The key here is simply about thickening. Too runny and it will be a mess to roll up in your brioche dough, but too thick and it can basically become a caramel!
Ingredient Notes for the Rolls
Once you've made your strawberry jam, these rolls are essentially divided into two parts: the Dough and the Filling.
For the brioche dough, you'll need:
- Milk - full fat or whole milk, heated to about 104°F. This temperature doesn't have to be exact, however, you do need to ensure that the milk is well warmed through in order to activate the yeast, and also not too hot (it shouldn't be boiled or scalding!). Too hot can kill the yeast. The ideal temperature range is between 104°F-120°F.
- Dry active yeast - you can generally substitute dry active yeast with instant yeast. Strictly speaking instant yeast doesn't require the activation in warm milk, but it equally doesn't hurt it. It is also possible to substitute with fresh yeast, however, I have not tried this recipe with a fresh yeast substitute.
- Sugar - use either granulated or caster sugar in this recipe.
- Flour - this recipe uses a combination of all purpose or plain flour and bread flour.
- Eggs - large eggs, ideally at room temperature for baking. One of the eggs will be separated into yolk and white.
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and cut into small pieces.
For the filling, you'll need:
- Strawberry jam - the sauce that you've made in this recipe. You can also use storebought or other homemade strawberry jam in this recipe, however, the thickness and set of the jam may impact the overall rolls. Looser jams will be harder to roll into the dough and may also pool at the bottom of pan more. They'll still be delicious!
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened to an easily spreadable consistency at room temperature. You can substitute with salted butter, but this will add overall saltiness to the recipe.
- Sugar - granulated sugar or caster sugar work well here. You can also use light brown sugar, however, I find the molasses notes from the brown sugar a bit overpowering with the strawberries in this recipe.
- Cardamom - you can buy pre-ground cardamom, which I personally recommend for ease, or grind your own using the seeds of cardamom pods.
How to Make Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls
You'll need to begin by making your dough. This dough recipe is the same that I've used in many of my cinnamon rolls. For a step by step guide to making the dough, up to the point of the first proof, which is overnight, see my Brioche Cinnamon Roll recipe.
Once you have your dough, and this has had its chance to proof in the refrigerator, it's time to begin your assembling.
- Start by lining a square baking pan with parchment paper. Set this aside while you assemble the rolls.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the butter, sugar and spices until you have a smooth spreadable paste.
- Remove your dough from the refrigerator and scrape it out onto a well floured surface.
- Press into a rectangle and roll it out to be about 12" wide by 15" long.
- Next spread the butter mixture over the surface, leaving a small gap around the edges.
- Spoon out your strawberry jam and spread over the butter mixture.
- Then roll the dough from the bottom to the top into a log. (image 1 below)
- Using floss or thin kitchen twine, trim the ends off the log removing uneven and unfilled dough.
- Divide the remaining log into 9 rolls and slice these with the floss. Place the rolls into the lined baking pan. The should fit comfortably 3x3 with a little space between.
- Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to proof at room temperature for about 2 hours (until doubled in size).
- Preheat the oven and make an egg wash using the reserved egg yolk from the dough and a splash of milk. Brush this over your rolls.
- Bake in the centre of a preheated oven for 25 minutes until risen and golden.
- Then remove and allow to cool for about 10 minutes while you prep a frosting. (image 2 below)
Expert Baking Tips
- Depending on how thick your strawberry jam has become, you may find that it seeps forward as you roll the dough up. The best way to prevent a mess here is to add the majority of the jam closer to the bottom of the roll. It will spread forward as you roll, ensuring that you have a more even coverage than if you'd spread it completely evenly to begin with.
- The proofing times, especially for the second room temperature proof will be impacted by the temperature in your kitchen. When I made these most recently, we've had a heatwave and the dough doubled in size in an hour! Keep an eye and use your judgement here.
- The egg wash for baking is not strictly necessary - it won't impact the flavour of the bake. I like the golden and glossy top to my cinnamon rolls, which is a result of the egg wash. If you have another recipe where you're needing a spare yolk, feel free to save this yolk for it!
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
To give these Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls a sort of strawberries and cream vibe, I recommend a quick vanilla bean cream cheese frosting for these cinnamon rolls!
To make this icing, you'll need:
- Powdered sugar - or icing sugar. This doesn't normally need to be sifted for this recipe. But if your sugar is particularly lumpy, you may want to give it a sift first to avoid having any difficult clumps in the frosting.
- Vanilla bean paste - I like using vanilla bean paste here as it offers a stronger flavour than vanilla extract and will also give you those little black flecks of vanilla bean in the finished icing. If you don't have vanilla bean paste, don't worry! Vanilla extract will work just fine here.
- Cream cheese - soft spreadable cream cheese from a tub. No need to let the cream cheese soften first, you can use the soft cheese straight from the fridge. For best results this should be full fat. If using a reduced fat version, add it slowly - you may find that you don't need as much as this recipe calls for as it will have more moisture and water in it.
All you'll need to do is combine the ingredients and stir until you have a smooth spreadable frosting.
Tips and Tricks
- Add the cream cheese a tablespoon at a time. This will help you to avoid overadding it. If you want a looser/runnier frosting, you can add a bit more cream cheese and this will work a bit like heavy cream or milk in my other cinnamon roll frostings.
- I like to add sliced fresh strawberries to the top of my rolls before serving. Don't add these in advance as they will start to bleed into the frosting if left.
Variations and Substitutions
Here are a couple of easy ways to change up this recipe to suit your tastes or needs:
- Using brown sugar - you can opt to use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar in any part of this recipe. The brown sugar will add a bit of a deeper molasses flavour to the finished product, but the processes will stay the same.
- Change the spices - I added some cardamom to my cinnamon rolls here. You can leave this out or try a different spicing combination. Nutmeg goes nicely in this recipe or ginger to add a bit of heat.
- Different topping - the quickest and easiest way to make a cinnamon roll your own is always with a change of frosting. You can go with a drizzle of vanilla, more like in my Cookie Dough Cinnamon Rolls or make a maple cream cheese glaze like in my Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls. Have a perusal of my other cinnamon roll recipes in the Bread Section to get an idea of the different toppings you can substitute with here.
Making these Rolls in Advance
I know a lot of people want to make their cinnamon rolls in advance and get a head start on a fun and fancy brunch. Well, I'm pleased to report that these rolls can be made in advance!
The basic recipe as written includes an overnight long proof. If you want to get further ahead, follow these steps:
- Prep the dough the morning before you want to serve them.
- Allow them to proof in the refrigerator during the day for about 8 hours.
- Then assemble the rolls, proof at room temperature and bake the evening before serving.
- Once baked, don't frost the rolls, allow them to cool completely and wrap them well, while still in the baking tray.
- The next morning, reheat the rolls in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Then frost and serve.
These homemade strawberry cinnamon rolls are best served fresh. That's not to say that they can't be made in advance - follow the guidance above for getting a head start on them. And, equally, you can enjoy leftovers for a day or two.
Due to the cream cheese frosting, it is best practice to store these in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Due to the strawberry jam filling, the rolls do tend to become a bit extra sticky and soggy if left too long.
I'm not going to lie, these Strawberry Rolls are a bit messy to assemble. If your jam is leaking out a lot, this is most likely not been cooked and thickened long enough. It won't massively impact the rolls, but it does make them messier to handle during assembly.
This can also mean that the filling has a greater tendency to leak into the base of the tray, meaning the bottoms of your rolls may become a bit gooey with extra concentrated strawberry sauce at the bottom.
Yes! These rolls are freezable. For best results freeze unfrosted - allow the baked rolls to cool completely before removing from the tray and wrapping well. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost at room temperature and then follow my directions above for reheating the rolls.
If you want to freeze leftovers, you absolutely can, but you may find that the cream cheese frosting becomes a bit runny on defrosting and they're a bit more messy. In general, they'll still be tasty, just not as glamourous!
Looking for more ideas with strawberries? Try:
- Strawberry Crunch Cheesecake
- Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
- Strawberry Jam Cake
- Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts
Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls
- 8" square baking tray
- stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
Ingredients for Strawberry Jam
- 8 oz strawberries fresh or frozen, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice roughly the juice from one lemon
Ingredients for the Dough
- ¼ cup full fat milk or whole milk, warmed to 104°F
- 2¼ teaspoon dry active yeast (usually a standard sized packet)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or caster sugar, divided into 1 teaspoon and 3 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ¾ cup bread flour
- 3 large eggs ideally at room temperature, one of the eggs divided into yolk and white
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature and cut into small pieces
Ingredients for the Filling
- ¾ cup strawberry jam from the recipe included here
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Ingredients for the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup powdered sugar or icing sugar, this doesn't normally need to be sifted for this recipe
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ¼ cup soft spreadable cream cheese
- fresh strawberries sliced for decoration (optional)
Instructions for the Strawberry Jam
- Place the chopped strawberries in a small saucepan, along with the sugar and the lemon juice. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar melts.
- Once the sugar has melted, allow the jam to come to a boil and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. This usually takes about 20 minutes. (see note)
- When the jam has thickened, remove this from the stove and pour into a heatproof bowl to allow to cool completely. (see note)
Instructions for the Dough
- Begin by greasing a mixing bowl with some butter or flavorless oil and setting this aside.
- Sprinkle the dry active yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar into your warmed milk. Stir this and set aside for about 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together your flours, remaining sugar and salt.
- When the yeast is ready, add this to the flour mixture, immediately followed by two whole eggs and one egg white. Reserve the remaining yolk for an egg wash when baking.
- Knead the dough with the mixer on a low setting for about 15 minutes until it has formed a sticky dough that is showing signs of pulling itself away from the sides of the bowl.
- After 15 minutes, with the mixer still on a low setting, add your butter a couple of small bits at a time.
- Once these have all been added, continue kneading for another 15 minutes still on a low setting, until the dough is again pulling itself from the sides of the bowl.