Grandma Barb's Cinnamon Rolls & Frosting

Sarah VanHeirseele, VP, Digital

My Grandma Barb taught me to make these cinnamon rolls when I was very little. I made them with her year after year until I moved out and made them on my own. We are known for having them at every holiday gathering, starting at Thanksgiving and going all the way through Easter. They are eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. They are hard to resist and you can’t eat just one!


Cinnamon Rolls

  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 pouches active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt


Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Warm up milk in microwave for 40 seconds to bring to a lukewarm temperature.
  2. Gently whisk lukewarm milk and yeast together; set aside.
  3. In a mixer, blend together ½ cup sugar, Crisco, salt and eggs. Mix on medium-high until smooth.
  4. Slowly mix in yeast/milk mixture.
  5. Slowly add flour with the mixer on the lowest setting.
  6. Remove dough from mixer and roll into a large ball.
  7. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough ball inside. Completely cover with a hot rag and let rise for 1½ hours.
  8. Once dough doubles in size, break off a smaller size ball of dough.
  9. Cover a cutting board or your counter with a dusting of flour so the dough does not stick. Place small ball of dough on the board and sprinkle with flour to reduce stickiness. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into the shape of pizza dough.
  10. Once flat, spread a layer of the softened butter across the entire piece of dough.
  11. In a separate bowl, mix ¾ cup sugar and cinnamon.
  12. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of the dough covered in butter. It should stick nicely.
  13. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough diagonally like a pizza (should be able to make 12 rolls from each small ball of dough).
  14. From the outside of each dough triangle, gently roll the dough into a crescent roll shape.
  15. Place rolls 1½ inches apart on a cookie tray sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  16. Repeat from step 9 until all dough is used.
  17. Cover cookie trays with plastic wrap and let rise another 30–45 minutes.
  18. Turn oven to 375°F.
  19. Bake each tray of rolls for 9–11 minutes, or until golden brown.
  20. Let people frost their rolls to their hearts’ desire and enjoy!


  1. Add all ingredients in a mixer, beat on low for 1 minute.
  2. Scrape sides of bowl and beat on high for 30 seconds.
  3. Refrigerate until you plan to use it.

Note: Pull the frosting out of refrigerator one hour before you plan to use it, so it can soften to room temperature.