Papa's Cinnamon Rolls

Published December 20, 2023 by SMBC

My Papa (maternal grandfather) was, among many things, a baker. All year long, but especially when we were visiting at Christmas, we were treated to his pancakes, biscuits, and cinnamon rolls. In later years, he became unable to bake, so while the family had all the recipes, his pancakes (or hot cakes) were the easiest to make. When he passed away in 2017, I decided to try making Pa’s cinnamon rolls myself. My Uncle Dewayne pointedly said I couldn't do it which only stiffened my resolve. Shortly after we returned from Lazbuddie, I gathered the necessary ingredients and took out the recipe. It was a short paragraph missing some key steps. With the help of my mom and the internet, we pieced together the full recipe from memories of holidays past. The next Christmas we spent with my mom’s family. I printed out the recipe with detailed instructions so everyone had the recipe. I also showed my Aunt Mechelle how to make them. Now, they have become a part of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions.

— Sarrean White


  • 1 pkg active yeast
  • ¼ C. warm water
  • 1 C. scalded milk
  • ¼ C & 2 tbsp shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ C & 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 ½ C sifted flour
  • 1 egg

Cinnamon Mixture

  • ½ C sugar
  • ¼ C melted butter
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon


  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs milk


Soften yeast in warm water. While yeast is softening, combine scalded milk, sugar, shortening, and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Add 1 cup of sifted flour to mixture. Beat egg (in separate bowl or container) then add to yeast. Add yeast and egg to mixture. Gradually add remaining flour and mix until dough ball forms. Put dough on a clean lightly-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth. Put dough in a large bowl and cover with a small kitchen or hand towel. Set in warm place for 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Dough should double in size during this time. Once dough has risen, turn out on lightly floured surface. Make sure it is rectangular shaped. Spread cinnamon mixture on dough. Roll dough lengthwise, then cut into rolls. (Using a serrated blade works best when cutting the dough.) Put cut rolls onto greased pan and let rise again for 35 to 45 minutes. Place fully risen rolls into the oven at 325 degrees and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove rolls from oven and immediately spread icing over them. Let cool and enjoy.

Cinnamon Mixture
Melt ingredients together on the stove

Mix ingredients together—add milk if thick, add sugar if thin.