Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

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Swirls of cinnamon, baked to golden perfection, and topped with a light drizzle of icing, these Dutch oven cinnamon rolls are one of our favorite camping breakfasts.

Cinnamon rolls with icing in a Dutch oven

Give us a cup of camp coffee, a warm morning campfire, and one or two of these Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls are we’re in heaven! 

While many people (ourselves included) opt for the grab-and-go convenience of store-bought cinnamon rolls, we feel there is a strong argument for making your own from scratch: complete control over the ingredients.

Store-bought cinnamon rolls often contain upwards of twenty ingredients, including a slew of heavily processed oils (often soy and palm), refined sweeteners like corn syrup, and unpronounceable stabilizers. 

On the other hand, our cinnamon roll recipe contains ten simple ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your pantry – which is great, because all the prep work for these cinnamon rolls can be done ahead of time – in the comfort of your home kitchen. 

That way, once you get to the campsite, they are just as easy to bake as the store-bought version! 

Why We Love These Cinnamon Rolls 

  • Simple, straightforward ingredients that you can understand 
  • Can be made entirely ahead of time at home 
  • Just as easy to bake at camp as the store-bought versions 
  • Can be made in a Dutch oven or Omnia stove-top oven 
Two cinnamon rolls on a blue plate

Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls 

Flour: We used regular old AP flour for this recipe. While we haven’t personally tried a gluten-free version, we’ve had a lot of success with Bob Redmill’s Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Flour. 

Granulated Sugar: For the dough, we used regular granulated sugar. 

Brown Sugar:  For the cinnamon filling, we used brown sugar. 

Cinnamon: Can’t make cinnamon rolls without cinnamon! 

Active dry yeast: We used active dry yeast for this recipe, but you could also use instant yeast. The main difference is active dry yeast needs to be proofed (like we do in this recipe), while instant yeast does not.

Milk: Whole milk works best for these cinnamon rolls.

Butter: We use unsalted butter in this recipe. If all you have is salted butter, be sure to reduce the salt added to the dough.

Egg: The egg is absolutely critical for the dough. However, if you are looking to make these vegan, you can use Bob’s Red Mill egg replacement. 

Cardamom (optional): We love the taste of cardamom and think it’s the secret ingredient that shouts out “Hey! These are homemade!” It’s also a nod to the most famous pastry here in Bend: Sparrow Bakery’s Ocean Roll.

Salt: Salt is critical for baked goods, even the sweet ones! 

Cinnamon rolls arranged in a lined dutch oven

Essential Equipment

Dutch oven: The recipe as written works inside a 10” 4-quart Dutch oven (which is what we used). Learn more about how to cook in the Dutch oven by checking out our Dutch oven 101 guide 

Omnia Stove Top Oven: Don’t want to deal with making a campfire in the morning? These cinnamon rolls can be just as easily baked in an Omnia Oven. Learn more about how to cook in an Omnia by checking out our Omnia stovetop oven guide

Tips for Making Cinnamon Rolls

  • The dough should be made at home before your camping trip for two reasons. One, it’s just way easier. Two, the dough needs time to rise. If you’re making the dough at camp and then giving it time to rise, you’ll have to wake up two hours before breakfast to start. Camp mornings are supposed to be relaxing!
  • Speaking of giving the dough time to rise: be sure to take the rolls out of your cooler before you start your coals (or earlier if you happen to be awake!). That will give the rolls enough time to come up to temp and start their rise.
  • Lining your Dutch oven with parchment paper will make cleanup a cinch. You can make your own by placing the lid of your Dutch oven on the parchment and cutting out a circle 2-3” wider than the lid.
Cinnamon rolls in a dutch oven with a spatula

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls: Step-by-step 

Make ahead steps

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt to the bowl of a mixer. Add the milk and butter to a small bowl and warm in a microwave, 45-60 seconds, so that the butter is melted. Add the milk and butter to dry ingredients along with the egg. 

Mix about 5 minutes on medium-low (4 on our Kitchen Aid mixer) until the dough is smooth and is no longer sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover. Rest 10 minutes.

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls steps 1-4

While the dough is resting, you can prepare the filling. If you’re using whole cardamom, crush the pods using a rolling pin and cutting board, or a mortar and pestle. Remove the outer husks and use the rolling pin or pestle to further grind the cardamom seeds. Combine the cardamom in a small bowl along with the cinnamon and brown sugar.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 2 or 3 times to bring it into a ball. Roll out into a rectangle about 12” by 8”. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough, followed by the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls steps 5-8

Starting with one of the long edges, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Cut into 8 to 10, 1” thick rolls using a piece of unflavored dental floss: slide the floss under the roll, then wrap it over the top. Pull the ends in opposite directions to cut through the rolls. This gives you a nice, clean, cut without compressing the dough so the rolls keep their shape.

Using floss to cut cinnamon rolls

Place the rolls into a sealable container that is lined with parchment paper. If you need to stack the rolls, place an additional piece of parchment paper between layers. If you want, you can also make the icing glaze at this time: whisk ingredients together and transfer to a small container. Store the rolls and glaze in your cooler for up to two or three days.

Cinnamon rolls in containers ready for storage

At camp

Take the rolls out of your cooler and arrange them in a 4-qt Dutch oven. Put the lid on the oven and let the dough rise while you start your coals or campfire.

Transferring cinnamon rolls from a storage container into a dutch oven

Once the coals are ready, place seven in a circle and place the Dutch oven on top. Place an additional 16 on the lid. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the tops are golden. You may need to add additional coals on the lid if they are on the small side or if it’s particularly cold out. Carefully take the Dutch oven off the heat.

Lifting the lid off a dutch oven to reveal cinnamon rolls

Mix the icing ingredients together (if not done at home) and drizzle over the rolls. Enjoy with a fresh cup of camp coffee!

Cinnamon rolls in a dutch oven with a spatula

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

Swirls of cinnamon, baked to golden perfection, and topped with a light drizzle of icing, these Dutch oven cinnamon rolls are one of our favorite camping breakfasts.
Author: Fresh Off The Grid
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Cook Time: 45 minutes
At home prep time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 ½ cups flour, (345g)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, (50g)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 1 packet
  • ¾ cup milk, preferably whole
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • cup brown sugar (packed), (70g)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed and husk removed

Icing Glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Instructions

At Home

  • Combine the flour, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt to the bowl of a mixer. Add the milk and butter to a small bowl and warm in a microwave, 45-60 seconds, so that the butter is melted. Add the milk and butter to dry ingredients along with the egg.
  • Mix about 5 minutes on medium-low (4 on our Kitchen Aid mixer) until the dough is smooth and is no longer sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover. Rest 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. If using whole cardamom, crush the pods. using a rolling pin and cutting board, or a mortar and pestle. Remove the outer husks and use the rolling pin or pestle to further grind the cardamom. Combine in a small bowl along with the cinnamon and brown sugar.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 2 or 3 times to bring it into a ball. Roll out into a rectangle about 12” by 8”. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough, followed by the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Starting with one of the long edges, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Cut into 8-10, 1” rolls using a piece of unflavored dental floss. Slide the floss under the roll, then wrap it over the top. Pull the ends in opposite directions to cut through the rolls.
  • Place the rolls into a tupperware container that is lined with parchment paper. If you need to stack the rolls, place an additional piece of parchment paper between layers. At this time, you can also make the icing glaze: whisk ingredients together and transfer to a small container. Store the rolls and glaze in your cooler for up to two or three days.

In Camp

  • Remove the rolls from the cooler and arrange them in a 4-qt Dutch oven. Cover the oven and let the dough rise while you start your coals or campfire.
  • Once the coals are ready, place seven in a circle and place the Dutch oven on top. Place an additional 16 on the lid. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the tops are golden. Remove from heat.
  • Mix the icing ingredients together (if not done at home) and drizzle over the rolls. Enjoy a fresh cup of camp coffee!

Notes

Icing: This makes a glaze-like icing. If you like a thicker icing, you can add more softened butter and brown sugar (keep the milk the same), or add cream cheese to thicken it up.
Regarding cardamom: We include cardamom in our filling, inspired by the Ocean Roll made by The Sparrow Bakery in Bend, OR. If cardamom isn’t your thing, or you aren’t able to find it at your grocery store, you can leave it out.

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Breakfast
Camping

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