There are few things as indulgently delicious as a cinnamon roll. A giant swirl of dough filled with cinnamon sugar, baked until golden brown then smothered in cream cheese icing? Uh, yes, please!
These Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls give you the flavor and aroma of a warm and inviting cup of chai amidst every sticky bite of the fluffiest and softest cinnamon rolls you can imagine.
The vanilla bean brioche dough is my go-to dough for cinnamon rolls. To give these Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls their flavor though, I added chai spices to the original cinnamon filling. We’re talking adding ginger, cardamom, allspice, and a touch of black pepper. These spices add depth and warmth to the classic filling, trust me! The chai filling as written in the recipe yields 1 tablespoon, but you can easily make a larger batch and use it in other baked goods! I’m obsessed with it; it’s even featured in one or two cookbook recipes of mine. 😉
I also added a bourbon vanilla bean cream cheese icing to the top. A little bourbon makes this frosting even more unbelievably flavorful; but don’t worry, it’s not overpowering! If you prefer a more classic taste, you can just leave the bourbon out and finish with a rich vanilla bean cream cheese icing.
All of my best cinnamon rolls tips, including how to make cinnamon rolls ahead of time, can be found in this post.
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Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls
For the Vanilla Bean Brioche Dough:
- ½ cup milk warm (115°F)
- 2¼ tsp instant dry yeast
- 1 large eggs room temperature
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp coarse sea salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
For the Chai Spiced Filling:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
For the Bourbon Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing:
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- Make the vanilla bean brioche dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, mix together the yeast with the milk. Add the egg, butter, flour, salt, and sugar and mix until the ingredients are just barely combined. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes so the flour has time to hydrate.
- Using the hook attachment, beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.*
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Make the chai spiced filling: While the rolls are rising, make the filling. Add the softened butter, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and pepper to a medium bowl and combine using a fork until a thick paste forms. Set aside.
- Generously grease the bottom and sides of a muffin pan with butter. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 14×6 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
- Spread the chai spiced filling all over the dough. Starting with the shorter end, tightly roll up the dough to form a 6-inch-long log and cut into 6 even rolls. Arrange them in the prepared muffin cups. Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Once the rolls have risen, bake the rolls for 15-17 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden brown and the center of the rolls are cooked through. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes as you make the icing.
- Make the bourbon vanilla bean cream cheese icing: Add the softened cream cheese and the butter to a small bowl and beat to combine. Add the remaining icing ingredients to the bowl and whisk until smooth and combined. If the icing is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar; if it's too thick, add more milk (or bourbon). Drizzle icing over warm rolls. Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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