Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Chenée Lewis
Easy cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling for the perfect fall treat! You'll love these apple pie cinnamon rolls filled with apple pie filling that is is homemade or store-bought! And check out some other fall favorites: Apple Cider Donut Cake, Pecan Pastry Braid, Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread with Maple Brown Butter Glaze, and Deep Dish Caramel Apple Pie!
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Easy Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling Recipe
What better way to welcome autumn than with a batch of big, fluffy cinnamon rolls? OK, maybe an apple pie would be better, since it is apple season, after all. OR, and hear me out -- what about both? What about cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling? Did I just blow your mind?
Okay, okay, apple pie cinnamon rolls are not exactly a brand-new concept. But these cinnamon rolls, with a homemade apple pie filling and the most luscious brown butter cream cheese glaze, are next level. They have the perfect soft, slightly chewy texture that you want from cinnamon rolls, and their dough comes together so easily. Then, you'll just fold in a quick and easy homemade apple pie filling, let them rise a second time, and they're ready to bake!
Should you cook apple pie filling before baking?
Yes, if you're using the homemade filling I share below! We'll be using a delectable homemade apple pie filling for these cinnamon rolls, and it's so easy! We'll be combining a handful of ingredients, including apples, cornstarch, sugar and spices, and cooking them down so that the apples can get nice and tender and the filling can thicken up. If you want to make these cinnamon rolls with store-bought apple pie filling, that's completely fine and they'll be even easier to make -- see the instructions below! But if you want to try homemade, scroll down to see how to make the filling yourself!
Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling - What You'll Need
- yeast - you can use either instant yeast or active dry yeast -- if you use active dry yeast, you'll need to let the yeast "bloom" before mixing up the rest of your dough.
- buttermilk - your buttermilk should be warmed to about 110°F -- it should feel warm to the touch, but NOT hot.
- melted butter - you should use unsalted butter for this recipe, and we're using butter in all three of our recipe sections! For the dough, your butter should be melted.
- egg - make sure your egg is room temperature.
- vanilla - for the best flavor, be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- light brown sugar - I love the flavor you'll get from the brown sugar in these cinnamon rolls!
- all-purpose flour - we'll start with 2½ cups of flour, and add more as needed up to 3 cups. Be sure to use a kitchen scale to measure by weight, or use the spoon-and-level method to measure by volume.
- salt - to bring out the flavors in this dough.
- cooking spray - use a little cooking spray to keep the rolls from sticking to your baking pan!
For the homemade apple pie filling, you'll need:
- apples - you'll need the equivalent of about 2 apples. Peel them and dice them nice and small so that your filling fits well in these cinnamon rolls!
- lemon juice - brings out the tartness of our apples and balances the sugar in this apple filling!
- unsalted butter - we'll add in some butter to add to the richness of this filling!
- light brown sugar - to sweeten our filling perfectly.
- vanilla - again, I always use my homemade vanilla, but if you use storebought just make sure it’s good quality.
- apple pie spice - you can also use pumpkin pie spice as well.
Finally we're doing an amazing brown butter cream cheese glaze! Here's what you'll need:
- unsalted butter - it should be cubed so that it can be evenly melted and browned.
- cream cheese - soften your cream cheese to room temperature. See below for a time-saving tip for this step!
- pure vanilla extract
- powdered sugar - be sure to use a kitchen scale to measure by weight, or use the spoon-and-level method to measure by volume.
- milk - add just enough for the consistency you like - I added a little extra for a nice, pourable consistency.
- a little salt - to taste.
To whip up the dough for these cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling, you'll want either an electric mixer or a dough whisk. Then, once you've made the dough you'll need a rolling pin to roll it out -- here's the one I use. Then, on to your second rise and baking -- I made these cinnamon rolls in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, but you can also use a 9x9 baking pan or an 11x7 pan.
Tips and F.A.Q.
Absolutely! Just use about 1 ½ - 2 cups of storebought apple pie filling (chop apples to smaller size) and stir in 2 tablespoon melted butter, ½ cup light brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon apple pie spice.
It’s important to use room temperature eggs in most baking so that the cold egg doesn’t affect the rise or even baking of your result. If you didn’t have a chance to leave your egg out to get to room temperature, try this tip. Just submerge the egg in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. That will allow it to get to room temperature more quickly and ensure a great result for these cinnamon rolls!
To soften your block of cream cheese for your brown butter cream cheese glaze, just remove it from the foil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds or until softened. It should be ready to add to your cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling!
If you don’t have buttermilk, feel free to use whole milk, replacing a tablespoon of the milk with vinegar. This will create the acidic effect of buttermilk to help your cinnamon rolls come out even more moist and tender.
I love making these cinnamon rolls overnight -- it’s so convenient, and the slow rise gives them such a lovely texture! If you're planning to make these cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling for breakfast, it might be a good idea to start the night before! To rise your rolls overnight, first make sure you're using a pan that isn't cast-iron -- sitting overnight might damage your cast iron, so opt for glass or another material. Once you have your cinnamon rolls in your greased pan, just cover the pan with plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge overnight, or up to 16 hours. In the morning, you'll just need to let the rolls rise in a warm spot until they've doubled in size, which should take about an hour, and then bake them like normal!
First, make sure your apple pie filling is spread thinly onto your cinnamon roll dough. Then you're rolling your cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling, be sure to gently lift the dough roll so as not to put too much pressure on the rest of the dough as it rolls.
We're thickening our homemade apple pie filling with cornstarch, then simmering it to reduce it a bit. Your apple pie filling should be the consistency of a thick pudding when it's done simmering and has cooled.
Can you let apple pie filling sit overnight?
Definitely! Keep your prepared cinnamon roll apple pie filling in the fridge overnight so that it's nice and thickened and ready to be added to your apple pie cinnamon rolls!
More Recipes Like These Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
Equipment you may need
- dough whisk
Apple Pie Filling
- 2 medium baking apples - peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon (56 g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup (165 g) light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 4 teaspoon (8 g) apple pie spice - or pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon (2 g) salt
- 2 tablespoon (30 ml) water
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 2¼ teaspoon (27 g) packet instant yeast - 2¼ tsp - one packet
- 1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk - warm – approx. 110-115°F
- 6 tablespoon (84 g) unsalted butter - melted
- 1 large egg - room temperature
- ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- 2 ½ cup (313 g) all-purpose flour - plus more as needed, up to 3½ cups
- cooking spray
Prepare Apple Pie Filling
- Combine all filling ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to combine.2 medium baking apples, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, ¾ cup light brown sugar, ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 4 teaspoon apple pie spice, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoon water
- Heat on medium-high heat until cornstarch and spices dissolve and apples release some of their liquid; allow to come to a low boil.
- Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and apples are tender.
- Remove to a heat-proof container and place in refrigerator to chill.
Prepare Cinnamon Roll Dough
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in warm buttermilk and let stand 3 to 5 minutes; stir. The mixture should begin to foam up -- if it doesn't get foamy then your yeast may be too old or your buttermilk may have been too hot.2¼ teaspoon packet instant yeast - 2¼ tsp, 1 cup buttermilk
- Add the melted butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and salt, mixing after each addition.6 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 large egg, ½ cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add in flour a little at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dough should still be tacky and still stick to the bottom of the bowl, so don’t add more flour than necessary!1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Knead dough on a floured surface (or in the stand mixer using the hook attachment) for about 2-3 minutes, until soft and smooth. Gently form into a ball.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough in it, turning dough over once or twice to coat with cooking spray.2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Place bowl in a warm spot and cover with plastic wrap to rise for about 40 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface or a nonstick pastry mat, forming a rectangle that is about 10 inches by 15 inches, with the long side closest to you. The dough should be ¼ inch thick.
- Spoon cooled apple pie filling in a thin layer onto dough and spread evenly.
- Roll dough away from you into one long roll, with the seam on the bottom. To keep filling from squeezing out, gently lift the edge of the dough around the roll as you roll it.
- Cut dough evenly into pieces according to the size of your pan: 7 pieces for a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, 8 pieces for an 11x7" pan, and 9 pieces for a 9x9" pan. Cut the pieces using a serrated knife, or unwaxed dental floss for neater cuts.
- Spray a 9×9 baking pan, 10-inch cast-iron skillet, or 7x11 inch baking pan with cooking spray.2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Carefully place rolls into prepared skillet or baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size again, approximately another 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until rolls are golden brown. Remove rolls from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
Prepare Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Melt cubed butter over medium heat in a light-colored sauté pan. Allow to foam and continue stirring until milk solids have separated and butter begins to turn golden brown. Immediately transfer brown butter to a heat-proof bowl, scraping out brown bits with it. Cool to room temperature.
- Beat softened cream cheese and cooled brown butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt.4 tablespoon unsalted butter, ⅛ teaspoon salt, 4 oz cream cheese
- Gradually add in powdered sugar, mixing on low, until combined. Beat another minute to a smooth and creamy consistency. Mix in milk to achieve desired consistency.1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Spread or pour glaze over warm rolls and serve immediately.
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