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Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon-Soaked Raisins are an incredibly delicious option for a special holiday breakfast or brunch!This recipe for Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon-Soaked Raisins is over the top – in a very delicious way! Sweet brown sugar, cinnamon and bourbon-soaked raisins are rolled between a light and delicious pastry dough. Then, a sweet and light confectioner’s sugar glaze is poured on top of the rolls soon after they come out of the oven – soaking into the crevices of the pastry for even more added goodness!
Tips to make the best Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon-Soaked RaisinsCinnamon rolls are actually fairly easy to make. But they are a yeast-based pastry, so you will need to allow some time (several hours) for the dough to rise before baking and serving. (Don’t let that scare you – these are 100% worth the time and effort!) The most common mistake that bakers make when working with yeast is that they proof the yeast with liquid that is too hot. If the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast. In this recipe, combine the yeast with all-purpose flour, then add warm milk that is no hotter than 110 degrees F. Use an instant read thermometer like this (affiliate link) to test the milk temperature. It’s very helpful to have a stand mixer with both a paddle attachment for mixing and a dough hook to knead the dough.
About those Bourb0n-Soaked RaisinsThe night before you plan to bake your cinnamon rolls, soak the raisins in a little bit of bourbon to re-plump the raisins for the filling. The bourbon adds great flavor to the filling! Although the alcohol will burn off as you bake these cinnamon rolls, if you prefer no alcohol, soak the raisins in water with a touch of vanilla extract instead. If you forget to soak the raisins the night before, you can microwave the raisins in bourbon for two minutes, then let them sit at room temperature for an hour before adding to the filling.
We include lots of step-by-step photos in the recipe card below that show you exactly how to roll out the pastry dough and form each cinnamon roll. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy the dough is to work with when making these Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon-Soaked Raisins. Serve your cinnamon rolls hot out of the oven for breakfast or brunch. And if you have any leftovers…our Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce is a delicious way to use them up!
Can I prepare these cinnamon rolls the night before and bake them the following morning?Yes – refrigerate after you’ve completed Step #15 in the recipe below. Then, the next morning, start up again with Step #16, allowing the cinnamon rolls to proof before baking. Because they will be chilled, it will likely take longer than the 1 hour to double in size so plan for a little extra time.
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½ cup bourbon
½ cup raisins
5 cups all-purpose flour, divided (plus more as needed)
1 package dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 cup of milk
5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 stick melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
A few teaspoons of milk
- The night before preparing the rolls, soak raisins in bourbon in your refrigerator. Or if you are in a rush, microwave raisins and bourbon for two minutes and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
- Butter a 13X9-inch casserole dish.
- In a stand mixer, sift in 2 1/2 cups of the flour and pour in the yeast packet. Attach paddle.
- In a small sauce pan, melt butter with olive oil, sugar and salt and once melted add milk and heat until mixture reaches 110 degrees F using a probe thermometer. Add this one third at a time to the flour mixture beating on low speed until all of the liquid is in.
- Add the eggs one at a time while continuing to beat on low speed.
- Scrape the sides and beat on a higher speed for 3 minutes.
- Pull out paddle and replace with dough hook. On low speed, add 2 1/2 cups of sifted flour and mix until a soft dough has formed. Add up to 1/2 cup more to get the dough to a state where it is elastic and no longer sticky. (I used exactly 5 1/4 cups total.)
- Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turn and cover with plastic and a towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. (1-2 hours)
- Punch the dough down and let rest 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine.
- Roll the dough out to approximately a 14×22-inch rectangle.
- Spread the sugar and butter mixture over the dough with an off-set spatula leaving ½ inch along the furthest edge free. Sprinkle on the soaked raisins and discard any soaking liquid left.
- With a pastry brush, brush a little water on the ½ inch of dough that was left dry and begin loosely rolling the opposite side towards the edge you just wet, ending with seam side down.
- With a knife cut the dough in half and in half again. Then cut each piece into thirds so you end up with twelve pieces.
- Arrange cut side up in the prepared baking dish.
- Spray the top of rolls with pan spray and place a sheet of plastic wrap and a kitchen towel over the top. Let rest for about one hour in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove plastic and bake for 20-25 minutes until browned. Ours took exactly 23 minutes.Cool for five minutes.
- Mix powdered sugar and enough milk to form a thick consistency (add milk a teaspoon at a time to get desired thickness). Spread over slightly warm rolls and serve.
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Can I make these cinnamon rolls ahead of time? Yes – refrigerate after you’ve completed Step #15 in the recipe. Then, the next morning, start up again with Step #16, allowing the cinnamon rolls to proof before baking. Because they will be chilled, it will likely take longer than the 1 hour to double in size so plan for a little extra time.