Caramel apple cinnamon rolls for two, a small batch recipe.

Salted Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls (small batch!)

I drag my heels a bit when it comes to making cinnamon rolls.

I love carbz, please don’t get me wrong. But the time it takes for the yeast to rise causes me to stall. So much so that I created a version of no-yeast cinnamon rolls.

I love them (and so do you!), but many have asked for a ‘real’ version of cinnamon rolls…with yeast. So, here I am. I made one that I don’t hate to make because there’s no rising time! Ok, well, you can let them sit on the counter while the oven preheats if you like, but it’s really not necessary.

They’re fluffy, tender, warm and packed with apples in caramel sauce. We’re not using caramel sauce from a jar. We’re just drizzling heavy cream into the pan at appropriate times to get an approximated caramel sauce. Easier than cracking a jar, I promise.

Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls

Start making these the minute the sun hits your window on a Saturday morning. Just a suggestion. The recipe makes 4 cinnamon rolls. So maybe it’s a generous breakfast for two, but maybe that’s exactly the type of thing you need on a weekend morning.

I feel like I should apologize for the appearance of my sad little apples, but these are the local apples I received in my CSA this week. While not as flawless and beautiful as apples at the store, these little guys are tops. I’m just happy to have local apples in September!

So far, we’ve downed a gallon of apple cider and scarfed through 2 bags of apples just making these cinnamon rolls and green juices, and it’s not even October! It’s going to be a good eatin’ season, I can just tell.

Caramel apple cinnamon rolls step-by-step photos:

Caramel apple cinnamon rolls {small batch}

Caramel apple rolls {small batch}

Apple cinnamon rolls

Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

I felt a little guilty eating these for breakfast one morning in front of Camille, so I added a little cinnamon to her oatmeal with apple puree. She seemed to really like her ‘cinnamon roll’ oatmeal.

Small batch apple cinnamon rolls with caramel sauce

You know who else liked these rolls? My white dog. I covered up the bite he took out of the corner with a drizzle of caramel sauce. When I’m photographing my cooking process, I have a tendency to walk away and leave the table wide open for dog samples. My house is like Costco for dogs–just walk around and find the free samples.

But I definitely suggest saving these for yourself, not the dogs. And don’t feed them to babies. Just use them as an awesome calorie source to give you energy to take care of babies.

Side note: I use this small muffin pan (not to be confused with a mini muffin pan; this is regular size). It only has 6 cups, and it’s perfect for making these caramel apple cinnamon rolls.

Yield: 4

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Small batch apple cinnamon rolls with caramel drizzle.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


For the cinnamon rolls:

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, plus a pinch for the yeast
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the apple filling:

  • 1 small apple, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the caramel frosting:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • flaky sea salt, for garnish


  1. First, make the dough: in a small cup, combine the milk and water. Heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds to bring the temperature to 105-110 degrees F.
  2. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and set aside.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast into the milk-water mixture along with a pinch of sugar, and stir. Let sit in a warm place until foamy, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Next, combine the flour, remaining tablespoon of sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  5. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour, followed by the melted butter. Stir until a dough forms.
  6. Next, make the apple filling: in a small skillet, add diced apple, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the apples soften. The sugar should caramelize and bubble. When the apples are done, stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and resembles apples in caramel sauce. Scrape the sauce into a bowl, but don't clean the skillet.
  7. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 8" by 4".
  8. Evenly spread the apple filling mixture over the dough. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a log. Slice into 4 equal pieces.
  9. Place cinnamon rolls in a buttered 6" round pan (or equivalent).
  10. Let the cinnamon rolls rest and rise while you preheat the oven to 400-degrees F.
  11. Bake the rolls for 13-15 minutes, until the tops start to lightly brown.
  12. While the rolls bake, make the frosting in the same skillet you made the filling in. Melt the butter and sugar over medium heat. Let the sugar lightly caramelize around the edges, stirring occasionally. When the sugar is a golden color, stir in all of the heavy cream at once--be careful, it can splatter.
  13. Stir the caramel sauce as it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves--it may look too thick at first, but the heat of the pan will make it come together.
  14. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the rolls, sprinkle with salt, and serve.


I bake these in a 6" small round pan.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 326Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 2g

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