Cinnamon Rolls for Two | Small-Batch Recipe

I love to bake, but I almost never do it. On holidays and special occasions, I go all-out, but the rest of the time, I can’t really justify it. With only two people in the house, elaborate cakes and massive batches of cookies either go to waste, or worse—we get bored with them.

And that’s just a tragedy. You should never get bored with cake.

So, I’m on a mission: to find or create recipes that work perfectly for one or two people. The sort of thing that comes together in no time at all, tastes fantastic, and leaves no leftovers.

I’ve been making these particular cinnamon rolls… forever, basically. (I’m pretty sure I got the original recipe in a junior high home-ec class.) I’ve tweaked the recipe a little over the years, but this is the true triumph: two perfectly-sized cinnamon rolls, on the table half an hour after you decide that you’d sort of like something sweet.

I don’t generally frost these, but if you want to, go ahead—I’ve included a “recipe” (it doesn’t really deserve the title, it’s so simple) below. It makes just enough for both rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls for Two |
Cinnamon Rolls for Two

Pour a cup of your favourite coffee. Light and airy, these make a fantastic breakfast or afternoon snack.

serves: 2
active time: 15 minutes | cooking time: 15 minutes

  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • softened butter

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, 2 tsp. sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter. Stir in milk, mixing until all dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together cinnamon and remaining sugar.

Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead briefly. Roll into a rectangle approximately 2 inches x 10 inches, and ¼ inch thick. Spread the dough with the softened butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over top.

Starting at the narrow end, roll the dough into a log. Cut in half, making two rolls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

The rolls are best served warm, but will keep (in an airtight container, at room temperature) for a day.

Frosting (Optional)

I like to use orange juice for the frosting; it adds a subtle brightness that works beautifully with the cinnamon. (And I’ve usually got some in the fridge.) But you can substitute whatever liquid you like: lemon juice, milk, even water.

  • 2 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp. orange juice

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and juice. (If the mixture seems too thin, add a little more sugar. If it seems too thick, add another drop or two of juice.) Drizzle over cinnamon rolls immediately before serving.