40 Minute Cinnamon Buns

Seizing the opportunity to be sweet and let my sick husband sleep in, I decided to get up early and make one of his favorite breakfast treats, cinnamon buns. Despite the best of intentions, I slept in, shoot! A little frantic, I needed a quick turn-around recipe if I was going to deliver. Rather than the traditional yeast variety, I opted for my tried and true 40 Minute Cinnamon Buns. I discovered this recipe a few years ago while surreptitiously reading a magazine article over someone’s shoulder on a plane. They turned the page before I could finish reading the intriguing looking quick cinnamon bun recipe, so I looked the recipe up when I got home, and here they are, delicious, moist and tangy cinnamon buns, ready in 40 minutes or less, no kneading required! This great recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking.  

Yield: Makes one pan of 8 cinnamon buns


   Cinnamon Buns:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves


  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. For the dough: Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare a spring form cake pan, or regular cake pan, by brushing it with butter or cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, blend the cottage cheese, buttermilk, melted butter, orange zest, vanilla and sugar until smooth.   No food processor? Don’t worry, before we got our food processor, we completed this step in a blender or with an immersion blender. 
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, soda and salt to the cottage cheese mixture and pulse a few times to combine.  Alternatively, if you are without a food processor, we recommend completing this second step by hand, as you don’t want to over mix the dough. Use a spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients until the mixture is just starting to hold together.  The dough will be very moist and sticky.
  4. Dump the dough unto a well-floured surface or baking mat and form into a rough ball. Using plenty of flour, roll the dough out into a large rectangle (12" x 14").
  5. For the filling: In a small bowl, mix together the pecans, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice and cloves until evenly distributed.
  6. Brush the dough with the melted butter and distribute the filling evenly over the dough.  Leave a ½ inch border along the sides.
  7. Roll the dough horizontally, towards yourself, into a tight roll. A bench scraper can make it easier to smoothly lift the dough from the counter.
  8. Cut the rolled dough with a sharp knife into 8 equal pieces and place, cut side up in the spring form pan.
  9. Bake for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden on top.
  10. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the rolls and remove the outer ring prior to cooling.
  11. For the icing: Whisk together the buttermilk, cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth.  The icing will be quite soft and runny, excellent for drizzling.
  12. Serve the cinnamon rolls individually, ideally while they are still somewhat warm, glazed with buttermilk icing.