Chai-Spiced Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Filling

Chai-Spiced Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Filling
Best For: Breakfast, Dessert
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 10-12 cinnamon rolls



    • 1 packet (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • ¼ cup warm water
    • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
    • ½ cup milk of choice (unsweetened if non-dairy)
    • 1 large egg
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour + more as needed
    • ½ tsp salt

Apple Filling

    • 4 apples, peeled and diced (we like Ambrosia, Gala, Honeycrisp or SnapDragon®)
    • ½ cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Chai-Spiced Frosting

    • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
    • ½ cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp ground ginger
    • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
    • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1½ cups powdered sugar



    1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together warm water, brown sugar, and yeast. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to activate. You will know your yeast is activated when little bubbles appear on the surface of the mixture.
    2. Once yeast is activated, add melted butter, milk, and egg. Add flour and salt, then stir to combine.
    3. Cover a clean, flat surface with flour, and knead the dough for 3-5 minutes. Dough will be sticky, so continue to add flour to your hands and the surface as needed.
    4. Return dough to the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel to rise for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Apple Filling

    1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, use a whisk or hand mixer to cream together butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
    2. Fold diced apples into butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture and stir until evenly coated.
    3. Once dough has doubled in size, add more flour to your work surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 9 in. x 20-24 in.
    4. Pour apple pie filling onto the dough and use a spatula to spread it out evenly over the surface, leaving about ½ in. border on all sides. This will prevent the mixture from falling out while baking.
    5. Working from the shorter side, use two hands to tightly roll the dough away from you, until you’re left with a cylinder, about 20 in. long.
    6. Slice the cylinder into 10-12 equal rolls. Make sure you're using a sharp knife so you have clean cuts.
    7. Add the rolls to a baking dish 9 in. x 13 in. baking dish, leaving about an inch in between each roll.
    8. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the rolls to rest for about 90 minutes or until they double in size. Note: You will notice some liquid in your pan from the juice in the apples, but that’s okay! It will add moisture to your cinnamon rolls.
    9. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.

Chai-Spiced Frosting

    1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. 
    2. Add powdered sugar and spices. Beat until evenly combined.
    3. Cool cinnamon rolls in the baking dish for 10 minutes before topping with frosting.

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