My Grandpa’s Cinnamon Rolls are a long time family tradition. They are the perfect cinnamon rolls, fluffy and soft with a delicious glaze on top.
I come from a long time of bakers. To those of you who know me, this won’t be a surprise. My Great-Great Grandpa Gillan had a bakery in Ireland. My Great-Grandpa Gillan also was a baker who had a bakery here. Then my grandpa continued on the tradition and assisted my grandma in the kitchen and taught his own children the art of baking, including the perfect cinnamon roll. Once a year, my grandpa and grandma would bake dozens and dozens of cinnamon rolls and sell them after mass at their church to help raise money for various things.
Although my grandpa was a man of all trades (and doing them all perfectly); baking is one of the most vivid memories I have of him. My grandpa passed away 15 years ago but his cinnamon roll fundraiser is still put on by my dad, my uncles, and any other family member young or old that want to help. This year my family and I were able to attend. My sister Tami and I woke up at 4:40 am to drive to grandma’s church to bake, frost, and plate 1,400 cinnamon rolls with our dad, mom, grandma, aunt, uncles, and cousins.
My husband, Jake, joined us later with our children to help with the last bit of baking, plating, and serving. Our 3-year-old, Cannon, loved assisting in rolling out the dough, as he takes after his Momma. My son Madden, 6 years old, loved smashing down the rolls after they were sliced and put on the pan to rise. Jersey, 5 years-old, and Jordan, 8 years-old, loved serving the cinnamon rolls and taking them out to the “masses”. Last but not least, Aiden, 10 years old, wanted to be a part of the entire process.
Although my children were the most adorable assistants, there was one special lady that was the “top chef” so to say- Grandma. She was there at 6:30 am ready to help. At 89 years of age, she was ready to do whatever it was to make this day a success. She ended up spending most of her time serving up the rolls on platters, or gently and sweetly correcting our roll technique, or spreading her joy by thanking us over and over again.
The cinnamon rolls were a hit but here is what makes this day so special: Family. Our family is extraordinary. I know I might be a little biased, but there really is something magical about the fact we all still get together at least a couple times a year. I have 34 cousins and we really know each other’s families. It is so cool that my kids not only know my aunts and uncles but love them too. They even call them Uncle Alan and Uncle Lee – uncle and aunt isn’t just their title, it is a term of endearment. There is a secret ingredient to our family though, and it isn’t the amount of butter used… It’s Grandma and her prayers.
My grandparents have been the glue to our family for so long and for so many reasons. When Grandpa died it was hard to imagine how it would change our family dynamic. But Grandma is a rock – a beacon of strength and wisdom. Grandma carried on. She still makes her famous mac and cheese, and her holiday treat of peanut brittle. Our family still has a family reunion every summer, and we still get together on some holidays. Although most of us have kids now and are grown, we still want to get together. I love to see my Grandma shine when she is holding one of the great-grandbabies or her quiet grin caused by seeing us all together. Grandma brings love.
This day isn’t just about my Grandpa’s Cinnamon Rolls recipe, it’s about remembering my roots and who I am… It’s about family! Note – this recipe makes 32 rolls!!!
Enjoy, XOXO San
How do you make Grandpa’s Cinnamon Rolls?
Place eggs and oil in a bowl. Heat milk and water until lukewarm, add to eggs and oil and mix by hand. Pour the salt, yeast, and flour into bowl and mix until consistent. Cover and place in a warm location, allow to rise until double. Knead, cut the batch in half, let them sit for 5 minutes. Roll out, add melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Repeat with remaining dough.
Roll up tight. Cut rolls 2 inches long, or use the 3 finger rule. Place 3 fingers and cut, and so on.
Bake in a convection oven at 325 for 13 minutes or until golden on top.
Frosting: Mix all ingredients together; spread over hot cinnamon rolls.
My favorite kitchen tools used to make Grandpa’s Cinnamon Rolls:
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MIXING BOWLS: I love having a variety of sizes of mixing bowls. From small to large, I find that having at least 3 bowls of different sizes have been essential in my kitchen. I prefer Pyrex because of its durability.
MEASURING CUPS: Nothing beats a good set of measuring cups that last a long time. I love metal measuring cups because of their durability.
MEASURING SPOONS: I have to have a metal set of measuring spoons on hand. The plastic ones just don’t last long in our house thanks in large part to the garbage disposal.
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Grandpa’s Cinnamon Rolls
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 water
- 3 cups milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons yeast
- 11 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place eggs and oil in a bowl. Heat milk and water until lukewarm, add to eggs and oil and mix by hand. Pour the salt, yeast, and flour into bowl and mix until consistent. Cover and place in a warm location, allow to rise until double. Knead, cut the batch in half, let them sit for 5 minutes. Roll out, add melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Roll up tight. Cut rolls 2 inches long, or use the 3 finger rule. Place 3 fingers and cut, and so on.
- Bake in a convection oven at 325 for 13 minutes or until golden on top.
- Frosting: Mix all ingredients together; spread over hot cinnamon rolls.
My review: I can’t help but just love these rolls not only because it tastes amazing but every time I have them I am with family. Kids review: They love cinnamon rolls! They are proud to know their great-grandpa’s recipe.