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We hosted my husband’s family and a couple of our friends for Thanksgiving dinner this year so I had a lot of cooking to do; but I still wanted to make a special breakfast for my family of four.  Cinnamon rolls sounded good and I’ve made them a variety of ways over the years, including store bought. This time I revisited an old recipe I’ve had around for about 15 years or so – right out of my 1994 Starbucks Passion for Coffee cookbook.

ICinnamon Rolls adapted from a Starbucks recipe - SO GOOD!

I would say these are some of the best cinnamon rolls I can remember eating and all my picky eaters liked them.  Flaky. Sweet. Delicious! You will just have to try them for yourself – and they are pretty easy to throw together last minute. AND they only take about 15 minutes to bake!  I am using my affiliate links.

With few exceptions I followed this (see below) Starbucks recipe for Cinnamon-Swirl Biscuits, page 53 in the book, Starbucks Passion for Coffee cookbook. I left out the walnuts, currents or raisins and used whatever milk I had on hand versus the buttermilk called for in the recipe plus I cut mine different.

I also made a powdered sugar glaze to pour over them – yum!

These cinnamon rolls are so good!

Starbucks’ Cinnamon-Swirl Biscuits

Filling:  (Mix and set aside in a separate bowl)

2/3           cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 & 1/2    teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2           cup finely chopped walnuts (I skipped this)
1/4           cup dried currants or dark raisins (I skipped this)

For the biscuits (or as I did- rolls):

2        cups all-purpose flour
2        Tablespoons granulated sugar
2        teaspoons baking powder
1/2    teaspoon of baking soda
1/2    tsp salt
1/2    cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3    cup buttermilk (I used whatever milk I had on hand)
3         Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven at 425 degrees and butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans. (I used a large round stone casserole dish and did not butter it).

In a separate bowl mix your brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and currents or raisins (optional- I did not use nuts or fruit). Set aside.

For the biscuits or rolls

Sift flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the 1/2 cup butter (room temp) and with pastry blender or fingers blend it into the dry ingredients until mixture looks like fine, irregular crumbs. Add the buttermilk (I think I used half & half instead) and stir until dough forms a cohesive mass.

Turn dough onto a floured work surface (or parchment paper) and knead gently about 10 times. Push and pat dough into a rectangle about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Brush with 3 tablespoons butter. Spread the filling over the dough and press it in gently.

Starting at one of the long sides of the rectangle, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into slices about 1 inch thick. (NOTE: Mine look different as I did not roll it very tight nor cut all of them the same.)

Place the slices, cut side down and about 1/2 inch apart, in the prepared pans. Bake until the biscuits are puffy and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve warm. Makes about 1 dozen.


I made a quick glaze out of powdered sugar, a little vanilla flavoring and some milk. You’ll use more powdered sugar than anything so only use a little milk and then beat with a blender. I don’t use exact measurements.

Print recipe from here.

These are so good you might want to wait till you have a few friends or family around to help you eat them!