Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Salted Caramel Sauce

We got a car!!!!!

More specifically, my husband picked out a certified pre-owned mini-van. He got it Friday night and now I’m in love with it.

I loved our Rav 4, but it wasn’t going to work out for us long term with 2 kids and 2 dogs. We are active with friends and family so then we can’t travel with any of them. Sure, someone could squeeze between 2 car seats but that’s not too fun. And, what do we do if we want to bring one of the kids friends with us for something? We certainly wouldn’t be able to get 3 carseats/booster seats in the back.

So now we have a Honda Odyssey that has more cup holders in it than I know what to do with. Seriously, that is what I snapped to Amanda when I first got into it. And, of course, my husband is like, enough with the cup holders! Do you actually like it?!?!?” Yes, I love it. It’s so great.

Now I need to find the perfect political bumper stickers to slap on there. And I need a Vineyard Vines’ pink whale on it. Isn’t that just perfect? The preppiest bumper sticker ever with a “Pod Loves America” sticker?! HAHAHA

Anyway… cinnamon rolls!!!!


Guys, I learned something very valuable the first time that I made these… don’t put cinnamon in the dough. At least not the quantity that I put in. Cinnamon is acidic and can retard the yeast from getting its bubble on. It rose well-ish over night, but didn’t do another successful rise when rolled out the dough and made the cinnamon rolls. I baked them up anyway just to taste the flavor, which was good,but the texture was horrible.

So, repeat after me, do not put a lot of cinnamon in the dough.

Okay, so now we that all learned something from my fail, let’s make great Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls!!!

Secondly, in my adventures in making a crap ton of cinnamon rolls this year, do not over work the dough, or roll it out too thinly. It breaks up the bubbles in the dough, so keep that in mind when you are making them. You really want to keep the dough to be at least 1/4″ thick.

The apple cider salt caramel sauce is everything on these cinnamon rolls. EVERYTHING.

If nothing else, just make the caramel sauce and put it on everything. But you really need to take the time to follow the instructions. I make this sauce all the time in the fall and once I was rushing and didn’t make the sauce syrupy enough at first and when I added the rest of the ingredients it was a mess. I was sorta able to  salvage it, but just follow the directions and take your time. It’s soooo worth the time babying it.

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 12 cinnamon rolls*


For the Dough

  • 1 Cup warm milk (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted (but not hot!)
  • 4 Cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 2 large baking apples- cored and then sliced into 1/8″ thick slices
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 2 Cups apple cider
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 Cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Add the yeast to the warm milk. Let rest for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, then slowly mix in the warm milk mixture. Add the butter and just mix to combine.
  3. Add in the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a hook attachment, work the dough until combined.
  4. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough into a smooth ball. Add the dough to a large bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Rotate to cover the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size, at least 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a 9x 13 baking pan.
  6. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough out so it is approximately 14″ x 24″ x 1/4″ thick
  7. Evenly arrange the apple slices on the dough in rows along the entire length of the dough. Keep the apple slices 1″ back from the edge where the cinnamon rolls are sealed, when rolled. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon.
  8. Roll the long edge towards you and then cut into 12 evenly sized rolls. Arrange the cinnamon rolls in the baking pan.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare your caramel sauce. Using a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, bring the apple cider to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and slowly cook until cider has reduced from 2 cups to 1/4 Cup. It will be fairly thick and syrupy at this point. Stir occasionally.
  11. Add the sugar, cream, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring continuously. You’ll want it to be syrupy at this point.
  12. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Add 1/2 teaspoon  the sea salt, mix well. Add more to desired taste. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool.
  13. Serve your warm cinnamon rolls with a healthy drizzling of caramel. (You will likely have to reheat the caramel sauce for drizzling consistency if it cools or you store it for a few days as the caramel thicken as it cools.)

Caramel adapted from Bashful Bao

*I purposefully rolled out my cinnamon rolls to be smaller and more than 12 so that I could share at work. Typically, I would just make 12 cinnamon rolls, as the recipe states.


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