Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls

vanilla pudding cinnamon roll

As I mentioned earlier this week in my monkey bread post, I have a fear of making yeast breads. The trauma occurred many years ago, and I still bear the scars, literally. Ever since then I avoid making yeast breads. Is my fear rational? I’d like to think so.

Once I saw these cinnamon rolls from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, I became instantly enthralled, even though they contained my arch enemy—yeast. So I did want any savvy person would do…

I went to my mommy for help.

I sweet-talked her into helping me make them. And by helping, I mean she did most of the work while I smiled helpfully at her. Okay, I was a better sous-chef than that, but she was on her own when it came to making the dough.

I will recommend, however, if you decide to make half the recipe that it’s important to halve all the ingredients. It may cause loads of frustration if you accidentally add the full amount of vanilla pudding when you only need half.

Especially if company is coming over in a couple of hours.

And the bread machine isn’t large enough to knead a full recipe.

So now you have to do it by hand.

I’m just saying.

If by some weird chance that would actually every occur, don’t fret. They still turn out amazing! Oops. I mean I bet they still do. Umm. Yeah.

They do make lovely, tender cinnamon rolls that we gobbled up. And my mom does plan to make them again, so that’s a significant seal of approval in my book. Especially given what happened. 😀

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Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3.5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6+ cups flour


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  1. In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, prepare pudding mix according to package directions.
  3. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add yeast mixture. Mix together.
  5. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl.
  6. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  7. Roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size.
  8. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface.
  9. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top.
  10. Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches.
  11. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
  12. Cover and let rise until double again.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake).
  14. To make frosting: whip cream cheese and butter together. Mix in vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Add milk to reach desired consistency.
  15. Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting

Makes about 24 very large rolls.

Special Notes:

  • Per Mel: to use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast, decrease the yeast amount to 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast. Still mix it with the water and sugar but you don’t need to wait for it to proof – just continue with the recipe, adding in the yeast/water mixture where indicated.
  • My frosting was more of a glaze than a true frosting. If you want a more frosting-like consistency, you’ll need to add more confectioner’s sugar – probably another cup.



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