C Tosi Cinnamon Buns w Crisco (3)

Christina Tosi’s Cinnamon Buns Recipe

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Prep Time:
3 hours 45 minutes

Cook Time:
20 minutes

12 sizable buns


Prep Time:
3 hours 45 minutes

Cook Time:
20 minutes

12 sizable buns



Bun Dough

  • 1 packet (2 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 4 ½ cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening, melted
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil, for greasing


Brown Sugar Goo

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Spice Islands® Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening, softened
  • ½ teaspoon Spice Islands Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Start with the Buns: In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast warm milk and warm water until dissolved and foamy, about 1 minute. Let it sit as-is another 5 minutes to continue foaming and growing, ready to do its work.
  2. Ditch the whisk and grab a sturdy spatula. Measure the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl. Toss only the dry ingredients on top together with the spatula first, before truly stirring them into the wet ingredients below. This will result in a dry, shaggy mixture. Add the egg, egg yolk and melted shortening and butter in, and mix until the dough comes together as a thick, almost sticky mass. This should take 2-3 minutes.
  3. Ditch the spatula this time, scraping any doughy remains into the bowl first, and roll up your sleeves to start kneading. Kneading dough is as simple as pushing the dough away from you with the heel of your palm, folding it over itself with your fingers, and pulling it back. Either in the bowl or on a clean kitchen counter, knead the dough for an additional 5-6 minutes to fully develop the gluten, where your dough will become a smooth, round mass.
  4. Grease a fresh large bowl, toss the dough in the fat and leave seam side down. Cover with a dry towel and place in a draft-free spot (I like the microwave or a turned-off oven) to rise for an hour, until it’s doubled in size.
  5. While the dough is rising, make the Brown Sugar Goo: In a small mixing bowl with a sturdy spatula, stir together the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt until they are fully combined, about 1 minute. Cover and set to the side, leaving at room temp.
  6. Grab the proofed dough, punch it down, and knock it out onto a clean, floured counter. Use a rolling pin, roll it into a 16-inch square, flouring the surface of the dough and rolling pin as and if needed.
  7. Spread the cinnamon goo evenly over the surface of the dough square, being more sparse on the edges to the right, left and furthest from you, as the goo will spread a little. Roll the dough away from you and up into a big, tight tube.
  8. Using a sharp knife, slice the tube into 12 rounds, each about 1 ⅓ inches thick. Arrange the rounds, swirl side up in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, leaving 1 inch between them. Cover and place back in that same secret spot, letting them rise for another 1 to 2 hours, until they’ve doubled in size.
  9. Heat the oven to 375°F and bake the buns for 20 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown on the edges.
  10. Meanwhile, make the Cream Cheese Frosting: in a large bowl with a sturdy spatula, mix together the cream cheese, shortening and vanilla in the bowl until they are smooth and fully combined, about 2 minutes. The cream cheese will clump if it’s too cold or you rush this first step so be purposeful and patient! Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and mix, flexing your muscles for 2-3 minutes until the frosting is a smooth, pale white and incredibly fluffy. Set to the side.
  11. Remove the buns from the oven and let cool 10 minutes in the pan. While they are still warm (but not piping hot), spread the frosting generously over them. Serve immediately. If for some reason there are any leftover, in the fridge in an airtight container, the buns will keep fresh for 1 week. I highly recommend reheating individual buns either in microwave in 30 second spurts or in a 300°F for 5-10 minutes before serving anew.


A combo of fats shortening + butter in the Bun Dough bring tenderness and flavor to the party.

In the frosting, shortening provides texture and stability while it’s neutral flavor let’s cream cheese be the star of the show!

I make this recipe through step 8 then wrap the dough-filled baking dish in plastic and refrigerate overnight to slow the growth of the yeast in the rising process. I wake up and pull the buns as I make my cup of coffee and let them come to room temperature and continue rising, 2-3 hours then proceed with step 9 on.

Ditch the spatula and by-hand approach and use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment if you like.

If your Brown Sugar Goo is too loose, pop it in the fridge or freezer. The butter will firm up in a cooler environment so it’s easier to spread without running. Alternatively, if it is too firm, pop it in the microwave for 10 second bursts until it loosens up to a spreadable state.