These easy cinnamon knots, or cinnamon swirls, are made from strips of buttery pastry filled with cinnamon sugar and optional dried fruit. Though they may look complicated to make, they’re really a breeze to put together. Pinky swear.
Whether you’re looking for a special occasion breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up, these easy cinnamon knots fit the bill. These dried fruit and cinnamon-sugar-filled pastries are guaranteed to disappear as soon as they hit the table.—Angie Zoobkoff
Easy Cinnamon Knots FAQs
Can I prep these cinnamon knots in advance?
Yeppers! According to tester Nadine Bonda, you can make these the night before. Place the knots on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Slide the sheet into the fridge and let the knots rise overnight. The next morning, while your oven is preheating, remove the knots from the fridge and let them warm to room temperature. Then just slip them in the oven and wait 15 minutes for a hot, delicious breakfast!
I can’t find freeze-dried black currants. What can I use instead?
Freeze-dried blackcurrants aren’t easy to find in stores, but you can buy them online. Chopped dried fruits like raisins and currants work nicely too.
Easy Cinnamon Knots
For the dough
- 3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons lukewarm water
- 1 3/4 ounces fresh yeast or 6 3/4 teaspoons (3/4 oz or 20 g) active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons whole milk plus more for glazing
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter melted
- Large pinch of salt
- 5 cups (25 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
For the filling
- 1 3/4 sticks (7 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ounce freeze-dried blackcurrants or other dried fruit (optional)
Make the dough
- In a large bowl combine the water and yeast. Stir in the remaining dough ingredients. Knead the dough until it is smooth and even. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, 30 to 60 minutes.
Make the filling
- While the dough is rising, use an to whisk the butter, sugar, and cinnamon together. Let rest while the dough rises.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
Shape the dough
- On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20- by 12-inch (50- by 30-cm) rectangle and spread the cinnamon butter over the dough in a thin layer. Sprinkle over the crushed freeze-dried blackcurrants or other fruit, if using.
- Fold one long side of the dough over so that 1/3 of the dough surface is still showing. Then fold this part of the dough over the two folded layers so you have a smaller rectangle of dough with three layers, as if you were folding a letter.
- Cut the dough perpendicular to the folds into 20 to 25 strips. Taking one strip at a time, twist it with both hands in opposite directions. Place the twists on a rimmed baking sheet and coil them into ‘swirls’, taking care not to place them too close together, as they will rise and expand while baking. You may need several baking sheets to accommodate all of them. Tuck the ends of each swirl underneath. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake the knots
- Remove the towel and brush each swirl with milk. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden on the surface and they make a slightly hollow sound when tapped, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon knots from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy while still warm or save for later. They can also be frozen and re-heated another day.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Make these easy cinnamon knots; they are delicious. Serve them for breakfast or with afternoon tea. They are sweet, but not overly so. They have a wonderful lightly crisped outer surface with a soft inner core. They got rave reviews from my family.
I added raisins to the filling but they would be fine with no fruit. They do lose some filling during cooking so prepare your pan by putting a piece of parchment paper on it. The cinnamon knots can rise and be baked on the parchment and clean-up is then easy.
If you don’t like to get up and cook hours before you serve breakfast, make these the night before and allow them to rise in the refrigerator, covered lightly with plastic wrap, in the baking tray on the parchment. Then in the morning while your oven is preheating, put these on the counter to sit and warm to room temperature. Because they cook in 15 minutes, you will have these wonderful cinnamon knots ready in no time.
Because these make so many, I froze some just before baking. I then placed them on the counter while my oven was heating. They were hot and delicious.
These easy cinnamon knots are an amazing, um, twist, on cinnamon rolls, with a lot less complexity. The recipe makes a wonderful, supple dough that is very easy to work with. The currants seemed to get a bit lost, which was OK with me, but I think the recipe could use more than 1 ounce.
I don’t know which task I favored more, mixing and kneading, shaping, baking, or devouring these plump, showy easy cinnamon knots. The dough, which came together effortlessly, was a dream to roll and cut and so forgiving when twisting and tucking. If you want a sharper or more rustic-looking swirl, just re-twist and re-tuck. Whatever your pleasure, just get ‘em in the oven cause the best is yet to come! Fragrant scents of warmed cinnamon followed by swirled layers of puffed, golden dough, tender yet slightly crunchy from the welcomed oozing of butter, sugar and cinnamon. Ummm, my favorite task? Not too hard to guess!
Originally published February 1, 2022