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Praline crunch cinnamon knots on a brown cutting board.
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5 from 1 vote

Cinnamon Knots with a Sweet Pecan Praline Crunch

Cinnamon Knots are a showstopping, unique twist on a cinnamon roll - topped with a crunchy pecan praline brown-sugar crumble and a light cream cheese glaze. They taste as impressive as they look.
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Assembly Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: cinnamon crunch, cinnamon knot, easy cinnamon roll, praline crunch
Servings: 12
Calories: 289kcal

Ingredients

For the Cinnamon Knot Dough:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons) - also called rapid rise yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk warmed but not boiling or it will kill the yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter softened

For the Cinnamon Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

For the Crunch Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans optional but delicious

For the Classic, Cinnamon Roll Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar also known as confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk + more if needed to thin the glaze

Instructions

  • Begin by making the dough - combine 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, 1 packet of instant yeast, and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  • Add 1 cup of warm (but not boiling - too hot will kill the yeast) milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, and 1 tablespoon of really soft butter.
  • Mix with the paddle attachment on medium/low speed until the dough comes together. Then switch out the paddle for the dough hook and knead until the dough forms a ball on the dough hook. It should easily pull away from the sides of the bowl.*
  • Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour in a warm place - the dough should poof up quite a bit and will fill the bottom of the bowl.
  • Now is the fun part: begin by preheating your oven to 375°F.
  • Punch the dough down to let the air out. Transfer the deflated dough to a floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle - about ¼ of an inch thick. If it is really sticking to everything, dust your rolling pin and the dough with a little more flour.
  • Spread 4 tablespoons of very soft butter on the dough. It has to be VERY soft because the dough can tear, but do not melt the butter because it won't stick and will run off of the dough. (Tricky stuff that butter!)
  • Combine ¼ cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk or toss with a fork until it is well combined.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture all over the dough. Fold the dough in half along the longer axis (my husband calls this "hot dog style") and run over it a few times (gently) with a rolling pin to really press the cinnamon sugar into the dough.
  • Cut around 12 strips of dough to tie your knots. Ideally, the strips should all be the same width, but the imperfections kind of make these knots unique.
  • Tie each strip into a fun knot - twisting and looping around itself into a unique shape - and pinch or tuck the ends down so they don't come apart when they are baked. The awesome part about these knots is that no two knots will look the same and they always look so impressive.
  • Place the twisted knots on a baking sheet with enough distance between them to rise just a little.
  • Melt the remaining butter (2 tablespoons) and combine it with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, ½ cup of brown sugar, and ¼ cup chopped pecans. Spoon this mixture over the knots - this will form the crunchy topping as the sugar melts and the knots cook.
  • Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, then open the oven and scoop any bits of crunch topping that have melted off the knots back onto them. Bake for another 8 - 10 minutes. (It should take 15 - 20 minutes altogether for the knots to bake.) They should be golden brown when they are pulled from the oven.
  • While the knots are baking, make the glaze. Combine powdered sugar, softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, and two tablespoons of milk - I like to use a hand mixer to get the mixture really smooth. If it is too runny, add a tiny bit more powdered sugar - or if it seems too stiff, add a tiny bit more milk. It should be easy to drizzle with a spoon, but it should also stick to the spoon for a few seconds.
  • When the knots are done, remove them from the oven, drizzle with glaze, and serve.
  • These knots are best eaten when they are fresh from the oven. (If they are not going to be eaten right away, do not glaze them - it will burn when the knots are reheated.) They will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature for 4 - 5 days or they can be frozen for up to 3 months. (To vacuum seal them before freezing, freeze the knots first, then suck all the air out. They won't squish down as much this way.)

Notes

This recipe will make 12 large cinnamon knots or several smaller ones.
*If you don't have a mixer, mix everything together with a spoon then switch to kneading when it starts to get really sticky. It should take 5 - 10 minutes of kneading by hand to form a ball.
🍳 Serving Suggestions & Uses
These cinnamon knots will impress even the toughest critics. They are a great brunch or breakfast addition when the whole family is around and you really want to create something spectacular. They are great to share for a holiday breakfast - think Christmas or Easter - and they are also a great breakfast to make for your significant other for Valentine's Day. I promise they will be impressed. (My husband LOVES these and was so happy I finally found a "cinnamon roll" recipe that comes out perfectly every time.)
🥫 Storage/Shelf Life/Reheating
These knots are best eaten when they are fresh from the oven. (If they are not going to be eaten right away, do not glaze them - it will burn when the knots are reheated.)
They will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature for 4 - 5 days or they can be frozen for up to 3 months. (To vacuum seal and freeze these knots, freeze them first, then suck all the air out. They won't squish down as much this way.)
To reheat, let the knots defrost, then heat them in the oven, an air-fryer or toaster oven, or in the microwave - slowly with low heat.
📋 Tips
  • If you are making these to enjoy at home for breakfast for a few days, do not glaze them. Make the glaze, then keep it in the refrigerator - heat the knots up in the toaster oven, air fryer, or microwave - then drizzle the glaze over when serving.
  • These cinnamon knots are such a show stopper - they are an excellent addition to any brunch or breakfast spread where you really want to blow your guests away.
  • To vacuum seal and freeze these knots, freeze them first, then suck all the air out. They won't squish down as much this way. To reheat, let the knots defrost, then heat them in the oven, an air-fryer or toaster oven, or in the microwave - slowly with low heat.
🙋‍♂️ Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between cinnamon knots and Kanelbullar?
These knots are similar to a Kanelbullar, only the dough and filling do not have cardamon in them. (And a Kanelbullar does not have a crunchy sugar topping, they are topped with an egg wash and pearl sugar.) Gimme Some Oven has a great recipe for Kannebullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns) here.
Are cinnamon knots easier to make than cinnamon rolls?
To be honest, they probably take a little bit longer to construct and decorate - but the proofing and baking time is the same. They also don't have to be perfect, which to me is a huge plus. They look so much more impressive so it is worth the effort!
Can you make cinnamon knots without yeast?
Yes - use 2 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder in place of the yeast. It does not need to rise, but let the dough rest for about 30 minutes. Shape the dough and let it rest on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before baking. (They won't rise as much as with yeast, but they will have a slight rise.)

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg