Cinnamon Star Bread


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Cinnamon Star Bread on a round wooden board

With layers of cinnamon sugar and a sweet glaze, this cinnamon star pull-apart bread is a festive alternative to classic cinnamon rolls.

It’s feeling super festive around our house. The toddler excitement for Christmas is palpable – the air is buzzing with it. I can’t help but have picked up some of that excitement myself. I was running a few final errands over the weekend and pulled up to a stoplight. When I looked in my rearview mirror, guess who I saw? Santa. In the SUV behind me. I’m sure he has more than a few final errands.

We’ve been baking throughout December but have a few more baked goods still on the list. This one will surely be making an appearance on Christmas morning. It feels special enough for Christmas, but is actually easy (and fun!) to make. I tested this recipe five times in recent weeks and have become super fast at building the star. It doesn’t take long even the first time – see many photos below to help you along!

This bread was inspired by a gorgeous photo I came across at King Arthur Flour, though my version uses my favorite one hour dough. The dough is light, fluffy and rises fast. It makes a great base for the caramelized cinnamon sugar throughout the star. The final star is drizzled with a light sugar glaze. Which is optional. Though I’d recommend that you opt in.

drizzling icing over Cinnamon Star Bread

How to Shape Star Bread

Shaping this bread isn’t hard, but photos tell it best.

Note: The day I was photographing this, the food blog gods were smiling and my dough rolled into perfectly round circles. In all other tests, I rolled out wonky lopsided circles. The finished bread looked great either way. Don’t sweat it if it doesn’t look perfect.

rolling dough out into circles on a floured surface

The dough circles should be about 12 inches across. Use a ruler or the long edge of a standard sheet of paper (11 inches) as a guide.

measuring dough circles for cinnamon star bread

Transfer the first dough circle to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush with butter.

brushing dough circle with butter

Top with cinnamon sugar.

adding cinnamon sugar to dough circle

Repeat the process with remaining dough + melted butter + cinnamon sugar.

layers of dough circles on a parchment lined sheet pan

Finish with a bare piece of dough on top. Place a small bowl in the center to act as a guide for shaping the star.

several layers of dough circles with a small glass jar in the middle

Make 8 small slits in the dough.

making small slits in a circle around the glass jar

And then make 8 more small slits between those (for a total of 16 slits). Looks like the sun. If the sun was filled with butter, cinnamon and sugar.

making larger slits around the glass jar

Use a serrated knife to slice through all of the layers to form 18 strips of dough. It’s already pretty, but not done yet.

cutting the dough circles into triangles

Using both hands, take two adjacent strips and twist them outwards, revealing the layers inside.

twisting each triangle of dough

Pinch the strips together and tuck them under. Repeat all the way around the bread, forming a star!

uncooked star bread on a parchment lined sheet pan

Let the star rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot. Then brush with egg wash and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 17 minutes.

cooked Cinnamon Star Bread on a parchment lined sheet pan

Drizzle with a glaze (just powdered sugar + vanilla + water).

drizzling Cinnamon Star Bread with glaze

There you go! Grab a slice and stay awhile.

removing a piece of Cinnamon Star Bread

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Cinnamon Star Bread on a round wooden tray
4.56 from 36 votes

Cinnamon Star Bread

With layers of cinnamon sugar and a sweet glaze, this cinnamon star pull-apart bread is a festive alternative to classic cinnamon rolls. 
Prep: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 10 servings


  • Stand Mixer
  • Small Mixing Bowls
  • Rolling Pin
  • sheet pan
  • Parchment Paper
  • Serrated Knife


For dough:

  • cups warm Water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C)
  • 1 Tbsp Instant Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4 cups (500 g) All-Purpose Flour

For assembling star bread:

  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Egg

For topping (optional):

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Water


  • Make dough:
    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar (portion for dough). Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • To the yeast mixture, add the butter (portion for the dough), salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low-speed until the ingredients begin to come together.
  • Still on low-speed, add 1 cup of the remaining flour and mix for 1 minute more.
  • Add the remaining 1 cup flour. Mix on low-speed until the final addition of flour is fully incorporated into the dough. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (It should make a slapping sound against the sides of the bowl.)
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a dish towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.
  • While dough rises, prepare filling / egg wash. In one small bowl, combine sugar (portion for assembling) and cinnamon. In another small bowl, melt butter. In a third small bowl, whisk egg.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Shape dough:
    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Using a serrated knife, slice dough into three even pieces.
  • Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll out into a 12-inch circle (no need to be super precise - it's okay if it looks messy!). Transfer dough circle to prepared sheet pan. Brush with melted butter. Top with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  • Roll out a second circle the same size as the first. Place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the process by adding butter and then the remaining half of the cinnamon-sugar. Top with the final dough circle.
  • Place a 3-inch small bowl or round biscuit cutter in the center of the dough.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut 16 strips from the center bowl to the outside of the dough, slicing through all of the layers.
  • Using both hands, take two adjacent strips and twist them outwards, revealing the layers inside. Pinch the ends of the strips together and tuck them under slightly. Repeat with all remaining dough strips to form 8 spokes on the star.
  • Remove the bowl from the center of the dough. Allow dough to rise for 20 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.
  • Just before baking, brush bread with whisked egg.
  • Bake until light golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.
  • Glaze bread (optional)
    Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 Tbsp water. Add more water a bit at a time until glaze is smooth and pours easily. Drizzle over bread.
  • Serve immediately.


Inspired by King Arthur Flour.
Make ahead (refrigerator): You can shape the star up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerate overnight. Brush with egg and transfer directly from the refrigerator to the heated oven. Add 2 to 5 additional minutes to baking time.
Make ahead (freezer): If you'd like to make this bread up to a month ahead, shape the star and then transfer the bread to the freezer. Once frozen solid, wrap it tightly and freeze for up to one month. 12 hours before baking, unwrap bread and place it on a parchment lined sheet pan. Let the bread defrost in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Brush with egg and transfer directly from the refrigerator to the heated oven. Add 4 to 8 additional minutes to baking time.


Calories: 510kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 510
Keyword: breakfast, Christmas, cinnamon recipe, entertaining, Holiday recipe
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.56 from 36 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    It’s Christmas eve and I put this together to have for breakfast on Christmas morning. It wasn’t perfect circles like the picture but it is looking pretty in the oven. I hope it taste as good as it smells. Thank you, I think this might just become our Christmas breakfast tradition. Merry Christmas everyone.

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times and it was wonderful each time. I just shared it with my brother. We are going to make it together over a video call. Thank you for such a great recipe!

    1. Hi Linda. It could be that it cooked for too long, but also could have needed a bit longer to rise. The light and fluffy dough really does depend on the enough rise time and the time can vary depending on the temperature in the kitchen. I often put a bowl of dough in the oven with just the oven light on (no heat) and that creates a slightly warm space for rising. Sorry it didn’t turn out quite right this time, but hopefully next time!

  3. 5 stars
    What a great recipe! My husband and I made this and it was delicious! Such a beautiful design and so scrumptious! Will definitely be making it again! And you should too!

  4. I love this dough. It’s nice and soft. Do you think it would work to make two smaller stars from this recipe instead of one large one? I also would like to try a savory one using pesto. Could I eliminate the sugar from the dough so it is less sweet? Thanks!

    1. Absolutely on all counts. I think that would be fantastic and may have to borrow that idea! The dough needs a small amount of sweetener to activate the yeast, but I’d try honey instead if you’re doing a savory preparation. (I always use honey in my pizza dough, so I think this should work; you can probably even use half the mount listed in the recipe.) Two smaller stars should be fine too – I’d plan to bake them for half the listed time and then start checking them every couple minutes until they’re nice and golden brown.

  5. Hey Jess, just made a dble batch and they are gorgeous. The recipe was simple to follow and the dough was really easy to handle. So, my question is… I baked for the prescribed time and temp, but how do I know it’s baked thru? These are gifts and I don’t want to hand them over partially uncooked or with a “quality control” bite mark in them (though it’s tempting). Any tips for being more sure it’s baked all the way?

    1. Great – I’m so glad the recipe was easy to execute! If in doubt, I use my instant read thermometer to check to see if bread is cooked through. Insert the thermometer into the center of the loaf (it’s a bit challenging because of the layers, but you want to be sure that the thermometer is in the dough itself and not the filling). It should read 190 degrees F. If the dough is 190, you can be certain it’s fully cooked.