Cajeta & Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Cajeta & Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Roles de Canela y Cajeta
12 generous sized rolls
Pati Jinich
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: bread, Cajeta, canela, cinnamon, dough, pati's mexican table, pecans, Sweetened Condensed Milk, vanilla
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cajeta & Pecan Cinnamon Rolls recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 4, Episode 12 “Baked!”


For the starter:

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the dough:

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to knead the dough
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more to butter the bowl

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 -inch dice
  • 3/4 cup Cajeta or dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or canela
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

To Prepare

To make the starter:
  • Place the lukewarm milk and water in a small bowl. Be careful as it shouldn’t be hot or cold, or the yeast will not react. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid along with a tablespoon of sugar. Stir and let rest until it puffs up and becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.
To make the batter:
  • Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a hole in the middle and pour in the beaten eggs, foamy yeast starter, sugar, and salt. Start combining the ingredients with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. After a few strokes, add the melted butter. Mix with energy, until fully combined. The dough will be very sticky and gooey.
  • Sprinkle your counter or work surface very generously with all-purpose flour. Turn the sticky dough onto the surface, and knead until it transforms from being sticky and gooey to soft and elastic, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add a bit more flour to the counter, if needed, and use a bench scraper to gather the sticky dough from the counter as you knead the dough, and it becomes malleable and soft. Shape the dough into a ball.
  • Butter a large bowl, place the ball of dough in it, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rest in a warm area of your kitchen with no drafts or air currents, for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it doubles in size.
To make the rolls:
  • Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  • Sprinkle your counter or working surface generously with all-purpose flour. Place the dough on the floured counter and knead gently to begin to form a rectangle. Sprinkle a rolling pin with flour and use it to roll the dough into a long rectangle of about 10-inches wide by 24-inches long.
  • Leaving a 1-inch frame around the rectangle spread the dulce de leche across the length of the dough to form a centered and long 6-inch stripe. Sprinkle the chopped pecans, the cinnamon, and the butter chunks all over the surface, except for that 1-inch frame.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Working lengthwise, roll up the rectangle tightly. Brush the top 1 inch edge of the rectangle, with water, and close the roll up. Cut into 12 rolls: I like to cut the log in half first, then that half in half, and each of those quarters into 3 rolls. Place them in the buttered baking dish. Cover the baking dish with a kitchen towel, and let them rest in a warm area of your kitchen with no drafts or air currents, until they double in size, about an hour.
  • Bake the cinnamon rolls for 27 to 30 minutes, until they are fully cooked and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven.
To make glaze:
  • In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the vanilla, lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk and mix with a whisk or spatula. Incorporate the confectioners sugar and mix until fully combined. Pour freely all over the rolls.
  • If you add the glaze while the rolls are still hot, they will turn out even better. Eat as soon as glaze has set, or at least try; it will be just a few minutes.

128 comments on “Cajeta & Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

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  1. Just made this today, and they turned out brilliantly! I have had several unsuccessful attempts at cinnamon scrolls over the years, but I’m glad to say these worked. I will definitely be making them again. Thankyou Pati.

  2. Watched you for the first time yesterday on Australian TV. You are my new fave TV chef. Loved watching you and ive made your scrolls today for a small get together now that we are slowly coming out of lockdown. Well done. I think us aussies are way behind on the series so ill keep watching.

    1. Thanks so much for tuning in Karen, the show has already 8 seasons with 13 episodes each, so there you have a lot of material to be entertained for a while 😀 And stay tuned, because the new season is premiering this fall!

  3. Hi Pati, I’m cooking with my kids during our quarantine. My daughter wants to try these awesome cinnamon rolls, but we are low on AP flour. So that we don’t go out to the store, can I mix different kinds of flours? I have bread flour and self rising flour. Which one would work?

  4. Hi Patty! Love you so much. If I want to add a little heat/spice, what would be the best chile to use. And would I add it to the glaze?

    1. Wow Stephanie, such a risk taker! I wouldn’t use any chile in this recipe, but if you want to try some chipotle powder please let me know how it goes!!!!

  5. I’m making them this weekend, I’ve been waiting for so long to finally find time to do it, and it’ll be just the thing for Saturday morning breakfast with my mom. I did have a question, though. When reading the recipe, I did see that you need to let the dough rise twice: once before making the rolls and then after cutting out the rolls and putting them on the baking sheet. So I am wondering if it would be okay to make the dough the night before, and let it rise in the fridge overnight before making the rolls the next day? This way, I can bake them the following morning and it won’t be too past breakfast by the time they’re ready to eat. Please let me know!

      1. THEY WERE A HIT!!! So glad I got them right on my first try. I did make a little more glaze for the rolls. But they were so good! My mom isn’t even big on glaze, and she LOVED this one. Definitely adding to my list of “will make again”. I just emailed you a photo of how they turned out, hopefully you’ll get to see it!

  6. Hi Pati! I absolutely love making your recipes with my mom and we can’t wait to try these out on Christmas! What are the exact temperatures for the “lukewarm” water and milk? I don’t trust my own judgement I’d rather use a thermometer 😂 Thank you in advance!

  7. Such decadent cinnamon rolls! The dough is so soft and pillowy. I had no trouble with Nestle Dulce La Leche running out of the rolls. Absolutely delightful. A must try!

  8. I saw this segment and really wanted to make these. In my part of the world the only place to get cajeta is at a Mexican grocery. I went to one and asked for dulce de leche and the poor guy acted like he’d never heard of it. He got his manager, who looked confused at the request, and she started to give me huge lumps of candy. I kept saying (in really imperfect Spanish), “I thought it was a Mexican thing!” Finally, I made myself understood, but she told me that cajeta was not the same as dulce de leche, so it’s important to know the difference, but she complimented my accent. These are really good. The second time I made them I iced them with a cajeta icing I made up because I like caramel icing on my cinnamon rolls. Really good.

  9. I’m looking for the egg dish that you made when you made these rolls…. I’m not having much luck. It was received beans, ham, ranchero sauce eggs and cheese…..

  10. I’ve made these rolls many times. Soo yummy!! What would you suggest I try to avoid losing the cajeta as it seems as though it sinks to the bottom of the pan while baking and I end up with empty rolls.?

    1. It could be the kind of Cajeta you are using, Mela. There are so many brands these days. If you are using one that is very runny, use a bit less. Or try looking for a Cajeta that is thicker…but I’m so glad you enjoy the cinnamon rolls!

  11. Oh my gosh!!! You crazy lady!! These are sooo amazing! Not too sweet…the texture isn’t too heavy or “breadlike” and the LIME JUICE IN THE GLAZE!!! What?!!!! So great! Wonderful job my dear!!! 😊

  12. We made this last weekend and it is now my favorite cinnamon roll recipe! The cajeta added such a great flavor. I was worried it might be too sweet so I omitted the glaze. They really weren’t too sweet and next time I’ll add the glaze. The dough is really lovely and i’m trying to thing of other uses for it. Maybe something savory? So many options! Thank you!

  13. Hi Pati!
    Everyone at home loves your show, specially my five year old sister! She loves dancing to the theme song, and my mom, sisters and I enjoy your recipes! I tell everyone at work about your show, I work at a university so I also tell students about it! Honestly, I think everyone should know about your show:)

    Instead of the Cajeta, can you use brown sugar? if so, same 3/4 cups?

    1. Oh thanks so much for tuning in and I love it that your sister dances to the theme song! Yes you can use the same amount of brown sugar… but I really recommend you use dulce de leche or cajeta… they are irresistible!

  14. Hi Pati!

    I saw your show on Amazon and I am obsessed! I made these rolls today, and they are the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made. Thanks for sharing this recipe. These will be made at my house every Christmas!

  15. Hello Pati … so many things in Mexican cuisine work for people that have Celiac disease. Have you thought about mentioning that or featuring what dishes are wheat or allergy free?
    Ps. Love your food!

  16. Patti,
    I love your show. It’s nice to see all the 17 – 18 year old young women who love your Show, too. I’m much older and wish I had a Create Channel when I was a teen! I learned to cook watching my Mother, who never used a recipe.

    I am inspired by your passion and I learn something new every time I watch!

  17. I really love your show. I am A Senior this year in high school heading off to college soon and I wonder would these be great for a Freshman Party next year?

  18. Hola Pati,

    My name is Alexis Tisby and i live in Washington state! I am 17 years old. I love your show so so much! your recipes makes me wanna make Mexican food every single night. These Cinnamon rolls are what i am definitely gonna make for when I go to College next year. I love you Pati. keep up the good work! 🙂

    ~ Alexis

    1. Absolutely! You can freeze them after you have made them into rolls, before they rise (as rolls). Then when you are ready to bake them, let them thaw and rise until puffed up.

    1. It might be the temperature of the water…too cold or hot and it won’t bloom.​ And also, the yeast may be past its due date, in case which, it has gone bad. Make sure it has a good expiration date. Sometimes it does take like 15 minutes if the temperature in the environment is too cold… ​

  19. Hi Pati. I am planning on making these for Christmas morning. Your cookbook (I have both of them!) says they can be shaped into rolls, placed in baking dish and refrigerated. Do you let them rise beforehand?
    Thank you
    P.S. I may even try to make my own cajeta.

    1. Thank you for having both cookbooks, Charlotte!! You can refrigerate after you have made them into rolls and before they rise. Then when you are ready to bake them, let them come to room temp and rise until puffed up and then bake.

    1. You can usually find it at your local market in the international food aisle or in a Latin Market or online. You can also use dulce de leche.

  20. I made these today. OMG YUMMO
    Being from Texas, we LOVE cinnamon rolls with pecans and I’ve tried for years to get that “bakery” taste. THIS IS IT!!! I’m going on a beachhouse vacation with a group of friends in Nov and I’m the designated cook. I know what I’m making for everyone now. The beachhouse will smell wonderful too, BIG PLUS!

  21. Watched your segment on PBS the other day and knew I had to try your recipe. I spent the morning making these. Waiting for the 1 hr rise time and then they can be popped into the oven. Very excited to taste the end product. Thank you for the inspiration!

  22. I’ve had this on my radar for months and finally made it this morning. I love it. Especially the lightness of the bread. It’s not too sweet. I’ll offer more of the topping on the side for those who like a little more sweet. I love the lime in the topping too. Yum, Thanks for cooking for us and giving us inspiration!

  23. Pati, esta receta esta deliciosa. Can I let the rolls rest overnight once I’ve cut them and placed them in the buttered dish and bake in the morning?

  24. I love the roll recipe, but each time I tried to make these with the dulce de leche it leaks out so bad and the rolls are barely flavored. Perhaps I’m doing the caramel placement wrong ?

    1. Hm… maybe it is the kind of Dulce de Leche you are using. There are so many brands these days. Is it very runny? If so, use a bit less. Or try looking for a Dulce de Leche that is a bit thicker…

    2. I had a lot of dulce de leche coming out of the rolls also. I ended up turning the rolls over in the pan about half way through the rising time. We all loved these rolls! I made them on Christmas morning. I think if I use this recipe again, I will make it more like a coffee cake, with a layer of dough pressed into the pan, the dulce de leche in the middle, and then dough covering it. You could really use more of the dulce de leche this way! I’ll pour the glaze on after baking. This glaze was very special. I would never have thought of lime juice, but it was wonderful.

      1. MaryAnn again- I made these again this Christmas. I rolled half of the dough at a time as if I was making cinnamon rolls, but instead curved it into a ring and put in a 9″ cake layer pan. Then I cut through the roll of dough 2/3 of the way at about 2″ intervals. I had two 9″ pans of a circular kind of coffee cake. Poured the glaze on after baking, and it looked just beautiful. Didn’t last long, though!! This solved the leaking dulce de leche problem I had last year. Looked and tasted wonderful. Thanks for a great recipe. I think it is going to be a Christmas morning staple at our house.

  25. Pati.
    Just made these but a friend is allergic to tree nuts so I cooked 6 apples in cinnamon, sugar and a little water to soften them. New family favorite. They now want these over my lemon rolls.

  26. Hi Pati,
    Very much enjoy your show and the fact that you seem to love what you’re doing! I’m wondering if you have ever tried the Nestle brand of Dulce de Leche and how it compares to the homemade version. Thank you!

  27. Sweet Lord!!!!
    Just made these cinnamon rolls and I am beside myself. D.E.L.E.C.I.O.U.S.
    These things are amazing. The dulce de leche is an incredible addition. I will be making these again.

  28. OMG…these were a BIG hit for Christmas morning! Made everything from scratch and I am now a huge fan of cajeta!! Already thinking of other ways to use it. Thank you for sharing and hope you are enjoying the holidays!

  29. Hello. Wondering if this recipe was available in spanish. My mother in law isattempting to make but it’s hard for me to translate. Help please. Thank you.

  30. Hi Patti, Wow, Wow! Thank you for this absolutely PERFECT Delish recipe!! These cinnamon rolls came out AWESOMELY DELISH!! Love, Love the cajeta filling :). I have made these 3 times & the 3rd time were the Best batch. One thing I’ve learned by making & baking these DELISH rolls is you have to have patience for rolls to rise properly. My 3rd batch I let my dough rise in the oven for 2 hours then 1 hour after rolling them. My rolls came out soooo buttery & soft. The glaze is absolutely fabulous!
    This is my family’s new favorite cinnamon rolls with our favorite mexican cajeta filling. Gracias again! Mucho amor,Brenda 🙂

  31. Well I placed them in the warmest area possible or atleast tried to. We have a kitchen vent that can blow in there. They did rise when I baked them, which was great! I think I over rolled the dough? They weren’t as fluffy as yours. Although they came out really good! But I’m going to try again. 🙂

  32. Hi Pati! I’m attempting to make your cinnamon roles. I’m at the point where you put them in the butter baking pan for rising, the step before they go in the oven. They didn’t double in size like you said. It’s been an hour. Can I let them sit longer? Or did I do something wrong? They haven’t changed size since I rolled them.
    By the way I love your show!!

  33. Hi Pati. Thanks for the great recipes and enthusiasm. For dulce de leche, the easiest way to make it is to buy a can of sweetened condensed milk, take the label off, put the can in a pot of simmering water for 2-3 hours (the longer the time the darker the dulce)…make sure the can stays covered in water. Let cool, open can, dulce de leche!

    Great sweet roll recipe BTW!

  34. dear pati, just saw the show on these cinnamon rolls….. cannot wait to make them! maybe yournext cookbook should be a baking book!……….per your response…….Surely, Caren: conchas, cuernos, orejas, banderillas… there were others unique to that bakery, such as the “pelones”!
    they looked so good!
    luv ya, lou

  35. Pati, In one of your earlier shows you were somewhere in Mexico where a family was making beautiful wooden spoons. Could you tell me what season and show that was. Has the artisan made the spoons available on the internet. Thanks I love your show and all of the beautiful places that you take us to. Thanks for all of the wonderful recipes. Sometimes you had something delicious but can find the recipe because it’s a family secret, o nomas un secret. Munchas gracias. Luv your show. Toni Holguin

  36. Hi Pati,
    This morning I watched you making the cinnamon rolls and the great layered breakfast dish…yum yum. Bless you for the greatest flavorful foods that make me really need to try.
    As always, you made my day with inspirations.


  37. The ingredients list says 3/4 oz of active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp) but the packet of active dry yeast says its 1/4 oz and equal to 2 1/4 tsp so does that mean I put 3 packets in to equal 3/4 oz or just one to equal 2 1/4 tsp? Sorry I’m confused a little lol!
    Thank you

  38. I made these rolls today, and they are the best cinnamon rolls we’ve ever had! I’ve been trying cinnamon roll recipes for many years, but your are by far the softest, lightest, and fluffiest! The dulce de leche and the pecans are the perfect ingredients! Thank you so much for this recipe. We really enjoy watching your program – one of our favorite episodes was the “JuJu Show” 🙂

  39. Dear Pati, Love love your shows, I’m going to bake the delicious cinnamon rolls of yours, my question is when is the proper time to freeze them.

    Thank you!

    1. You can freeze or refrigerate after you have made them into rolls, before they rise (as rolls). Then when ready to bake, let them thaw and rise outsideuntil puffed up and then bake. However, you don’t need to refrigerate or freeze. Hope you like them!

  40. For some reason I can’t get the recipe for the dulce de leche rolls. Can you please send it to me?


    1. Hi pati, i Love your recipes, what is 3/4 cup of Cajeta, or delce de l’éche? I will be baking your cinnamon rolls for m’y grand-son & family thank you.

  41. Hello I just watched my 3rd episode of your show sorry to be a late viewer. I was trying to understand the names of all the sweet rolls you held in the bakery so I could look each one up on line. I really have enjoyed your site, and show. I plan on making many recipes since we love spicy food. could you please tell the names of the beautiful bakery items you placed on your tray in the bakery?

    1. Surely, Caren: conchas, cuernos, orejas, banderillas… there were others unique to that bakery, such as the “pelones”!

  42. Pati I just wanted to thank you for your amazing recipes…I just made these cinnamon rolls with my 2 little ones Sofia 7 and Julian 5 yrs old….they loved the preparation process and the tasting of their hard work, it gave us wonderful family time together, which you can never put a price on that….I’ve been following your show since season 1, my parents are from Jalisco. My Dad was from Lagos de Moreno, and my Mom from Ciudad Guzman. Mexican food is so awesome, your recipes bring back beautiful memories of my mom’s cooking. Thank you for your time, sincerest thoughts,
    Noemi Solis Rivas

    1. You are so generous and kind with your comments, and I am so happy to hear your kids enjoy jumping in the kitchen with you! It is by far my favorite thing to do with my boys… (Jalisco has the best ever Pozole Rojo…)