Cinnamon Star Bread is a pull apart treat similar to cinnamon rolls. Layers of yeast dough, butter and cinnamon-sugar, are stacked, cut, and twisted to shape a beautiful star. This easy recipe uses Rhodes rolls for the dough.

*This post is brought to you by Rhodes Bake-N-Serv. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Dessert Now Dinner Later possible. 

Looking for more Christmas breakfast ideas? Try Rhodes rolls monkey bread, classic caramel pecan rolls, my easy kolache recipe, or simple cinnamon knots.

Cinnamon Star Bread made with Rhodes rolls in a basket.

Star Bread

Star bread looks like a gourmet masterpiece, but is really quite simple to make. All you do is stack layers, cut strips — leaving a circle in the center uncut — and twist the ends. There are:

  • 4 layers of dough, rolled into 10-inch circles.
  • 3 layers of filling. I used butter smeared with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • 16 strips cut around the center, that are twisted in pairs of 2 to make 8 star points.

This recipe is all about simple steps and big smiles, making it the perfect holiday baking adventure for beginners and seasoned bakers alike.

Gather your loved ones, roll up your sleeves, and let’s make this Christmas extra special with the irresistible aroma of homemade Cinnamon Star Bread wafting through your home. Let me show you exactly how to make it!

Close up of star bread with cinnamon layers.

For the Dough

I wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible, so I used Rhodes rolls. They taste homemade without all the work of making yeast bread from scratch. Rhodes rolls are frozen, so you will need to set aside time to let the dough thaw. I always have a stash in my freezer for dinner or fun recipes like this.

Package of Rhodes rolls with four groups of three rolls close-together; thawed on a sheet pan.
  • Place 12 Rhodes rolls in four groups of 3 rolls each on a greased or silicone lined baking sheet. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

NOTE: If you want slightly thicker layers, consider using 16 rolls, in four groups of 4 rolls each.

Prepare the Layers

  • Pinch three rolls together and roll them into a 10-inch circle on top of parchment paper. This helps make stacking the layers really simple. Repeat with the other rolls to make four circles, each on a separate piece of parchment paper.
Two images. 1. Rolling Rhodes rolls together into one round circle on top of parchment paper. 2. Bowl full of brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
  • Make sure the butter is soft and spreadable, but not melted. You may nuke the butter in the microwave for 5 second increments, if needed.

Assembling the Layers

  • Place one circle of dough, with the parchment paper still underneath, onto a rimmed sheet pan.
  • Spread a thin layer (about 1.5 Tbsp) of butter on top of the circle of dough, leaving 1/2-inch bare on the edges.
  • Sprinkle 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the butter, then spread evenly with your hand.
Making cinnamon star bread with Rhodes rolls, butter, and cinnamon-sugar.
  • Add another circle of dough by flipping the dough with the parchment paper over on top the cinnamon-sugar. Then pull the paper away from the dough. NOTE: You may need to stretch the edges of the dough to make sure it lines up with the circle underneath.
  • Repeat layering the butter, cinnamon-sugar, and dough circles, leaving the top circle bare.
Two images. 1. Layering the dough with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. 2. Cutting off the excess dough using a bowl and pizza cutter.
  • Gently place a 10-inch bowl or plate on top of the stack and use a pizza cutter to cut around the bowl/plate to create a perfect circle. Remove and discard any excess dough.

Shaping the Cinnamon Star Bread

After the layers are stacked and the circle is rounded, you will make 16 strips of dough.

Process of cutting the dough into 16 strips with a circle in the center left uncut.
  • Place a 2-inch bowl in the center of the circle. Make 16 even cuts from the bowl to the edge, cutting through all the layers. (To make even strips, first cut the circle into fourths. Then cut each section in half to make 8 strips. Then cut each of those sections in half again to make 16 strips total.) Remove bowl from center.
Process of twisting two strips of dough together to form points of the star bread.
  • Take two adjacent strips by the ends and twist them away from each other 3-4 times. Then pinch the ends together to create one point of the star. Repeat with the remaining strips.

NOTE: The amount of twists may depend on how thin the dough was rolled and/or how long the strips are. Make sure you count how many turns you make, so you do the same thing to each point of the star.

Baking and Storing

  • Cover the cinnamon star bread with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Uncover and re-pinch the points. Brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 Tablespoon of water; discard excess).
Before and after baking cinnamon star bread.
  • Bake at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and an internal temperature of 190-200˚F.
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy warm with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.
  • Cover and store leftover star bread at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Nuke leftovers in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften the bread.
Close up of star bread made from Rhodes rolls with cinnamon layers.

Alternative Fillings

Star bread is very versatile. While we love this cinnamon star bread, you could swap the filling for:

  • Jam – any flavor
  • Nutella
  • Apple Butter
  • Pumpkin Butter
  • Pesto – for a savory option
Cinnamon Star Bread made with Rhodes rolls in a basket.

If you love cinnamon rolls, you’re going to love this cinnamon star bread. The bottom gets so sticky and gooey from the butter and brown sugar spilling out while baking. Delicious!

Cinnamon Star Bread made with Rhodes rolls in a basket.

Cinnamon Star Bread

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Elevate your holiday baking tradition with our step-by-step guide, and unwrap the joy of sharing this delectable Cinnamon Star Bread with family and friends this Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 12 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, gently packed
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Place 12 Rhodes rolls in four groups of 3 rolls each on a greased or silicone lined baking sheet. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
  2. Pinch three rolls together and roll them into a 10-inch circle on top of parchment paper. This helps make stacking the layers really simple. Repeat with the other rolls to make four circles, each on a separate piece of parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Make sure the butter is soft and spreadable, but not melted. You may nuke the butter in the microwave for 5 second increments, if needed.
  4. Place one circle of dough, with the parchment paper still underneath, onto a rimmed sheet pan. Spread a thin layer (about 1.5 Tbsp) of butter on top of the circle of dough, leaving 1/2-inch bare on the edges.
  5. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the butter, then spread evenly with your hand.
  6. Add another circle of dough by flipping the dough with the parchment paper over on top the cinnamon-sugar. Then pull the paper away from the dough. NOTE: You may need to stretch the edges of the dough to make sure it lines up with the circle underneath.
  7. Repeat layering the butter, cinnamon-sugar, and dough circles, leaving the top circle bare.
  8. Gently place a 10-inch bowl or plate on top of the stack and use a pizza cutter to cut around the bowl/plate to create a perfect circle. Remove and discard any excess dough.
  9. Place a 2-inch bowl in the center of the circle. Make 16 even cuts from the bowl to the edge, cutting through all the layers. (To make even strips, first cut the circle into fourths. Then cut each section in half to make 8 strips. Then cut each of those sections in half again to make 16 strips total.) Remove bowl from center.
  10. Take two adjacent strips by the ends and twist them away from each other 3-4 times. Then pinch the ends together to create one point of the star. Repeat with the remaining strips. NOTE: The amount of twists may depend on how thin the dough was rolled and/or how long the strips are. Make sure you count how many turns you make, so you do the same thing to each point of the star.
  11. Cover the cinnamon star bread with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncover and re-pinch the points. Brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 Tablespoon of water; discard excess).
  12. Bake at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and an internal temperature of 190-200˚F. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy warm with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.

Notes

    • If you want slightly thicker layers, consider using 16 rolls, in four groups of 4 rolls each.
    • Cover and store leftover star bread at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Nuke leftovers in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften the bread.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 233mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 5g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix, and is an estimation only.