Why Ree Drummond Preps Cinnamon Rolls In Her Dutch Oven

When it comes to comfort foods, Ree Drummond is a trustworthy source. The chef has garnered acclaim (not to mention a popular cooking show, several cookbooks, and a successful food blog) for her imaginative, delicious recipes for cowboy-style, hearty family favorites. So, if Drummond's method for making cinnamon rolls is different from any you've seen before, don't be taken aback — The Pioneer Woman knows what she's doing. Rather than using a stand mixer, she mixes the dough by hand, then moves the dough to a Dutch oven, a deep pot most commonly used to make soups and stews.

Why mix by hand when a stand mixer can do it all for you? Well, Drummond's cinnamon roll recipe is her mother's, and everyone knows you don't mess with mama's recipes. As for the Dutch oven, the deep pot happens to be the perfect place to effectively proof the dough. The ingredients are all combined in the pot and left to sit and rise (or proof). The Dutch oven is the only vessel you need to prepare the dough, making for less cleanup, and the final cinnamon rolls are so good that Drummond promises they will make you the most popular person in town... if you share them, that is.

One pot and done for these cinnamon rolls

Ree Drummond showcased these Dutch oven cinnamon rolls her on television show "The Pioneer Woman," alongside fellow food blogger Joy Wilson, otherwise known as Joy the Baker. In the segment, which can be seen on YouTube, Drummond heats milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a Dutch oven, adds yeast and flour, and mixes it all together with a wooden spoon. The lid is placed on the pot and then left alone for an hour so the dough can rise. Once the dough has risen, Drummond adds more flour, plus a few other ingredients like baking soda, and then the dough is rolled out and spread with filling.

When you look at other cinnamon roll recipes — some of which require a stand mixer, a whisk, a good amount of hand-kneading, and placing the dough into a separate, greased, covered bowl to rise — you can see the convenience and ease that Drummond's recipe offers. Beginner bakers may shy away from slightly complicated baked goods like cinnamon rolls, but her recipe is refreshingly approachable.

Customize your Dutch oven cinnamon rolls

While you can even bake your cinnamon rolls in a Dutch oven, Ree Drummond prefers to place her rolls in baking pans instead. Her recipe is great for customizing, though, and she can be seen experimenting with it on "The Pioneer Woman."  In a recipe on her blog, the chef uses a classic filling of butter, sugar, and cinnamon, but on the cooking show episode, Joy the Baker added dark chocolate, orange zest, and pistachios to the rolls. This just goes to show you that cinnamon rolls are an open-canvas recipe made for experimentation.

There are many ways to prepare cinnamon rolls from scratch, and you can borrow Drummond's Dutch oven-proofing trick for most recipes. Fillings are the easiest aspect to tweak — you can completely forgo the classic butter-based filling and instead opt for chocolate hazelnut spread or salted caramel sauce mixed with cinnamon. Pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts can add some crunch to your rolls. And if you're a fruit lover, add some apple pie filling, sweet peaches, your favorite jam, or dried fruits like golden raisins or dried cherries. And if you really feel like shaking things up, let your dough rise, form your rolls, and then cook them in a waffle iron.