Breads & Doughs

Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

4.75 from 8 votes
Indulge in these irresistible Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls with fluffy bread, sweet tangy filling, and luscious nutty caramel!
Soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls are packed with bananas and baked golden-brown, served in a silver rectangular plater, topped with toasted walnuts and smooth decadent caramel sauce, perfect to go with tea on the side.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: This Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls recipe is the ultimate sweet and gooey treat for breakfast or dessert. It’s a dreamy cross between a cinnamon roll, banana bread, and sticky buns. Even better, they only take 35 minutes to bake!

This recipe elevates classic cinnamon rolls by adding banana to the dough, doubling down with luscious banana cream cheese filling, and then taking it over the top with rich caramel sauce and toasted walnuts. And when you turn this upside-down treat out of the pan, the gorgeous swirls of cinnamon rolls with glistening caramel glaze look absolutely stunning!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated on 11/2/2023, to include a new step-by-step tutorial video and the improved title. 

Table Of Contents

Soft and fluffy Banana Upside-Down Cinnamon Rolls are packed with bananas and baked golden-brown, served in a silver rectangular plater, topped with toasted walnuts and smooth decadent caramel sauce.

What Are Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls?

Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls are a flavor-layered twist on traditional cinnamon rolls. Classic cinnamon rolls (also known as cinnamon buns, cinnamon swirls, and cinnamon pinwheels) are sweet and sticky rolls believed to originated in 1920s Sweden.

In this version, sweet banana dough is rolled up into the classic cinnamon roll shape and filled with a delicious banana cream-cheese filling. Similar to pineapple upside-down cake the bottom of the baking dish is covered with a sauce before you place your banana cinnamon rolls on top. Once it’s baked, you flip it and the bottom now becomes the top.

Tools You Need To Make Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls:

Key Ingredients and Why

For The Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls Dough:

  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has 9-11% protein content, which gives a slightly chewy, but never tough, result.
  • Instant yeast: I always use Instant Yeast instead of Active Dry Yeast. .
  • Bananas: Very ripe, brown, mashed bananas will give the most flavor and moisture.
  • Butter: Butter adds richness and flavor.

For The Banana Cream Cheese Filling:

  • Cream cheese: Use softened, full-fat, brick-style cream cheese, not the spreadable tub version, for the best result. Or make Homemade Cream Cheese from scratch! 
  • Dark brown sugar: Dark brown sugar gives your cinnamon rolls a deeper, caramel-like flavor. Check out my How To Make Brown Sugar recipe, and you’ll never run out.
  • Butter: Melted butter is crucial for an easy, spreadable cream cheese filling.
    • To melt your butter, place pieces of it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds.
    • If there are any leftover pieces, stir them around and they should melt away.
  • Cinnamon: Highly aromatic ground cinnamon is perfect for adding warmth to these rolls.

For The Caramel Sauce and Topping:

  • Dark brown sugar: Dark brown sugar gives depth of flavor to your sauce.
  • Butter: Butter adds an incredible amount of flavor and richness when mixed with dark brown sugar. Feel free to use salted or unsalted butter.
  • Honey: Honey is an important ingredient for elevating the caramel flavors in your sauce while also preventing it from crystallizing or causing grainy, solid pieces in your caramel sauce.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts are great for some added nutty flavor and texture.
    • Toast and chop your walnuts before scattering them on your filling.

How To Make Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

Make The upside-down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls Dough:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients on low speed until well-mixed.
  2. Add in the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until the dough just starts to leave the sides of the bowl. It should stay very soft and a bit sticky.
  3. Grease a large bowl and transfer the dough. Cover well and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

The soft smooth dough is ready for proofing in a large greased glass bowl, with a rolling pin and a small bowl of extra flour on the right.

Make The Filling:

 Stir together the filling ingredients. Set aside.

Make The Caramel Sauce:

  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the brown sugar, melted butter, and honey until the sugar has totally dissolved.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Evenly pour caramel into the prepared banking pan and scatter toasted walnuts on top.

The rich caramel is in deep amber color and sitting in the prepared pan with toasted walnuts scattered on top.

Assemble The Banana Cinnamon Rolls:

  1. Once the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into a rectangle with the long side closest to you.
  2. Spread the filling and scatter diced bananas evenly over the surface of the dough then, starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a tight log.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make Banana Upside Down Cinnamon Rolls: The sweet buttery cinnamon sugar filling is being evenly spread with an offset spatula onto the dough sheet.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make Banana Upside Down Cinnamon Rolls: Diced fresh bananas are evenly scattered on top of the deep amber color filling over the dough.

  1. If you start by rolling the dough away from you, every time you roll it up away, gently pull the roll back towards you to make sure the roll is tight.
  2. With a serrated knife and using a sawing motion, cut the log in half. Cut each half into equal pieces so that you have equally sized small logs. Cut each small log into more equally sized pieces.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make Banana Upside Down Cinnamon Rolls: The equally-sized individual small logs are on a floured surface, with fresh bananas and gooey cinnamon sugar filling facing up.

  1. Place the rolls cut side up in your prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, lightly floured tea towel and let rise until doubled in size.

The cut-out rolls are placed on top of toasted walnut caramel sauce in the baking pan, ready for the final proofing.

Bake The Rolls:

  1. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until deep golden brown.
  3. Immediately invert the hot rolls onto a serving dish and serve while still warm.

The Best Way to Toast Walnuts

  • Scatter your walnuts on a baking tray and bake at 350°F (180°C)  for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Check frequently to make sure they don’t burn. Once cooled, chop them up into smaller pieces, and you’re ready to go!

Can I Make Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls Ahead Of Time?

  • You definitely can! Make your dough and filling as usual and cut into slices. Then, store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. The filling will keep in the refrigerator for a bit longer.
  • When you are ready, bake them off as usual. I suggest baking them off as soon as possible because the rolls may deflate as time goes on.

How To Store Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

  • If you have leftover Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls, store them in an airtight container or covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
  • To freeze, wrap individual rolls in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to reheat, thaw the rolls in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature and pop them in the microwave or oven for 20 to 30 seconds.

FAQs

Can I use frozen bananas?

Yes, but make sure the frozen bananas you use are pre-ripened and thawed before use, as bananas don’t ripen further when you store them in the freezer.

Why didn’t my cinnamon rolls rise? How do I prevent this?

There are two common reasons why your cinnamon rolls didn’t rise:

  • Make sure to use yeast that hasn’t expired. How you store it will also affect it. Storing yeast in the fridge or freezer will keep it fresh for a longer time.
  • If you use ACTIVE DRY YEAST, use it with the double amount of INSTANT yeast required by the recipe.
    • Bring the liquid in your recipe to blood temperature and mix in active dry yeast. Let it sit at room temperature for roughly 5 minutes until foam forms on top. Stir it back in and use the mixture in recipes.
  • INSTANT YEAST can be used directly into dry ingredients. Note to avoid direct contact with salt by mixing it with flour first so it won’t get deactivated
  • Do not over proof or under proof the dough : When it comes to bread fermenting/ proofing, there is no restricted timeline. The telltale sign you use is how your dough looks: if the dough has doubled in size, almost feels lighter but still strong and a finger indent doesn’t spring back right away, then it’s ready.
  • The more you shape your dough, the more tension it’s receiving, which means the longer time the dough needs to rest enough for a better rise.

Why is my cinnamon roll dough dry? How do I fix dry cinnamon rolls?

  • Your dough may be a bit dry or firm if you used too much flour or if you overmixed it. The good news is you can fix it!
  • Add the remaining milk to your dough and incorporate thoroughly. This should make it more soft and sticky. Be sure to add a tablespoon at a time to not make your dough too sticky and soft.

Can I use canned cinnamon rolls for this recipe?

No, I don’t recommend it.

  • Most canned versions have pre-cut slices and you can’t unroll them.
  • Additionally, it won’t taste the same since the bananas aren’t baked into the dough and you won’t be able to add the banana cream cheese filling in the middle.

What should I do if I don’t have a stand mixer?

Feel free to use a bread machine or even knead by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer!

  • A bread machine will be just as easy and quick as a stand mixer; however, kneading by hand will take longer and be a bit more difficult. 
  • For hand kneading: After mixing all ingredients and a dough forms, you can FLAP it on the work surface (dust very little flour), then STRETCH one part of the dough and FOLD it over itself. TURN the dough 90 degrees and repeat.  Not much strength involved. It should build up stands of gluten in roughly 10 minutes with lots of air in it.

Two of Banana Upside Down Cinnamon Rolls are served on two white scalloped-edge dessert plates with forks, paired with tea. The top is caramelized and crowned with toasted nuts.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips:

  • If you don’t have a sharp serrated-edge knife, you can use unflavored dental floss to cut your rolls. Simply wrap the log with the floss and pull tight. Using dull knives will cause the rolls to flatten and not keep up their roll shape.
  • Make sure to let your dough rise for an appropriate amount of time. This will give you the soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls we know and love.
  • Properly butter your baking dish so that it’s easier to pop out your rolls when they are finished baking.
  • Though this recipe is for banana bread, you can also experiment with other fruits (dried or fresh) and nuts! I recommend apples, pears, raisins, and pecans.
  • These rolls are best served warm. For extra sweetness and flavor, top with my Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting.

Looking For More Cinnamon Roll Recipes? Check Out:

And don’t miss more everyday baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated on 11/2/2023, to include a new step-by-step tutorial video and the improved title. 

Watch The Recipe Video!

Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

4.75 from 8 votes
Indulge in these irresistible Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls with fluffy bread, sweet tangy filling, and luscious nutty caramel!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 rolls
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Indulge in these irresistible Upside-Down Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls with fluffy bread, sweet tangy filling, and luscious nutty caramel!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 rolls

Ingredients

Dough

  • 4 cups (20 oz/568 g) all-purpose flour
  • cup (5 oz/142 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (9¼ oz/260 g) very ripe, mashed bananas (about 3)
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) butter, softened
  • 4-6 tablespoons whole milk , lukewarm

Banana Cream Cheese Filling

  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (3 oz/85 g) dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (2 oz/57 g) butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium ripe bananas , diced

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (6 oz/170 g) dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) butter
  • ¼ cup (2½ oz/71 g) honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (5 oz/142 g) walnuts, toasted and chopped

Instructions

To Make the Dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt on low speed until well mixed.
  • Add in the mashed bananas, butter and 4 tablespoons of milk and mix on low speed until the dough just starts to leave the sides of the bowl, about 6-8 minutes. It should stay very soft and a bit sticky. If the dough seems a bit dry or firm, add the remaining milk.
  • Grease a large bowl and transfer the dough. Cover well and let rise in a warm place until grown in size, 1 ½ - 2 hours. Just a warning that this is a sluggish dough and doesn't rise very high.

Making the Filling

  • In a medium bowl cream together the cream cheese, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Making the Caramel Sauce

  • Butter a 9x13-inch (23x33cm) baking dish and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, warm the brown sugar, butter and honey until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and salt, then pour this into your prepared pan. Scatter the walnuts on top of the caramel sauce. Set aside.

Assembling the Rolls

  • Once the dough has risen, transfer it to a floured surface and roll the dough into a roughly 12x18-inch (30x46cm) rectangle, with a long side closest to you.
  • Spread the filling and diced bananas evenly over the surface of the dough and then, starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a tight log.
  • With a serrated knife and using a sawing motion, cut the log in half. Cut each half into 2 equal pieces so that you have 4 equally sized small logs. Cut each small log into 3 equally sized pieces.
  • Place the rolls cut side up in your prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, lightly floured tea towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Baking the Rolls

  • Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Remove the cover and bake for 30-35 minutes, until deep golden brown.
  • Immediately invert the hot rolls onto a serving dish. Serve while still warm. Store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
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Kem Sandifer
5 months ago

OMG!!! I made these to take to work. They are ridiculous!! I had to force myself to stop eating them. This is definitely going to be a “go-to” recipe from now on. Thanks so much for sharing your great recipes. (I didn’t have bananas or nuts….next time!)

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Tish
Tish
2 months ago

Hi Gemma! I’m new to BBB and I’ve loved everything I’ve made from your site so far!! My question is how can I store the cinnamon rolls for longer than 24 hours? Can they be and if so, how? I’d like to make them for guests staying with us for a few days and there’s no way we’ll get through 12 rolls in 24 hours. Do they freeze well?

Corinne
Corinne
5 months ago

Just watched the video and I’m going to have to make these soon! Thanks for yet another fabulous recipe.

TriciaElizabeth
10 months ago

Sorry Gemma I should have reviewed the pics before asking my question about the diced bananas in the filling, so don’t post my comment, but I would suggest adding this to the written recipe. Many thanks. Tricia

TriciaElizabeth
10 months ago

I’m going to try this recipe. It looks amazing. When do I add the diced bananas to the filling? Do I sprinkle them on top after I’ve spread the filling over the dough before I roll it up? Thanks.

Kathy
Kathy
10 months ago

Gemma: You left the 2 chopped bananas out of the filling. This sounds good, but I will have to leave the nuts out.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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