Five Spice Sweet Rolls

A frosted five spice sweet roll being removed from a Dutch oven.

Rolled sweet rolls come in a wide variety of flavors, not just cinnamon, this version uses the unique option of Chinese five spice. Often associated with savory dishes it also works well with sweet ones.

The dough is scratch made and has three raising cycles before baking. The final rise is done in the Dutch oven prior to baking. If cold weather then it may be a good idea to warm the Dutch oven before this step.

To serve the sweet rolls are topped with a cream cheese frosting. This can be done in the Dutch oven they are cooked in, or they can all be removed and frosted separately. They can be served warm or cold.

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A frosted five spice sweet roll being removed from a Dutch oven.
The five spice rolls can be removed from the Dutch oven or frosted and served directly from it.
A Dutch oven with frosted sweet rolls with the bowl of frosting sitting next to it.
Frost the five spice sweet rolls enough to add some extra sweetness while still being able to see the brown top so as not to overpower its flavor.
The five spice sweet roll served on a white plate with a fork.
The five spice sweet roll can be served for morning or afternoon tea as well as an easy dessert at lunch or dinner.
Looking down on a small plate with a five spice sweet roll.
After being left for a while the frosting will spread evenly and firm up slightly.
Looking into a Dutch oven to see golden brown baked sweet rolls.
The five spice rolls are ready when golden brown and the dough is cooked throughout.

Five Spice Sweet Rolls Recipe

A frosted five spice sweet roll being removed from a Dutch oven.
Preparation 20 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
rising 3 hours
Ready in 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 18
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  • 1 1/2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
  • 3 7g packets yeast or 2 tablespoons of bulk yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

Five Spice Filling

  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • Chinese five spice
  • 2 cups brown sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  • 1 14 inch Dutch oven



  • Scald milk until bubbles form around the outsides edges of the Dutch oven.  Remove from heat and cool in a large bowl. Add butter to scalded milk to cool it down and melt the butter. 
  • In a small dutch oven warm water to 110 degrees and add the yeast and a sprinkle of sugar. Set aside until bubbly. 
  • In a large bowl with the buttered milk add the sugar, eggs, and salt, then beat lightly.  Add in proofed yeast and mix. 
  • Add 4 cups of flour and the gluten.  Mix in more flour as needed until a soft dough is formed. Flour the work surface and knead the dough until smooth. 
  • Place the dough in a buttered bowl and rise until double.
  • Punch down the dough then rise until doubled again. 
  • Butter the work surface and push the dough into a rectangle.  The dough is now ready for the filling.

Five Spice Filling

  • Rub the softened butter all over the dough. 
  • Sprinkle enough five spice to lightly cover the buttered dough then sprinkle over the brown sugar, pushing out evenly to cover all of the dough. 

To Bake

  • Start with a large side for the rectangle and roll it up pinching the dough together to seal the edge.
  • Cut the dough roll into 1-inch (2 ½ cm) rounds then place into a buttered 14-inch Dutch oven.  Let the dough rise until doubled.
    Tip: If it is cold warm the Dutch oven before adding the rolls to rise.
  • Bake the risen sweet rolls at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). This takes about 25 minutes or until they are brown and cooked through.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream softened butter and cream cheese whipping until smooth. 
  • Add the powdered sugar and whip for 12 minutes.   
  • Add the vanilla and lemon juice then whip until well combined.

To Serve

  • Cool the sweet rolls until warm then top them with the cream cheese.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 641kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 8gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 504mgPotassium: 155mgFiber: 1gSugar: 56gVitamin A: 937IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 2mg

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About Kathy Caldwell

Became intrigued by the mystery of Dutch oven cooking when I first saw Cee Dubb on TV.

Learn more about Kathy Caldwell
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