Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Soft, fluffy, buttery cinnamon rolls you can begin ahead of time. Save time in the morning and have everyone wake up to warm, fresh, cinnamon goodness!

cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing

I love all things sweet rolls. Orange, blueberry, cherry, caramel apple, pumpkin, you name it. But sometimes? Nothing and I mean nothing beats a classic cinnamon roll.

Most of my sweet roll recipes can be started the night before, but none of their doughs are actually developed to be an overnight recipe. Today’s cinnamon roll dough gets better with age. Or you know… overnight… making it a perfect make ahead recipe.

They’re dreamy.

cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing on a white plate

This is a wonderful brunch if you’re entertaining this holiday week or anytime throughout the year. (Anytime is cinnamon roll time.) The dough is made the night before. Allow it to rise, roll it up tightly, slice into rolls, cover tightly, and pop in the refrigerator. The next morning, remove the rolls from the cold air and let rise for 1-2 hours before baking.

Your family and guests will wake up to warm, fluffy, fresh, ooey gooey cinnamon rolls. And BONUS! The smell of cinnamon rolls baking. Is there any scent better? This overnight cinnamon roll recipe is something to keep on hand if you’ve got a busy morning and plenty of mouths to feed.

3 images showing how to make cinnamon roll dough

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

Making The Dough

Don’t let yeast terrify you. It’s simply an ingredient that goes into the recipe. My go-to brand is Red Star Yeast; I’ve been working with them for a couple of years and I haven’t found a yeast on the market that can do what Red Star Yeast does. Honestly. Their Platinum line is unbeatable and makes working with yeast… easy! The dough starts out with a little yeast proofing, which I explain in the written recipe below. This step is literally telling you if your yeast is active. Which likely, it is. I use a little more yeast in this recipe compared to my easy cinnamon rolls (a great beginner recipe) because these are about twice the size. After that a little butter and two eggs are added, which make the dough incredibly rich and tender. This has to be the richest sweet dough I’ve ever tasted.

The flour comes next. You’ll need a fair amount of flour to support the dough’s moisture. I always use about 4 and 1/2 cups, but this amount will depend on the feel of your dough. If your dough is a little sticky, add another Tablespoon or two until it’s soft and supple, but not overly sticky. Alternatively, if your dough is a little too stiff, beat in a couple drops of warm water to soften it back up again.

Though this is a yeasted dough recipe prepared in a stand mixer, you don’t necessarily need one to make it. A handheld mixer would be just fine. If you don’t have either, you’ll need some arm muscles to break down the dough’s butter and to knead the dough. Once the dough is prepared, into a large greased bowl it goes. Allow to rise until doubled in size. This will be the FIRST rise. There are two. You’ll let the rolls rise again in the morning.

Once risen, fill with all the cinnamon sugar goodness (a lot of it!) and roll up tightly. Cut into rolls and arrange in the baking pan. Like so:

cinnamon rolls in a baking dish before rising

Cover this pan up tightly to allow the rolls to rise again overnight. Emphasis on tightly! Any dough directly exposed to cold air may dry out, creating a dry and crumbly dough for your cinnamon rolls.

The next morning (about 8-12 hours), allow to rise in the warm environment again until doubled in size. Look at this supple dough ready to be baked:

cinnamon rolls in a baking dish after rising

Bake. Smell. Heaven.

cinnamon rolls after baking in a baking pan

Allllllllll the cream cheese frosting melting into every crack and crevice.

cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing in a baking pan

They’re incredibly fluffy, uniquely rich, buttery, soft, and filled to the max with cinnamon sugar goodness. The filling’s the best part right? The butter used in the filling is what makes them supremely gooey, so don’t skimp! These make ahead cinnamon rolls will be the star of your morning; from scratch always wins.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 12-15 hours (overnight)
  • Yield: 12 rolls
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Soft, fluffy, buttery cinnamon rolls you can begin ahead of time. Save time in the morning and have everyone wake up to warm, fresh, cinnamon goodness!



  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk*
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons (14g) Red Star Platinum yeast (2 standard size packets)*
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/2 cups (558g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for dusting/rolling


  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 2 ounces (about 1/4 cup or 56g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (150g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Make the dough: Heat milk to about 95°F (35°C)– use microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer OR no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). With a whisk, manually whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. (Tip: Rising at room temperature is usually fine, but on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the shaped cake inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
  3. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish or line with parchment paper. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
  4. For the filling: Spread the softened butter all over the dough. Don’t skimp– you want it all on there. In a small bowl, toss the cinnamon and sugar together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. If some filling spills out, that’s ok just sprinkle it on top of the rolls. Cut into 12 even rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil (no rolls exposed– this dries out your dough!) and stick in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.3
  5. Remove rolls from the refrigerator and let rise just as you did in step 2 until they are puffy, about 1-2 hours. Mine usually take 1 and 1/2 hours.
  6. After the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden brown. About halfway through the bake time, I like to cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t brown too much. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes as you make the icing.
  7. Make the icing: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Using a knife, spread the icing over the warm rolls and serve immediately. Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days– I prefer this over storing in the refrigerator. I find that dries them out, but do what you like best.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked rolls and here’s how: let the rolls rise overnight through step 4, then the next morning do step 5. Then, bake the rolls for only about 10 minutes at 375°F (191°C). Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. Take the rolls out of the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator. Once thawed, finish baking them.
  2. Milk: Whole milk preferred for richest tasting dough. 2% or 1% would be fine, but not ideal. Nonfat is not recommended.
  3. Yeast: If not using an instant yeast, rise time may be up to 40% longer. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  4. No Time for Overnight? If planning to bake the rolls right away, in step 4– instead of sticking the rolls in the refrigerator, loosely cover them and let rise in a warm place just as you did in step 2 until they are puffy, about 2 hours. Then continue with step 6.

Keywords: overnight cinnamon rolls, homemade cinnamon rolls

Merry Christmas. Thank you for reading Sally’s Baking Addiction and making me apart of your day and kitchen!

1st married christmas ornament on a christmas tree

See more breakfast ideas.


Comments are closed.

  1. Wonderful rolls! Two hours in crockpot and delicious, brown rolls magically appeared. Easy to make and eat. One modification I made, due to my misreading the recipe, was to mix the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon together to make a filling paste. It spread easily and evenly.

  2. I made these for my brother’s birthday. The dough was perfect and easy to work with. The only change I made to the process was that I mixed the filling ingredients and spread it on the dough. They did turn out bigger than I thought, but we’re delicious. I bake often but had never made cinnamon rolls from scratch, will continue to use this recipe. It was easier than I thought.

  3. Hi Sally,
    If I put 8 rolls in a 9×13 dish will they expand and fill the dish when they rise the second time? (I also plan on making the other 4 in a separate dish).

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, We recommend putting all 12 rolls in a 9×13 inch pan. If you only put 8 rolls in the same size pan they will likely begin to unroll as they expand as they will have too much room.

  4. Hi, Sally!
    Would it be possible to cut the recipe in half or in 1/4? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kylie, You can cut this dough recipe in half. The 1st rise time will be shorter since there’s less dough. For the 2nd rise, the rolls can still rise overnight or– if not making overnight– just let them double in size and puff up before baking. Bake time will be a little shorter too.

  5. Hey Sally! I’m making these now for tomorrow morning. I halved the recipe as it’s just my husband and I. Should I still bake for the same amount of time? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shelton, I’m just seeing this but if you make them again you can cut this dough recipe in half. The 1st rise time will be shorter since there’s less dough. For the 2nd rise, the rolls can still rise overnight or– if not making overnight– just let them double in size and puff up before baking. Bake time will be a little shorter too.

      1. Thanks Stephanie! I saw after looking again that someone else had the same question (sorry!) so I was able to follow the response on there. It was my first time making cinnamon rolls and they were delicious! I baked them for about 20 minutes and that was perfect.

  6. Hi Sally,
    Can I use this recipe but not do the overnight rise? Just 60-90 minutes for the 2nd rise?
    I have used your easy cinnamon roll recipe several times and I noticed these 2 recipes are very similar but this just has more quantity of the ingredients (i.e. more flour) and a slightly different process. Thanks

    1. Hi Karen! These overnight cinnamon rolls are softer, fluffier, and taste a little more indulgent than the quick version you’ve tried before. You can skip the overnight instruction and simply let the shaped cinnamon rolls rise at room temperature (like the 1st rise) until they’re puffy, about 1-2 hours.

  7. Made this last night/ this morning. It turned out really well! Thank you! Your recipes always turn out well for me!

  8. Hi sally I’ve made your cinnamon rolls and they are great! If I use instant yeast do I still follow both rises and is the process still the same?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, no changes necessary if using instant yeast!

  9. Rebecca M Scully says:

    I don’t have refrigerator real estate for a baking sheet. Can I refrigerate the roll overnight, then in the morning cut and rise?

    1. Hi Rebecca! You can do that. Make sure the roll is tightly covered– don’t wrap it in plastic wrap because it can expand, just cover with aluminum foil. Cut the rolls in the morning, arrange in your baking pan, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size.

  10. Hi Sally,
    Love your site and frequently come here for the best version of anything I’m baking!
    Just wondering if the 2nd rise in the morning is supposed to be tightly covered, loosely covered, or uncovered?

    1. Hi Tisha, thank you so much! Lightly or tightly covered is best. (Don’t keep them uncovered.)

  11. I’ve made these multiple times, they are tasty, soft, fluffy rolls but I make the dough without a mixer and find it far to wet and sticky.
    There would be no way to knead it by hand so have had to use a bowl method.
    I’ve also had to reduced the liquid or add more flour in the past and although I haven’t done them overnight yet, I also find it doesn’t need 14g yeast (I use half that of fast acting) and never had any rise issues.
    A nice sweet treat. Happy baking all.

  12. I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, and I was amazed at how delicious and moist these were. The sound that the dough made when plopping onto the counter after rising was so satisfying. The only part of the recipe that I wasn’t in love with was the icing, but I think that’s a matter of personal preference. I wanted more cream cheese flavor. We actually doubled the icing recipe, too, which I would recommend for anyone who is an icing lover. Double was a little too much, but the amount specified in the recipe wouldn’t have been enough for us.

  13. Do you have any recommendations for adjusting for high altitude baking (mile high/5280)? I’ve read online to cut the yeast by half but that seems extreme! Any suggestions?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tracy I wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  14. Hi Sally!
    Planning on making these for Thanksgiving morning tomorrow and was wondering if leaving them in the fridge/overnight longer than 8-12 hours will be ok. Would like to start them sooner than later today!

    1. Hi Lauren, you can extend to 16 hours if absolutely necessary. However, the longer after 12 hours that they proof in the refrigerator, the more likely they could deflate or have an off-putting yeast flavor. Both are a result from over-rising.

  15. Sweet Endings says:

    Hi Sally, I love your recipes and can’t wait to try this one. Do you think it’ll still work if I put 6 into a disposable 8.5”aluminum pie pan, would that be tight enough that they won’t unroll?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, that should work. Enjoy!

  16. I love recipes that are easy to use but make you look like a master baker. This is one of them. Nothing beats doing all the hard work the day before!

  17. Would using bread flour make these fluffier? Or just use regular flour. Planning to make for morning of 1/1/2021 for my family. First time using yeast! Ah!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carole, You can definitely use bread flour in these cinnamon rolls with no other changes to the dough. They’ll be extra chewy!

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