Overnight Cinnamon Rolls.

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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!

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! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

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! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
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? I actually have a cinnamon roll scented candle. And I think some genius brand makes cinnamon roll flavored chapstick. Which could be incredibly wonderful or incredibly disappointing.

Anyway. This overnight cinnamon roll recipe is something to keep on hand if you’ve got a busy morning and plenty of mouths to feed. Kevin called them the best thing I’ve baked all year. He must’ve forgotten about my red velvet cupcakes.

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!

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:

Overnight cinnamon rolls recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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:

Overnight cinnamon rolls recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Bake. Smell. Heaven.

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! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

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! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. 

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk1
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons (14g) Red Star Platinum yeast (2 standard size packets)2
  • 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, plus more for dusting/rolling (measured correctly)

Filling

  • 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 vanilla extract

Directions:

  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. Here's what I do: turn the oven on to 200°F (93°C). Once heated to that temperature, turn the oven off. Stick the covered dough inside the oven and allow it to rise in this warm environment.
  3. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 12x18 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 in a warm place 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.

Make ahead tip: 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 put into the refrigerator a few hours before serving. Then, finish baking them.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Whole milk preferred for richest tasting dough. 2% or 1% would be fine, but not ideal. Nonfat is not recommended.
  2. If not using an instant yeast, rise time may be up to 40% longer.
  3. 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.

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My FAVORITE overnight cinnamon rolls recipe!

235 Comments

All Comments

  1. Sadly I was doomed from the start with this one. I did read over the recipe several times before I started, but apparently that wasn’t enough because I realized when the dough was being kneaded in my mixer that I had accidentally added way less sugar than the recipe called for. I also had to use regular yeast instead of the platinum- they had it at my store but it was about to expire and I didn’t want to take that chance.

    Otherwise, though, I followed the directions quite carefully and I still ended up with sad cinnamon rolls. Maybe having them rise in the warm oven was TOO warm? The softened butter was melting on the dough when I was spreading it on… and the rolls were very soft and hard to cut, resulting in sloppy rolls that didn’t resemble the nice ones that you made. It was rather humid and warm in my house that day, so maybe it got too warm?

    1. maybe the problem was the sugar? Sugar feeds the yeast so perhaps your yeast died. Just wondered if you’d tried again? Looking for a whole egg cinnamon roll recipe so hoping this one does the trick

    2. If you were cutting the rolls with a knife that may have been your problem! I highly recommend using a piece of dental floss to cut them – it produces a clean cut without smooshing the dough.

  2. Attempted this recipe for the first time with great results! I’m not a super confident cook and the detail you provide is so helpful. Noting the measurements in grams really helped too. I’m from Sydney, Australia and it’s handy not having to work out the conversion beforehand for all of the ingredients. I was really chuffed with the bun I taste-tested for breakie and will happily give some of these to friends to try today. I’ll definitely bake these again.

  3. Hi Sally, 
    I just made these rolls without using the same yeast as we live in Australia and there isn’t any red star distributors here. I also had no milk in the fridge so I used buttermilk and the outcome was AMAZING!! They were fluffly and the receipe was super easy to follow. I am so happy with this recipe, as I am with them all. My fiancée loves your moist carrot cake so much it’s his go to request for everything. 

  4. Do you have any tips for adding some chopped walnuts and raisins to the filling? My step dad wants some cinnamon rolls, and he asked that they have walnuts and raisins in it. I don’t know if I should use about 1/2 cup of each or if that would be too much. Any suggestions? thanks!!

    1. Yes. But you can use regular yeast. You would need to proof it a bit longer (I have done it in the warm liquid and added the sugar then poured he yeast on top and let sit for about 10 minutes) and rise time may increase.

  5. If you were to double this recipe, could you put 2 batches in the oven at the same time?
    I’m doing a small fundraiser and decided to use this recipe because every time I make it people go CRAZY. Next week I will be making 15 batches of these rolls. Can I put 2 or 3 or 4 pans of cinnamon rolls in the oven together? Do I need to consider anything else?
    Thank you so much!!

    1. Sure can– the bake time will slightly increase because of all the batches in the oven at once. Keep your eye on them. Have fun baking!

  6. Delicious and easy. Not that many steps.  I also want to thank you for the conversion measurements, as an Aussie baker it is much appreciated.  Do you have any suggestions for the few centre rolls that are still a little doughy? Can I seperate them and cook them a little longer?  All the edge buns were perfect.  

  7. Hi Sally,

    I just made these and didn’t get great results.  The flavor was good, but the rolls were cooked on the outside and raw on the inside…have you ever had this problem?  Just trying to figure out what to do differently next time.

    1. Hi Dana! Sometimes they cook unevenly, so I always make sure to cook on the bottom rack (or a lower one in general) and cover loosely with aluminum foil. I take them out when they are completely done, even if that is longer than the suggested time.

  8. Hi Sally,
    I tried several of your recipes but never commented until now. My husband called this recipe a “fortuitous find” so I know it’s definitely a keeper. I made them with the help of my 11 year old son who loved the whole process, especially waking up to warm cinnamon rolls on Sat morning. I used half skim milk and half almond milk because it’s all I had in the fridge and turned out fine. I also used half brown sugar and half granulated in the filling. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  9. Can I make the rolls 2 days before I bake them?  Or would they dry out too much?  I have time to make today but don’t know if I will tomorrow.  

  10. Hi Sally,

    I’d love to make these for Thanksgiving morning, but add pumpkin puree in the batter to make them more festive. Do you have any suggestions on what to tweak to account for the added moisture of the pumpkin puree? less milk maybe? I’m all ears. Thanks!

      1. Oooh love that recipe, thanks for sharing! I do still need to make these ahead of time though. Could I proof once, then wrap, refrigerate, and do the second proof and bake in the am? Thanks for your help!

  11. Would it be ok to let the unbaked rolls sit in the fridge tonight, then bake them tomorrow evening? I’m not sure because they’d be sitting in the fridge for longer than 8-12 hours. Thanks! 

    1. I know you put this up over a month ago, but mine were definitely in the fridge longer than 8-12 hours (closer to 15-16) and they were just fine.  I wouldn’t go more than 24 in the fridge.  

    1. Hi Jay! Is this added to the dough or to the filling? I assume it would make a softer dough– but no, I haven’t tried it yet! Have you?

      1. To the dough. I follow your recipes and I know that cornstarch makes a softer cookie dough. So I was wondering if it would do the same to the rolls. I want to try it, but I was a bit tentative.

  12. These were amazing!!!  Thank you so much for the recipe!  Christmas breakfast 2017 was a bit hit:). Only problem is they are already almost gone!  

  13. I just made this for Christmas for the boyfriend and myself.  The doughy part of the cinnamon rolls tastes more bread-y and less pastry-like, which is fine.  I was pretty happy with these, but I do wish I had used a more instant yeast rather than traditional.  While it rose and foamed as it should have, I should’ve gone with my gut and used instant.  Overall, a great recipe.  I’d recommend a different frosting if you want more of the cream cheese frosting, which would balance out the bread-y flavor.  Overall, recipe gets a 4/5. 

  14. Hi there!
    I was wondering if this yeast works:
    Red Star Quick Rise Instant Yeast
    It’s the only yeast I have.
    Also, if I make this tomorrow morning, will it be fine in the fridge until Thursday morning?
    How should it be stored after I bake them? Out on the counter for a few days?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Faith! Red Star Quick Rise Instant Yeast is a wonderful choice for these cinnamon rolls. After some practice and experience with this particular dough, proofing it for 24 hours is a little too long. Frosted cinnamon rolls are OK covered at room temperature for a day or 2, but I would keep them in the fridge after that.

      1. Thanks for the quick response! I’m going to make them tonight! Just made your cream cheese frosting and it is very tasty!

      2. They’re in the fridge right now. Do you think I can extend the 2nd rise for about 3 hours? I have to go out tomorrow morning at 7:30am but wanted them ready for baking upon returning at 11am with guests……..
        thanks again!

      3. Very yummy rolls! So I ended up baking them pulling them out of the fridge at 5 am! I agree that the smell is just wonderful. I followed your recipe exactly. I like the tip about putting foil on them at some point. The sides of the buns were a little dry. Not sure why, but the good thing is that they soften up as time passes.

        I really appreciate your website. Your detailed recipes are really appreciated and help me become successful in making your recipes. Thank you!

  15. Baked these up this morning for Father’s Day. They are delicious. Followed recipe almost exactly. Didn’t have whole milk but found a calculation online on how to mix 1% + 10% cream to make my own whole milk. Left them out for 2hrs this morning to get them closer to room temp. Foil during 2nd half of baking was brilliant idea! I did add 1/2cup raisins (plump soft, not dried out) and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to after cinnamon and sugar. Next time will sub some Demerara sugar for half of white sugar in filling. Thx for this! My new go-to recipe!

  16. These cinnamon rolls are SO good! I’ve made them several times and have not been able to find a way to cook all of them evenly. Either the outer ones are perfect and the middle are underdone or the middle ones are perfect and the outer ones dry and near burnt. I’ve played around with cooking times as well as different pans (metal, glass, etc) Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Abbie! This is an easy fix. You could (1) bake the cinnamon rolls individually a muffin pan (2) lower the oven temperature by 25F and bake longer, covering the rolls after about 15 minutes (3) bake the rolls spread out on a baking sheet so they all cook evenly. I hope this helps!

  17. Hi, I didn’t see any comments from people who used the freezer method. Is there one of the two methods you prefer? I’m making them for 40 people and I want to get it right

      1. Thank you so much for replying! I tried it out, they needed quite a bit longer on the 2nd bake, but turned out great. I need to make 5 dozen, have you ever tried doubling this recipe? Or should I do 5 separate batches of dough?

  18. I know variations of this question have been asked but not sure there was a clear answer. I know 24 hours is too long in the fridge, but would 16 be okay? I have made this recipe a few times and everyone always loves them! Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenna! Some readers have kept these rolls in the refrigerator for up to 16 hours with luck, but I don’t suggest anything longer than 12-14 hours. Let me know what you try and how they turn out!

  19. Hi Sally! I love making overnight cinnamon rolls but I am never sure if the second rise out of the fridge should be covered or not. What do you suggest? Also, sometimes in the morning I end up with the filling pooling around the rolls before i bake them. I always roll them tightly. Could it be because I use margarine instead of real butter?

  20. i added 1/4tsp each cloves, powdered ginger, and allspice + a sprinkle of salt in with the cinnamon which gave it a more interesting flavor. for the icing, i used granulated sugar and doubled the cream cheese, and melted it all together on a stovetop. it caramelized a little, which also gave it a more dynamic taste. overall, it was an amazing recipe besides those little things.

Reviews

  1. Baked these up this morning for Father’s Day. They are delicious. Followed recipe almost exactly. Didn’t have whole milk but found a calculation online on how to mix 1% + 10% cream to make my own whole milk. Left them out for 2hrs this morning to get them closer to room temp. Foil during 2nd half of baking was brilliant idea! I did add 1/2cup raisins (plump soft, not dried out) and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to after cinnamon and sugar. Next time will sub some Demerara sugar for half of white sugar in filling. Thx for this! My new go-to recipe!

Questions

  1. Hi there!
    I was wondering if this yeast works:
    Red Star Quick Rise Instant Yeast
    It’s the only yeast I have.
    Also, if I make this tomorrow morning, will it be fine in the fridge until Thursday morning?
    How should it be stored after I bake them? Out on the counter for a few days?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Faith! Red Star Quick Rise Instant Yeast is a wonderful choice for these cinnamon rolls. After some practice and experience with this particular dough, proofing it for 24 hours is a little too long. Frosted cinnamon rolls are OK covered at room temperature for a day or 2, but I would keep them in the fridge after that.

      1. Thanks for the quick response! I’m going to make them tonight! Just made your cream cheese frosting and it is very tasty!

      2. They’re in the fridge right now. Do you think I can extend the 2nd rise for about 3 hours? I have to go out tomorrow morning at 7:30am but wanted them ready for baking upon returning at 11am with guests……..
        thanks again!

      3. Very yummy rolls! So I ended up baking them pulling them out of the fridge at 5 am! I agree that the smell is just wonderful. I followed your recipe exactly. I like the tip about putting foil on them at some point. The sides of the buns were a little dry. Not sure why, but the good thing is that they soften up as time passes.

        I really appreciate your website. Your detailed recipes are really appreciated and help me become successful in making your recipes. Thank you!

  2. These cinnamon rolls are SO good! I’ve made them several times and have not been able to find a way to cook all of them evenly. Either the outer ones are perfect and the middle are underdone or the middle ones are perfect and the outer ones dry and near burnt. I’ve played around with cooking times as well as different pans (metal, glass, etc) Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Abbie! This is an easy fix. You could (1) bake the cinnamon rolls individually a muffin pan (2) lower the oven temperature by 25F and bake longer, covering the rolls after about 15 minutes (3) bake the rolls spread out on a baking sheet so they all cook evenly. I hope this helps!

  3. Hi, I didn’t see any comments from people who used the freezer method. Is there one of the two methods you prefer? I’m making them for 40 people and I want to get it right

      1. Thank you so much for replying! I tried it out, they needed quite a bit longer on the 2nd bake, but turned out great. I need to make 5 dozen, have you ever tried doubling this recipe? Or should I do 5 separate batches of dough?

  4. Hi Sally! I love making overnight cinnamon rolls but I am never sure if the second rise out of the fridge should be covered or not. What do you suggest? Also, sometimes in the morning I end up with the filling pooling around the rolls before i bake them. I always roll them tightly. Could it be because I use margarine instead of real butter?

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