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!

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!

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:

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. 

Print

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 hours (overnight)
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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!


Ingredients

Dough

  • 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, plus more for dusting/rolling (spoon & leveled)

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 pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  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 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 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.

Notes

  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

See more breakfast ideas.

My FAVORITE overnight cinnamon rolls recipe!

305 Comments

  1. These look so fluffy, Sally!
    Happy holidays and new year. I’ve spent so many happy minutes reading your recipes and posts this year. Keep going, girlfriend!

  2. YES. Anything with cinnamon is always my favorite (crap, now I’m thinking about those cinnamon chips again). Cinnamon rolls are on my to-do list early in 2015. Do I keep saying everything is on my to-do list? Ugh. I better get busy. Merry Christmas Eve, Sally!

  3. If time we’re not an issue, which cinnamon role recipe is your favorite? I love that I can make these overnight and will definitely make…but with family in town I want to make the perfect batch. Thank you for all your time and effort…you have made many bellies full and happy here 🙂

  4. Gahhh yes! If I’m going to indulge in a cinnamon roll they’ve gotta be uber-fluffy and you clearly hit the nail on the head with these! I can almost taste their picture-perfect texture! Totally loving that these are overnight too—that’s the only way I’ll make my cinnamon rolls! Sooo much simpler and stress-free. 🙂 Love these! Pinned.

  5. My mom used to make cinnamon rolls for us when we were little…the challenge was getting all of the cinnamon rolls to the oven! Instead of softened butter, she used melted butter, and the melted butter and cinnamon-sugar combined with the dough was heavenly. I actually like the dough better than the finished cinnamon roll! I’m going to ask her to make them now!
    I love your glittery red plate!

  6. This smell is what makes for early morning smiles. It’s definitely easy waking up to a clatter in the kitchen when you open your door and get a whiff of baked goods :o) I am still afraid of baking with yeast. I have so many of your yeast recipes bookmarked but I just can’t imagine it would turn out well!!! Perfectionist probs. Haha. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOUR FAMILY!!!

  7. Yummmm! I was thinking about cinnamon rolls for our Christmas Day breakfast. Now I think it has to be done! Thanks for another easy to follow recipe Sally. Merry Christmas!

  8. Mine are actually probably just as good as these. I’m kinda biased, ya know?

    Wanna know a trick to speed up the process?

    Okay, so I do the dough…let it rise until doubled. Then, I roll it out…spread the filling on it (sometimes I’ll add mostly cooked bacon strips)…then I roll the dough into a “log”. Slice each about 1 inch thick…place in greased pan. Cover with aluminum foil and put in fridge. THEN, in the morning…here’s the key: turn on the oven to 200 degrees and then turn off when preheated. Place the covered rolls in there for TWENTY MINUTES so it finishes their rising and gets them back to a room temp. After that… take them out. Uncover them. Turn up oven to the temperature on your recipe (mine is 375)…and then finish the cooking.

    Like that tip?? 🙂 You’re more than welcome to use it! Just credit me! haha 🙂 Successful every time! My most popular recipe, easily…

    1. Um, pretty sure Sally already uses a method similar to that in her doughs… Just go read back on some of her older sweet roll recipes…

  9. Sally, I am drooling over these delicious-looking rolls!! I have planned for at least a week to make your easy cinnamon rolls for Christmas brunch but you must’ve read my mind and created an overnight version! These will be perfect to prepare the night before and tote to my parents house to bake! I hope you and Kevin (and Jude!) have a very Merry Christmas!!

  10. These look amazing!!! This is actually perfect timing because I need to make cinnamon rolls next week for a morning event, and was planning on just using one of your other recipes and hoping that it would be ok in the fridge overnight. I am so excited that there is now a recipe specifically made for preparing the night before!

    Just a quick question–it seems that this recipe uses double the amount of yeast as your other cinnamon roll recipes, and I have never used more than one packet at a time in a recipe. Why does this recipe require more yeast? (just want to make sure that the rolls don’t taste yeast-y with double the amount of yeast!)

    Can’t wait to give these a try–i’m thinking of even filling them with some nutella!

  11. Sally you literally read my mind. I was thinking about finding a recipe for overnight cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, went on Instagram two seconds later and the first post on my feed was your picture of these! Making the dough now 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  12. You’re so right: these rolls are dreamy! And topping them with cream cheese icing sounds like a much better idea than regular icing!

  13. I will definitely be trying this recipe soon, maybe overnight from Saturday to Sunday morning. Yummmm. One question though – you write in direction #6 to cover the sliced rolls in the pan with foil and bake. Did you really mean to bake them covered? I would think the foil would stick to the dough and it wouldn’t really turn golden like it is in your picture.

    1. Enjoy! And actually, no. I forgot to add a sentence. About halfway through the bake time, I like to cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t brown too much.

  14. These look great! I usually make your quick cinnamon rolls and leave them in the fridge overnight and bake them in the morning. I’m wondering what the difference would be doing these instead… If any? Thanks!

    1. These are more traditional, fluffy cinnamon rolls. We’ve got the double rise to thank for that. They’re also twice the size.

  15. This is literally what I was coming to your website for!! I looked a few days ago but couldn’t decide if I wanted to make cinnamon rolls tonight for breakfast tomorrow. I am SO glad you posted this when you did! Perfect timing! I will now be making these tonight! 🙂

  16. Thank you! I was actually scouring your blog last night for cinnamon roll recipes, but was looking for one I could make ahead. You read my mind! Merry Christmas!

  17. Merry Christmas to you too! You’re right, there’s nothing like waking up to that sweet cinnamon-ey smell… I’ve gotta try these.

  18. Sally these are gorgeous! I love overnight rolls because, well, I never would be up with enough energy and determination to make it all and have everything ready for breakfast! Overnight options are such a blessing 🙂 Love the cream cheese frosting – a must! Merry Christmas!!

    1. Hey Cheryl! Actually, no. I forgot to add a sentence. About halfway through the bake time, I like to cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t brown too much.

  19. I love all your sweet-roll recipes, Sally…they are always gorgeous and so delicious! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂

  20. sally, it is funny that you posted this. My mom always made cinnamon rolls for xmas morning, and now that I am just married, i am doing the same. So this morning i just made your original cinnamon roll recipe and they are actually in the oven right now!

    Merry christmas to you and your family.

  21. Yes yes and yes! What perfect timing for this recipe! I was looking for one to make for tomorrow morning.
    Thanks Sally & Merry Christmas! 🙂

  22. These sound absolutely delicious! Any overnight recipe I am a total fan of. I love baking, but taking time out of Christmas morning to hide away in the kitchen is not the most family friendly time! My family and I make a Christmas tree bread the night before to save time, but we might have to try cinnamon rolls one year! Happy holidays!

    1. I made these the other day and they are pretty quick! Lots of time in between to spend with the family. I highly recommend you try them out 🙂 I did and they were delicious!!

  23. Of course I made these tonight for a wonderful PRE Christmas breakfast! Beautiful cinnamon rolls as we’re waking and enjoying coffee and gifts, then a DELISH eggs bene for brunch 🙂 . I’d like to say these definitely got the family into the xmas spirit tonight, my older sisters boyfriend (who’s 26) wanted to help out tonight with multiple steps! And may I add, succeeded with out causing too many issues haha! Gotta love the baking bug that flies around this time of year. Can not wait for the house to smell of butter, cinnamon, and sugar in the am! I wish you, Kevin, and of course Jude a wonderful day tomorrow! I will be sure to share a photo or two with you :).

  24. Thanks for the inspiration Sally! I was tickled when the email dropped in my inbox with this recipe! They are in my fridge for tomorrow morning!
    Merry Christmas to you and Kevin, I look forward to more great recipes from you next year!

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