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!

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See more breakfast ideas.

My FAVORITE overnight cinnamon rolls recipe!

319 Comments

  1. Hey sally! Ive got friends coming here tommorrow and I would like to prepare something. Even if it takes some time. I was looking through cookies. Which recepie do you recommend? Thanks xoxo happy christmas to you, kevin and jude

  2. Made these yestrday to bake up this morning for Christmas..the smell was magical abd thry disappeared in about 10 minutes!! So perfect for this morning, thank you!

  3. Hey!
    I made these for Christmas a la a crossover with The Pioneer Woman’s pecan sticky buns. We found that the dough was pretty sweet and that the layers of cinnamon/sugar/butter weren’t as pronounced as we would have liked. Any suggestions? Would reducing the sugar in the dough mess with the texture/quality of it?

    1. I’d love to help troubleshoot. What do you mean the cinnamon layers weren’t as pronounced? Would you like more cinnamon/butter inside? You could slightly reduce the sugar in the dough yes. Maybe down to 1/2 cup if you’d like.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply!
        I thought the recipe had plenty of cinnamon & butter inside but wondered if because they were made the previous night that the dough absorbed a lot of that flavor rather than sitting with it, if that makes sense. So, basically, my family felt like the end product was just a really sweet roll rather than one layered with the obvious cnnamon & butter flacors. Would doing the whole process in one shot rather than refrigerating the dough before the 2nd rise help with that?

  4. Your photos are GORGEOUS! Like lick my computer screen kind of beautiful! I always have great results when trying any of your recipes. I made your Christmas Crack toffee twice this week for two separate events and it was a major hit! thanks a bunch:)

  5. This is the perfect post at the perfect time. Hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas Sally and I love the color of your KitchenAid stand mixer!

  6. I have been looking for an overnight cinnamon roll recipe. I think I will try these for New Year’s. Thanks for posting, I hope you had a good Christmas!

  7. Thank you for this recipe. I made these last week and they were fabulous! The dough is very easy to work with and rose beautifully. Love the soft, yummy texture of the buns and the cream cheese glaze is the best! Will be making this recipe over and over.

  8. Made these and they’re amazing!
    Although- after frosting and eating one I realize that the middle is a little under baked. Should I put it back in the oven with the frosting or too bad in this batch?

    1. I wouldn’t reheat with the frosting. For the next batch, make a little cut into the center to make sure it’s cooked through. That helps!

  9. Thanks for such a staple recipe! Cinnamon buns are so delicious (especially with cream cheese frosting) and the smell of them baking really can’t be beat!

    http://livingtoat.com/

  10. Hello Sally. I really had to post this comment to thank you so much for this recipe. Where we live, yeast is not easy to come by, milk labels are so simple (no “whole milk”, no 2%, etc.), so it’s not easy to bake anything I fancy (plus working with yeast is intimidating). I got my instant yeast just before November started and it took me until New Year’s Eve to actually muster the guts to bake cinnamon rolls. I scoured the net for the perfect recipe and I decided on yours. I had to improvise on the milk: I used the canned evaporated version and used half a cup of it and half a cup of water to make the one cup needed in your recipe. Anyhow, you should add FOOLPROOF as a description of your recipe as true enough, my cinnamon rolls came out heavenly, like in your pictures. Everybody in my family liked how it was not too sweet and thanked me for skipping the icing. I liked how they were fluffy yet solid, like the ones I grew up to. My husband said they were the best cinnamon roles he has ever had. Thank you so much for making my first time baking with yeast a great one. Keep up the work. God bless you.

    1. What a compliment. I’m so happy that you conquered yeast and made these cinnamon rolls– way to go on finding the right substitution for whole milk too Chel. This comment made my day, so thank you for leaving it. Happy new year!

  11. This seems to be a perfect recipe to try out my left over cream cheese frosting from your red velvet cupcakes!

    Question though: Can I cut the recipe in half to cut the yield in half. It seems an obvious YES to me, but I don’t want to assume anything and find out later I was wrong!

    Thanks!
    Anu

  12. Can I use bread flour for this recipe? I only have cake and bread flour on hand but I suppose that bread flour would be a better substitute..

  13. Hi Sally –
    I somehow discovered your website a few months ago and have been baking your recipes like crazy ever since. I made the cinnamon rolls last weekend and they are wonderful! It took me two tries–which is rare for me since I have been baking for over 50 years. I followed your directions exactly and when I got to the first rising, I was questioning about your direction to heat the oven to 300 degrees and then turn it off. I though that was a little high. But I did it anyway. The first thing that happened was that the plastic wrap on top of the bowl split and then the partially risen dough started to bake. So I had to throw it all out and start over. Good thing I had bought more yeast than needed. The second time around I covered the bowl with aluminum foil and heated the oven to 200 degrees and turned it off. That worked and the cinnamon rolls turned out beautifully. My husband, who is the banquet manager at a four star resort and has been around professional kitchens and gourmet restaurants for over 44 years, said they were the best cinnamon rolls he’s ever had. I’m always anxious to see what you come up with next.

  14. i really must try this ASAP! One question: in the morning, do you uncover the rolls when you take them out of the fridge for the 2nd rise? I know they are uncovered at some point, because you cover them loosely later. Thanks for making my mouth water, again.

  15. I’ve tried your easy cinnamon rolls that required one rise before- they were good but i hoped for a softer version of the rolls. So i tried this recipe out and THIS RECIPE WAS PHENOMENAL. i have to say that you are just amazing. this recipe produced the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had in my entire life. soft, gooey, buttery- even on the next day it was baked! I am just obsessed with your blog. So far I’ve tried some of your oatmeal bars, tons of cupcakes, and of course your chocolate chip cookie recipe which all tasted phenomenal. You are the true motivation for me to bake from scratch. You are just amazing, Sally. I truly admire your passion for baking and your generosity to share all your recipes. Definitely ordering your cookbook (and also your candy addiction that is coming soon!) although it is going to take a while to arrive since I live in Korea. ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU!

  16. Hey sally..
    I am.making these for tomorrows high tea at my place. I knead the dough now..should i put it in the fridge over night with cling wrap over it or should i put outside in room temperature.
    And i will make these when i get up tomorrow after 8 hours.

  17. I made these this morning…they are so soft and that creaming frosting is mhmm hmm good. I finally conquered my fear of yeast and the are delious. Just a pillow of sweet heaven. Thanks miss sally.

  18. I love your quick cinnamon roll recipe (well, I love all your recipes) and the thing I appreciate most is that you spend extra time on everything and that shows love in your work, there aren’t any shortcuts in your recipes. You’re like a mad scientist meets Julia Child.

    However just one question- why regular sugar instead of brown sugar in the filling? Any major difference? I personally love brown sugar and know you don’t shy away from it, just wondering why you choose granulated in these.

    1. Thanks Eddie. And nope, there is no major difference. My grandmother always used white granulated sugar in her cinnamon roll filling, so I followed suit here. Brown sugar is just fine.

  19. Hi Sally! I absolutely love your cinnamon roll recipe ( and your site) already made it successfully a few times…… My family coudn’t get enough of them

  20. Hello Sally, I’m from Switzerland (so sorry for my english…) and I absolutely love to read your blog! I just baked those cinnamon rolls for our brunch with friends yesterday – they were fantastic!!! Everybody loved them – and they are so easy to make! Thank you very very much for this great recipe!!! 😀 😀 😀
    Love, Catherine!

  21. Hi Sally, can you please give the yeast amount in grams? tablespoons is a pretty inaccurate measurment for such an importan ingredient. I also do not know how much does american packetofyeastweight… in uk it is 7 grams, is tit the same?

      1. thanks Sally for replying so quickly!! Im just making them for the second time now, they are really delicious! thanks for a great recipe xxxx

  22. Hi Sally,

    I recently started baking again and your recipes always come out great. I’ve tried your cinnamon rolls for family and friends and they all love it. Thanks!

    I would like to make mini-cinnamon rolls and I tried to cut them into more slices before baking and that didn’t work. Can you give me tips on how to make a smaller roll.

    Thanks for your advice.

    1. Jay, I would divide the dough in two before rolling into smaller rectangles in step 3. I’ve need tried it this way, so I can’t be 100% sure.

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