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. Hi Sally! Love all your recipes and already tried many of them!!! Can I leave the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator for 2 nights? I was think about making them on Friday night and bake them on Sunday morning… Is it ok?

  2. Hi Sally,

    I just saw these on Pinterest and it reminded me to tell you how amazing they are! I have made them twice now and they are so moist! This recipe really is so easy to follow and the results are wonderful. Even if it’s your first time working with yeast, you can do it! Even the dough on the outer edges is moist and not dry like most cinnamon rolls I have had (bakery, even!).

  3. Sally…OMG, these are slap your momma lickin good! And of course I had to take it to another level and add “SPRINKLES” to the top to make it even more enjoyable to eat!! My friends and I felt like 8 year olds again eating them. Thank you for a wonderful treat any time of the day!

  4. Could you post a post telling how to make cream cheese glaze?
    I would really like to have cream cheese glaze with the cinnamon rolls instead of cream cheese frosting

  5. Can we make these several nights in advance? If so, how many nights in advance would you say is the maximum before they won’t turn out right?

    1. This recipe isn’t ideal for making several days in advance. The dough should only be in the refrigerator for around 12 hours max.

  6. Is it possible that the salt amount has a typo in this recipe?  This is the only one of your recipes that I tried and didn’t absolutely love.  I looked at all your other cinnamon roll recipes, and they all have 1 tsp salt.  This one only has 1/2 tsp.  I thought that it could be a typo?  Or maybe our salt preferences are different.  Either way, thanks for your amazing website!  It is my first stop anytime I need to make something!

  7. First off, I absolutely love your website and these rolls!  I want to make them again for Saturday, but needing to make today due to time. I am wondering if I could make the dough ahead of time and freeze it?  Also, what are your thoughts with making them smaller to get more servings (making 2 logs??) 

    1. Rolling the logs smaller– yes, you can definitely do that. Preparing these a few days in advance is fine but here is what I have recently started doing. Let the rolls rise overnight as described. Bake them for only about 10 minutes. 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.

  8. *****  Seriously the best cinnamon bun recipe ever.  I glutinously doubled the filling which made it extra gooey.  Thank you!!

  9. This was my first time making homemade cinnamon rolls. I followed your recipe and I have to say, these rolls are delicious. I did make a few rookie mistakes, but none of them seemed to come back to haunt me. Thank you for sharing your very easy to follow instructions. Not only will I make these again, but I will be looking to you for more recipes. 

  10. I made these Saturday night and baked them Sunday morning.  They were heavenly.  I took them out of the fridge. preheated the oven and left them to rise there while the oven preheated. 20 min from the time oven was preheated  they were  cooked to the right darkness, light fluffy, and oh so delicious. 
    I made a gooey caramel sauce for them to sit in also. so when flipped out of the pan, they had this awesome caramel sauce drizzling from them.

  11. I tried making these cinnamon buns a few weeks ago for my family, and we’re nice with a good yeasty flavor.
    I adjusted and made them again yesterday and the results were even better. I upped the cinnamon to 2 tablespoons in the filing and replaced two cups of white flour with two cups of whole wheat flour (mostly because i ran out of white!) These were great with a tad less guilt.
    I love the suggestion of letting dough rise in a warmed oven. I’ll definitely be using that for all of my yeast dough recipes. Thanks!

  12. Hi Sally! 
    Whole milk is not typically something that I keep in my house, we have 1% and skim. Would it be better to make buttermilk or just use the 1%?

    TIA!

    1. Since replies are piecemeal, thought I’d answer. As a bread baker, I can say that wheat flour (whole meal) soaks up more liquid than white, so you can safely add 2-3 tablespoons more. Also, after mixing but before kneading, cover the dough and let it rest about 10 minutes and then check for dryness. Add another tablespoon or two of milk or water if needed, but don’t go overboard.

  13. Cinnamon rolls in the morning are the best, but I have such a hard time waking up in the morning before coffee. Love your tip about freezing and thawing them out. THAT I can definitely do. Thank you. 

  14. Hi Sally, I have never posted a message on any website before but these were so scrummy  I couldn’t not..I love how you give so much detail and you explain the recipe so well I found them very easy to make and they will become a firm favourite in my home..ps I also love how you give the recipe also in grams as so many American recipes don’t, we in Ireland don’t use the cup method so it’s great I can actually use your recipes xx

  15. I do not have a stand mixer, but I do have a food processor that I have used in making bread dough. Could I use my food processor in place of a stand mixer?

  16. I just made these for a brunch with my housemates today and they were wonderful! Everyone absolutely loved the rolls. I will certainly be using this recipe in the near future! 
    Side note: I LOVE frosting/glaze/icing, but I had extra! I was so, so surprised. I don’t know if I could halve it because that may be way too little, so I guess I’ll have to find another use for the glaze! Too good to waste 🙂

  17. These look amazing! 
    I am planning to make these for Christmas morning, so I’d put them in the fridge for the 8-12 hour period at about 7 or 8 pm on Christmas eve, then take them out at about 7 on Christmas morning. I still bake them for 25 minutes, right? After they rise for the 1-2 hours of course.

  18. Hi Sally!

    I made these last year and they were ridiculously good!!  I plan to make them again this year – but would like to make some for my parents to enjoy on Christmas morning and for my brother-in-law (and his family) to enjoy.  I plan to bake them this weekend and freeze and give to them in Christmas Eve (so they can enjoy them the next morning). Any advice on the icing?

    Thanks 
    Ari 

    1. You can also gift the icing, as long as they keep it in the refrigerator for just 3-4 days. No more than that. Keep it tightly covered, too!

  19. Sally these are straight up amazing! Just had them for Christmas morning breakfast, and had to say thanks for the awesome recipe, so thanks!!! Merry Christmas!!

  20. Sally:

    We have a family tradition of eating Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas Breakfast, and your recipe makes it so easy. I had to take a vote on making the Monkey Bread or the Cinnamon Rolls for this Christmas, and the Cinnamon Rolls won. My teenage daughter had her first attempts at baking these and they were fantastic. My husband posted pictures on FB and some fellow workers wanted to pay my daughter to make them a pan!! Thanks for your recipes. 🙂

  21. I made these for Christmas breakfast and they were fabulous! I made one substitution, my son is allergic to eggs so I replaced the eggs with whole plain Greek yogurt. We will definitely be making these again!

  22. Hi sally, I wanted to start making these tonight for breakfast tomorrow. I have platinum superior baking yeast, doesn’t say instant though, and I also have red star active dry yeast. ..also, it doesn’t say instant.. can I use either 1? 1 also expired 3 months ago..is it still okay?! Lol ( I have made your easy cinnamon rolls before, and now I want something bigger!)
    Thanks!

  23. I just made these amazing Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for a brunch I hosted yesterday morning and they were a HUGE hit!! We all LOVED them. I had so much fun making my first yeast dough recipe and being able to do the dirty work the night before was wonderful. I had one problem that I was hoping you could help me out with: When I baked the rolls, the center-most rolls in the pan didn’t bake as quickly as the outer rolls, and so when the outer rolls were done, the center rolls were still slightly raw. I used a 9×13 baking dish and there was plenty of room for the rolls before rising. I don’t have a convection oven, so maybe that would help. But for a regular oven, do you have any recommendations on how to bake all the rolls evenly?? I really appreciate your expertise!! And thank you for sharing this amazing recipe! 🙂

    1. How about a lower oven temperature for longer? That should help bake them a little more evenly, Kate. So happy you made them!

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