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? This overnight cinnamon roll recipe is something to keep on hand if you’ve got a busy morning and plenty of mouths to feed.

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. 

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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

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

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. (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.

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!

364 Comments

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  1. what happens if i make the frosting the night before? making them now. 🙂

    1. No problem at all! I recommend covering and refrigerating the frosting overnight.

  2. Connie Attanasio says:

    I just made them and they are incredible! Great recipe and not tht much harder than your easy cinnamon rolls but so much bigger! I made regular icing because no one likes cream cheese frosting anymore around here. Traitors! Still fantastic!

    1. I’m glad you tried them, Connie! I’m sure they are great with regular icing too 🙂

  3. I LOVE these rolls!! I make a few tweaks but otherwise fabulous! Wondering if I make in foil pans should I decrease baking temp or anything? I want to take them to work. Thanks!

  4. Have you tried using “water roux” or “TANGZHONG” to this recipe? Do you think it will work? Also, I’m thinking of making this in 2 pans. Will two round 9″x2″cake pan work (6rolls in each pan)?
    TIA!

  5. This may have already been ask but do they have to stay in the fridge over night? Can I leave them on the counter covered so they can go straight in the oven the next morning?

    1. Hi Lacey! The shaped cinnamon rolls will over-proof at room temperature overnight. Keep in the refrigerator.

  6. Kelli-Michelle says:

    Since I live in England part of the year I ALWAYS miss certain foods like Cinnamon Rolls. I found your recipe and will never use another. These came out perfect and my daughter was thrilled to have a taste of home (USA) when she woke up this morning. Thanks for all of the great recipes!

  7. Hi Sally! I haven’t made this recipe yet but I’m wondering if it’s okay to double it? Thanks!

    1. I recommend making this recipe twice rather than doubling it.

  8. I was searching for a better overnight cinnamon rolls recipe than the one I had and this is just incredible! So fluffy and buttery. I had made my research first and had read comments in several blogs. For those who are searching for the best overnight cinnamon rolls recipe ,you are in the right place. Thank you Sally for sharing it!

    1. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed these so much, Villy!

  9. Hi. I couldn’t find the platinum red star yeast. Could I use the red star active dry yeast with the same results? Thanks!

    1. Cinnamon rolls are great with active dry yeast as well, yes!

  10. I made these for a 2nd time and they were a big hit over a Saturday party (our no-fuss, extremely small wedding) and a Sunday party (friends came over to toast our nuptials). People really went on and on about them and said they’re better than cinnabon’s. My new hubby said this 2nd batch was even more amazing than my 1st attempt. Practice makes perfect. These will be on a regular rotation. I ain’t afraid of no yeast! Thanks, Sally!

    1. Congratulations on your wedding! Cinnamon rolls sound like a lovely way to start your journey together 🙂

  11. What did you line the pan with?

    1. Hi Rhonda! You can grease the pan or line with parchment paper.

  12. I was wondering why you use white sugar instead of brown. I’ve been practising and most recipes call for dark brown sugar. I have both in so wondering if it will be better with white

    1. Hi Sarah! You can definitely use brown sugar in the filling. Stick with granulated sugar in the dough.

  13. Hello! I have an oven that has a convection setting, could I use that? If so what changes should I make when baking?

    1. Hi Kezia! If using a convection oven, the general rule is to lower the temperature by 25 degrees F. Bake time may be a little shorter as well.

  14. Nada Alghazali says:

    Can I use this dough but with a different filling than cinnamon sugar?

    1. Definitely!

  15. I am in Florida with a lot of humidty now in August. My dough is super sticky. I added more flour during the hand kneading process, but still a little sticky. Any recommendations. FYI, once baked they were fabulous!

    1. If the end result was fabulous then you did everything right! Try coating your hands with flour while working with the dough to help, but unfortunately if it’s a super humid day it might be a bit more messy 🙂

  16. Is there a difference in taste or texture of these rolls and your easy homemade cinnamon rolls? (besides the icing)

    1. Hi Catherine! These cinnamon rolls are softer with a more developed dough flavor since they rose overnight. I love this recipe for traditional cinnamon rolls.

  17. Hi Sally! Could humidity impact the softness of the dough? Everything turned out as directed until I rolled the dough into a log, at which point it didn’t hold the log shape well and when I cut them into 12 pieces they flattened out quite a bit. I don’t think it will impact the overall taste/texture, but they didn’t have that neat spiral look that yours have in the picture above once I put them in the dish to chill overnight (they were a little smushed looking). It’s quite warm/humid out tonight so wondering if that was a reason, or if my dough was just too soft (aka I needed more flour)?

    Thanks for your help… first attempt at making any homemade dough-based recipe so trying to troubleshoot where I might be going wrong 🙂

    1. Hi Elizabeth, If it’s very humid that could certainly impact the dough. How did they turn out once baked?

      1. They turned out delicious ! So soft and tasty and perfectly baked throughout the whole dish. They just didn’t hold their shape well, so they didn’t have that perfect spiral look. Going to try again in a few days when the weather cools off with the apple version of this recipe!

  18. Sharing crunchy says:

    Nice recipe of cinnamon rolls. I enjoyed reading this post.

  19. I love your recipes and have made many of them. The last few times I have made these cinnamon rolls my family has raved about how good they are, but I feel like there’s something wrong with the texture. I make them in the stand mixer and he is all good ingredients but I feel like the texture of the roll itself is wrong. Help me! What am I doing wrong? I also have this problem with dinner rolls. I want them to feel more velvety in your mouth, but the baked product feels too stiff.

    1. Hi Samantha! Are you over-measuring the flour? With both recipes, you want a very soft dough. Spoon and level your flour and do not use more flour than you possibly need. Soft, supple dough = soft, supple cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls. Also, avoid over-baking. The rolls will lose their softness if over-baked. I hope this helps.

    2. So I want these xmas morning but not sure I can get up early enough to let them rise for an additional hour plus before baking them? That would mean I would have to wake at 4 to put them in the oven by 6 to be ready for 6:30-7 breakfast… so can I leave them covered but out overnight in the cold basement? Bring them up stairs and bake for longer in the warm oven??

      1. I am no expert at all but have made these many times and had a few fails I can share 🙂 I worry if you left them overnight in the basement, they’d over-rise on the second rise and you’d end up with overflowing dough. I make these every Christmas morning and find the last rise only takes about an hour if I put them in my cold oven with the light on. We usually eat them while we open presents (rather than a sit down breakfast) so I don’t have to wake up too much earlier than the rest of the crew! Good luck!!

      2. You might also try Sally’s crockpot cinnamon rolls! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/easy-slow-cooker-cinnamon-rolls/

        They can be made ahead and throw in the crockpot in the morning so you could turn it on and go back to sleep 🙂 Be careful with these though – my crockpot runs a little hot and I burned them the first few times!

      3. Boil a pot of water and pour it 9×13 pan placed on the rack under the buns for about 30 mins. The heat and moisture will wake the dough faster, and you can bake sooner. I do this every year with great results.

  20. These turned out to be one of the best things I have ever baked. I absolutely love this recipe and will be making these again many, many times!

  21. do you think it would be possible to substitute buttermilk for the regular?

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  22. Can you replace the flour with Gluten free flour?

    1. I have not tested this recipe with gluten free flour. But let me know if you try it!

  23. Would it be okay to bake these in a 10-inch cast iron skillet?

    1. I can’t see why not!

  24. I have been searching for the perfect cinammon roll recipe for years and I have finally found it! As happy chance would have it, this is also the easiest recipe I’ve tried. The rolls are soft, tender, and perfectly delectable!

  25. Can these be made ahead and frozen?

    1. Yes, see recipe notes for freezing instructions!

  26. Hi Sally, I’m a total amateur when it comes to baking anything beyond cookies, and the details and tips you provide have basically taught me how to bake (so far, perfect pumpkin cupcakes and cranberry orange scones).

    Apologies if this was asked and answered, but how would I adapt this to make mini-rolls or half size rolls? Different shape log to shape… thickness… bake pan size/temp…?
    If anyone has tried this, feel free to comment!

    1. Hi Victoria, I’m so happy you have been finding the posts helpful! I haven’t tried making these into mini rolls but I might start by shaping the dough into two 6×18 inch rectangles and try rolling them that way. You won’t get as much of the filling in each roll though!

      1. Sally, thanks very much for your reply! I’m not the original poster but I do know her personally and so I’m benefiting greatly from her love of your baking addiction. 😉
        Victoria says she’ll try those half-sized rolls per your suggestion.

      2. Haha! Let me know how they turn out!

  27. I have made several batches of these (my first attempt at cinnamon rolls) and they are a very tasty, easy to make cinnamon roll. The only change I made was to add more cinnamon and butter filling as our family really likes cinnamon. I am not a newbie at baking but does anyone have suggestions as to the corner rolls? I have used glass and foil pans and have tried one pan centered and two pans side by side in the oven. I cover the rolls halfway through and rotate the pan/pans for even baking. However, the corner rolls and sometimes the all the rolls along the side are usually hard/tough. I do not think I am overbaking, because the center rolls are “perfect” (soft and just beginning to change color).

    1. It’s helpful to lower the oven rack so the whole pan bakes for evenly. Also, tent the whole pan with aluminum foil after about 10 minutes. This will help the rolls bake more evenly too.

    2. To avoid issues with corner rolls use two cake pans or two 8 inch gas iron skillets. Just made these and used two skillets. This is an awesome and flexible recipe you can use as a base for other rolls.

  28. Hi Sally,
    I might not be able to get the platinum yeast in time . If I can’t get in time I need to use a quick yeast? I was able to get Fleischmann’s rapid rise but the only red star I could get local is just the normal active dry. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tracy! Platinum yeast is an instant yeast, so you can use another brand of instant yeast if needed. You can also use active dry yeast instead. The rise time will be just a bit longer. No other changes to the recipe needed.

      1. Sally, they were soooooo good!!! Thank you! Going to be a tradition now!

  29. I have a little more than 30 minutes until the 2 hours are up!

    1. Hi Sally! I have just made the dough and it is currently rising in a warmed oven.
      I saw another post of yours — the wreath.
      I was wondering if i could half the dough and use 1 half for the wreath and the other half for cinnamon rolls. I dont know how big the wreath will be when made as well as if i have a big enough pan to fit one wreath.
      *What do you suggest?
      Half the dough and make 1 small wreath and +/- 6 cinnamon rolls, or stick to making 12 or more delicious ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls.
      *Also i put 500g of flour instead of 558g since the dough wasn’t too sticky that i needed the 58g. You say we need a soft and supple dough so i didnt add that remaining amount. It won’t change the dough drastically, would it?
      By the way, i have made this so many times before, it is honestly a really great recipe and i love coming back to it when i dont know what my baking schedule for the day is.
      Always excited to bake anything, even if i made it 15 times before!
      Thank you for the yummy recipe.
      * the last time i posted this it didnt go through*

      1. Hi Ariffa, yes you can use half of the dough for the cinnamon roll wreath and half for a small pan of cinnamon rolls. Make sure the dough remains soft. It could be that you just needed extra flour that day, and that’s completely fine, as long as the dough is still soft and supple.

  30. I make cinnamon rolls for every holiday but wanted to try an overnight receipt. These are by far the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made! I did change the filling to 1/3 c white granulated sugar and 1/3 c brown sugar!

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