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!

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See more breakfast ideas.

My FAVORITE overnight cinnamon rolls recipe!

362 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Hi Sally,

    Thanks for your recipe. My buns were very soft inside but the top portion of the buns are crispy, where did I do wrong? Thanks.

    Best Regards
    Alice

    1. Hi Alice, that’s an easy fix for next time. First, lower the oven rack on which you bake these rolls. Also, lower the oven temperature so the rolls can bake more evenly (and increase the bake time, too). You can also tent the rolls with aluminum foil so they bake more evenly, too.

  2. Hi Sally – I’m hosting a breakfast for dinner party which means I either need to leave the dough in the fridge for 28 hours or 6 hours. Which is better?

    1. 6 hours. 🙂

    2. Hi Sally,
      I am about to make this recipe. I wondered if you can use strong bread flour. Instead of plain flour? And would it make a lot of difference to the texture of the rolls?

      Many thanks

      1. Hi Naomi! You certainly can. The rolls will have great structure and taste a lot chewier.

  3. Hello Sally! Your recipes are amazing! I have these ones in the fridge as I type this. I would like to know if I can pre bake them as per instructed for freezing but keep them in the fridge and finish baking them the next day. Thank you!

  4. Hi Sally,

    I love the apple caramel cinnamon rolls! However would like to make a night before batch for Christmas morning. Would it be ok to sort of merge the two recipes and add apple filling? Or could that effect the dough overnight?
    Thanks!

    1. Yes, that’s completely fine! I make the apple version overnight with these instructions all the time.

  5. Hi, Can I make the rolls a few days ahead and just keep in my fridge or freeze before cooking?

    1. Hi Trudi, it’s best to follow the overnight instructions. You could also par-bake the rolls and freeze as instructed in my cinnamon rolls recipe.

  6. Hi Sally – Can I keep them in the fridge longer than 12 hours? By the way, love your recipes!
    Thanks!

    1. I’ve kept them in for up to 16 hours with no problem!

      1. Kristina Ball says:

        If I made these today, would they still be okay to cook on Christmas morning?

  7. Sally, I made these last night and baked this morning, my edges are dark brown and the center row is raw, how can I fix this when I reheat them tomorrow for Christmas morning? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cassie, cover with foil and re-heat on a lower oven rack position until those center rolls are a little more cooked. Covering will protect the edges from over-browning more.

  8. Have you ever baked these in CastIron before

    1. Sure have! Bake time is about the same.

  9. Can we double the recipe?

    1. Hi, Carol! I would recommend making two separate batches rather than doubling. It will help the ingredients to incorporate better. Hope this helps!

  10. Made these for Christmas morning and OH MY GOD the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. My boyfriend said they took him right back to his grandmothers and even my mom said that they were better than hers!! WINNER never even look for another recipes! Forever making

  11. This is my go-to cinnamon roll recipe and had become our Christmas morning tradition! I’ve always been nervous about making cinnamon rolls for whatever reason, but these turned out beautifully the first time I made them and every since. This year, I added cranberries to the dough (dried cranberries soaked to plump them up) and it was a delightful addition!

  12. Just made these for Christmas morning, and they were an absolute hit. Nothing better than waking up to pull the rolls out of the fridge to rise, and sip coffee by the tree while waiting for everyone else to wake up. Thanks for this recipe!

  13. I am an avid follower of your blog, I’ve tried many of your recipes and love them all! For awhile now I’ve been making your Easy Cinnamon Rolls because they are fantastic and, well, easy. I decided to try these overnight rolls and am blown away by the flavor and texture in these rolls compared to the others (which are still amazing). As long as I can get myself together enough to plan ahead, these will be my go-to cinnamon rolls. Thanks for another great recipe!

  14. Hi Sally,
    I love your recipes and they end up so yummy, even with gluten free flour! I was wondering if I could use a different brand of yeast, since I don’t have that kind near me!

    1. Hi Annie, 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. Thank you so much! I just sent the email when I realized your had already answered that question!

  15. It have found that allowing placing raised dough in the refrigerator over night allows it to raise beautifully.
    I then leave it at room temperature before completing the recipe.

  16. This is my go-to cinnamon roll recipe! It has turned out great every time. I’ve even started giving batches as gifts! Thank you so much!

  17. Hi! Just made these for the first time and they’re ok.. I think the problem was on my end. I tried to follow the recipe but when at the store buying ingredients I did not buy rapid yeast because the ingredient list does not say rapid rise or instant yeast. So I think mine did not prove right because I used standard yeast. For those of us that are new to baking (or for me who is just not smart enough to know that platinum means instant) it would be nice to have that information in the list of ingredients. Sounds like everyone else knew that piece of information except me…

    1. Hi Kim, You can use standard yeast, but the rise time may me up to 40% longer. See the recipe notes for details, and also check out my Baking With Yeast Guide for answers to all of your yeast questions!

  18. Hi! First I’d just like to say your recipes are almost always my go to for anything delicious, including this one! I’ve made these cinnamon rolls several times and they have turned out fabulously except the two center rolls are always slightly underdone. I usually have to take those out and bake them a little longer. Do you have any suggestions for this? I’d like to gift a tray of these but didn’t want to have the center rolls under done.
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Patsy, This should be an easy fix! 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.

  19. Thank you so much for an easy to follow And delicious recipe ! I chose the “No Time for Overnight” option and I loosely covered them and let rise in a oven preheated to 200 degrees and then turned off just as in step 2 for 2 hours. They came out beautiful and puffy and I baked as instructed. My finished product was delicious and looks great but the bottoms are over done and it makes the cinnamon taste burnt/bitter. Not a huge deal as it was only the very bottom but I am wondering how to avoid this next time? Was it that I used butter to grease my pan, the pan being metal rather than glass or the heating of the oven for the second proof? Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated because I would love to make these again ! Thanks ! -Lea

    1. Hi Lea! I’m happy to help. I usually bake my cinnamon rolls in a glass or ceramic pan (ceramic takes longer to heat, so the rolls typically take several minutes longer). For even baking, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees F. Bake for a little longer on the lower heat. You can also tent the rolls with aluminum foil halfway through baking which will help them bake more evenly as well.

  20. Hi Sally, I would like to make these cinnamon rolls but with blueberry jelly and lemon zest. Should I still add the lemon zest to the butter and spread onto the dough followed by the blueberry jelly. Do you think I still need to add sugar to the filling?
    I would really appreciate your help.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Naomi, I suggest you use my recipe for Blueberry Sweet Rolls with Lemon Glaze. You can add a bit of extra lemon zest to the blueberry filling if you wish.

  21. Delicious! I have tried many cinnamon roll recipes,and this is my new favorite. I prefer a roll that is large, more fluffy than dense/gooey, and buttery without being overly sweet. This fit the bill! I am not a Cinnabon fan – to me they’re too sweet and seem underbaked. I will most definitely be making these again!

    1. Oh, I forgot to add that I made the dough in my bread machine! After letting the yeast bloom in the warm milk with sugar for 10 minutes, I just threw everything else in the machine and set it to dough cycle. Easy peasy!

  22. Can it rise longer than 12 hours in the fridge?

    1. Hi Lauren, the longer the rolls rise past about 12 hours, the more over-proofed they’ll be. They can deflate and have an off flavor.

  23. I made this last night and finished this morning and they are SPECTACULAR! I baked at 370 because my oven runs a bit hot. I cut the recipe in half and baked the six rolls in a 9×9 pan. I added a bit of butter vanilla emulsion in the filling. Next time I may add a bit more cinnamon. And with the icing I doubled the amount of cream cheese. So fluffy and tender! EXCEPTIONAL!

  24. Can alternative milks be used? If so, are there any adjustments that need to be made?

    1. Hi Toni, I haven’t tested it but non-dairy milk such as almond milk should work in this recipe. Let me know if you try them!

      1. I used almond milk at the same ratio and everything turned out well.

  25. Hi Sally, thank you so much for all of your recipes, you’re the best and I’ve been following your site for years! I have read through 8 pages of comments just to see if anyone else has this issue…. So I have made these several times. I follow the recipe to a T. No substitions. Every single time they taste like yeast. I use the red star platinum yeast too. My rolls look exactly like yours, the yeast foams in the beginning just as it should, rises nice and huge every rise. They look gorgeous in the end like yours. I don’t know what’s going on except that they taste like yeast. I even tried again and only used one packet of platinum yeast. They foamed and rose just the same, got just as huge and perfect. Still taste like yeast. Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong? My 4 year old has become obsessed with sticky buns and I really would love to perfect this recipe for her! Thank you so so much for your time!!

  26. Every recipe I have tried from Sally turns out perfect, but this may be my all time favourite recipe I have ever baked!! I was worried because my dough was a little stiff, but I added some warm water like it said and after I let it rise it was perfect. I added Sally’s “perfect vanilla icing” on top. Thank you for my new go-to cinnamon rolls!!

    1. Marcie Beaulac says:

      I also used almond milk because that is all I had in the house and they still turned out wonderful!

  27. Brenda Martin says:

    I made these yesterday I have got to say I love the recipe very easy not over the top sweet I would add more cinnamon other then that loved it !

  28. I’ll continue my question here… yes, I’m making the Overnight Cinnamon Rolls, rolled the dough last night. I’m now on step 5…since it takes 2 hours to rise again in a warm oven, I want both batches to rise at the same time. I will bake one now and bake the second batch an hour later. Is it ok for the second batch to sit on the counter for an hour or will the dough ‘deflate’ if it’s not baked right away after it has risen? Sorry, if the question is confusing. My first time working with yeast. And thank you for the quick response. It’s not quite 6am in CA…can’t wait to pop my rolls in the oven!

    1. Ok I understand know– yes, you can leave the 2nd batch to rise on the counter during that time. If they’re getting TOO puffy– place the whole pan in the refrigerator to slow it down.

      1. Just to give you an update after baking these: they turned out BEAUTIFULLY!! My first time working with yeast & it was a BIG success with large fluffy rolls. Amazing texture & taste! Hubby is telling me to get off my phone so I can start another batch. Lol
        This is how it’s been with all your recipes; can’t make enough of it. Thank you again & stay safe out there during this uncertain time.

  29. Sarah Driver says:

    Loved making these! Do you recommend an egg wash for the tops?

    1. Not necessary, but you can certainly brush it on. So glad you enjoy them!

  30. Hi Sally! Any tips on how to get the rolls to come up to temperature faster in the morning? My young kids eat pretty early! Would putting them in a warm oven like you did with the initial rise? Thanks!

    1. Hi Beth! That could definitely help, but be careful they don’t begin to over-proof or puff up too much.

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