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!

364 Comments

  1. Hi! These look delicious, so my daughter and I are trying them for the first time. Unfortunately, we have tried twice already and the yeast does nothing. The yeast is a different brand (all they had in stock right now), but expiration date is late 2021. I only have 1% milk, does that matter? Can you please tell us how long to mix in the yeast before letting it rest? Should all the sugar be dissolved first? Not sure what we’re doing wrong. There’s so many different ways online to activate yeast. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jenn, Did you test the temperature of your milk with a thermometer? You want to heat milk to about 95°F (35°C)– too hot and it will kill the yeast. With a whisk, just stir the milk, sugar, and yeast together a few times. Cover with a towel and let rest about 5-10 minutes. You can see the photo above of what my yeast looks like with bubbles (not covered in a thick foam). You can also check out my Baking with Yeast Guide for even more information if you wish!

  2. Can I freeze these instead of refrigerating them and then thaw them overnight in the fridge when I’m ready to use them?
    I want to make several batches for Easter.

    1. Hi Lynn, for best results, I recommend following the freezing instructions. (Where you pre-bake them.)

  3. Will salted butter affect the rise of the dough? I’d like to make these today but I have only salted butter in the house.

    1. Salted butter will not affect the rise of the dough, but cut the added salt in half.

  4. Hi Sally, I only have Fleischmann’s active dry or rapid rise yeast. Can you please tell me which would work better in this recipe?

    Thank you,

    Sheila

    1. Honestly either work. If you’re doing the overnight process, the active dry would be great since the rise time takes longer with active dry anyway.

  5. Yet another great recipe, Sally! There’s really no baking blog I trust more than this one! In my new free time, I’ve been trying to bake more challenging recipes and this was my second foray working with yeast. I used active yeast (the jarred kind) and, although 14g seemed like a lot of yeast at the time, my cinnamon rolls came out perfect and not yeasty at all. I used 1% milk for the recipe and it didn’t seem to negatively affect anything. On the second rise, I heated my oven to 150, turned it off, and put the dough in to rise for about 45 minutes (mostly because I was getting hungry!). The rolls came out soft, fluffy, and beautifully textured. My mom said she liked these rolls better than Cinnabon–high praise! I absolutely recommend this recipe for an indulgent morning.

  6. Hi Sally,

    I followed your recipe and it was very delicious and fluffy of good texture at the day of baking, however I stored remainder in the same dish on the counter covered in plastic wrap for 2-3 days, found that its texture turned a bit cakey and crumbly even when re-heated. Can you please tell me is it meant to be like this or did I do sth wrong?

    1. Hi Ayat, so glad you enjoyed these cinnamon rolls. I wonder if the rolls were over-baked. Cakey is expected from this sweet dough, but they shouldn’t crumble.

  7. Diane Bernel says:

    I’m in the middle of making the cinnamon rolls. So far, so good, except for the KitchenAid moving across the counter! ??
    My question is will it work well to put pecans in the pan first? Do I need to add anything?

    1. Hi Diane! You can add pecans to the pan or try my pecan sticky buns recipe.

  8. Hi Sally! I’m planning on making your cinnamon rolls this weekend and was wondering, for the next day when I take the rolls out of the fridge to do the second rise am I suppose to put them in a warm over to rise like the first rise or just set them out on the counter?

    P.S. I love all your recipes!

    1. Either works, but I recommend you set them on the counter.

  9. Would it be ok to halve the recipe if I only want to make 6 rolls? Does anything else, cooking or proofing time, change as well?

    1. Sure can! The 1st rise time will be shorter since there’s less dough. For the 2nd rise, the rolls can still rise overnight or– if not making overnight– just let them double in size and puff up before baking. Bake time will be a little shorter too.

  10. Hi Sally,
    I only have bread flour right now. Can I still follow the recipe as is, or do you suggest any adjustments? I’m very new to yeast and bread baking. Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Caroline, You can use bread flour without making any other changes but your rolls will be a bit chewier.

  11. Veronica Cinquegrani says:

    Can I bake them and then reheat them in the morning?

    1. Sure! Just cover tightly and store at room temperature overnight and then reheat in the morning.

  12. Hi Sally,

    Your recipes are the best! I’m low on granulated sugar. Can I substitute brown sugar in the filling?

    1. Sure can! Same amount.

  13. Rhetta West says:

    Cinnamon Rolls are my husband’s favorite. I would like to cut this recipe in half since I’m just cooking for two. Would cutting the ingredients in half change anything else in the recipe…such as rise time or kneading time?

    1. Hi Rhetta! You can cut this dough recipe in half. The 1st rise time will be shorter since there’s less dough. For the 2nd rise, the rolls can still rise overnight or– if not making overnight– just let them double in size and puff up before baking. Bake time will be a little shorter too.

  14. Christine M says:

    Hi Sally! I would like to make this recipe but I could only find regular yeast (fleidhmanns). The directions say to dissolve in liquid with sugar first. Should I omit this step and just follow your recipe (just dissolve using the cup of milk)? Thank you!!

    1. Correct, dissolve the yeast in milk as the recipe instructs. Hope you enjoy these!

  15. Hi Sally,
    My daughter recommended these for our quarantined Easter brunch. It is just my husband and me so I halved the recipe and they can’t out perfect. Thank you!

  16. Hi Sally,
    I recently found your site and loving your recipes so far! I’ve made these once before already and currently in the process of making them again! However both times the dough has been quite wet and sticky. No matter how much I flour my counter before turning the dough out it sticks. While the first batch I made turned out delicious once baked, I’m not sure where I’m going wrong to get such a sticky dough!? Any tips or ideas would be much appreciated!

    1. Hi Naomi! So glad you are enjoying my website and recipes! I’m happy to help here. This is a very soft dough. It’s supposed to be a little sticky, so you can use extra flour when rolling it out or even try using a pastry mat to help manage the dough. Also– when preparing the dough, make sure your butter isn’t melted in the slightest and is a cool room temperature. (Here’s my post on room temperature butter if you need it!)

  17. Well, my butt doesn’t thank you for this, but the rest of me does! What a lovely soft dough, it was a pleasure to work with! I used a dark metal 9×13 pan with parchment on the bottom and had no overdone issues as the other commenter noted. Came out utterly perfect! My husband made copycat cinnabon frosting instead of the glaze and…good lord. Ridiculous. Thanks again!

  18. Glendella Smith says:

    My husband has a lactose problem,can I use silk lactose free almond milk for the cinnamon rolls?

    1. Hi Glendella, 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!

  19. Hi! My son is crazy and doesn’t like cream cheese icing. ;( How would I alter the ingredients to make it a more traditional icing? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel! Try my vanilla icing instead.

  20. They were delish. I tried them today, I think they need to be back in the oven for another 5 mins. Can I do that with a bit of frosting?

  21. Came out perfectly. I followed this recipe exactly. I’m glad I have an oven thermometer, my oven runs cool so my thermometer read 375 when I set my oven To 400. I found that the buns rose better ing the glass dish versus metal. I made the whole recipe but only used half of the dough. I placed 3 rolls in each of a 4 1/2 by 9 loaf pan, one glass and one metal. I gave one pan to my neighbors, we ate one and the rest went in the freezer before baking. I will see how the frozen ones turn out in the future.

  22. Any tips on getting the center ones to bake all the way through? I had to bake mine for over 40 minutes because the center ones were still raw, which made the ones on the permitted a little over cooked. I want to say, you’re my go-to baking blog! Thanks for all you do?

    1. Hi Valerie! I usually have this problem when I bake cinnamon rolls in a ceramic dish. What kind of pan are you using? Regardless of the dish you’re using, it can still happen and there’s a few ways to fix. First, lower your oven rack and lower the oven temperature. The rolls will take longer this way, but will bake more evenly. You can also only tent the edges of the baking cinnamon rolls (once they begin to brown) with aluminum foil. I usually just cut two pieces and place them on top of the two ends, leaving the center rolls exposed.

  23. Sooooo good! I followed this exactly except I added a little brown sugar to the filling mix. First time I’ve ever made cinnamon rolls, and this will now be my go-to recipe. Thanks!

  24. Oh. My goodness. These are heaven in a roll. My first time making cinnamon rolls from scratch and these were easy and exceeded expectations. I slightly increased the amount of cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar for a thicker frosting and these were perfect. My family and I could not believe how ooey gooey and perfect these came out. Sally’s recipes have never steered me wrong but this is an all-time favorite! Thank you!

  25. These were delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and found the dough soooo light and tender.
    I divided the rolls between two glass 9inch pie plates and used the freezing instructions for the 2nd batch. Can’t wait to have a other fresh batch next week!

    1. I love this recipe. If I double this recipe, will the rolls still taste the same

  26. First time making homemade cinnamon rolls and this recipe was absolutely awesome. Many home bakers can tell you that active dry yeast is harder to find than toilet paper during this Coronavirus crisis. I used my LAST 2 packets for these rolls and it was totally worth it.
    Having patience was key, my proofing process was almost ‘iffy’ at first (I think the milk cooled off too fast before combining with the yeast) but continued anyway and worked fine with extra rise time.
    Thanks Sally for helping me make something I’d never had the time or confidence to try. It made me feel a sense of joy, pride and accomplishment that I haven’t felt in a long time.

  27. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect cinnamon roll. Followed directions exactly, but sprinkled a small handful of raisins over the dough before rolling it up.

  28. Hi Sally,
    I have access to a proofing cabinet, would rising them in it in the morning effect the dough by rising too quickly?
    Also you mention 8-12 hours in the refrigerator, would it be okay to leave them for roughly 20 hours?
    Thanks so much,

    1. Hi Pam, I don’t recommend much longer than 12 hours in the refrigerator, 16 at most. Using the proofing cabinet in the morning shouldn’t be a problem.

  29. So disappointed. Followed every step exactly. The oven method was too warm and made the dough hot, which I think dried it out. It also made it impossible for the dough to set once in cinnamon roll shape, so they deflated and look pathetic. Also, after I got them out of the fridge, they were rock hard.

  30. Lindy Curtis says:

    My 9 year old grand daughter just made these. We happened to have yeast bough lt before COVID 19. Our Germsn Au Pair was absolutely thrilled. She said that were just like home! The 9 year old said that this was not a fake recipe!

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