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.

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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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My FAVORITE overnight cinnamon rolls recipe!

364 Comments

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  1. do you need to allow the cinnamon rolls to reach room temperature before baking them the next morning, or do you put them straight into the oven once it’s up to temp.?

    1. Hi Mandy, the rolls need to rise again in the morning before baking, so they will naturally come to room temperature before baking.

  2. Elizabeth Sutton says:

    These came out WONDERFUL! Instead of cinnamon, I used pistachios and cardamom (it’s my husband’s birthday and those are his two favorite flavors). They were delicious. I will for sure be making these again!

    1. Hi! Can you please elaborate more on your substitution? I also want to try it! Thanks!

  3. Hi! Hoping to try this today for tomorrow’s breakfast. Can you 1/2 the recipe? Holding onto my flour stash tightly and we honestly don’t need more than 6 rolls so I was curious if anyone had tried it? Thx!

  4. These are delicious! Made them for a special quarantine cheer-up breakfast, and they’re some of the best cinnamon rolls my family has had. The ratio of butter and cinnamon to roll is perfect, and the dough itself was easy to work with, flavorful, and tender. Highly recommend!

  5. Susan Robbins says:

    I wish we had cream cheese for the icing. Since I don’t want to make an unnecessary trip to the store, are there any alternate glaze suggestions? Thank you!

    1. Hi Susan, a few options— I recommend vanilla icing, coffee icing used on my easy cinnamon rolls, or even this maple icing used on my maple brown sugar cookies.

  6. I made these the first time and they were enormous! I froze another batch in freezer.
    After defrosting, I left them out to rise and they never rose. I even tried placing a pan of warm water under the roll pan and covering. Still no rise. Do you have any solutions?

    1. Hi Nicole, Are you following the freezing instructions in the recipe notes? If so, they won’t rise again after being partially baked and then frozen.

      1. Nicole Koplik says:

        Hi Sally
        I did not cook the batch I froze. I made the roll and kept in a log form. I wrapped with plastic wrap and then an outer layer of foil and froze. Never baked the second batch. I defrosted the roll. Then sliced and placed on the pan. I left out for several hours and expected them to have risen like the first fresh batch I made. No go. Same size.

  7. These are AMAZING! Just curious – can these be made with bread flour, with the same amazing results? Just asking because I have quite a bit!

  8. This was by FAR the best cinnamon roll recipe we have ever tried. Made them exactly as directed for Mother’s Day weekend. They were the fluffiest cinnamon rolls I’ve made. Forever our new favorite recipe and very well explained.

  9. Simply the best recipe I’ve ever tried! I do use brown sugar in the filling instead.

  10. Are we supposed to need SSI much time for the dough to rise with platinum yeast? That’s what I used following the recipe, and the rolls tasted a bit yeasty. I’ve read that with the platinum you just mix with dry ingredients with no proofing and go.

    Would you ever use salted butter? I was craving a bit if salt and more butter in these.

    1. Hi Erin, you can certainly use salted butter in this dough if you’d like with no changes to the added salt (if you want a saltier dough). I’ve never found it to be problematic to initially dissolve Platinum Yeast by Red Star in a warm liquid prior to adding the rest of the dough ingredients. If you found that the rolls tasted yeasty, perhaps they over-proofed in either rising step? Thanks for trying the recipe!

  11. Would I be able to put these into a round cake pan or pie dish? If so, what size do you recommend and would time in the stove change?

    1. Hi Sarah! These rolls will fit into 2 9-inch cake pans. The bake time will be similar, maybe a couple minutes shorter.

  12. I made this recipe as written, but cut in half. Worked great, fit exactly right into a pie pan. This was my first time making cinnamon rolls, so here’s what I have learned: roll the dough with the recommended rolling pin. I just pressed it flat, and while this looked right *before* the rise, there wasn’t much of a spiral afterward. Roll it thinner than you think. Also, as mentioned in the recipe, tent the top to prevent deep browning. It’s a sweet dough and browns quickly. Thank you Sally, this recipe makes cinnamon rolls much more doable!

  13. Love this recipe! New to baking with yeast and this turned out really well. One exception, the bottoms totally burnt! I didn’t even keep them in the full 25 minutes because I smelled burning–I used a buttered, glass baking tray with advised temp. Any advice on avoiding this in the future? Would parchment paper have prevented this?

    1. Hi Jenny, The butter on the bottom of the pan could have been what was burning. Next time try lightly spraying the pan with non-stick spray or simply use parchment paper.

  14. Can you make the cinnamon rolls 2-3 days ahead and just keep the dough in the refrigerator until you have time to bake it? Or can you freeze the pas and then defrost them and let them rise again?

    1. Hi Lillian, I don’t recommend prepping these and waiting 2-3 days to bake. See my overnight, make-ahead, and freezing instructions for my recommendations.

  15. Crystal Dawson says:

    Recipe looks delicious, I am new to baking and the only yeast I could find was instant. Do I just add this along with the sugar to the milk without proofing. Thank you

    1. Hi Crystal, I use instant yeast so you can follow the recipe exactly as written. Enjoy!

      1. Crystal Dawson says:

        This rating is for your jalapeno cheddar bread as I haven’t made the cinnamon buns yet, but want to thank you so much for such a detailed recipe for novices like myself. I have tried to make bread 4 times and was leery to waste flour on another disaster, but your recipe worked and everyone loved the bread. Also, thank you for your quick reply to my question. I will be following a lot of your recipes in the future.

  16. Would love to try this recipe but can only find fresh yeast. Is there a way I could make this recipe using fresh yeast instead?

    1. Hi Kealey, I haven’t tested this dough with fresh yeast, but here is a very helpful conversion chart if you make the swap: https://redstaryeast.com/yeast-baking-lessons/yeast-conversion-table

  17. Carolyn Arntson says:

    Grandpa tried sour dough bread – twice with NO success. So, we decided to jump off the edge and try these yeast cinnamon rolls – neither of us had ever done yeast breads! Your tips – softening butter AND the oven method for rising the dough were BOTH fabulous. We were so so proud of the outcome. We used brown sugar versus white and added raisins. We shared with others in our building. WE were quite the hit:) Since finding this website I’ve tried several new recipes and all have turned out perfectly! THANKS
    Grandma

  18. Delicious and easy to follow! This was my first time cooking with yeast and my first time making homemade cinnamon rolls and this was a great recipe to start with. Everyone at brunch was blown away.

  19. I was just wondering if you take off the aluminum after u take them out of the refrigerator and then let them rise. Then when theyre baking halfway you cover them loosely with aluminum? Just wondering for the clarification

  20. Just made these as a special Sunday breakfast in quarantine. This dough is an absolute dream!! Since I am avoiding going to the store too much right now, I only had skim milk, which is not recommended for this recipe. I decided to add an extra 2 tablespoons of butter to replace the milk fat and it worked great. The dough is so silky and easy to work with. I also didn’t have cream cheese, so I made a maple brown sugar icing. I really appreciated all of the detailed instructions because this was my first time making anything other than challah with yeast. Worth the time and effort for sure!

  21. Do we spread butter on both sides of the dough, or just one?

    1. Just the side that is facing up!

  22. Hi Sally! Would it be ok to make the rolls today (Wed) up until the point of second rise and then refrigerate them until Friday afternoon and finish baking? I’m bringing food to a friend on Friday night and I want them to be fresh and delicious but won’t have the time to prepare them tomorrow. Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie, I’m just seeing your question now. I don’t recommend refrigerating them for longer than 8-12 hours. If over-proofed, they will likely deflate in the oven and/or have a sour or unpleasant yeast aftertaste.

  23. Hannah Kabli says:

    Best cinnamon roll recipe I’ve tried thus far. I used brown sugar for the filling and sprinkled in some pecans! Thank you for sharing!

  24. Hi Sally, could these rise in the refrigerator for 16 hours or so? I need to make them in the afternoon, but won’t be able to bake them until the next morning. Wasn’t sure if the extra 4-5 hours would mess them up.

    1. Hi Casey, The longer the rolls rise past about 12 hours, the more over-proofed they’ll be. They can deflate and have an off flavor. I don’t recommend going much past 12 hours, 16 would be the most!

  25. Made these for breakfast today. LOVED IT! they came out perfect and the cream cheese frosting wasn’t too sweet which was on point.

    Thank you for the great recipe.

  26. Hi Sally,
    I’m planning to bake this tomorrow. Had a quick question- for the filling, do I need to powder the granulated sugar or not?
    Thanks!

  27. Hi I’ve read pouring cream on the rolls while it’s baking is it ok to do it for your recipe 10 minutes into baking

    1. I tried that, they turned out amazing. I poured half a cup right before baking, after the second rise. They were gooey at the bottom-just like a fresh cinnamon.

  28. Hi Sally. We have made these delicious cinnamon rolls at sea level and they have turned out great.
    We are now at 8300 ft in Colorado. How much more flour would you recommend we use for the altitude? Thank you,
    Diane

    1. Hi Diane, I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  29. Made these for a workplace breakfast and they were a hit! I did substitute 100 g flour for whole wheat and use only 1/2 cup sugar in the dough. Rolls were still quite tender and sweet enough for me. Such an easy dough to work with! Mine also took 1 1/2 hours to rise the next morning. Thank you!

  30. Hi Sally, could I make the dough in my bread machine? It has a dough function. Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      I can’t see why not, Lindsay. Enjoy!

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