Made the night before and baked in the morning, these Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are so easy and delicious, you’ll never go back to the tube brand again!
You want Cinnamon Rolls when?
I have to be honest, in the past, the Winter Holidays were usually the only time I dared think about making cinnamon rolls. There are usually at least 2-3 cinnamon roll worthy morning occasions in December alone. We have two birthdays, at least two work parties (I work from home, so it’s always a party🎈), and let’s not forget Christmas morning.
Here’s the thing, cinnamon rolls are not a spur of the moment pastry. They’re relatively easy to make, but you need time for the dough to rise, let alone bake, and I’m not about to get up at 5 am so someone can bring something in to work. I love you guys but… 🙄
So I experimented with my regular cinnamon roll recipe and played around with letting it rise in the refrigerator overnight and they came out great! By taking the dough out in the morning and allowing it to come to room temperature and “rest” for half an hour or so (go take a shower, have some coffee), your cinnamon rolls will come out puffy and delicious every time.
What are the ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls?
- All-purpose flour I’m not trying to complicate your life by using a special flour.
- Active dry yeast I know a lot of people use instant yeast, but I really like to proof my yeast first. Seeing it bloom in warm milk makes me feel all warm and hopeful about my dough rising. There’s nothing worse than making a dough and realizing your yeast was dead. Ugh.
- Butter There’s butter in the dough and butter in the filling. These are definitely made for eating in your stretchy pants.
- Eggs Two large room temperature eggs are needed. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge, like I do, just cover them with warm water while you do all the other stuff and they’ll be fine. Just not too war, we don’t want soft boiled eggs 🤣
- Cinnamon Buy what you can afford, but I find that Ceylon cinnamon (I use Simply Organic) has more depth and is less bitter than the 99¢ version I was buying. My mom used to say “you pay for quality” and, darn it, she was right.
Can I use other flavors, besides cinnamon?
Absolutely! I’ve changed up the filling from time to time by adding Chinese five spice, pecans, and my favorite Chai Spices. I’m even considering some savory fillings that I’ll share with you in another post!
Tips and tricks for making these cinnamon rolls
- You can make, shape, and and freeze these cinnamon rolls for later! I have experimented with freezing them directly after shaping and cutting, and also allowing them to rise after shaping and then freezing. Both worked great! Just place your shaped rolls on a parchment lined sheet pan and put in the freezer. When they have hardened, transfer to a ziplock bag. The night before you want cinnamon rolls, just place them in the pan you plan to bake in and allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, let the rolls to come to room temperature on the counter and bake as directed. Don’t worry if they’re not incredibly puffy before you bake them, they’ll floof up in the oven.
- I’m also gonna share another tip with you guys 🤫 It might sound odd, but a little known secret of Southern grandmas is to pour some warmed heavy cream all over your cinnamon rolls just before baking them! They come out so soft and gooey, and stay fresh for days. You’ve gotta try it!
Anyway, whether you make and bake today or put them away till later, you’re going to want to make these cinnamon rolls all year round! That’s how you roll now 😉
Storing cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls tend to drying out rather quickly and proper storage is key to a pleasurable leftover cinnamon roll moment. The key to keeping them moist is all in the packaging.
- You can store these at room temperature if placed in an airtight container.
- Store at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. After that, I recommend freezing them.
Can you freeze cinnamon rolls?
In the unlikely event you haven’t eaten all of your rolls, you can store them in the freezer. Separate the rolls and place them, unwrapped, on a parchment lined plate or tray. Flash freeze them for about an hour. Remove from the freezer and wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and place wrapped rolls in a large ziploc bag. Store frozen for up to 2 months.
How do I reheat my Cinnamon Rolls
- Remove rolls from whichever storage method you are using, room temperature or frozen. Allow frozen rolls to thaw.
- Lightly spread softened butter over the un-iced portions of the roll. Microwave 30-45 seconds on high. Add an additional 10-15 seconds at a time until warmed through, if needed.
- Alternatively, you can reheat these in the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spread softened butter over the un-iced portions of the roll. Place in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes, or until warmed through. Enjoy!
Looking for more yeast-based recipes?
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 1 cup warm milk 240 g (105°-115° is optimal)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100 g
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature and cut in small cubes
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 4 cups all-purpose flour 520 g
- 1 tsp kosher salt fine grain
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- 1 stick unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar 100 g light or dark
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100 g
- 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese 226 g room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter 57 g room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar 250 g
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 pinch kosher salt fine grain
- 1/2 cup heavy cream 120 g warm (not hot)
Making the dough
- Warm milk in the microwave for 45-60 seconds, to about 105°-115° (prime yeast awakening temperatures!) Place the milk into the bowl of your standing mixer, then add honey and yeast. Let sit until it becomes foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla into the milk. Sift in 4 cups flour, and the salt and stir with the dough hook, starting on low and increasing to medium-high, until all the flour is mixed in. It's going to look like the hook won't be able to bring all the dry flour to the dough party, but it will. This part will take about 2-3 minutes.Let the dough hook do its thing for about another 5-6 minutes or until a large ball is formed and it pulls away from the bottom and sides of the bowl. It will still be slightly sticky, but not wet.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until it is just barely tacky and form it into a smooth ball. Grease a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Make the filling
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon until mixed.
Making the rolls
- Sprinkle a large work surface with flour and plop the dough out. Form the dough into a rectangle, pressing out the gases as you go. Roll the dough into an 18”X12” rectangle. Using a silicone or offset spatula (I used my clean hands 🤗), spread softened butter all over the dough and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, going all the way to the edges. Roll the dough tightly away from you, along the long end and cut into 12 equal sized rolls using a serrated knife. Use a ruler. It’s your friend. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and lightly spritz with non-stick spray. Place rolls in 4 evenly spaced rows of three.
- Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes, and preheat your oven to 350° F If you would like to make these the night before and bake them in the morning, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight to finish proofing. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350°, take the rolls out of the oven, and allow them to rest next to the preheating oven for 30 minutes or until almost doubled again in size. If it's a particularly cold morning it might take an hour. When your rolls have finished their second rise, pour the warmed cream (just warm to touch, not hot) all over the top of each roll and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Bake at 350° until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
Frost the rolls and eat them so fast
- While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Spread the cream cheese frosting on the rolls while they are still warm so it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Eat them. Eat them. Eat them. Share 🙄
and share with your friends!
and be a part of the fun!