Breakfast & Brunch | October 4, 2019

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect way to enjoy fresh, hot cinnamon rolls early in the morning without the 4AM wakeup call!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

 

This recipe can be made as an overnight roll, or a traditional make and bake. Instructions for both methods are included on recipe notes. ABK’s Overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe is also freezer friendly!

 

Why overnight?

I love to serve fresh, hot cinnamon rolls right out of the oven for breakfast or brunch on a special occasion. The problem with serving cinnamon rolls fresh in the morning?  It requires getting up before the sun rises to insure they are mixed, rolled, risen, baked and frosted by the time you’re ready to serve. Overnight Cinnamon Rolls to the rescue!

The beauty of this recipe is the work and mess is finished the day before, so all you have to do on the day of serving is pull the pan out of the fridge, let rise, bake and frost.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients and method combined to make the best overnight cinnamon roll

Not all cinnamon roll recipes are created equally! This recipe comes after YEARS of trial and a lot of error. The perfect  overnight sweet roll uses a combination of flours and a small, (but not too small) amount of yeast. This recipe for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls calls for Bread flour and All Purpose flour. If you omit the bread flour, the rolls will lack the texture you are looking for in a light, and slightly chewy roll.

A tablespoon of yeast in combination with the cup of bread flour will yield a rise in the dough, without rising too much overnight. Remember, the roll will rise a bit in the fridge, and then again in the oven! One last unique combination –  I believe butter and oil in the dough helps to create a chewier texture we love in our cinnamon rolls!

How to make Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

How do you make Overnight Cinnamon Rolls?

The process of making overnight cinnamon rolls is basically the same as a traditional cinnamon roll. Mixing and waiting for the first rise of the dough is still included in the recipe. There are recipes that omit the first rise in cinnamon rolls to save time, but I don’t love the texture of the quick-rise cinnamon roll.  Most bakers will tell you there is a compromise when you are making yeast rolls that only require one rise!

This recipe uses a small amount of yeast in the dough, so the roll won’t puff up too much in the fridge overnight.   Once the cinnamon roll has been formed, cut and placed in the pan; simply cover and let sit in the fridge until the next morning. When morning comes, the pan needs to come out of the fridge and sit in a warm place to allow the rolls to rise and then be baked. If you have a “PROOF” setting on your oven, I suggest using it. The PROOF setting is usually set to about 85 degrees. Don’t try to force the rolls to raise too quickly, or the rolls will yield a “yeasty” flavor.

How to roll out cinnamon rolls

Simple cinnamon roll filling

The three key elements to a delicious cinnamon roll are: dough, filling and frosting. I think the filling is often overlooked. The secret to perfect filling is… simplicity. I like a basic filling that includes butter (no margarine!), brown sugar and cinnamon. I also like a pinch of salt to balance out the sweet. Soft and not totally melted butter works well to keep the filling from spreading out too much!

How to roll out cinnamon rolls

Rolling up and cutting rolls

When I make cinnamon rolls it seems like I’m either baking for a big crowd or just a few people at home. This recipe is perfect for one 9×13 pan  yielding 12 cinnamon rolls. If I’m making overnight cinnamon rolls for a crowd, I double this recipe and use a jelly roll pan for baking.

How to roll out cinnamon rolls

Cutting cinnamon roll dough is easy if you have a sharp knife,  or a pastry scraper works well as long as the edge is sharp. I’ve found a stainless steel edge is ideal for cutting cinnamon roll dough. Dental floss works well too, just make sure it is not flavored! One time I used mint flavored floss and could taste it on my cinnamon rolls. Not a good combo!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

The best cream cheese cinnamon roll frosting

I’ve frosted cinnamon rolls with a huge variety of ingredients. Some I love and others are just… meh. In the end, I have a few favorites, but nothing competes with a cinnamon roll topped with cream cheese frosting. I like to keep the cream cheese on the light side. Less is more when it comes to cream cheese frosting in my opinion!  I use 4oz of cream cheese in this recipe.  Don’t make the mistake of using light cream cheese. If you use light cream cheese in baked goods, don’t expect the same texture as with using regular cream cheese. There’s more than just a lower calorie and fat content result!  In the end,  your baked product, or frosting (in this recipe) will suffer. Frosting will not set up the same when using a low fat or no fat cream cheese. Trust me!

I hope you love this Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe and hope it makes your morning gatherings a little easier and much sweeter!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

5 from 8 votes
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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are perfect for breakfast or brunch gatherings! Most of the work is done the day before, on day of serving- rise, bake and frost.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword cinnamon rolls, make ahead
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
raising and time in refrigeration 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warmed milk I use whole, but any type will work
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, granulated
  • 2 large eggs + one yolk, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil *if you prefer, you may use an additional 1/4 cup of butter instead of oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour*
  • additional all purpose flour for rolling out dough

filling

  • 6 tablespoons butter, room tempereture no margarine!
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt

cream cheese frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, not light, room temperature see post for more info
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, cream or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash salt

Instructions

Prepare dough:

  1. Carefully place eggs (in shells) into a small bowl of warm water to gently heat the eggs. Let sit while preparing yeast mixture. Or use room temperature eggs.

  2. Place warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over the warm milk. Let sit until the yeast begins to bubble and rise.

  3. Add eggs, egg yolk, 4 tablespoons melted butter, oil , 1/3 cup of sugar and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix until blended with paddle in mixer on low.

  4. Add 3 cups all purpose flour. Mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Add 1 cup bread flour a little at a time, switch to dough hook. Mix until all flour is mixed in, and no white patches are visible. Mix for about 1 minute on low speed using dough hook. The dough should look smooth when finished.

  5. Lightly coat the inside of mixing bowl with cooking spray. Cover bowl with Saran wrap. Let sit for about 2 hours in a draft free place that is at least 72 degrees.*

  6. While dough is rising, prepare the filling and the pan for baking.

Prepare filling:

  1. Mix 6 tablespoons room temperature or slightly melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.

    Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan (preferably not glass*) and set aside.

Form rolls:

  1. Using a lightly floured surface, pat and then roll the dough into a 20"x10" rectangle.

    Spread the filling onto the dough evenly.

  2. Roll up the dough, starting with the long side, until the dough is rolled into one long piece.

  3. Using a sharp knife, pastry scraper with sharp edge or unflavored dental floss, cut the rolled dough into half, then each half into 2 pieces, then each portion into 3 even rolls. You should have 12 rolls when finished (see photos on post)

  4. Place the rolls into prepared pan and cover with a sheet of parchment. Tightly cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and place in refrifgerator for 2-12 hours.

  5. 2 1/2-3 hours before baking, place pan on top of dry dishtowel in a warm draft free place.* Do not set pan directly on a cold stone countertop! Remove cover used in refrigerator and parchment. Cover with clean, dry dishtowel. Let come to room temperature and rise. Alternately, you may use a proof setting on your oven (85 degrees) and cover the rolls with parchment and a light towel. Leave the rolls in the oven to raise for about 1 1/2 hours.

  6. 30 minutes before baking, heat oven to 375 regular bake OR 350 Convection. Place rack in center of oven. Prepare frosting (below) and set aside.

  7. When rolls are ready to bake, place in oven and bake for 15 minutes (convection) or 375 regular bake for 15-20 mintues or until tops are a light golden color. Remove from oven.

  8. When rolls are still hot, frost with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the frosting. This will melt into the rolls a bit, but topping with a portion of the frosting while rolls are hot will allow the frosting to seep into the rolls and create a gooey soft, flavorful roll.

  9. After rolls have cooled about 15 minutes, top with remaining frosting and serve.

Make frosting:

  1. While rolls are baking, combine soft cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Add powdered sugar, and mix again on low speed. Add milk, vanilla, and dash of salt. Mix until smooth. Add a splash more milk if needed. See notes for nake ahead.

Recipe Notes

  • You may use all butter if you like. I have found the texture of the roll depends on a  few factors, one being the use of a combination of butter and oil in the dough. The butter gives the rolls great flavor and the oil helps to create a  bit of a dense and slightly chewy texture. 
  • I've experimented with flours in cinnamon rolls for YEARS. This combo creates a light, but still slightly dense texture in cinnamon rolls. I think using part All Purpose and part Bread Flour is the perfect combo. If you are looking for a lighter cinnamon roll, and want your roll to have a higher rise, you may use All purpose flour, and leave out the bread flour. 
  • Make sure to use butter in the filling and the frosting, not margarine or a butter substitute. Butter has a flavor and texture that cant be duplicated! 
  • The baking time will vary according to your oven, but this recipe is most often finished in my oven right at the 15 minute mark. I use a 350 convection setting. You can also bake regular bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Remember to allow about 15 minutes after the rolls are baked for the rolls to cool enough to serve and to frost in two stages. 
  • I recommend using a light colored pan (not a dark coated pan or glass) for best results. Glass tends to bake hot (at least 25 degrees hotter) and dark pans  often result in dark bottoms on rolls!
  • The frosting on this recipe may be made the day before and refrigerated. When you take the rolls out of the fridge to rise, take out the frosting and let come to room temperature.
  • To freeze rolls- Prepare as directed in recipe, except when ready to refrigerate rolls, cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze immediately. The rolls may be frozen for 30 days and then removed from freezer. Unwrap and cover lightly with a dishtowel. Let thaw and rise for 3-4 hours and bake as directed. 
  • To make and bake this roll recipe (without refrigeration), proceed as directed until the rolls are refrigerated. Instead of refrigerating, let shaped rolls sit on countertop covered with a  light dishtowel. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours. Bake and frost as directed. 

20 thoughts on “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

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  1. These look amazing! Also, I am planning to make your sheet pan Eggs Benny and saw you mentioned an overnight blueberry bake with vanilla sauce. Did you happen to post that recipe? I didn’t see it, but it sounds so good too!

  2. I made these for conference weekend, they were wonderful,I took some to a family member who had surgery and she was so excited she said” oh I just saw those on line and thought those would be so good for conference! I love your recipes….

  3. These were absolutely amazing and easy to make! I followed the directions exactly and they worked perfect. I like a lot of icing but the amount in the recipe was almost twice as much as needed. Thanks for sharing these, they were fabulous

  4. Oooooh I’ve always wished to have homemade cinnamon rolls in the morning but never found the desire to wake up 3 hours before the sun rises. I didn’t even know it was possible to make them the night before!
    Also, I love the dental floss cutting hack. My husband was so skeptical the first time I tried it and now he tells everyone about that trick! Haha

    I’m looking forward to trying this delicious-looking recipe of yours as well! 💛

    1. Hi Erica, I always find those little hacks make such a difference. Let me know how you like the recipe and thanks for your comment!
      xo
      Si

  5. 5 stars
    These are delicious. Made them over conference weekend and the whole family gobbled them up. Loved that I could make them the night before too! Already planning on making them again over the holidays. Thanks Si!

  6. Hi!
    I’m wanting to make these for my young women’s activity in the evening. Can I still take them out of the fridge the next day, but wait until about 3:00? Will them being in the fridge cause a problem for the final product? Thanks for your help?

    1. Hi Tami, they should be fine in the fridge, just make sure to take them out and let them rise for about 2 hours before baking. Prepare everything up to step 4 in Form Rolls and make sure to cover the rolls tightly with plastic wrap. Thanks for asking and for reading ABK!
      xo
      Si

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Si! The cinnamon roll dough is so easy and the filling is amazing! However after several failed attempts I can’t get them to cook all the way through:( should I try a jelly roll pan and space them out? I’m wondering if using the 9×13 pan with them so crowded is the problem??
    Thanks,
    Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa, I would definitely try baking them on a jelly roll pan next time. I would also make sure you’re giving the dough plenty of time to rise before baking it. Hope this helps and let us know how they turn out next time!
      xo
      Si

  8. 5 stars
    My wife and I made these for our neighbors, and for ourselves 🙂 , on Christmas Eve and they were amazing. 100% best cinnamon rolls ever. Good call on the bread flour by the way! We added just a bit of lemon to the frosting… oh man. Drool-worthy.

  9. 5 stars
    I made these for Christmas morning this year and they were fantastic! This was my first time ever making cinnamon rolls and I followed the recipe and tips exactly.

  10. 5 stars
    I searched dozens of make ahead cinnamon roll recipes and decided on this one as I’ve had success with A Bountiful Kitchen’s other recipes. I followed the directions exactly and they came out perfect. The active time was manageable and it was so easy to pull out a few hours ahead of time before baking. The recipe notes are very helpful so be sure to read them! It was a great step to frost a bit while they are right out of the oven then add the rest after they’ve cooled a bit. I will definitely be making this for future special occasions. It as such a treat for Christmas morning.

  11. 5 stars
    I made these for Christmas Day Brunch and while they are still time intensive, I can’t imagine doing this all the morning of! I made a double batch. I cut the first ones wrong (*facepalm*) and they ended up wonky. They still tasted great, just not as pretty. Read the cutting instructions carefully and you will get picture perfect rolls!

    My inside rolls were a bit underdone and the outsides a bit overdone, but all I had to use was either a glass pan or a dark pan, neither of which is recommended. I went with the dark pan and the bottoms were indeed dark. Now I just need the right pan so I can make these again!!

    1. Hi Kelly, it’s all about trial and error when it comes to cinnamon rolls! And I’m glad you got to see how the type of pan does make a difference, thanks for sharing and for reading ABK!
      xo
      Si

  12. 5 stars
    I made these for Christmas morning and they were a hit! Everyone was raving about how delicious they were! Definitely going to be a new Christmas tradition!

    I want to bring these on a family weekend getaway, but I want to prep them before instead of lugging the stand mixing etc. How would you suggest transporting them? At what stage in the recipe would be best?

    Love all of your recipes! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Jill, I would transport them on a sheet pan, covered, after you’ve cut and rolled them and before you’ve baked them. You can make the cream cheese frosting beforehand and then bake and frost after you’ve transported them. Hope this makes sense and thank you for asking!
      xo
      Si

  13. 5 stars
    These cinnamon rolls are the absolute best! And worth the work. My family and I enjoyed these on Christmas morning. We had leftovers and froze them. They were just as good a few weeks later reheated. I did find I had a lot of frosting leftover. I also froze that and used it for another recipe.