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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


  • 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


  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature 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


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 refrigerator 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 minutes 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 make 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 combination 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 can't 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 for baking later- 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), follow instructions but do not refrigerate. 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.