Soft and fluffy overnight cinnamon rolls can be prepped the night before and baked in the morning! Top with a rich cream cheese frosting for the best make ahead holiday breakfast.
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Best Cinnamon Rolls
After testing this cinnamon roll recipe for years, I finally feel confident sharing them with you. I used the base dough from my orange roll recipe or but you can also use these perfect potato rolls. Both are fantastic!
These overnight cinnamon rolls are soft, buttery, and tender with the perfect amount of brown sugar and cinnamon filling then topped with the best cream cheese frosting. The best part is that you can prep these the night before and bake them fresh in the morning!
A warm fresh cinnamon roll on Easter and Christmas morning served with a side of this liege waffle recipe makes the sweetest brunch! If you’re looking for an even quicker option, try my 1-hour cinnamon rolls or this cinnamon roll casserole.
Let’s Make the Dough!
Making the dough is very simple to make but with a hint of sweetness! In order for this dough to work, there are a few key ingredients that need to be added at the right time and even temperature. Follow the recipe for the best way to make the cinnamon roll dough!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below
- Milk: This is tricky but using a thermometer will help get the perfect temperature without killing the yeast.
- Active dry yeast: Make sure that your yeast package is fresh and within the date before it expires.
- Egg: Use large eggs. If you only have medium add in an extra egg to help balance it out.
- Sugar: Add sweetness and texture to the dough. This amount of butter will be divided.
- Butter: Melt your butter in a microwaveable dish.
- Salt: Add a pinch to help the dough rise and form.
- Flour: Thicken the dough with all-purpose flour. This will also be good when you are rolling out the dough using a lightly floured surface. Add more or less as needed to your dough. You don’t want the dough dry or crumbly but not too sticky either.
Filling Ingredients for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Simply whisk or stir together the three ingredients then spread over the rolled-out dough. This is an easy and delicious filling that can be made quickly. It sounds easy and simple but this is still the best cinnamon roll recipe!
- Butter: Barely softened at room temperature.
- Brown sugar: Always a delicious sweetness to the filling.
- Ground cinnamon: Adds a sweet and spicy taste.
Top with Frosting!
The frosting is usually always my favorite part! Wait for the cinnamon rolls to cool off then frost them with this delicious, creamy frosting. You will love the flavor combination on these overnight cinnamon rolls!
- Butter: Unsalted butter is best. Slightly softened by sitting out on the countertop.
- Cream cheese: Make this into classic cream cheese frosting! Soften before adding to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Powdered sugar and sugar: Thickens and adds sweetness to the frosting. This sugar mixture blends well with the other ingredients.
- Vanilla extract: Add in a hint of flavor with vanilla or even almond extract.
How to Make Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Make the Dough
Add yeast, 1 Tablespoon of sugar, and warm milk in a small bowl. Let sit until it starts to foam, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg and then whisk in the sugar and salt. Then add the melted butter and yeast mixture. Mix with a dough hook in two cups of flour until smooth, then add the remaining flour in 1/2 cup increments. Knead the dough until it’s soft, about 5 minutes. You can add a Tablespoon or two more flour if the dough is still sticky, but make sure not to overdo it.
Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot to rise.
Add the Filling
Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside. When the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch it down and roll it out into a 15×20 inch rectangle.
Brush the softened butter on top of the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top. Gently press the mixture down into the softened butter.
Roll and Cut
Starting at the shorter side, roll the dough up tightly and pinch the sides together at the end. Then use floss or a large serrated knife to cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the dough rolls onto the sheet about an inch apart.
Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 16 hours. Then pull them out onto the counter the next morning to rise until they’ve doubled in size, usually about 1 to 2 hours.
Bake in Oven
Once they’ve doubled in size, bake the cinnamon rolls in the oven at 350°F until the tops are lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before topping with frosting.
Spread Frosting on Top
To make the frosting, beat together the ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth (add more or less milk if needed). Then spread the frosting evenly on top of the rolls with a spatula. If you prefer a drippier consistency, you can drizzle on a cream cheese glaze instead.
Here are some tips for making your cinnamon rolls even better! It all starts with yeast and making sure your milk is at the right temperature. Then the rest are helpful ideas to follow along making sure they are baked and frosted perfectly!
- Yeast. Make sure you are starting with fresh yeast. I used active dry yeast, not instant yeast or rapid rise yeast.
- Warm milk. Check the milk temperature to make sure it isn’t too hot. It should be at 105-110°F (bath water temp) when you proof the yeast.
- Quick rise. To help the dough rise faster, preheat the oven to 175°F and then turn it off. Then place the covered bowl of dough in the oven along with a small bowl of hot water.
- Baking sheet. Line your baking pan with parchment paper so the bottoms don’t brown too fast.
- Slice. When cutting the cinnamon rolls into sections using a sharp knife or some people like unflavored dental floss to cut into even sections.
- Extra rolls. This recipe makes about 15 rolls, however, the baking sheet usually fits about 12. I put the larger-sized rolls on the baking sheet and then add the smaller end rolls to a smaller pan.
- Let cool. Once the cinnamon rolls are baked and out of the oven, wait about 10 minutes before frosting. You don’t want it to melt too much.
Yes! You can cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap. You do not want to use aluminum foil until after they are baked to cover. They will last overnight for about 18 to 20 hours.
When making the yeast proof, the milk needs to be at the proper temperature to help the yeast grow. If the liquid is too hot then it will kill the yeast and won’t allow it to rise.
If you have unbaked cinnamon rolls left over that you would like to store, simply place them in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks long.
These cinnamon rolls can be frozen after they’ve been baked and cooled. Simply add them to a freezer bag or container and store them in the freezer. Let thaw overnight, then warm back up in the microwave or oven the next morning.
5 star review
“These cinnamon rolls were AMAZING! I’ve been wanting to try to make some from scratch for a while now, but was always too intimidated to work with the yeast/dough. Your step by step process was perfect.”-Tine
More Sweet Breakfast Ideas
Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups warm milk , 105-110°F
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast , about 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 8 Tabelspoons granulated sugar , divided
- 1 large egg , at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter , melted
- 4 cups all-purpose flour , plus more or less as needed
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoons salted butter , barely softened (do NOT melt)
- 6 Tablespoons salted butter , softened
- 2 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 1 1/2- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Milk or heavy cream , as needed
- In a small bowl, stir together the warm milk, yeast, and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Let sit 5 minutes, or until bubbly.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Whisk in the remaining 7 Tablespoon sugar and salt. Whisk in the melted butter and yeast mixture. Add two cups flour and stir until smooth. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons flour, but the dough should be soft. Don't overdo it with flour.
- Once dough is smooth and soft, cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. I like to turn my oven to 175°F and then turn it off. Place the bowl in the oven with a small bowl of hot water to help it rise faster.
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon,
- Once your dough has doubled in size, punch it down. On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 15×20 inches. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Spread softened butter onto the dough with a brush.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the top. Gently press the sugar down into the butter. Roll the dough up tightly starting at the shorter side. Pinch the sides together at the end.
- Using a large, serrated knife or a long piece of floss, cut the dough in half and then in half again, making 4 pieces. Cut each piece into 3 or 4 1-inch pieces, making either 12 big cinnamon rolls or 16 medium rolls. Place dough rolls, swirl-side up, 1 inch apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I like to put the 12 big ones on a baking sheet and the ends in a small pan. At this point if you wanted to bake, you can let the rolls sit for 1 hour, or until rolls have doubled in size.
- Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator up to 16 hours. In the morning, pull them out onto the counter and let them rise 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled. It is normal for there to be a little liquid, but if there's too much, get a paper towel and dab it out.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before frosting.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. You can add milk to thin it out or powdered sugar to thicken it until you reach your desired consistency. Spread over the cinnamon rolls with a spatula.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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