Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Prep these cinnamon rolls the night before and bake in the morning. These overnight cinnamon rolls bake up super fluffy and gooey and are slathered with cream cheese frosting while still warm!
When I first decided I was going to do a series on baking with yeast I asked people to post on facebook what questions they had about baking with yeast. One of my friends asked, “I make cinnamon rolls at night. What do I need to do to be able to bake them in the morning and still have them be as fluffy as if I baked them immediately after they rise?” This is a great question! Plus, any excuse to make cinnamon rolls is okay by me!
I’ve always thought that all cinnamon roll recipes (or any breakfast yeast bread) should include instructions for if you are making the dough the night before and baking in the morning.
Let’s face it, who really wants to get up 4 hours before you want to eat cinnamon rolls to get the dough prepped? Nobody. That’s who. It just makes a lot more sense to prep them the night before and bake in the morning!
The thing you have to remember about making any yeast dough and putting it in the refrigerator is that the yeast is going to slow way down while it’s cold. Remember, as we addressed in the Baking with Yeast 101 post, yeast is most active at warm temperatures.
I had a feeling that the problem with my friend’s cinnamon rolls is that they were going into the oven cold. She confirmed that they were, and this is the problem with the fluffiness of the rolls.
When yeast is awake and feeding, it produces carbon dioxide. This is what makes the bread rise before it goes into the oven. Once the bread hits the oven, the yeast begins to die and the gas that the yeast produced expands and makes the bread rise even more.
Therefore, in order for the cinnamon rolls to be super fluffy, the dough needs to warm back up before going into the oven so that the yeast is awake and feeding.
I find that for best results I put the rolls into the refrigerator as soon as they are shaped. Then I take them out and let them sit in a warm place to come back to room temperature and finish rising before going into the oven.
This usually takes about 2 hours. But that’s 2 hours where you don’t have to do anything. You could even go back to bed! And if your kitchen is very warm, it may not even take the full 2 hours. You can always sit the pan near a heating oven to help them along.
If you are ever in Chicago one of the biggest things on your eating agenda should be to get a cinnamon roll from Ann Sather. I’m telling you, they are incredible. I have never in my life had a cinnamon roll so tender, fluffy, gooey, and filled with butter and cinnamon. I have had a lot of cinnamon rolls and none compare to those of Ann Sather’s!
But with this recipe, I aimed to get as close as possible to Ann Sather level and let me tell you these do not disappoint! Definitely the best cinnamon rolls I have made to-date! I even made you another little tutorial video so you can see exactly how to do it yourself! I hope it helps!
Please let me know what other questions you have about baking with yeast so I can address them!
If you are a sourdough baker, make my even more flavorful version of these rolls with my sourdough cinnamon roll recipe! And for a festive, holiday twist try my orange cinnamon roll recipe!
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Prep these cinnamon rolls the night before and bake in the morning. These overnight cinnamon rolls bake up super fluffy and gooey are are slathered with cream cheese frosting while still warm!
For the Dough
- 1 cup (240 ml) milk (any kind, dairy or non-dairy will work fine)
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp, 7 g) active dry or rapid rise yeast
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (75 g) unsalted or salted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 1 tsp salt
- 4-5 cups (480-600 g) all-purpose flour or bread flour
For the Filling
- 1/3 cup (75 g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 3 TBSP (36 g) cinnamon
- 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar or granulated sugar (or a combination of the two)
For the Frosting
- 4 oz (113 g) cream cheese, room temp
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 56 g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar
For the Dough and Filling
- Warm the milk up slightly until it is about 110 F. This will feel just slightly warm. You do not want it to be hot.
- Pour the yeast into the milk and add a big pinch of sugar. Stir together and let sit for 5-10 minutes until you see some foaming. This means your yeast is alive. If you see no activity or foaming, your yeast is either old or your liquid was too hot.
- In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and flour. Add the milk/yeast mixture and stir together until it forms a dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until its smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can knead with a dough hook in a stand mixer.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Deflate the dough by gently pushing your fist in the center and folding the sides over. On a floured surface, pat the dough out to a rectangle. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to about a 16X12" rectangle.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl. Spread the filling evenly over the rolled out dough, leaving about a 1/2" border. Starting on the long end, roll the dough into a log and pinch the seam closed.
- Using a serrated knife, trim the ends off the roll. Cut the roll in half and then cut each half in half. Cut the roll into 12 pieces by cutting each section in 3 even pieces.
- In an oiled 9X13 pan, space the rolls out evenly. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the rolls and press down so no rolls are exposed. Refrigerate the rolls overnight.
- About 2 hours before baking, take the rolls out of the refrigerator and let come to room temp and rise. You can place the pan next to a heating oven to speed up the process.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. When the rolls are doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and bake for 35 minutes.
- Frost the rolls while still hot so the frosting seeps into the rolls.
For the Frosting
- With a hand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0
143 Comments on “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls”
Hi, I have made cinnamon rolls dozens of time and wanted to try your recipe. I was concerned about the amount of flour, but trusted the process. I did everything but still they came out very DRY!! I loved the rise I got. Best yeast ever. I don’t know what happened. I won’t bake these again unless you can advise me what could have went wrong. Thanks
Did you weigh your ingredients? I thought 600g of flour was too much too but the dough is beautiful. Not dry at all.
LOVE IT!!!!!!!! I’ll never buy any cinnamon rolls outside anymore! It was also so much fun to have my two boys making them with me! I even have friends wanting to “buy” the rolls from me ^^
Your youtube tutorial was very detailed. If it wasn’t for your video, I don’t think I would ever want try baking them. Thank you so much!
If I want bake on the same day. Can I just leave them out to double in size and then bake?
I’ve been making cinnamon rolls for years, but I’ll have to try this recipe. In an interview, the owner of Ann Sather’s said that one of the ingredients is soda.
Interesting! I love Ann Sathers.
Hi there, what a wonderful recipe! This might seem like a silly question but I was wondering if you take off the plastic on top of the rolls when you take them out of the fridge to come to room temperature? Might seem a little obvious, but just wanted to make sure 🙂
You can leave it on! It will come to room temperature and proof just fine with it on. Not a silly question at all.
In an internet world full of content, I find your site to be easy to read and useful. You’re detailed but not pedantic. You give great information on the technical side of cooking. I also feel like your recipes are all just a little special. I’m an old broad and have been cooking a long time, so I just wanted to say thanks!
You’re welcome! You are so kind! Thank you!
I would like to use this recipe for my yeast rolls. What temperature do I bake them and for how long?
Hi Linda, I have a specific recipe for yeast rolls if you search “Baker Bettie Yeast Rolls”. That will have all the info you need.
wondering if we could freeze the rolls instead of putting it in the fridge. And putting it in the fridge the night before cooking?
These freeze really well! Yes, move from the freezer to the fridge the night before and then proceed with the instructions as is.
This recipe looks amazing. I want to try and make them for Christmas morning. But I also host Christmas Eve. Would it be too long on the fridge if I make them 24 hours before hand and just let them stay in the fridge until I bring them out for their room temp rise? Thanks for the help! I would hate to mess it up and disappoint everyone on Christmas morning
It’s not too long! That will be perfect.
Hi! I tested these out the other day in preparation for Christmas morning. Great recipe and easy to follow, thank you! The only problem I had was that some of the filling oozed out and burned on the bottom or caramelized (not sure which haha). Any suggestions to help mitigate that?
Hi! I’m so glad you liked them! I would suggest rolling your rolls a little bit tighter that should help with the filling.
My dough is currently proofing. But I can never seem to kneed to a point where it makes that beautiful ball and doesnt stick to my hand. Any tips?
Hoping these turn out, they look amazing
If it’s still sticking to your hand, you can use a little flour on your fingers. And then keep on kneading! By the time it’s done kneading it should be soft and but not sticky enough to really stick to you.
Hi!! Was super excited to make these but somewhere I messed up because I didn’t even get a rise out of them the first time. Fresh yeast and made sure my milk wasn’t to warm and it still didn’t work out 🙁
Can I freeze these raw and defrost and bake when I need them? There are only two of us we can’t all of them in one go
You can! Just be sure they come to room temperature and then puff up a little bit before baking.
made this but into monkey bread. i bake it 350 for 40 minutes and made the icing a little thinner . absolutely dangerous . so delicious hard not to eat it all
I love these rolls! Can I prep them Friday night and refrigerate until Sunday morning to bake them?
Absolutely! Just let them sit out at room temperature for a couple hours before baking on Sunday.
My husband will not eat anything with cream cheese frosting. Could you suggest another topping for the cinnamon rolls?
You can use a vanilla buttercream recipe, try my “Homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting”. Or you can do a simple vanilla glaze, my recipe is titled “Basic Powdered Sugar Glaze”.
Chili! Yes, it’s a thing!
How do you determine how much flour you put in to start. I realize you can add flour as you are kneading, but how much do you put in for the mixing.
To start, you will use the smallest quantity from the ingredient list and then add more as needed.
Hi! I’ve worked with some of your recipes before with my classes and even consulted with you about a chocolate cake problem I was having. Now, I want to do these cinnamon rolls with my cooking class, but because of timing, need to split it into a 3 day lab. Can you suggest how to do that with this recipe and still have it be successful?
Hi! You could make the dough day one and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Shape and fill the dough day two, let it sit in the fridge overnight. And then bake it on day 3.
This was the first homemade cinnamon roll I have ever made. Baker Bettie’s recipe was so easy to follow with easy techniques. I did, however, watch a lot of her video’s prior to making these so I had some knowledge before I started. The dough was nice and soft and the taste was what you would expect from yeast dough. The filling was fabulous! Definitely take the time to make these even if you’re a beginner baker. You won’t be disappointed! I’m on to lemon blueberry scones now. Thanks Baker Bettie!
Thanks so much for the kind review!
Looking forward to making these for Christmas morning but I would need to prep them earlier than the night before, more like the morning before. Would they still be okay to do it this way. Thanks for any help on this.
Yes, that’s fine!
Can you freeze these cinnamon rolls? If so, At what point in the process?
You can! After you fill them, roll them up, cut them and place in a dish then you can freeze the whole dish. The night before you are ready to serve, leave them in the fridge overnight to thaw. In the morning let sit out at room temperature for 2 hours before baking.
Can you explain to me the flour measurement you have listed.. (480-600)g flour
what are you looking for with the dough to determine how much you use?
My recipe says 4-5 cups of flour. I used 4 cups and added a little more for rolling out. The dough was soft and easy to work with
I am going to try these my go to is the cinnamon roll recipe from wY back in the day Putman City cafeteria cinnamon rolls they are delicious ooey gooey soft fluffy
Yum! Hope you love these!
I have needed cinnamon rolls twice now and love them. If I wanted to use the same recipe and bake them all in the same day so I don’t have to get up 2 hours before my toddler gets up how much time after rolling do they need to rise before they go into the oven.
I heard about a roll they used ground up Red Hot Candy for the filling have you heard of this instead of Cinnamon and Sugar?
I love everything you do. You are a beautiful lady and have a sweet husband, very supporting for you. I wish I could talk to sometime. I live in South Carolina.
Greetings from Canada,
I’ve started learning baking and your site and youtube channel are a godsend. So far my favorite recipes have been these cinnamon rolls and scones. Thanks!
Bettie–thanks again for providing all of us who wanna know what is behind all of these delicious recipes we try, love or decide to tweak so we love them. I love the chemistry that’s such an integral part of baking.
I live at 7500′ and need to tweak recipes all the time to have a successful outcome. Question: might there be some additions that can be put next to the ingredients such as flour, leavening, liquid, temperature, and time amounts? While I’ve learned to do that constantly, I am sure there are others who could benefit from seeing places in a recipe where increases/decreases need to be made–even temperatures and length of time for baking/boiling–to encourage better baking with Bettie! No more sunken cupcakes!
Thanks so much!I hope your newest endeavor in Chicago is an absolute blowout success!!!
Hi Bettie, Making these for my grandsons for tomorrow. While spooning out the cinnamon to 36 grams, it seemed more than 3 tablespoons worth. I double checked; 1 tablespoon is equivalent to 7.8g, so I reduced the cinnamon to 24 grams, hoping that is correct. Thank you for your enjoyable recipes.
Homework #10: Easy Weekend Brunch Recipes
I chose Cinnamon Rolls
This is the first time for me to make one from scratch. Honestly, i was nervous at first but eventually got my confidence as I worked through it. It looks so good and taste amazing! My family loved it. Thank you Bettie!
I make my cinnamon rolls the night before and put them in the refrigerator, I will set my alarm for 4 hours prior and put them in the oven with the light on in the oven. It usually take about 4hours to rise and be ready for baking.
I have a question would this dough make a good version of twisted cinnamon bread.
If these are so good why do you put cream cheese frosting on them? Doesn’t that cover up the taste of the rolls? I lost my tried and true recipe and have been looking for a replacement. Most of these have cream cheese frosting which makes me think that they aren’t very good. I think I will keep looking.
Cinnamon rolls are traditionally served with cream cheese frosting. It doesn’t cover up the taste of the rolls, it’s a complimentary flavor.
I would love to try your cinnamon roll recipe in my FACS class, but we only have 50 minute class periods. Do you think I could spread this recipe out over 3 days, so we would prep dough on day one and then refrigerate. Day 2 I would have to let it rise for 1 hour prior to class, then prepare filling and form rolls and refrigerate again. On Day 3 I would have to take out to warm again prior to class but then bake and frost during class. Do you think this process would work?
I love using your recipes and videos with my students. Thanks for your advice and great information!