Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Breakfast, Spring

This Overnight Cinnamon Rolls recipe are the perfect make-ahead breakfast item. These rolls are soft and buttery. They have have a punchy cinnamon flavor and are topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting. The best part about this recipe is that you can split up the work, dividing it into two days.

overhead shot of cinnamon rolls in pan

I am currently writing this while it is hailing outside (!!) while a very vintage (circa 2011) episode of Real Housewives of New York plays on in the background. I guess you could say it’s a splendid, wonderful day filled with positivity and bright light!

These rolls are sooooo good. I’m not gonna lie, cinnamon rolls are a labor of love. They require two rises, making three separate components (the dough, the filling and the glaze), assembling, chilling, slicing, etc.

cinnamon roll dough rolled out and filling on top

That’s why I am a firm believer of dividing the work in half. It’s like an interest-free loan when buying a high-ticket item, you know? If you do/pay a little at a time, it doesn’t sting as much!

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls Ahead: 

  • Make the dough
  • And then make the filling
  • Make the glaze

Assembled Cinnamon Rolls

warm cinnamon rolls with frosting poured on top

It makes it SO much easier the next day. You’ll still have work to do the next day, but dividing it by half makes it a breeze!

warm cinnamon rolls with frosting poured on top

The Next Day You’ll Have This On Your To-Do List:

  • Assemble the rolls
  • Slice up the rolls and place them cut side up in a baking pan (assembly and slicing them will take about 30 minutes)
  • Let the rolls rise in a greased bowl in a warm place
  • Bake them
  • Make the cream cheese frosting and glaze with room temperature butter/cream cheese. It’s super easy and delicious
  • Smother them with the cream cheese frosting

warm cinnamon rolls with frosting being smothered on
warm cinnamon rolls with frosting being smothered on

See! So much better. Doing this all in one day (if you’re not a pro-baker and used to projects), might be a bit aggressive. If you do make these straight through, here’s how the steps will go:

How Do You Make Cinnamon Rolls Soft?

For cinnamon rolls you really want–what is called–“an enriched dough.” This means that instead of just combining yeast, flour and water (think: baguettes, boules, etc.), you want to add things that will make it soft and billowy. To achieve a soft cinnamon roll, we add butter, milk and sugar. These three ingredients will give you that soft dough that is oh so lovely in a cinnamon roll.

This dough is super versatile and I love using orange juice as the liquid. But of course, you can use milk, too.

For the glaze, I love using vanilla paste. It makes it so you can see the little speckles of vanilla and for some reason seeing vanilla speckles just makes me so happy.

warm cinnamon rolls with frosting with center roll removed

Tips and Tricks

  • If you’ve never used Active Dry Yeast before and you’re a bit scared or hesitant to use it, then use Instant Yeast (also known as Rapid Rise). You can add the Instant Yeast to the dry ingredients (flour and salt) and proceed with the recipe. No need to activate it!
  • Activating yeast can be tricky! You want to wait until it gets nice and foamy. If no foam or bubbles form, you’ll have to start again to ensure activation.

Can You Put Cinnamon Rolls In The Fridge Overnight

  • If you like, you can assemble the cinnamon rolls, put them in the baking dish you’re using and cover tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to rise overnight. They might NOT rise very much in the fridge; that’s ok! Allow them to rise on your counter for 1 hour (until doubled in size) and then proceed with baking them.  That way, when you wake up in the morning, all you have to do is bake them off and then smother them with the cream cheese frosting!

overhead shot of cinnamon rolls

Looking for more breakfast roll recipes? Here are some favorites: 

And here are some other my favorite breakfast recipes:

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

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5 from 21 votes
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serving Size: 16 cinnamon rolls
Calories: 405kcal
Overnight cinnamon rolls that are ooey and gooey and soft. Make the dough the night before and allow it to rise in the fridge overnight. Assemble the next morning! 

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup lukewarm milk , (you can also use orange juice for an added tang)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, (see below for instructions on using *instant* yeast)
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten in a bowl
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes

Cinnamon Roll Filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • Pinch kosher salt

Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

To Make the Dough:

  • To the bowl with of a stand-up mixer (alternatively, you can do this in a large bowl by hand), add the lukewarm milk. Mix in the active dry yeast and allow to stand and activate, about 8 minutes, until foamy and alive! 
  • To a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. To the bowl with the yeast mixture, add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract; then all at once, add the flour mixture. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and mix on low until the dough starts to become cohesive. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the cubes of butter. 
  • Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Alternatively, if you’re doing this by hand, you’ll need to knead the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes. The dough will go from crumbly and separate to completely cohesive and smooth. The dough shouldn’t be sticky. Remove the dough from the hook and the bowl and form it into a ball. 
  • Transfer the ball of dough to a clean, lightly greased bowl (I used the flour bowl and just wiped it clean with a kitchen towel and then greased it). Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and transfer to the fridge to rise for at least 2 hours or overnight. 

To Make the Filling:

  • To the bowl of a stand-up mixer (with the paddle attachment) or using a medium bowl and a fork, add the butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix and mash until the filling is completely smooth. 
  • *If you’re looking to save yourself a step in the morning, you can make this filling let it sit on the counter overnight so it stays softened. 

To Assemble the Cinnamon Rolls:

  • The following morning (or after the 2-hour mark), remove the dough from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough into the center. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll the dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle that measures 15“ x 22“ If it’s not a perfect rectangle, then that’s totally ok. 
  • Add the filling to the dough and spread into a thin layer, using a butter knife or offset spatula. I smeared the filling pretty close to the edges. Starting from the edge furthest from you, roll the dough towards you, horizontally, into a firm log. 
  • Slice the dough into two and transfer and carefully transfer them to a cutting board. Place them in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. I find that slicing cold dough is WAY easier. 
  • Remove from the freezer and slice the rolls into 1 1/2-inch rolls, about 12-16 rolls, trimming the ends off. 
  • Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking sheet (or something comparable). Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
    *If you're house is particularly cold, it may take longer for the rolls to rise. I like to place my cinnamon rolls by the oven because it's usually warmer in that part of my house.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. 

To Make the Cream Cheese Icing:

  • To the bowl of a stand-up mixer (or a large bowl) with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugars, vanilla paste, salt and heavy cream. Beat for about 20 seconds. 

To Serve:

  • When the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, pour the icing over the cinnamon rolls and smother them with icing. 
    *See below for instructions on assembling the rolls and then allowing them to rise overnight in the fridge.

Notes

Using Instant Yeast: 
Instant yeast is different than active dry yeast. Active dry yeast has to be activated in liquid until it's foamy and alive. Instant yeast can be added to dry ingredients. You can use instant yeast with this recipe. To do that, mix into the dry ingredients (you can skip activating it). 
You Have Other Overnight Options: 
If you like, you can assemble the rolls (don't bake them), place them in a baking dish or baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge overnight. 
In the morning, let them come to room temp (about 1 hour) and then bake them. 
Equipment: 
Pyrex Bowl with Lids | Quarter Baking Sheet | KitchenAid Stand-Up Mixer 
CourseBreakfast, Dessert
CuisineAmerican, Breakfast
Keywordcinnamon buns, cinnamon roll recipe, cinnamon rolls, homemade cinnamon rolls, make-ahead cinnamon rolls, overnight breakfast, overnight cinnamon rolls, sticky buns
Serving: 12g | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.7g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9.3g | Saturated Fat: 5.3g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3.5g | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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47 Comments

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Recipe Rating




  • Reply Aaliyah Shen June 29, 2020 at 10:29 am

    5 stars
    Hi Adrianna,

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe! I tried it for the first time last weekend and it turned out so delicious! I don’t even know how to describe the rolls. They were soft, chewy, buttery? haha. Everyone who tried it loved it too!

    I just have a quick question. If I would like to make more ahead of the time, how can I store them in the freezer?

    Thank you!

    PS: this was my first time making cinnamon rolls ever! 🙂

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme June 29, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      AMAZING to hear! Love it. Some people have told me that they’ve made them and baked them (without the glaze) and put them in the freezer and warmed them up with success. But I’ve never tried this so I can’t attest to them being good! 🙂

  • Reply Maya June 5, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved this recipe! Was so delicious and worth and energy and time put in. Just have to ask though – where did you find that adorable wooden icing spatula?? It is so cute! I would love to get my hands on one

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme June 10, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Hi Maya! I got it from Crate and Barrel! So glad the recipe was great. 🙂

  • Reply Bristen May 24, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    5 stars
    Okay, these were A-MAZ-ING. Perfect recipe. Easy to understand, easy to follow and execute. Thank you!! KitchenAid mixer was my best friend for all of this, too. I used instant yeast and it turned out perfectly. Question: how do you store these? Are they ok to be left out at room temp, or would you recommend refrigerating them?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme May 24, 2020 at 1:48 pm

      YAY!! So I store them in a tupperware with a lid at room temp. If your kitchen is super hot, you may want to put them in the fridge or just in a cool place, i.e., out of the sun! 🙂

  • Reply Jenna May 19, 2020 at 7:31 am

    5 stars
    These are a win!!! The ONLY thing I would change is the amount of cinnamon. I will decrease it to 1/4 cup rather than the 1/3 cup it calls for next time as the filling is a bit dryer and a tad chalky for my liking. Otherwise, these are delicious!! SUPER soft dough and lots to go around! I will be saving this recipe and sharing!.

  • Reply Katie J May 15, 2020 at 7:18 am

    5 stars
    These were to die for. I’ve made three or four other cinnamon recipes claiming to be “the best!” and they were “Not the best”. Very easy to follow instructions and I love splitting them into two days. I made the filling the night before and mixed that by hand just for ease of not having to was out my Kitchen Aid bowl again.

    I cannot roll a rectangle for the life of me so I ended up with 14 rolls of various sixes but that’s great for sharing! 10/10 will bake again.

  • Reply Lyn May 12, 2020 at 9:11 am

    5 stars
    I am so glad I found this recipe. I refrigerated the dough overnight and made them this morning. Light and yummy. I just made a simple glaze.

  • Reply Emily May 4, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    5 stars
    Fellow quarantiners/self-isolationists, fret not, this recipe is so generous with substitutions. We only had one more stick of butter (!!) and no dairy milk. I subbed oat milk everywhere it called for cream or milk. I subbed 1/3 vegetable oil for the stick of butter in the dough (because I felt that the filling really needed that butter). No butter for the icing, just used a little extra cream cheese. I was also too excited to wait over night, and with a 2.5 hour proof in the fridge and all these substitutions these still came out wonderful!! To be expected with a Cozy Kitchen recipe…

  • Reply Helene April 26, 2020 at 8:47 am

    5 stars
    These were sooo yummy! I had to add almost an extra cup of flour though because my dough was still so sticky… did I do something wrong? It made it so the cinnamon rolls were a little on the dry side. What would you suggest the next time I make them?

  • Reply Sally April 12, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    5 stars
    Hey. First time following a recipe of yours. This is the easiest cinnamon roll recipe I’ve ever made. The dough was so easy to work with and the texture came out perfect. I’m a huge fan of kitchen conundrums and this recipe was even better than that one. Thank you!

  • Reply Kim April 12, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Hi,
    How do I meadute the butter? On a scale?
    Don’t knoe if I have the same cup sizes..

    Thanks!!!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme April 12, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      Are you in the United States? You don’t measure it out. It will say where 2 tablespoons are on a stick of butter.

  • Reply Natalie Lewkowitz April 12, 2020 at 8:55 am

    5 stars
    OMG! Best cinnamon rolls ever! I made them last night for today (Easter) and they were perfect! I hate when cinnamon rolls don’t have enough cinnamon but these did not have that problem. They are so delicious and so cinnamon-y! Also I was about to make extra icing because I love heaps of icing but I am glad I didn’t since this recipe made more than enough! I wish I could attach pictures too because the swirls look so beautiful when they come out of the oven! I will definitely be recommending this recipe to everyone! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Reply Danyell April 12, 2020 at 5:23 am

    5 stars
    These came out so good . I was concerned about only 1/4 cup of milk, so I added 1/4 cup of warm water too. May not have been necessary but they came out great. I chose to make the rolls the night before and store in the frig- overnight. They are light and fluffy and yummy!

  • Reply Savannah Liles April 12, 2020 at 4:12 am

    5 stars
    I did everything exactly. Had to try to activate yeast 3, times, but it finally worked. Put the dough in the fridge to rise over night, which was from 12:30-6am, and nothing happened. Can I still use it? I’ve set it on the counter to come to room temperature. I’m so sad.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme April 12, 2020 at 8:03 am

      yes! absolutely. use it. roll it out, put in the filling and let the cut rolls rise for an hour!

  • Reply Kelly April 11, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    My dough has been in the fridge for about 3 hours but doesn’t seem to have risen at all… I used instant yeast, bought from the store yesterday! Will the dough still work?!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme April 11, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      yes! everything should be fine. what stage are you at? did you form them into rolls OR just the first rise?

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