Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

The Ultimate Guide to Making Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a beloved treat enjoyed by many, and the overnight preparation method is particularly popular for its convenience and flavor enhancement. This guide will walk you through the process of making the perfect overnight cinnamon rolls, ensuring a delicious outcome every time.

Introduction to Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls have become a staple in the world of home baking, cherished for their rich, comforting flavors and delightful aromas. These rolls, known for their soft, fluffy texture and sweet, spicy filling, have a special place in the hearts of both amateur and seasoned bakers. The process of making cinnamon rolls overnight transforms a simple dough into a delectable treat, perfect for breakfast, brunch, or a cozy evening snack. Their popularity not only stems from their irresistible taste but also from the joy and satisfaction found in the baking process itself.

Essential Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls

The magic of cinnamon rolls lies in a harmony of simple, yet essential ingredients. At the heart of every batch are:

  • Flour: The foundation, providing structure and softness.
  • Yeast: A crucial element, responsible for the rise and airy texture of the dough. Red Star Active Dry Yeast is a popular choice among bakers for its reliability and consistent results.
  • Sugar: Adding not just sweetness but also aiding in the browning and texture of the rolls.
  • Cinnamon: The star spice, infusing the rolls with their signature warm, spicy flavor.

Each ingredient plays a pivotal role in creating the classic cinnamon roll experience.

Why Overnight Preparation Works Best

Opting for an overnight preparation of cinnamon rolls isn’t just a matter of convenience; it significantly enhances both flavor and texture. This method allows the dough to undergo a slow, cold fermentation process in the refrigerator. During this time, the flavors mature and deepen, resulting in a more pronounced and complex taste. Additionally, the extended rest period improves the texture of the dough, making it easier to handle and shape. The result is a batch of cinnamon rolls that are not only delicious but also boast a perfect, tender crumb and a delightful, melt-in-your-mouth quality.

Classic Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe

The traditional overnight cinnamon roll recipe is a testament to time-honored baking techniques. It begins with a basic dough made from flour, sugar, yeast, and butter, mixed and kneaded until smooth and elastic. The dough is then left to rest overnight in the refrigerator, allowing it to rise slowly. In the morning, it’s rolled out, spread with a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, then rolled up and cut into individual rolls. These are left to rise once more before being baked to golden perfection, resulting in soft, fluffy rolls with a sweet, aromatic filling.

Innovative Twists on the Classic Recipe

Exploring innovative twists on the classic cinnamon roll recipe can lead to delightful new flavors and textures. Some creative variations include:

  • Unique Fillings: Incorporating ingredients like apple pie filling, orange zest, or chocolate chips for a unique twist.
  • Different Flours: Experimenting with whole wheat, spelt, or gluten-free flour blends can alter the texture and nutritional profile of the rolls.
  • Spice Variations: Adding cardamom, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice to the cinnamon filling for a different flavor profile.
  • Nutty Additions: Mixing in chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts into the filling for added crunch and richness.

Techniques for the Perfect Dough

Achieving the perfect dough for cinnamon rolls requires attention to:

  • Kneading: Proper kneading develops the gluten, which is crucial for a soft, elastic dough. Aim for 8-10 minutes of kneading until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky.
  • Resting: Allow the dough to rest adequately after kneading to relax the gluten. This makes it easier to roll out and shape.
  • Temperature: Ensure ingredients, especially milk or water, are at the right temperature (warm but not hot) to activate the yeast without killing it.
  • Handling: Handle the dough gently when rolling and shaping to maintain its airy texture.

Filling and Frosting Variations

The filling and frosting of cinnamon rolls are where creativity can shine. Some variations include:

  • Classic Cinnamon Sugar: A simple yet irresistible combination of cinnamon and sugar.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: A rich, tangy frosting that pairs beautifully with the sweet rolls.
  • Maple-Flavored Frosting: Adding maple syrup to the frosting for a unique, autumnal flavor.
  • Fruit-Infused Fillings: Incorporating fruit preserves or fresh fruits like apples or berries for a tart contrast.
  • Chocolate or Caramel Drizzle: For a decadent touch, drizzle melted chocolate or caramel over the baked rolls.

Baking Tips for the Best Outcome

To ensure your cinnamon rolls are baked to perfection:

  • Preheat the Oven: Always start with a preheated oven for even baking.
  • Correct Temperature: Bake at a moderate temperature, typically around 350°F (175°C), to cook the rolls thoroughly without burning.
  • Positioning in Oven: Place the rolls in the center of the oven for the most consistent heat distribution.
  • Timing: Bake until they are golden brown on top, which usually takes about 25-30 minutes.
  • Doneness Test: Check for doneness by tapping the rolls; they should sound hollow when fully baked.

Presentation and Serving Suggestions

Presenting and serving cinnamon rolls can be as creative as making them:

  • Icing Patterns: Drizzle icing in artistic patterns or use a piping bag for precision.
  • Garnishes: Sprinkle chopped nuts, zest, or a dusting of powdered sugar for an elegant touch.
  • Serving Warm: Serve the rolls warm to enhance their aroma and softness.
  • Pairing with Beverages: Complement the rolls with coffee, tea, or a glass of cold milk.
  • Plating: Arrange the rolls on a beautiful serving platter or rustic wooden board for a visually appealing display.

Advanced Baking Techniques

For those looking to elevate their cinnamon roll baking, the Tangzhong technique offers a remarkable improvement in texture. This method involves cooking a small portion of the flour and liquid (milk or water) from the recipe to form a paste before adding it to the dough. This process, known as gelatinization, allows the dough to retain more moisture, resulting in softer, fluffier rolls that stay fresh longer. Incorporating this technique into your cinnamon roll recipe can transform an already delicious treat into an extraordinary bakery-quality delight.

Explore advanced methods like the Tangzhong technique for a softer roll.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common pitfalls in making cinnamon rolls can easily be avoided with a few tips:

  • Over or Under Proofing: Ensure the dough has doubled in size during the first rise and is visibly puffy after shaping. Over-proofed dough can collapse, while under-proofed dough won’t have the desired fluffiness.
  • Incorrect Oven Temperature: An oven that’s too hot can burn the rolls, while too low a temperature can lead to undercooked centers. Use an oven thermometer to verify accuracy.
  • Rolling the Dough Too Thin: This can cause the filling to leak out. Aim for about 1/4 inch thickness when rolling out the dough.


What consistency should the dough have for cinnamon rolls?

  • The dough should be soft, slightly tacky but not overly sticky. It should stretch without tearing when pulled.

What are some frosting options for cinnamon rolls?

  • Classic cream cheese frosting is popular, but you can also try vanilla glaze, maple frosting, or even a simple dusting of powdered sugar. For a vegan option, coconut cream-based frostings work well.

How should I store leftover cinnamon rolls?

  • Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to a week. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Can I make cinnamon rolls gluten-free?

  • Yes, use a gluten-free flour blend designed for baking. You may need to adjust the liquid quantities slightly.

Can cinnamon rolls be frozen?

  • Absolutely. Freeze them after shaping and before the second rise. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow them to rise before baking.

Personalizing Your Cinnamon Rolls

Making cinnamon rolls your own is all about experimenting with flavors and ingredients. Try adding citrus zest to the dough for a fresh twist, or incorporate different spices like cardamom or nutmeg into the filling. For a healthier version, substitute some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or add oats to the filling for texture. You can also play with the shape of the rolls, such as braiding the dough or making pull-apart bread. Personalizing your recipe allows you to create a signature roll that perfectly suits your taste preferences.

Conclusion: Enjoying Your Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

In conclusion, mastering the art of making overnight cinnamon rolls is a rewarding baking journey. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or venture into innovative variations and advanced techniques, the key is to enjoy the process and savor the results. Remember, baking is as much about the experience as it is about the final product. So, gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to fill your kitchen with the irresistible aroma of homemade cinnamon rolls. Happy baking, and enjoy the delicious rewards of your efforts!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Enjoy homemade Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with this classic recipe. Perfect for a special breakfast or brunch, these rolls feature a soft, fluffy dough with a rich cinnamon-sugar filling and creamy cream cheese frosting. Prepare the dough the night before for a convenient and flavorful morning treat.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time: Overnight 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cinnamon rolls
Calories 400 kcal


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • 9x13 inch baking pan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixer (for frosting)



  • 1 cup whole milk warm
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream as needed


  • Prepare the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add sugar, melted butter, salt, eggs, and flour. Mix until well combined. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5-7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Make the Filling: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Shape the Rolls: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a 16x21-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll the dough tightly from the long end and cut into 12 equal rolls.
  • Second Rise: Place the rolls in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let them rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in size.
  • Bake: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Prepare the Frosting: While the rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Add milk or cream as needed to achieve a smooth, spreadable consistency.
  • Frost the Rolls: Once the rolls are out of the oven and slightly cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting over them.


  • The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours if needed.
  • For a lighter frosting, you can reduce the amount of cream cheese and butter.
  • Feel free to add nuts or raisins to the filling for added texture.
  • If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour when kneading, but be careful not to add too much, as it can make the rolls dense.
Keyword Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

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Karen Elliot

Written by Karen Elliot

Hi, I'm Karen Elliot is a food blogger who founded to make cooking easier. Growing up on a farm in Spain, Karen was inspired by exquisite dishes prepared using simple ingredients. Karen Elliot is particularly known for making anyone can cook.


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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious! I followed it exactly and my cinnamon rolls were perfect. I have been on the hunt for a recipe I can make in advance. Thanks for sharing.
    BTW I used the Rapid Rise Yeast, kinda accidentally & it worked just fine.

  2. 5 stars
    I love to cook, but don’t consider myself a “baker.” I don’t have a lot of confidence in that department and have had my share of duds. However, I followed your recipe exactly and these were the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had! I recently discovered your site and everything I’ve made has been outstanding. Thank you,

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe aside from the vanilla. 1/2 tbsp is too much and you get the alcohol flavour and it curdles the cream cheese.

    I usually have a go-to icing but figured I’d do the whole recipe start to finish.

  4. 5 stars
    The BEST! I made the milk and yeast mixture ( I only had instant), mixed in the flour and sugar, let it rise, then put everything into my bread machine and let it do the work. I did have to add about 3 T flour, but they turned out wonderfully for Christmas breakfast. Thanks and hope you had a wonderful celebration.

  5. 5 stars
    I have a kitchen tip. Use a heating pad covered with a towel and place your dough bucket or your tray (for second rise). It provides the gentlest of heat to encourage a quick even rise.

  6. 5 stars
    I love this tip! My kitchen is chilly in the morning. Nobody uses the heating pad in my house, so it will have a new home nearer the kitchen. Thanks!

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