These overnight cinnamon rolls are a game changer! All of the prep is done the night before and the end results is the most tender, fluffy, and cinnamon sweet rolls that are hard to resist! This family favorite recipe is the perfect way to add a little sweet to your breakfast menu.
This recipe was originally published December 4, 2015. It has since been updated to include fresh photos and helpful recipe tips.
- Make-Ahead: Start these sweet rolls the night before and you’ll have a batch of fresh baked goodness ready in just minutes in the morning.
- The BEST Cinnamon Roll: I have made these cinnamon rolls dozens of times and can confidently say they are the very best. So tender and buttery with the perfect sweet flavor.
- Freezer Friendly: Ready for another amazing kitchen tip? You can actually FREEZE this recipe for later! Prep everything and pop in the freezer for baking at a later date. AMAZING.
This recipe is a life changer. Inspired by my recipe for the Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls but with just one simple twist, they are prepped in advance. It takes away the extra time you have to set aside for rise time and rolling and let’s you focus on anything else. The hardest part is remembering to take them out of the refrigerator and letting them come to room temperature before baking.
That is literally the hardest step. The end result is the most dreamy sweet roll with a soft texture and the perfect balance of sugar to cinnamon. Top all of that off with a sweet glaze and you’ll have a bakery finish! Make them ahead or spend the short time prepping the day of. I’ve included both instructions in the recipe card below.
CINNAMON ROLL INGREDIENTS
Let’s chat about ingredients. All of the items called for in this recipe are actually pantry staples! Check the list below. I broke each item down so you would know why it is important and what its role is in the recipe.
- Yeast: Active dry yeast is key to a fluffy light roll dough. You will want to make sure that the yeast has been stored properly and is not passed the expiration date.
- Warm Water: If the water is too cold it will not activate the yeast. If the water is too hot it will kill it before it has a chance to do its job. You want the water to be warm enough that you could stick your finger in it and leave it for a few seconds without it being too warm.
- Milk: Room temperature is key! Cold milk will mess with the yeast process so make sure you heat the milk slightly.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar, or classic white sugar, is added to the dough to give it a slightly sweet dough.
- Butter: Remove your butter from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you are ready to start the dough to help it soften slightly.
- Salt: Salt is a flavor enhancer added to most baked goods to help boost each flavor profile.
- Eggs: Large eggs should be used at room temperature.
- All-purpose flour: Classic white flour. You can find this in the baking aisle of your grocery store.
HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS AHEAD OF TIME
Just to preface, this is a quick breakdown. For a full step-by-step see the recipe card below.
- PREP: Sprinkle your yeast over your water in a small bowl. Set aside and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or until you see the yeast begin to bloom. You’ll see it start to foam or bubble, which means you are good to start the recipe.
- DOUGH: I suggest using a stand mixer for rolls, however you can definitely mix by hand. It will be a touch more work, but doable. Make the dough by combining the ingredients and kneading, with the dough hook, for 5-10 minutes. You want the dough to be smooth and form a ball.
- RISE: Time for your dough to take a good break. Transfer it to a greased bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let it sit for an hour or two, or until it has doubled in size.
- ROLL: Carefully turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 15×9 inch rectangle. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, a rough general size/shape is perfect. Add the filling and roll tightly, starting with the long end.
- CUT: Carefully slice, using a sharp knife, into 15 pieces.
- CHILL: Place the cut rolls into a lightly greased 9×13 pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill inside the refrigerator overnight.
- BAKE: Plan ahead and pull the cinnamon rolls out of the refrigerator and keep at room temperature for roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour to let them come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes, or until they are golden bowl.
- FROST: Whisk together the frosting ingredients and spread over the top while the rolls are still warm.
More Cinnamon Recipes
- Honey Cinnamon Butter
- Snickerdoodle Blondies
- Peach Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
- Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
- Apple Cinnamon Jelly
The main difference between the two is that instant yeast needs less time to rise. This recipe specifically needs active yeast.
I highly recommend using a 9×13 pan with a lid. This is an amazing asset to have in your kitchen, but happens to also work well with this recipe.
Yes! Here is the secret. Prepare the rolls as stated all the way until the overnight chill. In the morning, bake the rolls for only 10 minutes. Allow them to cool competely. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.
When you are ready to serve, remove the rolls from the freezer and allow to thaw. Bake 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Frost and enjoy.
Brown sugar. No question. I have used both and the depth added by brown sugar takes this recipe from good to great.
There are two main reasons you could have issues with a dense roll. First, be sure you are using fresh yeast that starts to bloom. This helps to create air bubbles and lift to the bread. Second, measure your flour by spooning into the measuring cup and leavening off with a knife. Scooping will compact the flour and add too much flour into the dough producing a thicker roll.
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- 1/4 oz active yeast pack
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter soft
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-3 tablespoons milk
- Sprinkle your yeast over your water in a small bowl. Set aside and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Combine the milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir to combine. Add 2 cups of flour and stir until fully incorporated. Stir in the yeast mixture. Add the remaining flour and knead 5-10 minutes or until smooth.
- Transfer your dough to a greased bowl. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
- Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15×9 inch rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup soft butter across the dough. Whisk together the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over your butter. Roll, starting on the long end, to form a large log. Cut into 15 pieces.
- Place your rolls into a lightly greased 9×13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning place the cinnamon rolls in the oven without turning it on. Let them come to room temperature and slightly rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- Bake 25 minutes or until slightly browned.
- Whisk together the frosting ingredients and spread over the top. Serve along side your favorite breakfast recipes.