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Course: Breakfast
Keyword: Baking, Brunch, Comfort Food, Entertaining, Make-Ahead, Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 12 hours
Yield: 8 servings
These soft, fluffy, and sweet cinnamon rolls topped with rich cream cheese icing are worth the overnight wait.
As for the instructions, I know it looks like a lot, but I’ve broken it down into tiny steps (dough, filling, and icing) for clarity. Read it all over once and it won’t seem so daunting, I promise.
In case there are leftovers (which we both know is unlikely), arrange them on a plate and cover thoroughly with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. To reheat, move to a small plate (I usually use a paper plate) and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
To freeze: Individually wrap unfrosted rolls in plastic wrap and place them in a zip-top freezer-safe bag. When ready to eat, uncover and defrost on the counter for an hour, then microwave for 30 seconds and frost just before serving.
Both U.S. standard and metric measurements are listed, but if you want deliciously consistent results, go metric.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 4 large yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt



  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Specialized Hardware

Digital kitchen scale
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 12 hours
Yield: 8 servings


Make the Dough

  • Combine the buttermilk, butter, sugar, whole egg, and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed.
  • As the mixture comes together, add 283 grams (approximately 2 cups) of the flour, along with the yeast and salt, and continue beating until combined.
  • Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook. Add another 113 grams (approximately 1 cup) of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. At this point, the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour, 28 grams (1/4 cup) at a time. Knead on low until the dough clears the sides of the bowl, about another 5 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Transfer to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with vegetable oil. Rotate the bowl so that the dough ball is evenly covered. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough doubles in volume, about 3 hours. Exact times will vary depending on the temperature of the room and ingredients.

Make the Filling and Assemble

  • Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with the cold butter. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently shape into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Use a rolling pin to shape the dough into an 18-by-12-inch rectangle.
  • Brush the dough with the the melted butter, leaving a 1 inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the dough, also avoiding the top border. Gently press the filling into the dough. (If you tend to have hot hands, you may want to cover the filling with a layer of plastic wrap first.)
  • Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam-side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the cylinder into 2-inch rolls; yielding 8 pieces.
  • Arrange rolls, cut-side down, in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 16 hours.

To Bake

  • Heat oven to 200ºF.
  • When the oven has reached 200ºF, turn it off and place the rolls in the turned-off oven. Let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
  • Without taking the rolls out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 350ºF and let the rolls continue to bake until the internal temperature reaches 190ºF, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and let cool while you make the icing.

Make the Icing

  • Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until creamy, then add the milk and beat until combined. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately. (If storing the rolls, see note above).
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