Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

My journey to falling in love with breakfast continues with these cinnamon rolls (though I will admit that cinnamon rolls are not the most difficult breakfast item to fall in love with).  There are a couple of really good cinnamon roll recipes out there, but I selected Mr. Brown’s because as portrayed in the name, you do most of the work before you go to bed, and in the morning you bake them off.  My friend Jess and I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe (mainly we added vanilla to the dough and the frosting), and all twelve of them have disappeared in 3 days.  Is there anyone who doesn’t like a cinnamon roll?  There must be a reason why Cinnabon has so many storefronts.  No one can resist that sweet cinnamon sugar aroma wafting through the air…mmm…here’s how to make them:

Dough Ingredients:
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 whole egg, room temperature
2 oz sugar (about 1/4 cup)
3 oz unsalted butter, melted (about 6 tbsp)
6 oz buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 oz all purpose flour (about 4 cups)
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
1¼ tsp sea or kosher salt
vegetable oil for greasing the rising bowl

Filling Ingredients:
8 oz light brown sugar (about 1 cup packed)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
¾ oz unsalted butter, melted (about 1½ tbsp)

Icing Ingredients:
2½ oz cream cheese, softened (about 1/4 cup)
3 tbsp milk
5½ oz powdered sugar, (about 1½ cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until blended together.  Add about 2 cups of the flour as well as the yeast and salt, and whisk until moistened and consistently combined:

Replace the whisk attachment with the dough hook.  Add all but 3/4 of the remaining flour and knead at low speed for 5 minutes.  Touch the dough with your fingertips, and if the dough feels sticky instead of soft and moist, add more flour.  Continue to knead on low for 5 minutes, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.  Turn the dough out onto your lightly floured countertop, and knead by hand for 30 seconds until it’s a nice smooth ball:

Oil up a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl.  Oil the top of the dough, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it double in volume, which should take about 3 hours.

Whisk the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together until combined.  You will be sprinkling this on the dough later.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll the dough into an 18 by 12 inch rectangle.  Brush the dough with the ¾ oz melted butter, and leave a ½ border along the top edge.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough, and press it in with your fingertips.  Starting with the long 18 inch edge (it should be closest to you), roll the dough tightly:

When you get to the end, make sure the seam is on the bottom, and squeeze the roll so that the roll has an even thickness.  With a serrated knife, slice the roll into 1½ inch pieces, so you get 12 rolls.

Place the rolls in the baking dish cut side down:

Cover with plastic wrap, give them a big kiss and let them sleep in the fridge overnight.  Goodnight little cinnamon rolls of love!

In the morning transfer the cinnamon rolls to the oven, but make sure the oven is turned off.  Fill a sheet pan with some boiling water, and set on the bottom rack of the oven.  Close the oven door, and let the rolls rise until slightly puffed and steamed, for about 30 minutes.  They should look like this:

Remove the cinnamon rolls and the sheet pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the rolls in the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown (they are done when they reach 190 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).

While the rolls bake, work on the icing.  Whisk the cream cheese in a bowl with a hand mixer (it doesn’t work as well with the stand mixer) until there are no lumps.  Add the milk and mix until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and mix until well incorporated:

Spread on the rolls when they come out of the oven so it melts and drips down into the crevices.  Mmmm…..

Click here for the printable recipe.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls.  Thank you Mr. Brown!

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13 Responses to Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Anna F says:

    Sweet! I had been having a problem with my cinni rolls getting flattened on one side when they’re in the fridge.. sounds like the oven rising should do the trick!

  2. Colleen M says:

    These look delicious! I know what Taylor and I are having for breakfast this weekend 🙂

  3. norma says:

    How wonderful…I am keeping this recipe…

  4. Jaqie says:


    I could go on forever lol

  5. All I wanted this weekend was cinnamon rolls! These look incredible!

  6. Tracy says:

    I haven’t tried overnight cinnamon rolls yet…but when I do, I’ll be trying your recipe!

  7. Um, okay, I’m drooling just a little bit here! Can you believe I have yet to try making homemade cinnamon rolls?! I know…it’s a sin. Damn, these look good, though. Especially after having worked out. Mmm…

  8. ericascime says:

    I have a bunch of leftover cream cheese icing from a cookie recipe and I’ve been craving a cinnamon bun! I think I will make these for my family next week 🙂 Thanks so much!

  9. Pingback: Cinnamon Pullapart Bread |

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