Baking homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch is a simple and straightforward process, but can be time-consuming due to the required rise time for the yeasted dough. This recipe for overnight cinnamon rolls splits up the labor so that you can prepare the filled rolls the night before and then save the rise and bake for the following morning.
These rolls are filled with melted butter, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon. I love the use of dark brown sugar for a more developed, robust flavor in the rolls. Mmm...
Now let's talk icing. What makes a great cinnamon roll icing? There are several ways you can make cinnamon roll icing. Some people mix up a glaze of just powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. I personally don't care for this type. Others prefer a heavy cream cheese flavor. There's also a group of folks who just smear on some canned cake frosting... I wouldn't recommend that one either.
When you're putting in the work to create scrumptious cinnamon rolls from scratch, you want to make sure you have a really great icing to go on top. I think that the perfect cinnamon roll icing isn't too sickly sweet and also has a balance between a buttery and cream cheese flavor so that you don't have any flavors competing with the delicious cinnamon roll dough that you took the time to prepare.
The icing recipe I've included here is both of those things - I think you'll love it!
I'm sure most of us reserve homemade cinnamon rolls for those special breakfasts - Christmas mornings, a birthday, etc - so I know you don't want to waste your time with a recipe that turns out disappointing. I promise you, with a little planning and careful reading of the recipe, these will be some of the best cinnamon rolls you have ever eaten. People will beg you for the recipe (and if they do, please send them to my blog!). You can also try these Ship bake at home cinnamon rolls to get an idea for another recipe. Enjoy!Print
The BEST Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- Yield: 10-12 rolls 1x
- Overnight Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 2 ½ up to 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 packet (2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast (NOT active dry yeast)
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup water
- 3 TBS unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 3 TBS unsalted butter, melted
- 1 TBS ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- Cinnamon Roll Frosting
- ½ stick butter, room temperature
- 2 oz (¼ of a standard block) cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup sifted powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- For the dough, make sure you measure the flour using the spoon and level method. Whisk 2 ½ cups of flour, sugar, salt, and instant yeast in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In a Pyrex measuring cup or other microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and stir in the milk and water. Heat in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm, but not too hot. If it is too hot, you can kill the yeast and the rolls will not rise. Pour into the dry ingredients, give it a stir, and then add the eggs and stir or mix with your mixer (paddle attachment) until a dough forms. The dough should be sticky but shouldn't be too liquid-y. If it is, add the remaining ¼ cup of flour a little at a time until the dough is tacky but can be handled.
- On a floured surface or using the dough hook of your mixer, knead the dough for 3 full minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover loosely and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 14x9" rectangle.
- To fill the rolls, use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter onto the rectangle and then sprinkle the cinnamon and dark brown sugar mixture evenly. Tightly roll up the dough working from the long end, and then use a bench scraper or a large knife to cut into 10-12 rolls. Place the rolls into a 9" round cake or pie pan that has been lightly greased. You don't want the rolls to touch each other - they will need room to rise.
- Spray some aluminum foil with cooking spray and tightly cover the rolls, spray side down. Place the rolls in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, take the rolls out of the refrigerator and place them on the counter. Loosen the foil a bit. Preheat your oven to 150F and then turn off the oven. Place the rolls in the oven and prop open the door with a wooden spoon handle for about 20 minutes, and then close it all the way. This will create a lovely warm environment for letting the dough rise. Allow the rolls to rise for about an hour or until they have doubled in size and have plumped up nicely and filled the pan.
- Take the risen rolls out of the oven and preheat to 375F. Loosely tent the rolls with the same piece of aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. You can leave the foil off if you want very browned rolls.
- While the rolls are baking, make the icing. Whisk together the room temperature butter and cream cheese until smooth, and then add the powdered sugar a bit in a time, whisking and incorporating as you go. Finally, add the vanilla extract and squeeze of lemon juice and mix until combined.
- Spread the icing on the finished rolls while they are still warm and serve.
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