Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Is there any early morning sound more exciting to a school child than to hear the snow plow go down their street?  If there are plows, there must be snow.  If there is snow, there must not be school!!!  Today was our first snow day of the season and my kids were completely thrilled. 

Honestly, I think I get just as excited as they do because I can vividly remember the same thrill from when I was a kid.  I also remember being completely ticked-off when my school was the only district in the area who didn’t cancel when it was clearly too dangerous for those yellow submarines to be sliding all around the roads.  For those of you who didn’t get to experience these joys of childhood, I sincerely apologize.  There is a magic only to be found in being unexpectedly home all day in front of the t.v. while the snow and ice come down in buckets outside your window.
These amazingly indulgent cinnamon rolls are the perfect compliment to a snow day.  I’ve made many a cinnamon roll and these are the best, hands down.  I would compare the dough to a rich brioche which makes them light and tender.  Don’t let the length of directions intimidate you.  They are extremely easy to throw into the mixer.  Their only downfall is the amount of time involved for the risings.  The actual work is minimal but they do take some planning and early rising if you need them by 7:00 am before your kids run out the door.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

makes 12
4 large eggs yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature

1/4 C sugar
6 Tb unsalted butter, melted
6 oz buttermilk, room temperature
4 C flour
2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 C light brown sugar
1 Tb cinnamon
salt, pinch
1 1/2 Tb unsalted butter, melted
(My kids don’t like cream cheese frosting, so I made a simple icing of pwd sugar and milk)
2 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tb milk
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1.  In your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar butter and buttermilk.  Add 2 C of flour along with the yeast and salt.  Whisk until moistened and combined.  Remove the whisk and replace with hook.  Add all but 3/4 C of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for five minutes.  Check the  consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky.  (I had to add 1/2 C)  Knead on low for 5 minutes more until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.  Transfer to an oiled bowl and allow to rise until double in volume, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
2.  Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and set aside.  Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into an 18 x 12 rectangle with the longest side near you.  Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving a 1/2 border along the top edge.  Sprinkle on the filling and gently press into the dough.  Beginning with the longest end near you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder.  Firmly pinch the seam to seal and very gently shape to create an even thickness along the cylinder.  
3.  Using a serrated knife or dental floss, slice into 12 equal rolls.  Arrange rolls in the baking dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Store in refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
4.  Remove rolls from fridge and place in an oven that is turned off.  Fill a shallow pan 2/3 full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls.  Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.  Remove both pans from the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
5.  Bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 23-25 minutes.  Allow the rolls to cool slightly before icing.  Serve immediately.


  1. Betsy Roesler says

    Hi Carole,
    I have made these twice so far and I must be doing something wrong….
    the first time they turned out like hockey pucks and second time was better, but I the dough still didn’t double during the first rising session. I am wondering if I didn’t use the right yeast.
    First of all, is active dry yeast the same as instant yeast? I went to County Fair to see if I there was such a thing. They have bread machine yeast. That was the only variation of dry yeast at least at that grocery store. The yeast doesn’t have to dissolve in the wet ingrediants, correct? I made sure the ingrediants were at room temp. Any suggestions?
    Looking forward to your next blog. Can you tell I have time on my hands??? Betsy

  2. says

    You should be able to make either yeast work. Be sure your ingredients are truly room temperature, seal your bowl well and let it rise in a warm, draft free area. When it is this cold, I warm a glass of water in the microwave for a couple of minutes to make it warm and humid, then let my dough rise in there. It takes a long time for this dough to rise but that is for a reason (flavor and texture) so be patient and let me know if you have any better luck!

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