Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: These are one of my favorite slow food breakfasts. Sure, they take time to make, but the results are one of the best cinnamon rolls you'll eat. Enjoy. | macheesmo.com
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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

This is an updated post from the Macheesmo archives. I’ve wanted to update this Overnight Cinnamon Rolls recipe post SO long because it’s one of my favorites and I messed it up the first time around. 

The first time I made these for the blog, I thought “Ugghhhh” when I pulled these guys out of the oven. That’s because these are some of my favorite cinnamon rolls ever. I’ve made them easily half a dozen times. This was the first time that I was making them for Macheesmo though.

And I kinda botched them.

I got cocky and thought I could whip them up quickly. I was in a rush and this is just simply not a recipe that you can rush. So don’t take shortcuts with this one or rush the rise times. Trust me. You’ll be well-rewarded!

12 Rolls.
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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

These are one of my favorite slow food breakfasts. Sure, they take time to make, but the results are one of the best cinnamon rolls you’ll eat. Enjoy.



4 large egg yolks, at room temp
1 whole large egg, room temp
2 ounces sugar (1/4 Cup)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, about 4 Cups, plus a bit more for dusting counter
1 package instant dry yeast, or 2 1/4 Teaspoons
1 1/4 Teaspoons kosher salt (or 3/4 Teaspoon table salt)
Vegetable oil or cooking spray for bowl


8 ounces light brown sugar, 1 Cup packed
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 Cup chopped nuts (pecans are good, this is also completely optional)


2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, about 1/4 Cup
3 Tablespoons milk
About 2 Cups powdered sugar

Helpful Equipment

stand mixer scale
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1) Combine all dough ingredients except flour in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Let sit for 5 minutes for yeast to activate.

2) Add two cups of flour to mixture and stir to combine.  If using a stand mixer you can use the whisk attachment still to combine.

3) Once those ingredients are together, stir in all the rest of the flour, leaving about 3/4 of a cup.  Either stir well with a wooden spoon to combine and then knead on a counter, or use a dough hook on low speed to knead the dough for 5 minutes.

4) With either method, you might need to add some of the reserved flour.  The dough should be soft, but not sticky at all.  It should be moist though and not cracking.  If it’s too wet, mix in a bit more flour.  Too dry?  Add a tiny amount of buttermilk.

5) Knead for 5 more minutes and then add to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover and let the dough rise for at least 2 hours until it doubles in size.

6) Remove dough and roll into roughly an 18×12 inch rectangle.

7) Brush rectangle with melted butter.  Fix filling ingredients together in a separate bowl and add to rectangle.  Leave an inch at the top so the rolls will seal well.

8) Roll the dough up tightly and slice into 12 equal pieces.  A serrated knife works well for this.

9) Add the rolls to a buttered baking dish, cover, and store overnight in the fridge.

10) The next day, remove from fridge and stick the rolls in an OFF oven.

11) Add a tray of boiling water (3-4 Cups) on the rack below the rolls in the oven and close the door.  Let the rolls steam for 45-60 minutes until they are big and fluffy.  If you want to be really thorough you could even replace the water halfway through.

12) Remove rolls and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

13) Cook rolls until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

14) Meanwhile, whisk cream cheese and milk together for icing.  Once combined, whisk in powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.

15) Remove rolls and let them cool for a few minutes.  Ice and serve immediately!

Adapted from Alton Brown's recipe.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Making the dough

I made a bad version of these where I thought it’d be a good idea to whip up a quick batch… at midnight.

At a minimum it takes about 3 hours to make the dough so this was a pretty stupid idea. And of course it ended up with me rushing some steps that simply can’t be rushed.

Anyway, don’t do that. Do take your time to make the dough correctly.

Too make sure the yeast is working, add it to the buttermilk at room temperature along with the eggs, yolks, sugar, salt, and melted butter (not too hot!). Stir this together and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast should be dissolved at that point and starting to foam a bit. This is the part that I skipped and it led to less than ideal results.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Let it rest.

Next, add about 2 Cups of flour and stir to combine. If you’re using a mixer you can use the whisk attachment. Once it’s all pulled together though, switch to the dough hook and add all the rest of the flour except about 3/4 of a cup.

Knead this with the hook on low speed for about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer, don’t freak out. Just stir it all together with a wooden spoon and then knead it on a clean counter until it’s very smooth and soft.

Whether you are using your hands or a mixer, you may need to add more flour so add it in small amounts. You want the dough to be moist, but not sticky at all. In total, you’ll probably need to knead it for 8-10 minutes.

It should look something like this:

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Dough done!

Two Hour Rise

Remember how I said that the idea to make these came to me at midnight the first time I made these for the blog? Well, that means that I also didn’t really give the dough ample time to rise. You should let the dough rise until doubled, roughly two hours.

Don’t skimp on the time here! The dough should really double in size.

Anyway, assuming you aren’t in a rush (don’t be in a rush), then you’ll have a beautifully puffy enriched dough that you can now roll out!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls


Rolling the dough

Before you roll the dough, get your fillings ready to go. I keep it pretty simple: Brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts, butter.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls


This dough is so soft and it’s incredibly easy to roll.

Start out by shaping it into a small rectangle. Be sure to flour the counter or you’ll have some serious sticking.

Roll your dough out into about an 18×12 inch rectangle. Melt about 2 Tablespoons of butter and brush it all over the surface. Then sprinkle on the filling and pack it down!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Then just tightly roll up the dough like a log!

This part is fun.

Slice the rolls into twelve even pieces, or as even as you can make them. A good serrated knife is perfect for this. It’ll slice right through the dough without pulling it and keep the edges really clean.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls


Add the rolls to a lightly buttered baking dish, cover them, and stick them in the fridge overnight.

The overnight rest allows the dough to get even more flavor and the filling and dough get really bonded together.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Ready for the fridge.

Steaming the Rolls.

When you’re ready to cook the rolls the next morning, take them out of the fridge and put them in an OFF oven. Add a dish to the level below the rolls and pour in 3-4 cups of boiling hot water. Close the door and let them steam for about an hour. 30 minutes at a minimum.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Cooking the rolls

When the rolls are puffed up and room temperature, take them out and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the rolls until they are golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

The Icing

In my opinion, no cinnamon roll is complete without cream cheese icing. To make it, just whisk the cream cheese and milk together until combined. Then whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth. If lumps concern you, sift in the powdered sugar.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls


Let the cinnamon rolls cool for a few minutes and then top them with the icing!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: These are one of my favorite slow food breakfasts. Sure, they take time to make, but the results are one of the best cinnamon rolls you'll eat. Enjoy. | macheesmo.com

If you make these overnight cinnamon rolls (and you should), take your time, use lots of butter, have fun with it, and you’ll be very well-rewarded.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: These are one of my favorite slow food breakfasts. Sure, they take time to make, but the results are one of the best cinnamon rolls you'll eat. Enjoy. | macheesmo.com

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: These are one of my favorite slow food breakfasts. Sure, they take time to make, but the results are one of the best cinnamon rolls you'll eat. Enjoy. | macheesmo.com

8 comments on “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

  1. you know i am so glad you are one of those people who puts a good amount of frosting on there. i hate when there is a perfectly good roll and just a small drizzle of glaze/frosting. what's up with that? that's the wrong ratio man.
    even those these were a fail to you, i pray you ate them? lol

  2. First off, I love your blog and refer to it all the time…
    Second, a quick question for you: Do you think you could freeze these rolls before baking, and if so, at what point in the process?

  3. Yes! I love sloppy midnight cooking. I also love how everything is a little tipsy in that first picture, I'm guessing that makes 3 things that were tipsy in your apartment at that moment. If not 4.

  4. I'm so tired of all the "I'm perfect" blogs. How refreshing for somebody to own a goof and post it anyway. Thank you! (And I can't wait to try these!)

  5. I just made these for thanksgiving morning. They were delicious! Thank you and keep up the good work!

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