‘Twas the night before Christmas when visions of cinnamon rolls were twirling in everyone’s head. Could Santa load some on his sleigh for a perfect ooey gooey wake up treat? Of course with Overnight Cinnamon Rolls! They are the perfect make ahead breakfast when your sweet tooth is craving a sugary start to the day.
I make the cinnamon rolls the night before with the bread machine doing most of the work, and allow for the partial rise in the refrigerator. The next morning, I pull the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator, allow the soft, fluffy rolls to rise for an additional hour or two and bake them to perfection. I finish the cinnamon rolls off with a creamy dreamy cream cheese frosting that always brings a smile to everyone’s face.
Ingredients for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
I used the following ingredients for the dough: Milk, unsalted butter, egg, instant vanilla pudding, sugar, salt, all-purpose flour and instant yeast. For the filling, I used unsalted butter, light brown sugar and ground cinnamon. I made the frosting with cream cheese, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar.
You might think that adding pudding to the cinnamon roll dough is a bit odd. However, when pudding is added to cake mixes, it greatly enhances the moistness of the cake. It does the same thing to the cinnamon rolls – helps produce a soft and moist dough that stays fresh longer.
Making the Cinnamon Roll Dough
As is generally the case with me, I let my bread machine do most of the work when making a yeasted dough. It’s not that I’m lazy – well maybe a little lazy! However, really don’t like to actually knead the dough!
Anyway, I started by adding the dough ingredients to the pan of my bread machine, ending with the yeast. I placed the pan in the bread machine, pressed the dough cycle and walked away. After a little under two hours, the dough was perfectly kneaded and ready for the next step.
Forming the Cinnamon Rolls
I turned the dough onto a floured surface and rolled it into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. The dough was a dream to work with. It offered very little resistance to the rolling.
Once I had rolled the dough, I spread some unsalted butter on it. Then I sprinkled on the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Starting at one of the long ends, I tightly rolled the dough to form an 18-inch log. Before finishing the rolling, I brushed the other long end with some water and pinched the log shut. I cut off an inch on either end, and cut the rest of the log into 16 1-inch rolls with a bread knife.
I divided the rolls between two 9-inch round cake pans. I covered both pans and placed one in the refrigerator and the other in the freezer for a later date.
The Next Morning
The next morning, I removed the pan of rolls from the refrigerator and set it on the counter for the remaining rise. This took about 1 ½ hours.
I popped the cinnamon rolls into a preheated 350°F oven for about 25 minutes. The smell in the house was amazing!
While the rolls were baking, I made the cream cheese frosting. I started by beating together the room temperature cream cheese and butter. Then I beat in the vanilla extract. Next, I added the confectioners’ sugar and beat everything together until the frosting was nice and creamy. I thought that it was a bit too thick, so I beat in several teaspoons of milk to produce the perfect consistency.
After 25 minutes, the rolls were nicely browned and perfectly cooked. I removed them from the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pan onto a wire rack and spreading on the frosting.
Oh my – the Overnight Cinnamon Roll were amazing. They were tender and fluffy with each bite oozing of sugared cinnamon and cream cheese frosting. Just imagine the smile on your family’s faces when you serve these awesome cinnamon rolls after opening presents on Christmas Day. Yum!
If you’re not sure about a sweet make ahead holiday breakfast or brunch, you should check out some of my delicious savory recipes:
- Make Ahead Sausage ‘n Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- Sous Vide Bacon and Gruyère Egg Cups
- Classic Eggs Benedict
- Sausage Bread
- Sausage and Cheese Crescent Ring
- My Mother’s Southern Cheese Grits with a Modern Twist
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 large egg
- 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) milk (or enough to equal 12 total ounces of liquid with egg)
- ¼ cup (½ stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 ¾ cups (18.75 ounces) all-purpose flour (See Tip 1)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- ½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (7.5 ounces) light brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (See Tip 2)
- ¼ cup (½ stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups (10 ounces) confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk (optional)
- Add dough ingredients to pan of bread machine in the order listed. Select dough cycle. Add additional flour or milk to desired consistency.
- When dough cycle is completed, transfer dough to well floured surface. Roll to an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread with ½ cup unsalted butter. Sprinkle on 1 cup of light brown sugar and 4 teaspoons of cinnamon.
- Butter a 9-inch round cake pan or other dish.
- Beginning with a long side, roll dough into a tight 18-inch log. Cut off 1 inch from each end and discard. Cut log into 16 1-inch slices. Place cut side down in prepared dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight. (See Tip 3)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- The next morning, remove rolls from the refrigerator. Allow to continue rising for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- While rolls are baking, make the cream cheese frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla extract; beat well. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until creamy and smooth. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of milk to desired consistency. Frost cinnamon rolls while still warm.
- Yield: 16 Overnight Cinnamon Rolls.
- I always weigh my ingredients to ensure consistent results every time.
- I used light cream cheese, but you could use full fat cream cheese if desired.
- Rather than putting the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, you can freeze them. When you are ready to bake them, remove from freezer. Turn on electric oven for 1 minute and 45 seconds or until you see the temperature start to rise. Place the frozen rolls in the warmed oven and allow to rise until double in size, around 2 hours. Bake as above.