overnight cinnamon rolls + browned butter frosting

Pre-baked Rolls

Cinnamon rolls exude nostalgia. In my home they were made for special occasions, Thanksgiving/Christmas morning or birthday breakfasts. Just a few months ago my mom was visiting for my 30th birthday and I requested these as my birthday cake.

As I kid, I did not realize the labor that went into making homemade cinnamon rolls, much less the effort it took to get them on the table by breakfast time. In the old days mom would wake up at 4 AM to prep the dough and let it rise for 2 hours before punching it down to let it rise again.

That’s why it was only a special occasion breakfast delight.

BUT NOW. I found a tried and true recipe for OVERNIGHT Cinnamon Rolls and yes, they are just as good as mom’s early morning rolls. This recipe allows for you to do all the “heavy” lifting the day before, so that you can sleep in and still wow the fam with fresh sticky buns in the morning.


Our friends invited us over to brunch today for the FIFA World Cup Final. They asked me to bring something sweet. At first I was going to bring cinnamon roll casserole, made from torn up Pillsbury rolls and resembles bread pudding. Then I thought, hell, I got time, I’ll make overnight cinnamon rolls.

The dough only took about 15-20 minutes to prepare. It all truly came together easily and was very supple after kneading. While it was proofing for 2.5 hours, I cleaned the house and ran errands. It was Saturday, what else was I to do?

The dough had doubled in volume and was so easy to work with! It took only moments to roll it into a rectangle and scatter the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture all over it.

I rolled the dough into a tight log and cut about 9 LARGE rolls out. The recipe calls for 12 cuts, but I made mine bigger. After the soft wheels were set into a buttered pan and wrapped in plastic wrap, I placed them in the refrigerator overnight. Three-fourths of the work was done before the day was out!


This morning, I took these babies out of the refrigerator and they looked just like this (below). They had risen over night and expanded to fill the pan. They took 30 minutes to proof in the oven and became more swollen.

Then they baked for 30-40 minutes on 350 degrees. While they baked, I whipped up the browned butter frosting. It took me about 5 minutes, so I had extra time to sip on some Creamy Mint Coffee (above) and read a magazine.

These rolls brought back a ton of happy memories of being a child on Christmas morning. Our friends raved about them at brunch today. They were everything cinnamon rolls should be. Warm, gooey, soft, layered, and cinnamony.

This recipe is definitely a keeper for our family.




  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray


  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons


  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  2. For Filling: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. For assembly: Butter a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
  4. In the morning: Remove the rolls from the refrigerator 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 they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
  5. Cook them: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.
  6. For Frosting: Melt 1/2 stick butter in small sauce pan, on medium heat, until it turns amber colored. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer. Beat with mixer until smooth.
  7. Spread frosting over the rolls and serve immediately.