Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect breakfast for Christmas morning! These heaven-like light and fluffy rolls are filled with cinnamon & sugar and covered in a sweet creamy icing.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast! Nothing beats a joyous morning gathered with family, opening presents, and then enjoying the best ever breakfast treat together. For more delicious breakfasts for Christmas morning, try Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole, German Pancakes, and Bacon Veggie Quiche.
Our family has the tradition of having these Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast on holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. Not only are these the best tasting cinnamon rolls, but the ability to make them in advance is game changing!
These rolls are made with the exact same dough as my Light and Fluffy Crescent Rolls. For holidays, I double the dough so we can have rolls for dinner and cinnamon rolls for breakfast!
Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls:
- Active Dry Yeast– This type of yeast needs to be reactivated by proofing with warm water. If this isn’t done the bread will not rise properly.
- Water– The water adds moisture to the rolls as well as allows the yeast to activate. The water needs to be at around 110-115°F for the yeast to activate. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
- Granulated Sugar– This gives the dough a sweet flavor as well as helps make it more tender. A little of the sugar is added when proofing to help activate the yeast.
- Butter– Butter adds flavor, tenderness, and moisture of the roll. This is used in the dough, on the dough so the cinnamon and sugar stick, AND in the icing. Butter is so good!!!
- Eggs– Eggs add flavor, moisture, and give structure to the bread.
- Salt– Salt accentuates the other flavors in the roll. Without salt your rolls will taste flat.
- All-Purpose Flour– This is the best kind of dough for this roll.
- Cinnamon & Sugar– This is used for the inside spiral of the cinnamon roll. I measured it one time when I made them but honestly, I usually just shake it on from the containers because it’s easier to apply that way. You do you!
Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Icing:
- Heavy Whipping Cream– This is what makes the topping more of an icing than a frosting.
- Butter– I like to use salted butter. Butter makes everything better!
- Vanilla Extract– The icing is very simple so it’s important to use pure extract.
- Powdered Sugar– To eliminate lumps, I highly recommend running the sugar through a sifter.
How to make Cinnamon Rolls:
Time needed: 4 hours and 25 minutes.
- Proof the Yeast
In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar and the water. Cover lightly with a towel and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes until it begins to foam.
- Make the Dough
Whisk in the remaining sugar, eggs, and melted butter.
Mix in the salt and 2 cups of flour. (If not using a Danish whisk, you’ll want to switch to a wooden spoon here.) Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour until completely mixed (dough will still be a little sticky). Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk (about 2 hours).
- Prep Pan
Grease 1 large half-sheet baking pan (13″x18″) with butter.
- Roll out the Dough
Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and roll into a 12″x16″ rectangle about 1/4″ thick . (Make sure you still have enough flour underneath as you are rolling!)
Brush the surface of the dough with 3 tablespoons melted butter.
- Add Cinnamon & Sugar
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll the long end of the dough. Adjust the roll so the seam is down.
- Cut the Log of Dough
Use a long piece of thread (I like to double it up) to cut the dough into 1 inch rounds by sliding the string under the log, hold the strings up, cross them, and then pull the strings to cut through the dough. Place on the the baking sheet evenly spaced. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
- Get Ready to Bake
Remove pan from fridge and allow rolls to sit for 45-60 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake for 10 minutes until light golden brown. Let cool 5-10 minutes before icing.
- Make the Icing:
Place butter and cream together and heat in microwave for about 30-40 seconds. Combine all icing ingredients in a bowl and mixing with a whisk until smooth. Spoon and spread over each roll.
Once the rolls are cut and put on the pan, I recommend pulling them out to bake within 24 hours. If desired, after mixing the dough and letting it have that first rise, you can save the dough covered tightly in the fridge up to 48 hours before rolling out into cinnamon rolls or crescent rolls.
Nope! If you want the rolls that day, after cutting and placing on a baking sheet, cover with a light towel and let rise for 1.5-2 hours and then bake and frost as directed.
The best way to cut cinnamon rolls is with a string/thread. Double up the piece of thread, shimmy it under the log of dough about an inch from the end. Grab each end of the string with the opposite hand so that when lifted up they are crossed. While holding the strings, move hands away from each other so the string continues to cross and cut through the dough.
If you don’t have string you can use plain dental floss, fishing line, or a knife.
Most likely, your water was too hot or too cold. Water needs to be between 110-115°F for the yeast to be activated. I highly recommend using a thermometer. Another reason could be that your yeast was old.
Also, if your melted butter was too hot, it could kill the yeast as well.
See above! Also, dough needs a warm environment to rise. The rolls will not rise when in the fridge. The rolls need an hour (up to 2 hours) of sitting on the counter in at least a 70°F room before baking. The rolls photographed sat out for 1 hour and then were baked. They grow a lot when baking so don’t get too worried. As long as your yeast activated in the beginning and the dough doubled on the first rise, your rolls will turn out great!
Begin mixing ingredients with a regular balloon whisk. After adding half the flour, switch to mixing with a wooden spoon.
Danish whisks are quite cheap and makes bread making so much easier so I recommend investing in one.
Once rolls have cooled completely, store in an airtight container (Tupperware or zip lock bag). I love these lids for my half sheet pans.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THESE OVERNIGHT CINNAMON ROLLS:
- Half-Sheet Pan– I LOVE these pans. I’ve had the same 4 pans since I got married (11 years ago) and they are in great condition. I use them all the time for sheet cakes, cookies, roasting vegetables, baking chicken…
- Glass Mixing Bowls with Lids– I like using the largest glass mixing bowl with lid to make bread dough so I can over the bowl with the lid while it rises.
- Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer– I wish I had gotten this sooner! This quick read thermometer not only helps you cook your meats to the adequate temperature but it’s great for making sure your water is just the right temperature for bread making.
- Dutch Whisk– This funky looking whisk is meant for mixing dough. It is very affordable, sturdy, and makes bread making so much easier.
LOOKING FOR MORE ROLLS? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- Glazed Monkey Bread
- French Bread Rolls
- Light and Fluffy Crescent Rolls
- Honey Wheat Dinner Rolls
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water, (110-115°F)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar , divided
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled (no hotter than 115°F)
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling:
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Glaze:
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-2.5 cups powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar and the water. Cover lightly with a towel and let it rest for about 5 minutes until it begins to foam.
- Whisk in the remaining sugar, eggs, and melted butter.
- Mix in the salt and 2 cups of flour. (If not using a Danish whisk, you'll want to switch to a wooden spoon here.) Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour until completely mixed (dough will still be a little sticky). Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk (about 2 hours).
- Grease 1 large half-sheet baking pan with butter.
- Punch down the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface.
- Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and roll into a 12"x16" rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. (Make sure you still have enough flour underneath as you are rolling.)
- Brush the surface of the dough with 3 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll the long end of the dough. Adjust the roll so the seam is down.
- Use a long piece of doubled up thread (of floss) to cut the dough into 1 inch rounds by sliding the string under the log, hold the strings up, cross them and then pull the strings to cut through the dough. Place on the the baking sheet evenly spaced. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.*
- Remove pan from fridge and allow rolls to sit for 45-60 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake for 10 minutes until light golden brown. Let cool 5-10 minutes before icing.
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