Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

in Bread, Breakfast

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

When I asked for cinnamon roll recommendations, my friend Kelly recommended her favorite recipe: Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. Five minutes after taking inventory to make cinnamon rolls, I poured the last of the milk into a big tall glass and bottoms up’ed. Five minutes after thinking, “I do have enough milk to make cinnamon rolls.” I swear, we’re always out of milk.

Five minutes. Scatterbrain. Karma. Call it what you want. I wanted to cry. I don’t keep buttermilk around much. For most things, I’ll just use the milk+vinegar trick. I did have some heavy whipping cream, though. And for the record, cream+vinegar works in a pinch.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

AB’s cinnamon rolls excellent even in the face of all the little ‘accidents’ along the way… ingredients out of order, nearly forgetting an ingredient, substituting cream+ vinegar for buttermilk, and adding too much liquid to the glaze. I increased the filling on Kelly’s recommendation (I increased it by 25%). I’ll be making a second batch of these soon… judging by the gaping hole in the pan, that probably means two days.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Alton Brown's popular cinnamon roll recipe is the perfect special occasion breakfast.


  • For the Dough:
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temp
  • 1 large whole egg, room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temp
  • 20 oz all-purpose flour (approximately 4 cups), plus additional for dusting
  • 1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/4 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • For the Icing:
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  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 the filling: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. To assemble: Butter a 9 by 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 by 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. 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. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. 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 25-30 minutes.
  7. While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the milk and powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.


Yields: 12 rolls

Adapted from Food Network

Estimated time: 16 hours

9 comments… add one
  • Sarah R

    So funny that you just posted these, I just pulled them from the oven. My husband had three! It’s my favorite way to use up the egg yolks I have left over from other recipes.

  • Doesn’t it seems that everybody is always out of milk. These look great!

  • I’ve made these too and had great results. Everyone loved them. Mine didn’t rise very much prior to putting them in the oven to bake but they rose up while baking. I love cinnamon rolls!

  • Oh my goodness these look awesome! Leave it to AB to come up with something this delicious:) Putting in more filling is always a good thing too. Gotta love all that sweetness….yum 🙂

  • Ashley

    I just made these last night! So funny! Sometimes I like to add some vanilla to the icing, it really gives it a great flavor!

  • Lizzy

    Yummy! I’ll have to try these. I hate it when I’m about to make something great and I’m missing just one ingredient that I hadn’t realized.

  • Soooo looking forward to trying these!

  • Laura

    I’m so fickle with cinnamon rolls. I swear, every one I try is my “favorite!”
    I have yet to try these, but I NEED to. They look like they could be my favorite 😉

  • Had these for breakfast this morning and they were so good! I opted for a cream cheese (well, Neufchatel) frosting, mmmmm!! I love that you do it the night before!

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