Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve got a recipe that is going to make your Monday, friends. I was in the mood for a little somethin’ somethin’ from the oven for when we picked my parents up from the airport last Friday and made the drive to Aspen (pics to come later today!). I was initially just thinking to make this again (because it’s delicious), but when I asked Cam what he thought I should bake, he immediately said cinnamon rolls. And since cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite foods ever, I was happy to oblige!

I was doing some perusing on the web for the perfect recipe, when I came across Alton Brown’s version and I was instantly sold. AB is one of my favorite Food Network personalities because he figures out the very best way to cook everything, and I’ve always had great success with his recipes. His recipe does take a little bit of time because you have to make the dough, let it rise, then make the cinnamon rolls, let them sit overnight, then proof them in the oven before baking, but I’m telling you, these babies are worth it. Here’s the recipe (along with some of my photos), but if you really want to get it right make sure to watch the video at the end of this post. He breaks it down step-by-step, and if you just follow his instructions, your cinnamon rolls should come out perfectly.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls 
(Courtesy of Alton Brown)

Total Time: 11 hr 45 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive: 10 hr 30 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 12 rolls



  • 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 (Baker’s note: My grocery store didn’t have instant yeast; they only had active, rapid rise, and bread machine yeast. A quick Google search told me that bread machine yeast is actually instant yeast, so that’s what I bought and it worked like a charm! Just a heads up in case you were curious which type to use if your store doesn’t sell instant yeast either!)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray



  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened,
    approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1
    1/2 cups


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 for 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.
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix
until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use. 

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.

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. 
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.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a
stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk
and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until
smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

These rolls are just perfect for a chilly fall weekend, hope you enjoy them as much as we did! 🙂