Overnight Cinnamon Buns

With Mother’s day just around the corner, I thought I would share one of my all time favourite sweets, cinnamon buns. What I love about cinnamon buns is that they are perfect for brunch, an afternoon snack, or anytime of day for that matter.  What I particularly love about these cinnamon buns is that they can be made the night before, and baked the next day; leaving lots of time for family and guests.
These cinnamon buns are rich and soft, and complimented by a fluffy frosting with just a hint of cream cheese. Normally I always make a thinner glaze that just pours on and melts into the cinnamon buns, but this time I opted for a fluffy frosting, and I must admit I loved it. In fact, it’s very much like the icing that you find on the famous Cinnabon buns. When heated, it melts into the buns and makes them absolutely irresistible.
If you have any fear of working with yeast, please, please, please give these a try. Most sweet rolls/breads require milk to be heated, which can sometimes be tricky when working with yeast, but all ingredients used are at room temperature which takes the guesswork out of it. These are quite easy to make, which will have you wondering why you never made these before, and have your guests thinking you slaved for hours making them. And honestly, there is nothing better than the smell of homemade cinnamon buns fresh out of the oven. Am I right? So go ahead, make these buns for mom, and she will be so grateful.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns
Makes 12 Rolls
For the Dough:
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar (2 ounces)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (6 fl.oz) buttermilk, room temperature
4 cups (20 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup packed (8 ounces) light brown sugar
2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, melted butter, and buttermilk until well combined.
2. Add in 2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt. Whisk until the mixture is moistened and combined. Switch to dough hook attachment. Add 1 1/4 cups flour, and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the dough. You will want the dough to feel soft, and moist but not sticky. You don’t want any dough to be stuck on your finger tips when you pull away. If it is still sticky add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.  Knead on low speed another 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. I had to add another 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon to get it to the right consistency. This may differ depending on your house, humidity, etc, so use the guideline above. After kneading the dough should be smooth, elastic.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand for an additional 30 seconds, and shape into a round ball.  Lightly oil a large bowl, transfer the dough into the ball and turn to coat in the oil. Cover and let double in size, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
4. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until they are well incorporated. Set aside.
5. Butter a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish, or 2-9 inch round baking pans. Lightly flour your work surface, and turn out dough onto it. Shape the dough into a rectangle. Roll into an 12 by 18-inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border along the top edge (farthest from you). Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar filling all over the dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Gently press the filling into the dough.
6. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, begin rolling the dough into a tight roll. You will want to start on one side and continue to the opposite end until you get the roll going. Pinch the seam firmly to seal the dough. Roll the cylinder so that it is seam side down. If the cylinder is not even thickness, very gently squeeze it to create an even thickness. Using a serrated knife, cut the cylinder in half, then the two halves in half, then each 1/4 into thirds. This should yield you 12 even sized rolls. Arrange the rolls in the baking dish, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
7. On baking day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place into an over that is off. Fill a shallow baking pan 2/3 full with boiling water, and set on a rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise about 30 minutes, so that they look puffy. Remove the rolls and the pan of water.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
9. While the rolls are baking or cooling, make the icing. In a medium bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients and whisk on medium speed until well combined. Increase speed slightly and mix until light and fluffy. Spread over the warm rolls and serve. To reheat rolls, place roll in microwave and heat for about 15 to 20 seconds until soft and warm.
Jessica’s Notes:
  • To bring cold eggs to room temperature quickly: place eggs in a bowl and cover with hot water, allow to sit for about 5 minutes
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make it: measure out 3/4 cup milk, add 1 scant tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar, let stand for 5 minutes then mix.
Good Luck & Enjoy!!

Cinnamon buns slightly from Alton Brown via The Food Network, and icing adapted from The Best Of Top Secret Recipes.


  • http://twitter.com/nilanjanam nilanjana

    I think you are turning toward the delicious dark side that is breakfast heehee or I hope so at least. And dudeeeee I love this cinnamony rolls recipe – I actually have one in the works to post in a few weeks. Gotta love that crumb topping.

  • michelle

    I just found this recipe on Pinterest and made them! Delicious! My entire family loved them. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.waterson Elizabeth Waterson

    I’ve been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for a while now and these look delicious! And I like the idea of making them the night before less work in the morning sounds good to me! I might just have to make them tonight!!