This is the BEST recipe for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls ever! Soft, tender, and oozing with cinnamon flavor, no one would guess these cinnamon rolls are made with a few healthy swaps! Still just as delicious as the classic Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll, this recipe for Homemade Cinnamon Rolls is also super easy to make.
Pair these Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Overnight Breakfast Casserole and Oven Baked Bacon for a breakfast menu worthy of holiday entertaining. And if you really want to pull out all the stops, don't forget the Bellini Cocktails!
The first time I baked cinnamon rolls for my family, my husband, who is a devoted Cinnabon fan, declared he would take my Healthy Cinnamon Rolls any day over Cinnabon's!
I call that success!
Little did he know that I made a few healthy swaps when preparing these Cinnamon Rolls. In fact, my recipe for Homemade Cinnamon Rolls creates a cinnamon roll that only has 250 calories and 4 grams of fat per roll! Compare that to a Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll that has a whopping 830 calories and 36 grams of fat per roll!
While saving a few calories here and there is all well and good, it really does not matter if the taste is compromised--I mean we are talking cinnamon rolls here, they are supposed to be decadent!
But these Homemade Cinnamon Rolls still taste incredibly rich and decadent! From the yeasty homemade dough to the warming spices, to the cream cheese glaze, this cinnamon roll recipe satisfies! NO one will guess these are dare I say, Healthy Cinnamon Rolls!
In fact, these Cinnamon Rolls are now my family's Christmas morning tradition. My entire family looks forward to devouring a warm, gooey cinnamon roll after presents have been opened. And I love that I can prep these Cinnamon Rolls the night before--making Christmas morning that much more enjoyable.
Key Swaps for Healthy Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Dough: Instead of using a bread dough made with lots of butter and eggs, a simple bread dough recipe is all you need for really good cinnamon rolls. In place of all-purpose bleached flour in the bread dough, I use whole white wheat flour, but all-purpose, unbleached flour can also be used.
- Butter: Instead of sticks of butter, only a mere 3 tablespoons of butter are needed to make these Cinnamon Rolls. The butter is used in just the right spots so that you still have that rich butter flavor.
- Sugar: I choose to use coconut sugar for a rich taste. But brown sugar or evaporated cane sugar work just as well. The coconut sugar does not give off any taste of coconut flavor when baked in these cinnamon rolls.
- Spices: A pinch of cloves along with cinnamon, adds just the right amount of warmth to these Cinnamon Rolls.
What I truly love about this recipe is the fact that these cinnamon rolls can be made the night before and baked in the morning. Making this recipe for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls perfect for holiday mornings, entertaining, or a lazy weekend.
Step One: Prepare Cinnamon Roll Dough
The first step to making Cinnamon Rolls is to start by making bread dough. I use a fat-free bread dough recipe that I find has a perfectly yeasty taste and fluffy texture, but your favorite bread dough recipe can be used instead. In fact, you can even use store-bought bread dough to make this recipe easier.
Step Two: Prepare the Filling
The filling for these cinnamon rolls is as simple as mixing together brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Remember not to skimp on the cloves--that tiny addition adds so much flavor to these Cinnamon Rolls.
Step Three: Prepare the Cinnamon Rolls
Once the doll has doubled in size, punch the dough down and roll the dough out to a 9x13 rectangle. Then brush the dough evenly with melted butter. I use 1 tablespoon of melted butter at this time, but you can use up to 2 tablespoons if desired.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border around the sides.
Roll the cinnamon roll dough up lengthwise and then cut the dough into thirds.
Cut each third into thirds again, leaving a total of 9 cinnamon rolls. Arrange the cinnamon rolls into a 9x9 baking dish that has been buttered.
Place cinnamon rolls into a greased baking pan. And then let rise for 30 minutes at room temperature. By giving the Cinnamon Rolls just 30 minutes to rise at room temperature before going into the fridge for a slow rise overnight, they will reach achieve a perfect rise and shape. Once risen, cover with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate overnight.
Step Four: Bake the Cinnamon Rolls
In the morning, remove cinnamon rolls from the fridge and let them come to room temperature anywhere from 30-60 minutes (while the oven is preheating.)
Brush cinnamon rolls with the remaining tablespoon melted butter. And then bake the cinnamon rolls until they lightly browned and the centers are cooked through.
Step Five: Glaze the Cinnamon Rolls
While the Cinnamon Rolls are baking, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. I oftentimes prepare the glaze the night before as well to make my morning that much easier.
To prepare glaze in advance, whisk together the ingredients and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove the glaze from the fridge while the cinnamon rolls bake. Give the glaze a good whisk, adding a teaspoon or two of milk if needed to reach the consistency desired. And then glaze the warm rolls with cream cheese frosting.
FAQS and Tips for Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Do you have to prepare these Cinnamon Rolls the Night Before?
Absolutely NOT! I love the ease of preparing in advance, but you can make these cinnamon rolls at any time of the day. To make these cinnamon rolls immediately, let the dough rise for one hour after cutting and placing in a pan, and then bake as directed.
What is the best way to reheat baked cinnamon rolls?
If you have cinnamon rolls leftover, store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. To reheat cinnamon rolls, preheat oven to 300-degree oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until warmed through or in the microwave for 45 seconds.
Can you freeze Cinnamon Rolls?
Yes, you can freeze Homemade Cinnamon Rolls. Prepare dough as directed. Roll up dough with sugar mixture and cut into 9 rolls. Place in a tin pie pan and cover tightly with a layer of plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for 30 days.
Allow dough to defrost 24 hours in the refrigerator. Bring the dough out of the fridge and let rise for 1 hour before baking as directed.
To Make Dairy-Free Cinnamon Rolls
The dough for these homemade Cinnamon Rolls is already dairy-free. To adjust the filling to make it dairy-free, use a vegan butter spread, like Earth Balance, in place of the butter. To make the glaze dairy-free, omit the cream cheese, and use dairy-free milk. The glaze will be thinner, but absolutely delicious.
To make these Cinnamon Rolls vegan friendly, use maple syrup in place of the honey in the cinnamon roll dough. Follow dairy free modifications for filling and topping.
More Overnight Breakfast Recipes
- Overnight French Toast Casserole
- Overnight Ham and Egg Casserole
- Slow Cooker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal
- Overnight Oats
- Overnight Breakfast Casserole
I would love to hear if you enjoyed these Cinnamon Rolls as much as my family does. Please leave a comment and review below!
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
For the Cinnamon Roll Bread Dough
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ½ cups whole white wheat flour
For the Filling for Cinnamon Rolls
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar or raw cane or coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
For the Cinnamon Roll Frosting
- ½-1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese softenened
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon milk
For Assembling Cinnamon Rolls
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
For the Dough
- Make the dough. Stir the yeast into the water and let sit for 5 minutes, until yeast is a bit foamy, then mix in the honey. Mix together the salt and flour and then add to the yeast mixture using a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. Knead the dough by hand or with the dough hook on a stand mixer until the dough forms a smooth ball.
- Cover the dough and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
For the Cinnamon Rolls
- Roll dough out to 9x12 rectangle.
- Brush dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
- Mix together sugar, cinnamon and cloves and sprinkle evenly over dough.
- Roll up lenghtwise.
- Cut dough into thirds, then each section into thirds again, for a total of 9 cinnamon rolls.
- Grease a 8x8 baking dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
- Place rolls evenly spaced apart in baking dish and cover with towel and let rise for 60 minutes or until doubled. If preparing the night before, let the dough rise for 30 minutes and then cver cinnamon rolls very tightly with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
- Once doubled, brush the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 23-28 minutes or until just golden--not browned.
- If baking after letting the dough rise overnight, remove the cinnamon rolls from fridge while oven is preheating. If you have a full hour to let the cinnamon rolls come to temperature, that is best, but the rolls will still be able to be baked as soon as your oven preheats.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the rolls with remaining tablespoon of melted butter and bake for 23-27 minutes, or until just golden.
For the Cream Cheese Glaze
- Make the glaze by mixing together the cream cheese, lemon juice and milk. Add ½ cup powdered sugar and whisk until smooth, adding up to ½ cup more powdered sugar to make your glaze as thick as desired.
- Spread over warm cinnamon rolls and serve.
This recipe has been adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Hazelnut Cinnamon Rolls.