This is the best recipe for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls! Soft, tender, and oozing with cinnamon flavor, no one would guess these cinnamon rolls are not only incredibly easy to make but also much lower in fat and calories than most recipes.
Because these Cinnamon Rolls can be made in advance, they are perfect for lazy weekends or holiday breakfasts. Pair them with Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole and Bellini Cocktails for a holiday breakfast to remember.
A Healthier Cinnamon Roll
My husband, who is a devoted Cinnabon fan, declared he would happily take my Homemade Cinnamon Rolls any day over Cinnabon's.
Now that is what I call success!
Little did he know that I made a few healthy swaps when preparing these Cinnamon Rolls.
In fact, my recipe 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!
From the yeasty homemade dough to the warming spices to the cream cheese glaze, these Healthier Cinnamon Rolls still taste incredibly rich and decadent.
While this recipe uses flour, butter, and sugar, which are not exactly known to be healthy ingredients, it uses significantly less than most recipes. The trick is using just enough to still deliver the classic flavor, minus the excessive fat and calories.
- Bread Dough: Instead of using a bread dough made with lots of butter and eggs, my recipe for cinnamon roll dough is based on my Italian bread recipe, which is fat-free, yeasty, and simple to make.
- Butter: Instead of using several 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: You can use coconut sugar, evaporated cane sugar, or granulated sugar.
- Spices: A pinch of cloves along with cinnamon, adds just the right amount of warmth to these Cinnamon Rolls.
How to Prepare Overnight 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 Dough
The first step to making Cinnamon Rolls is to start by preparing the bread dough, which can be prepared by hand or with a bread machine.
- In a glass measuring cup, mix the yeast and water together and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is a bit foamy.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add the honey and stir to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the salt and flour and then add the yeast mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture together until the dough just comes together and the flour is fully moistened.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until the dough forms a smooth ball. Alternatively, use the dough hook on the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth.
- Place the dough into a bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
Step Two: Prepare the Cinnamon Rolls
Once the dough has doubled in size, you are ready to assemble the cinnamon rolls.
- Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a small mixing bowl to use for the filling.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Brush the baking dish with about 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.
- Punch the dough down and on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 9x13 rectangle.
- Brush the dough evenly with the remaining melted butter.
- 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, evenly spaced apart in the buttered baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 18 hours.
Step Three: Bake the Cinnamon Rolls
- In the morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature and get nice and puffy. Depending on the temperature of your house this will take between 60 and 90 minutes.
- Brush cinnamon rolls with additional melted butter.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls until just lightly browned.
Step Four: Cream Cheese Icing
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, milk, and lemon juice until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, mixing to incorporate.
- Add in additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to reach the right consistency. You want your glaze to be thin enough to drizzle slowly off a spatula.
- Drizzle the glaze evenly over the baked, warm cinnamon rolls.
- And then sit down with a homemade latte or cup of mulled cider and enjoy these healthy, yet decadent tasting Cinnamon Rolls.
How to Store and Reheat Cinnamon Rolls
If you have leftover cinnamon rolls, store them in an airtight container 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.
How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls
If you want to get a jump start on your holiday breakfast or just have homemade cinnamon rolls in your freezer for when the craving strikes, you can freeze these cinnamon rolls.
After much trial and error, I have discovered that the best way to freeze cinnamon rolls is to allow them to rise fully and partially bake. Once fully cooled, you can freeze the cinnamon rolls for 1-2 months and then defrost and finish baking. This process of partially baking the cinnamon rolls before freezing, ensures they have the best taste and texture.
Directions for Freezing
- Prepare the dough as directed.
- Butter a freezer-safe baking dish or line your baking dish with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
- Assemble the cinnamon rolls and place them into the prepared baking dish. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
- Brush with additional melted butter and PARTIALLY bake the cinnamon rolls for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool fully.
- Wrap the freezer-safe baking dish with 2 layers of foil. Alternatively, remove the parchment paper from the baking dish wrap the cinnamon rolls in 2 layers of foil, and place them in a freezer-safe bag.
- Store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- When ready to enjoy, defrost the cinnamon rolls overnight in the refrigerator.
- In the morning. remove the foil and if needed, place the cinnamon rolls into a baking dish and bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cinnamon rolls are just golden.
- Glaze as directed.
Abosolutely not! Preparing the night before is an easy option for busy mornings, but you can prepare this entire recipe in the morning or really any time of the day! Instead of placing the cinnamon rolls into the refrigerator once assembled, allow them to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size. Bake and glaze as directed.
Yes! To prepare glaze in advance, whisk together the ingredients and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove the glaze from the fridge while the cinnamon rolls bake. Once the glaze has come to room temperature, give it a good whisk, adding a teaspoon or two of milk if needed to reach the consistency desired.
Yes! Use 1-pound of your favorite bread dough in place of the homemade cinnamon roll dough.
Yes! Simply use your favorite nondairy butter, such as Earth Balance, in place of th butter. To make the glaze dairy-free, omit the cream cheese, and use dairy-free milk. The glaze will be thinner, but absolutely delicious.
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!
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
For the Cinnamon Roll Bread Dough
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 to 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
- In a glass measuring cup, mix the yeast and water together and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast is a bit foamy. Add the honey and stir to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the salt and 2 cups flour together. Add in the yeast mixture and stir together until the dough just comes together, adding up to an additional ½ cup of flour if needed. Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface 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, or until doubled in size.
For the Cinnamon Rolls
- Grease an 8x8 baking dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter, being sure to brush evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Mix together sugar, cinnamon, and cloves together in a small bowl.
- Roll dough into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving about a ½-inch border along the edges of the dough.
- Roll the dough up lengthwise. Cut dough into thirds, then each section into thirds again, for a total of 9 cinnamon rolls.
- Place rolls evenly spaced apart in a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator for up to 18 hours.
- In the morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature, and rise until puffy. This will take 60-90 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the rolls with one tablespoon of melted butter and bake for 23-27 minutes, or until just golden.
For the Cream Cheese Glaze
- While the cinnamon rolls are baking, mix together the cream cheese, lemon juice, and milk in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. 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.