The Overnight Trick for the Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Ever
Prep today, bake tomorrow morning.
Making homemade cinnamon rolls is a time-consuming process. Between making the dough, letting the dough rise (twice, for that matter), assembling them, and baking, there’s just no way to feasibly make them for breakfast without waking up at the crack of dawn. But overnight cinnamon rolls are a different story: By doing the bulk of the work the night before you can wake up, immediately pop them in the oven, and enjoy warm, ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls in no time.
The problem is that not all cinnamon roll recipes are written that way, so you might think that your go-to recipe can’t be made in advance. Luckily, any cinnamon roll recipe can be turned into an overnight version and without much effort—you just need to know how. Here’s everything you need to know about turning any cinnamon roll recipe into overnight cinnamon rolls.
How to Turn Any Cinnamon Roll Recipe into Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Overnight cinnamon rolls refers to any cinnamon roll recipe that utilizes a slow, refrigerated rise for the final proofing. Which means that turning a standard cinnamon roll recipe into an overnight version is a surprisingly simple process. For any yeasted cinnamon roll recipe, follow the recipe as-written right up until the second rising step. Instead of letting the rolls rise at room temperature and baking them, you’ll cut and arrange the rolls in the baking pan, tightly cover them with plastic wrap, immediately transfer them to the fridge and let them rest overnight. (Do not leave them out at room temperature for any longer than needed.) The cold temperature of the refrigerator slows down the rising process, preventing the rolls from overproofing. The next morning you can bake the rolls without having to bring them to room temperature or let them rise again. For example, if you are using this recipe you would follow it as-written all the way up to step nine before popping them into the fridge.
You can refrigerate the rolls for up to 12 hours, but try not to go any longer. The rolls are still prone to over-proofing if left in the fridge too long; and the cinnamon-sugar filling can melt and make the bottoms of the rolls syrupy and damp if left unbaked for too long.
Also note that some cinnamon roll recipes are made with chemical leaveners versus yeast. Sadly, these recipes can’t be turned into an overnight recipe.
How to Customize Your Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Once you know how to adapt a standard cinnamon roll recipe into an overnight version, you can take that knowledge and use it to adapt the recipe into countless other overnight variations.
To make savory rolls, make the dough as is and swap out the cinnamon-sugar filling for garlic butter, shredded cheese, or chopped fresh herbs (or a combo of all three). Then just assemble and refrigerate overnight.
To completely switch up the form, you can make the dough, let it rise, then cut it into small pieces and roll them into balls. Toss the balls in melted butter, toss in cinnamon sugar, and arrange in a Bundt pan. Refrigerate the balls overnight and bake in the morning for a fuss-free monkey bread.
Or for anyone who wants to utilize the overnight method but is looking for something other than cinnamon, try swapping out the cinnamon-sugar filling for granulated combined with pulverized freeze-dried strawberries or your favorite fruit preserve. The possibilities of utilizing the overnight method to make homemade, fresh-from-the-oven breakfast bakes achievable is limitless.