Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls: have sweeter words ever been said? I really do not think so.
In my opinion, nothing quite beats a warm, homemade cinnamon roll on a lazy weekend morning. The only thing that makes that experience better is not having to wake up hours in advance so that you can let the dough rise, make the rolls, let them rise again, bake them, and then eat them.
This recipe allows you to do a lot of the prep work the night before, saving you valuable time the next morning. You can sleep in, luxuriate on the couch with a cup of coffee, and still have your cinnamon rolls in a reasonable amount of time.
The night before, you’ll need to make the dough and assemble the rolls. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap and tuck them into the fridge until the next morning. Once you wake up, remove them from the fridge and let them sit on the counter for about half an hour. This ought to give you enough time to preheat the oven, make a cup of coffee, and scroll through your Twitter feed.
Next, pop the cinnamon rolls into the oven, let them bake up golden-brown, and slather them with cream cheese icing. And there you have it: homemade, make-ahead cinnamon rolls in a fraction of the time.
Though I have made these in anticipation of a work-from-home snow day for just my husband and myself, these are really great for when you have company. Doing the heavy lifting the night before allows you to spend time with your guests after everyone wakes up, rather than being stuck in the kitchen. A group of friends are coming to stay with us over Memorial Day Weekend, and I know that I’ll be making these for them.
The basic recipe for these cinnamon rolls comes from Jo Cooks. I modified the baking instructions so that they can be made in advance–up to the night before you want to bake them!
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk, lukewarm
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 tbs cinnamon
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast should start to froth and bubble a bit.
Add the sugar, butter, kosher salt, eggs, and flour to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until well incorporated.
Pour the milk and yeast mixture over the flour mixture. Using the dough hook, mix until everything is well incorporated.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray (or lightly coat it in vegetable oil). Place the dough into the bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.
Add the room temperature butter and mash everything into a paste. Set aside.
To make the rolls
Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately 16 inches long and 12 inches wide. The dough will be approximately ¼-inch thick.
Spread the filling evenly over the dough.
Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
Cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch slices, and place in the prepared baking pan. Cover the baking pan tightly with plastic wrap. Pop the rolls into the fridge overnight.
To bake the cinnamon rolls
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the cinnamon rolls from the fridge and let them rise for about 30 minutes
Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they golden brown.
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, with an electric mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and kosher salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
Slather the hot cinnamon rolls with icing.
Notes: The preparation time does not include the time that the rolls spend in the fridge overnight.
If you want to make the cinnamon rolls right away, rather than letting them rise overnight, follow these instructions:
- Once you have placed the unbaked cinnamon rolls in the prepared baking pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the rolls to rise for about 30 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Make the icing and ice the cinnamon rolls as directed above.