Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

from 8 votes

Take the stress out of the ultimate breakfast treat with an easy recipe for Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting.

A top-down view of easy Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting in a white baking dish next to a bowl of the best cinnamon roll frosting

Few store-bought sweets captivate my attention like Cinnabon cinnamon rolls.

There’s just something about the freshness factor of the cinnamony swirls, whether I spot them at a kiosk in my local mall, or smell the aroma of that classic frosting from 14 gates away at airports across America.

A close-up view of easy Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls

No matter the Cinnabon locale, I concede to my cravings, approach the counter, and greet the friendly face that’s rolling, filling, slicing and icing cinnamon roll after cinnamon roll after cinnamon roll. The rolls are fresh. I mean F-R-E-S-H fresh. 

There’s only one other option when it comes to achieving that level of fresh: the DIY route! 

Yeasted dough in a glass stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment

How to Make Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Are homemade cinnamon rolls a labor of love? You bet! But with a few simple tricks for how to successfully start and then stop the prep, you can in fact master Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls, a.k.a. Overnight Cinnamon Rolls.

Check out the swirled beauties above. They’re all ready for stashing in your fridge, which means you’re 90% of the way there.

A hand pressing into proofed dough in a glass bowl

Then all that’s left to do in the morning is pop them into the oven and start sippin’ on your mimosa while you whip up the topping.

A top-down view of easy cinnamon roll dough next to small bowls containing melted butter and a cinnamon-sugar mixture

How to Make the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Warm cinnamon rolls, meet the lightest, tangiest cream cheese frosting to ever slather your buns. When it comes to mastering cream cheese frosting, there are two key tips that will ensure perfection:

  • Beat the cream cheese first until smooth and then beat in the butter
  • Sift the confectioners’ sugar and then add it to the bowl in order to prevent lumps

And that right there is a big-time breakfast win. Cinnamony, swirly, buttery, better-than-Cinnabon perfection.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls topped with cream cheese frosting in a white baking dish

To really master DIY dough, tune in below to discover the surprising place where I proof my cinnamon roll dough!


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Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Take the stress out of the ultimate breakfast treat with an easy recipe for Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.75 from 8 votes
A top-down view of easy Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting in a white baking dish next to a bowl of the best cinnamon roll frosting
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12 rolls


For the cinnamon roll dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (one 3/4-oz. packet) active dry yeast
  • 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons cinnamon

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar


Make the cinnamon roll dough:

  • Warm the milk and butter on the stovetop or in the microwave until it is warm but not hot to the touch (it should be below 110°F). Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast to the milk, stirring to combine, then set it aside for 5 minutes. 
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt and remaining ½ cup sugar. Add the yeast mixture and eggs and mix for 8 minutes until dough is smooth. (The dough will be slightly tacky.) Place the dough in a clean, greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm, dark place to proof until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.  
  • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter.
  • Lightly flour your work surface then scrape the dough out, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough into roughly a 12×20-inch rectangle that is 1/4-inch thick. 
  • Brush the melted butter generously over the dough. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon then sprinkle it atop the melted butter. Starting at the long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough up into a tight log, then using a sharp knife, slice the log into 12 2-inch rounds.
  • Arrange the rounds in the prepared baking dish (discarding any smaller ends). Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, dark place to allow the cinnamon rolls to rise a second time for 30 minutes. (Note: This is the point at which you can cover the pan securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate the rolls overnight. Continue with the recipe as directed on the day of baking.)
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bake the cinnamon rolls until they are pale golden, 22 to 25 minutes. (Note: If you are baking the cinnamon rolls directly from the fridge, add about 10 minutes to your bake time.)
  • While the cinnamon rolls bake, make the cream cheese frosting.  

Make the cream cheese frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. 
  • Add the vanilla extract, buttermilk, salt and confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined.
  • Spread generously over completely cooled cinnamon rolls. Best served immediately.  
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 593kcal, Carbohydrates: 81g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 98mg, Sodium: 335mg, Potassium: 166mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 45g, Vitamin A: 885IU, Calcium: 87mg, Iron: 2.5mg


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Recipe by Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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  1. Hi! I would like to prepare these for a vacation. Can you explain how and at what point I can freeze the dough/rolls? Can we completely make the dough, put the rolls in a pan & then freeze? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Megan! Yes, you can completely make the rolls, arrange them in the prepared baking dish and cover it with plastic wrap and aluminum foil to protect the rolls from freezer burn. When you’re ready to bake the frozen cinnamon rolls, remove the wrapped baking dish from the freezer and let it thaw at room temp for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the rolls have doubled in size. Once the rolls have thawed and risen, bake them until golden brown and cooked through. Hope this helps!

  2. 5 stars
    These are so so good!! I used the overnight method and they turned out perfect! Can these be frozen before baked?

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Kristin! And yes, the cinnamon roll dough can be frozen. The easiest way is to freeze the rolls, unrisen, in the pan. Cover them tightly with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Then you’ll just need to remove them, allow them to thaw and rise, and continue the baking process.

  3. I’ve made these a few tim s and they are great. However, the dough never seems to rise well for me. I’m proofing it in a warm spot. I’m an experienced baker so I’m puzzled this keeps happening. I’ve read that cinnamon in a dough will stunt the rise. Any feedback? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ann! Thanks for your comment! Cinnamon can technically stunt the rise, but I have never experienced this. Did you confirm the expiration date of your yeast and use a thermometer to ensure the liquid wasn’t too hot?

    1. That should work, Viv! You may need to adjust the flour but just do it based on how the dough feels when you’re kneading it and add more if it gets too sticky. :)

  4. 5 stars
    I like the detailed instructions, and especially the size of the cut on the roll for each cinnamon bun !! thank you

  5. 4 stars
    I leave 4 out of 5 stars because there’s no guidelines on how far a part to space the rolls in the dish to allow space to rise and bake thoroughly.
    Also tips on how to help the dough rise would be helpful for people like me that don’t know what they are doing.
    They are Very delicious rolls I’ve made them twice now, second time the spacing was much better!

  6. 5 stars
    I am using a different roll recipe and using your icing recipe for them because this one looks bangin’! Next time I make them (and there will be a next time) I will use your entire recipe. And just a quick note, if you buy yeast in bulk, freeze it. I bought my yeast 5 years ago and and it’s still good! Keep it in a sealed container. I just had mine in a Ziploc container. Thanks again Kelly!

    1. You are so welcome, Donna! I’m looking forward to reading your results in the future :)

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Kelly, I wanted to make these, like, now and I was wondering what dimensions should the rectangle be after rolling the dough out? This is my first attempt at making cinnamon rolls from scratch and I really don’t want to make them too doughy.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Donna! Roll the dough into a rectangle that is 1/4-inch thick and measures about 12×18 inches. :)

  8. 4 stars
    I made these and left them in the fridge overnight! I baked them for a half hour and they are still pretty raw! Did I do something wrong?

    1. Hi Rebecca – Oven temperatures (as well as baking dishes) can cause great variances in the bake time. Do you have an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is running at the correct temperature? And was the rack in the center of the oven?

  9. Thank you for the recipe.
    A quick one though.
    Do i wait for the second rise (30 minutes) before placing it in the refrigerator overnight OR do i wrap with plastik wrap and immediately place it in the refrigerator without waiting for the second rise?

    1. Hi there! Option #1; wait for the second rise before covering the pan securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  10. I seem to be missing where the 1/2 chip of sugar goes in the dough mix?? It only says to use 1 tbsp and nowhere else in ther texture does it tell toy where tti use ther other 1/2 C.

    1. Thanks so much for catching this, Melissa! The remaining 1/2 cup goes in with the dough. The recipe has been updated!