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.

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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For the cinnamon roll dough:

For the cream cheese frosting:

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!

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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