Make these delicious, easy cinnamon rolls at night (20 minutes) and wake your guests to a heavenly aroma no one will be able to resist!
This recipe for Overnight Easy Cinnamon Rolls is a little treasure, one of those super delicious, super easy recipes no one will believe takes 20 minutes to throw together. Perfect for overnight guests and special family breakfasts. Serve these rolls warm and expect lots of sighs, moans and other expressions of delight. See what I mean, a treasure!
Really? Fast cinnamon rolls?
Cinnamon rolls are generally a bit complicated to make. You need to: prepare the pan, pull out the mixer, combine yeast with perfect temperature liquid, proof the yeast, combine yeast with the wet ingredients, combine the dry and wet ingredients, knead the dough (at least 5 minutes), allow time for rising, make the filling, roll out the dough, spread the filling, pull out a rolling pin, roll up the dough, cut the rolls, arrange in the pan, allow time for rising, bake the rolls, cool, make the glaze, glaze the rolls. Whew! Makes me tired just writing all that.
How about this instead? Prepare the pan, combine dry and wet ingredients in a bowl, knead the dough for 30 seconds, stir together the filling, pat out the dough, spread the filling, roll up the dough, cut the rolls, arrange in the pan, then pop the whole thing in the fridge. The next morning bake the rolls, make the glaze and glaze the rolls. WAY easier! See what I mean? A treasure!
A dependable recipe source
The recipe is from the super-smart cooks over at Cook’s Illustrated. They test and tweak and re-test and re-tweak until a recipe is near perfect. That makes my job easy although, I have to admit, I did tweak their tweaks a bit. Just a few things to make the recipe easier, prettier, more delicious and little less time-consuming.
It’s interesting to me that, though these easy cinnamon rolls are not made with yeast, they have a similar texture to a classic sweet yeast roll. I expected them to be more biscuit-like in texture but I was pleasantly surprised! Don’t get me wrong, I love biscuits – just not when I’m expecting cinnamon rolls. Thanks, Cook’s Illustrated!
Great taste testers
We had some workers from a nearby landscape company cleaning up our yard this past week. One of the days they were here, I was testing these easy cinnamon rolls. It was cold and damp outside and the guys were working super hard. Scott offered them coffee and warm cinnamon rolls to enjoy on their break. Between the three guys, they gobbled up most of the pan of rolls. They all raved about them and one of the guys commented on how he “loved how the outer edges are crisp and sweet and the interiors so soft and tender”. We decided he must be a “foodie” because that’s what we love about these rolls too!
I had a few cute little helpers the last time I made these easy cinnamon rolls. This is a perfect recipe to make with little ones as it’s simple and failproof. Our granddaughter, Emmy is 5 and her brother, Hayes recently turned 3. They were my wonderful little sous chefs and they took their job very seriously!
When cooking with younger children it works well to have all the ingredients pre-measured. Being organized ahead of time allows them to feel like they’re really helping and, at the same time, ensures successful results.
So whip up a batch of these easy cinnamon rolls. You might just find that some of your partakers get so excited they forget their manners!
Well, maybe your guests will have a little more restraint. Either way, I’m quite certain they’ll find this wonderful treasure from your kitchen irresistible!
Café Tips for making these Overnight Easy Cinnamon Rolls
- Do they have to be made the night before? Nope! I call them Overnight Easy Cinnamon Rolls only because it’s such a nice option to prep in advance and eliminate the mess right before guests arrive but you can just as easily make the rolls and pop them right into the oven.
- When patting out the dough, make sure your counter is well floured. Otherwise, the dough will stick to the work surface. I like to flip the dough over several times while I’m patting it out to ensure the surfaces stay floured.
- Feel free to add raisins, craisins, currants, etc. to these rolls for delicious variations!
- I like to wrap the bottom of my pan with foil to prevent the outer crust from getting too brown. Otherwise, the edges will brown quicker than the top.
- You need a 9-inch round or square pan for these Overnight Easy Cinnamon Rolls. Don’t try to make them in an 8-inch pan. There won’t be enough space for the rolls to rise nicely. I really like these non-stick, heavy-duty 9-inch cake pans.
- Spraying the pan with baking spray and lining it with parchment paper will keep the rolls from sticking to the pan. I love these pre-cut parchment paper rounds. They’re not expensive and a package will last a long time. These would make a well-appreciated gift for any baker friends or family members.
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus additional flour for work surface
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons melted butter divided
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½-2 tablespoons hot water
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400˚F degrees. Spray a 9-inch non-stick cake pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper. Wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the outside of the pan (this will prevent over browning). Set aside.
Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Add the melted butter (1 tablespoon) and stir with a fork until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.
- Combine buttermilk and 3 tablespoons of the melted butter in measuring cup or small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon or sturdy spatula until liquid is absorbed (dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy, about 30 seconds.
- Flour the work surface again and pat dough with hands into an approximately 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Flip dough to opposite side several times while patting to keep the surfaces lightly covered with flour. Use more flour as needed.
Brush rectangle with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border of plain dough around edges. Press filling firmly into dough. Loosen dough from work surface at one long side (use a bench scraper or metal spatula if needed to get it started). Roll dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal. Place log seam-side down and cut evenly into eight pieces. With hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep filling in place.
Place one roll in center of the prepared nonstick pan, then place remaining seven rolls around the perimeter of the pan. Brush tops with the 1 tablespoon remaining butter.
Cover and place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours (or you can bake right away). The next day, bake until edges are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Use a small metal knife, if needed, to loosen buns from sides of the pan. Place a dinner size plate over the pan and invert rolls onto a plate then invert again onto a cooling rack.
11. While buns are cooling, line rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (for easy cleanup) and set rack with buns over a baking sheet. Whisk powdered sugar, butter (1 tablespoon), vanilla and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Add more water if needed to make a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle icing evenly over buns and serve warm.
See Café Tips above for further instructions.
There is a total of 8 tablespoons melted butter in this recipe, including the icing. I like to melt it all at once to make things easier.
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