Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Total Time
3hrs 30mins
Prep 3 hrs
Cook 30 mins

Don't let the long prep time keep you from making these yummy rolls- most of the time is just waiting!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined.
  2. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky.
  3. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
  6. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you.
  7. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down.
  8. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
  9. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read hermometer, approximately 30 minutes.
  12. While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.


Most Helpful

This is a wonderful recipe -which isn't surprising since Alton Brown is a MASTER. They really make you feel special because you made such a wonderful dish from scratch and everyone raves. It does take a little time to make, but as Grace pointed out most of that is just waiting. I personally don't mind the time it takes because the end result is so rewarding. Plus you can just pop them in the fridge and come morning you have a large pan of delicious homemade cinnamon rolls (from scratch). They're great if you need to feed a small crowd (10-12) and they also reheat well. I just can't say enough about this wonderful recipe. It's one I've made many times and never have I been disappointed.

Jessica June 28, 2007

These are great, just have to use a few baking tricks. As mentioned, most of this recipe is spent waiting: waiting for the ingredients to come to room temperature and waiting for the rise. The mixer does most of the work on the dough, so everything else just helps to make these fool proof. Always check the expiration date on your yeast just to be safe so all your hard work isn't wasted on yeast that won't rise. Make sure everything is brought to room temperature before starting to make these. I only added 3 1/2 cups of flour to the dough for the right feel to it. To help it rise, I cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then put a dish towel on top of this too. I turn on the oven to about 250, and sit the bowl on the warm stove to rise. The warm stove helps the yeast puff up, even if you have a cooler house. It doubled in about 2 hours. After I sprinkled on the cinnamon/sugar mix, I rub it onto the dough to make sure it was an even coat and mixed well. They rose a little in the fridge, but the hot water pan puffed them right up. I was waiting for the family to get up, so they were in the oven with the hot water about an hour. I only baked them about 25 minutes, but I started checking them at 20 minutes. I 'tweaked' the icing with a bit more cream cheese since it was a little too sweet and not enough cream cheese taste. My husband and the In-Laws raved about these for breakfast. Hubby heated one up later in the day, and said he hopes these become a Christmas tradition.

CookingBlues January 10, 2014

The smiles and sounds of cinnamon rolls vanishing before your eyes make this recipe worth every minute.

I'm a guy, non-baker, and thought I'd try these out. Even *I* could do them, and, as my 8yr old said, "they are heavenly". I've made them easily 7 times over the past 9 months to the delight of my family and friends. My only advice: on your first try, follow the recipe exactly. Don't try to speed it up with tricks or swap out ingredients with lesser fat or alternate sugar. Just make it as is the first time through, and you will not be disappointed.

Keep in mind that you are making your own dough here, and how it rises is subject to your own environment (altitude, humidity, etc). The yeast I use needed proofing with 1/4-cup of water which then required more flower for the dough (and might have resulted in slightly fluffier and moister rolls).

Hot out of the oven (30 minutes is a MAXIMUM cook time. Check on them after 20), these are heavenly. If you have any left after people attack them, cover them once they cool. Heat one for a few seconds (10?) in the microwave to bring back that yummy gooey warmth.

Once you have made these once, then play with the recipe. I've started making them smaller by rolling out to 22x12, spreading the cinnamon mixture,, cutting it down the middle with a pizza cutter, rolling from the middle to the outer edges to make two cylinder rolls, and then cutting in to 1 1/2" pieces. It makes 24 cinnamon rolls in the same size pan and same cook time.

Wesmoc February 15, 2013

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