Overnight Cinnamon Rolls – Small Batch

I must confess, I do love store-bought cinnamon rolls. Ha. I grew up eating those from time to time. But there’s just something about homemade cinnamon rolls that feels extra special.

I love them for holidays or when I’m wanting to elevate a moment (like making them before we head off on a boat day or camping trip). The only issue is I don’t want to wake up hours before just so they have time to rise.

This overnight cinnamon rolls recipe is the perfect solution. You make everything the day before, then just wake up and bake them and slather the frosting on.

Easy! I also wanted to create an overnight cinnamon rolls recipe that was a small batch—not something that feeds a giant family or big group gathering as that’s just not my situation this year.

Homemade cinnamon rolls are one of those baking projects that almost feels like a craft too. Ha. I love to roll up the dough, slice, and lay them out in the pan. It’s just such a pretty moment! It’s the little things, right?

You could top these overnight cinnamon rolls with a number of different frostings, but I love a classic cream cheese frosting. So delicious and pretty. 🙂

Are you an outer edge cinnamon roll person? Or do you prefer the softer center pieces? Personally, I’ll take one of each if possible. Happy baking, friends! xo. Emma

P.S. Be sure to check out our eggnog cinnamon rolls and pecan pie sticky buns and if you’re making these for the holiday, we’ve got lots more ideas for Sweet Brunch Recipes for the Holidays!

3.67 from 3 votes

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls – Small Batch

These delicious cinnamon rolls can be make the night before and iced in the morning.

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour


  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. In a small pot, melt the 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup whole milk. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow that to sit for 5-6 minutes. The yeast should appear to foam some on the surface as the mixture cools.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and egg. Pour the milk-yeast mixture into the bowl and stir until a dough ball forms. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Place back in the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.

  3. Once the dough has risen, punch down and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle. Smear the softened 1/4 cup butter all over the rectangle. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon then sprinkle over the butter. Roll up into a long cylinder. Cut in about 8-10 rolls (if you cut slightly more or less, that's OK too). Place in a buttered pie pan.

  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This is also a good time to set out the cream cheese so it can soften overnight.

  5. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.

  6. Bake at 325°F for 30-32 minutes, until the outer rolls begin to turn a golden brown.

  7. While the cinnamon rolls bake, make the frosting. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese with the milk, aiming to remove as many lumps as possible. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar.

  8. Top the cinnamon rolls with the frosting and enjoy.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Ah bummer! I was really excited for these, but I must have not let the dough rise long enough or the yeast to get bubbly enough because they did not rise. I think what might be helpful to add to this recipe is what the dough should look like in terms of size before you punch it down – like double in size?

    • 1 star
      I made these twice and both turned out not good. They look nothing like the photo from above, and the end roll is really dense. First time I thought it was my error but again, they turned out bad,

  • 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. It turned out wonderfully fluffy and hit the Christmas morning spot for my family of 3. I did add a small peeled and chopped pear in the filling and for the frosting I used 4oz of cream cheese and some honey. No milk or powdered sugar needed. Thanks again and happy holidays!

  • I appreciate those unfrosted buns in the photo as someone who detests icing of any kind. 🙂

    • does punch down just mean punch it down with your fist? or something else? sorry if thats really obvious!

  • Ok I can’t wait to make this, I’m going to try gf flour ?? Also thinking I might try making these in the early morning and baking them at night for Christmas Eve dinner. Too ambitious?!?

  • Perfect!! Def making these tomorrow for Christmas morning!! ❤️? Thanks for the recipe!!

  • I’m so trying this for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We love cinnamon rolls in our house but the timing never works. This is perfect!!

  • These sound great and easy to make. Why did you leave some unfrosted – do you have a frosting hater (gasp!) in your family?

    • 5 stars
      Ha! No, it was just for the photo. I thought it looked more like, well, cinnamon rolls. Once I finished the photos I promptly smothered all of them. 🙂

    • I am looking forward to trying these cinnamon rolls i hope they are not hard after baking, that’s the problem i have with other recipes.

      • I made these the night before our Christmas Eve morning and they were perfect, Emma! Plan to make this recipe again, maybe a yearly tradition!

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