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an angled, close up image of a roll with pale yellow glaze on a blue plate with a fork

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (Conventional and Steam Oven Methods)

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Warm cinnamon rolls are one of life’s great pleasures. Best fresh and soft from the oven, they really need to be baked just before serving for the best flavour and texture. That’s annoying if you want to bake your cinnamon rolls for breakfast – like I do – because they take a while to prepare given all the mixing, rising time and assembly. I don’t want to get up at 4am just to put them on the table for breakfast!

Because I like cinnamon rolls but I don’t like early mornings, I have a system for doing most of the work the day before, then doing the final rise of the assembled rolls overnight in the fridge. The next day, take them out half an hour to an hour before you want to bake, then all you have to do is pop them in the oven, bake, and finish with a rich and sticky cream cheese glaze. I first used this overnight method when I developed the recipe for caramel pecan breakfast scrolls in my Combi Steam Cooking at Christmas cookbook, but it applies well to all sorts of yeast dough recipes.

This prep-ahead method makes cinnamon rolls a quite impressive but easy breakfast or brunch for entertaining, because so much of the work is done ahead that you can relax and enjoy your company instead of slaving in the kitchen. I love serving them for a special occasion breakfast like Christmas morning, when it’s almost compulsory to indulge.

a steel tray containing glazed overnight cinnamon rolls with some missing from one end

If yeasted doughs are not something you’re experienced with, don’t be daunted! The dough is quite soft and silky, and it doesn’t ‘fight’ you the way some bread doughs do because it’s not as elastic to work with. Gentle hands and just a little patience will reward you with outstanding rolls, far better than you can buy at most bakeries.

I’ve provided both conventional oven and combi steam oven cooking methods here – whichever method you use, they’re quite straightforward and the overnight second rise gives a lot more margin for error when it comes to knowing when your rolls are ready to bake.

Make the dough

collage of five images showing the ingredients for a dough being combined in stages to form a dough

Make the filling

a collage of three images showing the steps of making a butter, sugar and cinnamon filling

Assemble the cinnamon rolls

a collage of 6 images demonstrating how to make cinnamon rolls

Make the cream cheese glaze

a collage showing the ingredients for a glaze being prepared and topping cinnamon rolls

Happy cooking and if you’re reading this as it’s posted, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off but I’ll be back in January, refreshed and ready to bring you plenty more recipes (and the Combi Steam Cooking for Beginners cookbook!!) for 2019.

See you here again soon.

a blue plate on a white wooden surface with a silver fork beside a glazed cinnamon roll
a close up image of an overnight cinnamon roll, with a fork beside it, on a blue plate
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Soft, sticky and packed with cinnamon, these rolls are fairly simple to mix up. They can be made the day before, held in the fridge overnight and baked in the morning for the most amazing indulgent breakfast.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
proofing time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Breakfast, Dessert, Morning Tea, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cinnamon rolls, overnight cinnamon rolls, steam oven cinnamon rolls
Servings: 12
Calories: 449kcal

Ingredients

For the dough

For the filling

For the cream cheese frosting

Instructions

Regular Oven Method

  • Make the dough: mix the milk and sugar together in a small bowl, then sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Put the eggs, butter, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Give the yeast mixture a stir and tip into the bowl. Mix on low speed to combine everything for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth and glossy, about 6 minutes. The dough will be very soft, don’t worry if it doesn’t pull away from the sides of the bowl easily.
  • Do the first prove: cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it in a warm place (somewhere that’s around 25°C/75°F is ideauntil doubled in size. Depending on the temperature this should take an hour or two.
  • While the dough proves, make the filling by mixing everything together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Assemble the rolls: when the dough has finished the first prove, scrape it out of the bowl onto a floured bench. Gently press to knock out any large air bubbles, then roll it into a rectangle about 40cm/16 inches wide and 30cm/12 inches long. Using your fingers, very gently spread the filling over the dough, squashing it out so there’s a thin, even layer.
  • Roll the dough up tightly from the long side, so you have a 40cm/16 inch long spiral. Carefully cut into 12 even pieces with a serrated knife (it’s going to be soft, you may have to gently reshape the rolls after cutting). Lightly grease your baking pan and arrange the rolls evenly into it.
  • Prove the rolls: if you want to hold off baking these for up to 12 hours, cover loosely with a plastic bag or cling wrap and pop them in the fridge. Otherwise, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place again to double in size.
  • Bake the rolls: If you did the fridge proving method, remove the dish about an hour before you’d like to bake so the rolls can come up to room temperature. Set oven to 190ºC/375ºF, fan forced/convection setting. Bake the rolls until deep golden brown and risen, about 30 minutes. If they’re browning too quickly, cover the dish with aluminium foil partway through cooking. Remove from oven and spread the cream cheese frosting (see beloover the hot rolls – it will melt in slightly and form a glaze as they cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Combi Steam Method

  • Make the dough: mix the milk and sugar together in a small bowl, then sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Put the eggs, butter, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Give the yeast mixture a stir and tip into the bowl. Mix on low speed to combine everything for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth and glossy, about 6 minutes. The dough will be very soft, so don’t worry if it doesn’t pull away from the sides of the bowl easily.
  • Do the first prove: set your oven to dough proving setting (or steam-only setting, if you don’t have dough proving), 38ºC/100ºPut the uncovered bowl in the oven for 40 minutes, after which the dough should have doubled in size.
  • While the dough proves, make the filling by mixing everything together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Assemble the rolls: when the dough has finished the first prove, scrape it out of the bowl onto a floured bench. Gently press to knock out any large air bubbles, then roll it into a rectangle about 40cm/16 inches wide and 30cm/12 inches long. Using your fingers, very gently spread the filling over the dough, squashing it out so there’s a thin, even layer.
  • Roll the dough up tightly from the long side, so you have a 40cm/16 inch long spiral. Carefully cut into 12 even pieces with a serrated knife (it’s going to be soft, you may have to gently reshape the rolls after cutting). Lightly grease your baking pan and arrange the rolls evenly into it.
  • Prove the rolls: if you want to hold off baking these for up to 12 hours, cover loosely with a plastic bag or cling wrap and pop them in the fridge. Otherwise, set oven to dough proving setting (or steam only settinagain, 38ºC/100ºPut the uncovered dish in the oven for 30 minutes. The rolls should look puffy and be starting to fill out the baking dish.
  • Bake the rolls: if you’ve proved your rolls in the oven, you can leave them in there while it heats up. If you did the fridge proving method, remove them about an hour before you’d like to bake so they can come up to room temperature. Set oven to 180ºC/350ºF, combination steam setting (if you have variable steam settings, use 30% – if you can’t vary your steam, just set to combination steam and let the oven take care of the humidity). Bake the rolls until deep golden brown and risen, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and spread the cream cheese frosting (see beloover the hot rolls – it will melt in slightly and form a glaze as they cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cream cheese frosting

  • Mix this up while your cinnamon rolls are baking. Put all the ingredients except the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed until smooth and creamy. Add the milk with the mixer running, then increase the speed to medium and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Notes

  1. Makes 12 generous rolls.
  2. You’ll need a wide, shallow dish for baking these. I use my favourite round 30cm/12 inch low cast iron pan, but a 23x30cm (9×12 inch) baking tray or ceramic dish will work too.
  3. Although I call these overnight rolls, you can definitely do the whole process in a single session. I’ve provided options for both in the methods below.
  4. A note on yeast: I use active dried yeast. If you’re using instant, you can skip the first step and just mix the yeast, milk and sugar straight in with the dough. Instant yeast might take a little longer to complete the first prove, so allow anywhere up to 60 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 252mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 729IU | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg

Over to you – if you try this recipe I’d love to know about it! Please share your pictures with me on Facebook or tag them #whatsinthesteamoven on Instagram.

Would you like more Steam and Bake recipes and steam oven inspiration? Join the mailing list – there’s no spam, just an email every now and then to tell you the latest. When you sign up, you’ll get an invite to the exclusive subscribers-only Combi Steam Cooking Facebook group, which is full of people at all stages of their combi steam journeys, and with many different brands of oven. It’s a friendly, helpful space to learn and share with one another, and I’m always in there answering questions and sharing tips.

And if you’re after more delicious recipes for yeasted doughs, try the ridiculously rich Chocolate, Pecan and Burnt Caramel Monkey Bread, the more ‘everyday’ but just as delicious Spiced Apricot, Date and Seed Bread, or one of the site’s most popular recipes this year, New York Style Bagels.

2 thoughts on “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (Conventional and Steam Oven Methods)”

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is stunning, the whole family ate them all in the one sitting!!!

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