Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, and all I want to break the fast on is cinnamon buns. This recipe is very easy, and though there’s a lot of wait time, it’s worth it.

Can you tell that I really like cinnamon buns?


The recipe yields a tender dough. The egg yolks make it rich, and the buttermilk adds a hint of tang to the recipe. I changed Alton’s recipe only a little bit because I didn’t have any instant yeast.

Everyone’s really excited to eat these tomorrow after 25 hours of fasting.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 6 oz buttermilk*, warm (110-115 degrees)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • About 4 cups of flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Make the dough:

Combine the sugar, buttermilk, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit 5 minutes, until it foams. add the egg yolks, egg, and butter, and whisk together. Add 2 cups of the flour and whisk until combined. Replace the whisk attachment with the dough hook and add 1 1/4 cups of flour. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough – it should be soft, not sticky – add more flour if necessary. Knead for another 5 minutes, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand for 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl or tub and transfer the dough. Oil the top of the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.

Make the filling in a small bowl and set aside:

  • 1 cup brown sugar (Alton’s recipe said to use light brown. I used 2/3 cup of dark brown sugar and 1/3 cup granulated sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish (or 2 8×8 baking dishes, or regular-sized muffin tins). I used the melted butter from the topping for this.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into a 12×18 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the top edge. Sprinkle the filling onto the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border on the edge. Press filling into dough.

Starting from the side closest to you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam and roll it so that the seam faces down. Squeeze the dough to create even thickness.




Using a serrated knife, cut the dough into 12 pieces (I cut it in half, then cut those halves in half, and the quarters into thirds). Arrange them in the baking dish and cover with saran wrap. refrigerate for up to 16 hours.


Boil water and put it in a shallow baking pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Place the rolls on the top rack and close the oven door. This will wake up the yeast and make the dough puff up. Leave for 40 minutes. Take the rolls and water out and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 30 minutes.



While the rolls are cooling, make the icing and pour over the buns while still a little warm:

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I made this by whirring regular sugar in the food processor for a few minutes)

Serve immediately – or refrigerate for a day and warm them up when the fast is over. You can also freeze them right after shaping – just let them defrost before you puff them in the oven.

* I used real buttermilk – leftover from making cultured butter a little while ago and frozen. You can use store-bought, but if you don’t have any on hand,mix 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes before you use it.