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Mamagirl’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

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My family has been making these soft and fluffy Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for at least 4 generations! They’re guaranteed to be the best homemade cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had.

A cinnamon roll covered in icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of a fancy white plate

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls Made From Scratch

I’ve been waiting for quite some time to share this recipe with you. I couldn’t just share these overnight cinnamon rolls at just any old time. I saved them for a special occasion. These rolls make an appearance in our house for occasions like Christmas, birthdays, and Valentine’s day. This weekend we have both a birthday and Valentine’s day.

This is not just any ordinary Cinnamon Roll recipe. These are Mamagirl Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. I am at least the fourth generation to be baking these cinnamon rolls.

Mamagirl, my great grandmother was from the south, Alabama to be specific. She passed this recipe to my grandmother, Edwina who taught my mom, who taught me. If it has lasted this long, you know it much be good!

A close-up shot of a pan full of homemade cinnamon rolls covered in icing

Every major holiday my mom makes Mamagirl Rolls, which are served with dinner. So we started doubling the recipe and using the leftover dough to make cinnamon rolls the next morning.

A frosted cinnamon roll on a plate with two forks and more cinnamon rolls behind it

My husband LOVES cinnamon rolls, specifically Cinnabon. So during our first Christmas together, I wanted to share my family tradition with him- Mamagirl Rolls on Christmas morning. I’ve made them every Christmas since we started dating, and a few Valentine’s days too.

Overnight cinnamon rolls piled inside of a glass pan before any icing has been added

When I made this batch of rolls, I specifically searched for a copy-cat recipe for Cinnabon icing. Their recipe is a cream cheese icing with a touch of lemon. The recipe I used was from The Slow Roasted Italian. We loved it! I frosted these cinnamon rolls as soon as they came out of the oven so that the frosting has time to melt over the hot rolls.

A freshly-baked cinnamon roll on a plate with one big bite on a metal fork

Tips & Tricks for Making These Cinnamon Rolls

Now don’t be intimated by the time and steps involved in these rolls. I always prepare them the night before because they take about 6 hours in total and I am too impatient to wait. Let’s walk through a few key points.

  • These rolls need to rise for a total of 4 hours before the dough is refrigerated. The first rise is an hour and the second rise is 3 hours.
  • The third rise is right before baking- which is an hour.
  • If you live in a cold temperature, I suggest to turn on the oven until it reaches 100°F and then turn it off. When you place the dough in the oven, leave the door open for the first several minutes. This provides a warm place for the yeast to expand.
  • I provided suggested temperatures in the recipe. I have found that it is most successful when I use a candy thermometer to ensure that I don’t kill the yeast. If your milk mixture or water is to hot, it the yeast will not expand.
  • After the second rise, the dough should be refrigerated overnight. Mamagirl’s original recipe only called for the dough to be refrigerated. We determined this was because it would be easier to roll out the dough if it was cold.
  • The recipe I provided is a HALF batch, which is enough for 4-6 people. I usually double the batch. You can save the dough and make two batches.
A glass baking dish full of homemade cinnamon rolls topped with a generous amount of icing

I think Mamagirl would be so proud of me for carrying on her tradition. It is just so satisfying to see these beautiful rolls come out of the oven and be slathered with icing. They don’t last long!

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A cinnamon roll covered in icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of a fancy white plate

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 47 minute
  • Yield: 12

Description

My family has been making these soft and fluffy Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for at least 4 generations! They’re guaranteed to be the best homemade cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had.

Ingredients

For the First Rise

  • 1 cup milk (whole milk preferred)
  • ½ cup Crisco shortening
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water (100-110°F)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted

For the Second Rise

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Assembly

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cinnamon

For icing ingredients, I use this one.

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and stir in shortening and sugar until both are dissolved. Remove from oven and allow to cool until mixture reaches about 110°F of less. 
  2. Microwave water for 10-15 seconds until it reaches 100-110°F. Stir the sugar and yeast into the water and allow the yeast to activate until bubbly and frothy, about 8-10 minutes. Stir into the milk mixture once it has cooled. 
  3.  In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour with the milk mixture. Whisk until the mixture is combined, it will be a thick liquid consistency. Cover with a wet towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 1 hour to rise. 
  4. Second rise. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the dough mixture. All the flour should be combined together. If the dough seems dry, you may start to gently knead the dough in the bowl until it picks up all the flour. If the dough is wet, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue until the dough comes together in one ball and does not stick to the bowl.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the mixture gently until the dough is soft and pliable in one consistent ball. 
  6. Return to the mixing bowl, cover again with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for at least three hours. The dough should double in size. 
  7. Keep covered and refrigerate the dough overnight.
  8. Assembly. Remove dough from refrigerator and turn onto a gently floured surface.
  9. Roll dough out until 1/4-1/2” thick. Melt butter and brush over dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  10. Roll dough into a log. Cut roll 1-1.5” thick and place in a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Cover with paper towels and let rise for 1 hour before baking.
  11. Bake at 425°F for about 10-12 minutes. While the rolls are still warm, spread the icing on.

Notes

  • You can use unsalted butter in place of shortening 
  • You can cut out and freeze rolls in a pan for up to a week.
  • I have found that it is most successful when I use a candy thermometer to ensure that I don’t kill the yeast.
  • To help the dough rise, turn on the oven light and place the dough inside the oven with the door closed, leaving the light on. Another tip I use is to run the dryer for about 1 minute and stop. Place the dough inside the dryer and close the dough. 
  • The morning rise could take longer than an hour depending. You want to rolls to dough in size. 
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cinnamon rolls homemade, overnight cinnamon roll, how make cinnamon rolls

More Must-Make Cinnamon Treats

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

19 Responses
  1. Amanda Joy Gardner

    Hi! I *love* your blog and have made many of your recipes, all with great results! I really, really want to make these for my Husband! I did notice that the link you posted for the icing, no longer works. I know it’s been a while since you originally posted this recipe, but wondered if you still have the recipe information for the icing?! I would love to make them exactly as you do!
    Thanks in advance!

  2. Hala

    Hello. When we get it out of the refrigerator, do we need to let it sit for a while or we can just start working with it straight away?
    Great recipe.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Hala! Yes, you can start working with the dough right when you take it out of the fridge. If you find the dough is retracting a lot, let it rest for five or so minutes before working again. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

  3. Brienne

    These look amazing!!!! I am in the process of making them now!!!!! 🙂 Could you tell me how many cinnamon rolls you cut it into, or about how big of a rectangle you roll out?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Brienne- Sorry for the delay! I cut them about 1.5″ thick because I like a big cinnamon roll. For the rectangle, I roll it out until it is about 1/4″ thick. I do not want it to be too thin.

  4. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat

    I usually am too tempted to just pull out the tube of cinnamon rolls from the fridge but I may have to try these instead! I’m all about fresh foods!

  5. Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen

    You for certain have made your mamagirl proud! I am seriously falling love with these cinnamon rolls!

  6. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Those rolls are insane looking! I am seriously drooling over how soft and fluffy and perfect they look. And that melty frosting on top…girl, you did this recipe proud!!!! I love recipes that have been handed down from family members like this!!!

  7. Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

    These are so lovely! I adore recipes that are passed down like these. I can’t wait to try them!

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