Overnight Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls


I’ve been pining for a big batch of puffy cinnamon rolls for months now — my issue over this period of time remained that I could never be left alone with a dish of cinnamon rolls for only Alex and I to share. I’d end up eating them all! With my sister home from school and my dad’s birthday falling on a quiet Saturday, the family gathering proved to be our perfect opportunity.

Prepped the night before, your batch will be ready to go the morning of your breakfast or brunch gathering — less stress and definitely less mess.

The key to this cozy style of cinnamon rolls, thanks to guidance from Joy the Baker, is a folded-in cream cheese layer. Think of the process for butter croissants; but in this case, the integration much simpler and unmistakably tender, and utterly delightful.

We preferred a simple gooey center, but added nuts or raisins would be a wonderful addition. Happy baking!


Makes 8-10 rolls

3/4 cup lukewarm whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 ¼ teaspoons (or one packet) of Active Dry yeast
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, softened and divided (5 ounces for filling, 3 ounces for icing)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoons milk

1. Whisk eggs, whole milk, yeast, brown sugar, salt and vanilla in a large glass bowl. Using a wooden spoon (or dough hook setting of mixer), add softened butter and flour, and mix until totally combined in a ball and somewhat sticky. Transfer ball of dough to a greased glass bowl and let rise for at least 45 minutes — up to two hours, if you have the time.

2. Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup softened butter, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in a small bowl for the filling. Ensure 5 ounces of cream cheese are softened enough to spread.

3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread softened cream cheese evenly over dough, then fold bottom and top edges of the dough over 1 inch. Fold one short end into the center, and then fold the short end over the first (like a letter). Carefully roll the folded dough again into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle (try not to tear and reveal the cream cheese!). Fold dough like a letter again, and roll the dough into a 12 x 18-inch rectangle one last time.

4. Spread/crumble cinnamon sugar filling over entire surface. Roll the dough vertically (long edge first) into a log. Cut dough into 8-10 even slices. Place in a greased baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator overnight.

5. The next morning, bring cinnamon rolls to room temperature for about an hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. While baking, whisk icing glaze by combining 3 ounces of softened cream cheese with powdered sugar and milk. Once rolls are baked, remove from oven and drizzle glaze atop.

Recipe adapted from Joy The Baker