Cinnamon Raisin Rolls (Overnight Option)

Homemade cinnamon rolls in a glass dish topped with frosting.
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5 from 1 review

These soft, gooey cinnamon raisin rolls have all the flavor of cinnamon raisin bread, but with an even better texture. A thick swirl of tangy-sweet cream cheese icing on top makes them all the more irresistible. To make your morning easier, these homemade sweet rolls can even be prepped for breakfast a day in advance!

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Rise Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 rolls 1x
  • Category: pastries and sweet rolls
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American



Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 5 5/8 ounces (1 cup) raisins (regular and/or golden)
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) orange juice, room temperature (I used freshly-squeezed)
  • 6 3/8 ounces (3/4 cup) milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 17 ounces (4 cups, spoon and level) bread flour, divided
  • 2 1/8 ounces (1/2 cup, spoon and level) whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 ounces (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • 1 7/8 ounces (1/4 cup, packed) brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 ounces (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz full-fat block-style cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) salted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Heavy pinch of salt


Cinnamon Roll Dough

  1. Rehydrate raisins: Using a small bowl, submerge the raisins in the orange juice and allow to soak while prepping dough.
  2. Scald milk by heating it on the stove or in the microwave until the temperature reaches 180ºF. Add cubed butter and allow to melt, whisking in once melted. Let mixture cool to 120º-130ºF. Meanwhile, work on step 3.
  3. Combine dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together 12 3/4 ounces (3 cups) bread flour with the whole wheat flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
  4. Combine liquid ingredients: Add egg yolks and molasses to the cooled milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Make the dough: Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients along with the raisins and orange juice. Use a spatula to begin working everything together until the flour is incorporated, and then use your hands to knead into a single ball of dough.
  6. Knead: Place dough on a lightly-floured surface for kneading. Knead for 10-15 minutes, until dough is soft and elastic, incorporating only as much of the remaining 4 1/4 ounces (1 cup) bread flour as needed to prevent the dough from getting stuck to your hands or the counter.
  7. Shape and rest: Shape dough into a smooth ball and transfer to an oiled bowl, turning once to coat both sides in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 30-60 minutes; the dough should expand a bit during this time, although it may not rise significantly.

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  1. Make the cinnamon sugar: In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon for the filling.
  2. Roll dough out on a lightly-floured surface to form a 12"x16" rectangle, with one of the 12" sides facing you. Rub softened butter all over the top surface. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly on top, leaving 1" of buttered dough uncovered on the side farthest away from you.
  3. Roll and slice: Starting with the side closest to you, roll dough into a tight log. Once you get to the opposite end, roll the seam so that it's at the bottom of the log. Use a sharp knife or a string of floss to slice the dough log into 12 equal portions.
  4. Rise: Grease a 9"x13" baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Transfer sliced rolls to prepared pan in a 4x3 pattern, ensuring that the outer seam of each roll is touching the edge of the pan or another roll. Cover dish with plastic wrap and leave rolls to rise until they've expanded enough to nearly cover the bottom of the pan. (See notes for overnight instructions.)
  5. Glaze and bake: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Just before baking, brush rolls with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are turning golden and the interior temperature measured near the middle of one of the largest rolls reads about 190ºF. Be careful not to overbake! Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

  1. Make the frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and a heavy pinch of salt, and beat in until smooth once again.
  2. Frost: Use an icing spatula or butter knife to spread the frosting over the rolls. Serve while still warm. 


Ingredient Notes and Substitutions: 

  • Use whole milk if possible, although any kind will work.
  • Whole wheat flour can be substituted with all-purpose flour or extra bread flour.
  • If you'd prefer to use unsalted butter in the frosting, increase the added salt to 1/8 teaspoon.
  • To substitute instant yeast with active dry yeast, use the same amount, but proof the yeast with a portion of the milk and sugar rather than adding it directly to the dry ingredients. The milk should be cooled to 105º-110ºF for active yeast.
  • Feel free to use light or dark brown sugar.

Overnight Cinnamon Raisin Rolls: 

  • If prepping rolls the night before, transfer them to the refrigerator at step 4 rather than leaving them out to rise. Let them finish rising at room temperature for 1-2 hours the following morning before baking. 

Storing and Reheating:

  • Any rolls you don't plan on eating immediately are best left unfrosted. Store the rolls directly in the dish they're baked in, covered with plastic wrap. Keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Store the frosting in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Individual rolls can be reheated in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds, or until warm.