When I was new to sourdough baking, from-scratch cinnamon rolls were one of those things that just seemed… intimidating. But I promise, these overnight sourdough cinnamon rolls are so easy to make. They’re also fully fermented for all the gut-friendly benefits.
Just mix up the dough the night (or day) before, roll them in the morning, let them rise for 30 minutes or so, and bake.
Even if you’re fairly new to sourdough baking, you probably already know how tasty and beneficial sourdough is. Now let’s be honest, cinnamon rolls aren’t the healthiest option… I mean, there is sugar in this recipe after all. But when making long-fermented sourdough recipes like this, you do get a probiotic and nutritional boost.
If you’re looking for a healthier fully-fermented breakfast recipe, check out mini sourdough breakfast pizzas, simple sourdough cinnamon swirl bread, or sourdough banana pancakes. But I’m guessing, if you’re here on this page, you’re somewhat committed to diving into some cinnamon roll goodness… so you might as well make these!
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the best sourdough cinnamon rolls
Believe me when I say, I’ve tried a lot of different sourdough cinnamon roll recipes. And while they’ve all been good, I’ve found that there were desirable components lacking in all of them, having to do with either ease or taste.
I had two main goals in mind when creating this recipe. First, I wanted a cinnamon roll with that fluffy, yet gooey texture we all know and love. Second, I wanted it to be simple, easy, and done in as few steps as possible.
Minimal steps, minimal dishes, and minimal hands-on time. That’s just half of what this sourdough cinnamon roll recipe has going for it. The other half is that they’re plain delicious. Soft, warm, with the perfect cinnamon flavor.
So yeah, it checks all the boxes. Because as a busy mama who is also a bit of a foodie, ain’t no one got time for hard or mediocre recipes in my house.
By the way, a stand mixer is my secret to achieving the maximum ease factor. But even if you don’t have one, you should definitely still make these cinnamon rolls!
baking with sourdough: active vs. discard
For this particular recipe, you will need an active sourdough starter. If you’re new to sourdough, you may want to study a little more of the basics on how to use a starter and the differences between the active and discard stages.
It really is quite simple, though. To get your starter at peak activity for baking, add flour and water in roughly a 1:1 ratio to the amount of starter you have on hand. So say you are adding 100 grams by weight of flour to your starter. You will also want to add 100 grams by weight of water. Personally though, I just use cup measurements when feeding my starter–so if I add 1 cup of flour, I also add 1 cup of water.
Let it sit with a loose fitting lid until it’s bubbly. You can do the float test, which is where you place a small amount into a cup of water to see if it floats. However, the volume test is a little bit more reliable. Basically, if the volume of your starter doubles, you can be sure that it’s ready to bake with.
Can I use sourdough discard for these cinnamon rolls?
While you technically could make these cinnamon rolls with non-active sourdough starter (also known as discard stage starter), you would want to add yeast to achieve a similar chewy, fluffy consistency. And in my house, I simply don’t use it. Therefore, I don’t have a discard variation of this recipe.
To me, it’s worth it to plan ahead. I make sure my starter is bubbly and active before starting this cinnamon roll dough. But, if you do decide to try it with non-active starter, I’d love for you to leave a comment on this post and tell me how it turns out!
And if you’re interested in a plethora of ideas for using up your sourdough discard, quickly enter your email below to receive a FREE Sourdough Discard Favorites ebook!
tips for making sourdough cinnamon rolls
- Using a stand mixer makes these sourdough cinnamon rolls an absolute cinch.
- Remember to set out your butter the night before (or whenever you mix your dough) so it’s nice and soft when it’s time to make the rolls. Using room temperature butter makes the process much simpler, and your rolls will turn out prettier because the filling will be easy to spread.
- Feed your starter approximately 4-12 hours before you’re ready to mix the dough, so that it’s nice and bubbly.
- You can try letting the dough rise in a warm spot for 24 hours instead of 12 for a deeper sourdough flavor, and more gut-friendliness.
- If you don’t have brown sugar, you can sub it out for regular cane sugar along with 1 teaspoon of molasses.
- You can easily substitute some of the all purpose flour for pastry flour or einkorn flour, however, you will probably want to slightly reduce the water in the recipe.
- I usually bake these cinnamon rolls in a cast iron skillet, but you can use any glass baking dish. If you use glass, they will probably need to stay in the oven the maximum bake time range listed in the recipe.
- You can substitute half and half for the heavy cream added before the final rise, or skip it all together. The rolls may just have a slightly drier texture.
- You can make these rolls ahead of time and keep them in the fridge unbaked up to 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
how to make overnight sourdough cinnamon rolls
the day before you want cinnamon rolls
Add 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter, 3/4 cup of water, and 1 egg to a bowl of a stand mixer. Mix it all together for 4-5 minutes using the dough hook. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, I recommend using clean hands for this process)
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to ferment in a warm place for 8-24 hours.
the day you want cinnamon rolls
The next morning (or if you’re brinner people like us, the next day) after the bulk ferment, make your filling by mixing the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Mix the baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the dough. You want to do this thoroughly, so use the dough hook again for a few minutes, or knead with your hands for 5-10 minutes.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a large rectangle that’s about a quarter of an inch thick. Evenly spread the filling over the top of the dough, leaving a little space on each long side to pinch the seam together.
Slowly roll the dough up, as tightly as you can. I use a bench scraper and it makes the process much easier. Once it’s all rolled up, pinch the long edge together. Cut the dough using thin string, unflavored floss, or a very sharp knife. You don’t want to use a dull knife, or else you might end up with a mushy mess of cinnamon roll dough.
Gently arrange the cut rolls into a 14-inch cast iron skillet or glass baking dish. For me, this recipe usually makes about 15 rolls, depending on how thick you cut them (I usually cut mine somewhere between an inch to an inch and a half thick). Pour the optional 1/3 cup of cream over the top. Cover the rolls with a tea towel, and let them do a final, second rise for 30-60 minutes. Although typically, mine only get as much rise time as it takes my oven to preheat. 😉
Bake the rolls in a 375 degree oven for 22-25 minutes.
how to make simple cream cheese glaze
This cream cheese frosting glaze couldn’t be simpler, and you don’t have to soften the cream cheese ahead of time either. I make mine in small, 6″ cast iron skillet, but you could also use a medium saucepan.
Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and 1/3 cup half and half (or milk) to your pan. Slowly melt it together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Once it’s all combined, add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and whisk well.
After they have cooled for about 10 minutes, drizzle the glaze over the top of your warm cinnamon buns and serve immediately.
After you try these overnight sourdough cinnamon rolls, you’ll know why they’re my second favorite sourdough recipe to make next to my rustic sourdough bread. They really are the best cinnamon rolls for busy sourdough bakers who also adore a gooey, fluffy breakfast treat!
Overnight Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar organic is best
- 1/3 cup coconut oil or butter melted
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter active and bubbly
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream optional
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cups brown sugar organic is best
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/3 cup half & half or milk
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar organic is best
- 1 tsp vanilla
The Day Before
- Add flour, sugar, sourdough starter, melted coconut oil or butter, water, and egg to a bowl of a stand mixer. Mix it all together for 4-5 minutes using the dough hook. (If you don't have a stand mixer, use your clean hands.)
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to ferment in a warm place for 8-24 hours.
Day Of Baking
- Make the filling by mixing together the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
- Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the dough. Mix with the dough hook or your hands for about 5 minutes.
- Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll a large rectangle that's about a quarter of an inch thick.
- Evenly spread the filling over the top of the dough, leaving a little space on each long side to pinch the seam together. Then slowly roll the dough up, as tightly as you can.
- Cut the dough into equal pieces using thin string, unflavored floss, or a very sharp knife.
- Arrange the cut rolls into a 14-inch cast iron skillet or glass baking dish, and pour cream over all the rolls. (optional) Cover with a tea towel, preheat the oven to 375, and do a final rise for about 30 minutes.
- Bake in the 375 degree oven for 22-25 minutes.
- Add cream cheese and half and half to a saucepan and melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once combined, add vanilla and powdered sugar. Whisk well until smooth.
- Drizzle over slightly cooled cinnamon rolls, and serve.
Tiffany is a mama to four boys, second generation homeschooler, and college graduate with degrees in both music and business. Now, she is a natural living and homestead enthusiast who loves gardening and raising chickens, pigs, and cows. A lifelong believer in Jesus, she has a burning desire to bring Him glory in everything she does. A worship leader and musician, she also loves to write songs and play the piano in what spare time she finds.