How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls

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Learn the best way to freeze homemade cinnamon rolls, whether before or after baking. Our guide covers everything from freezing to defrosting, ensuring your cinnamon rolls are perfect for Christmas morning or special occasions.

Cinnamon rolls, with their warm, gooey centers and cinnamon spice, are a family favorite. Whether you’re prepping for a cozy Christmas morning or just looking to simplify your baking routine, knowing how to properly freeze cinnamon rolls is a game-changer. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of freezing cinnamon rolls, ensuring that every bite tastes as fresh as the day it was baked.

unbaked cinnamon rolls in plastic freezer bags

Is it Better to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls Before or After Baking?

The decision to freeze cinnamon rolls before or after baking depends on your schedule and preference. Freezing the unbaked rolls keeps the dough fresh and ready to rise, perfect for that fresh-baked aroma on busy mornings. This gives the best results for enjoying fresh cinnamon rolls in a time crunch.

On the other hand, freezing already baked rolls is a time-saver; just thaw, warm in either the oven or the microwave, and they’re ready to enjoy.

Start with the Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Our Cinnabon copycat cinnamon buns have been touted as the best cinnamon rolls around. Go look at all of the rave reviews!

homemade cinnamon rolls in a baking pan

That original recipe is the recipe we used to test how to freeze cinnamon rolls and thousands of you have used this method for holiday breakfasts.

Can you use a different recipe and freeze with this method for make-ahead cinnamon rolls? Yes. Most likely anyway. But ours is the best. Just sayin’.

How to Freeze Unbaked Cinnamon Rolls

  • Prepare your cinnamon roll dough as per your favorite recipe. Use instant yeast when freezing unbaked cinnamon roll dough.
  • Allow the dough to do its first rise
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Spread the top of the dough with melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Starting on the long side, roll up jelly roll style into a tight log.
  • Cut the dough into individual cinnamon rolls and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave enough space for each unbaked roll to freeze individually.
unbaked cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet
  1. Place the sheet pan in the freezer and flash freeze the rolls until solid, about an hour.
  2. Once the rolls are frozen, transfer the rolls into a freezer-safe bag, ensuring they don’t get squished. Double bag to prevent freezer burn. You can use any freezer safe airtight container.
  3. Label the bag with the date and freeze for up to 2 months.
a bag of unbaked cinnamon roll dough

Can you freeze the rolls in disposable pans?

Yes, you can. And it’s a great option for gift giving, but it also takes up much more freezer space.

How to Bake Frozen Cinnamon Roll Dough

For freezer cinnamon rolls, you’ll need at least 6 hours from the point of taking the dough out of the freezer to the time of baking. Here are the steps:

  • Take the amount of rolls you’d like to bake out of the freezer.
  • Place them in a baking pan. For reference, 12 rolls fit in a 9×13″ baking pan. 4 rolls in a 6″ round pan, or 8 rolls in a deep dish pie plate. 
  • Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap.
  • If you’re taking the rolls out of the freezer to bake the next day, place the pan in the fridge to allow the rolls to thaw overnight.
  • If you have less time (less than 6 hours), let the cinnamon roll dough thaw at room temperature. They do not have to be in a warm place. In fact, they should not be.
  • If the rolls were in the fridge, the next morning remove the pan from the fridge and allow the rolls to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.
  • It’s ok if there is not a lot of dough rise at this point. As long as the dough ball rose the first time, then should pop up nicely in when baking. A second rise is not needed with instant yeast.
  • Bake the rolls according to the recipe you are using (ours bake for about 30 minutes at 375ºF). Don’t forget the heavy cream secret ingredient though. Drizzle heavy cream over the rolls before baking. This makes amazing, gooey cinnamon rolls with a caramel sauce on the bottom.
  • If the rolls are getting too browned in the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil part way through to prevent them from browning further.
  • Finally, frost the sweet rolls with cream cheese frosting about 10-15 minutes after they come out of the oven. Then enjoy the warm cinnamon rolls without the mess!
4 cinnamon rolls baked in a foil pan

What Happens to Yeast When You Freeze It?

Freezing can slow down yeast activity but doesn’t kill it. When you thaw your rolls, the yeast will ‘wake up’ and continue the rising process. It’s like hitting pause on your dough’s progress! Read our helpful guide to yeast.

​How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls After Baking

If you have leftover cinnamon rolls, or just want to be ready for a quick sweet breakfast in the morning, here’s how to freeze cinnamon rolls that have already been baked:

  • Bake the cinnamon rolls in a freezer safe container. Or you can place leftover baked rolls in foil pan after they’ve baked.
  • Wrap the pan or rolls with two layers of plastic wrap. Then place in another airtight container. This works the best if the rolls aren’t yet frosting. Frosting freezes just fine, but it can be messy to unwrap.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months
  • When you want to serve the rolls, pull them out of the freezer and allow them to thaw before unwrapping them. This will help keep them fresh. Once the rolls are fully thawed, unwrap and rewarm in the microwave or the oven.

How to Reheat Cinnamon Rolls

You’ve made the perfect cinnamon rolls, but just can’t eat them all in one sitting. Here’s two ways to reheat the rolls:

  • Reheat each individual roll quickly in the microwave. It will take less than 30 seconds per roll.
  • Reheat a pan of cinnamon rolls in the oven by preheating the oven to 350ºF. Cover the cinnamon rolls with aluminum foil, then place them in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the rolls are heated through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze cinnamon roll icing?

Yes! Freeze it separately and thaw at room temperature before using. You’ll love our cream cheese cinnamon roll icing

How long can I store frozen cinnamon rolls?

If double wrapped as we instruct above, they can last up to 2 months in the freezer.

Do I need to adjust the recipe for freezing?

No adjustments are necessary, although I do recommend instant yeast. Just follow your favorite cinnamon roll recipe.

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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2 months ago

Thank you so much for this detailed explanation. If I’m baking for next day and I leave them overnight in the fridge…is it OK to take them out in after or does it have to be the morning…I guess my question is what is the max time I can leave to thaw in fridge.