Don’t have yeast? Use that sourdough starter to make these AMAZING sourdough cinnamon rolls that rise overnight!
Welcome to our homestyle kitchen where we believe in the magic of sourdough! Today, we’re sharing our much-loved recipe for sourdough cinnamon rolls. These aren’t your ordinary cinnamon rolls – they’re made with an active sourdough starter, giving them a unique flavor and texture that’s sure to delight.
If you’ve been looking for ways to use your sourdough starter, this sourdough cinnamon roll recipe is a fantastic option. Not only do these cinnamon rolls rise overnight, but they also have a wonderful texture that’s both soft and slightly chewy. Topped with a creamy, slightly tangy cream cheese frosting, they’re the perfect treat for a something special like Christmas morning, or a leisurely breakfast or brunch.
Why you’ll love this sourdough cinnamon roll recipe:
Same buttery, rich dough that you know and love.
The sourdough adds a boost of flavor
Easily uses a stand mixer to knead the dough.
Rises overnight so they can bake the next morning.
Two Keys to That Make This Recipe Work:
Our biggest struggle when developing this recipe was getting the rolls to rise nicely. The sweet & tangy flavor was there from start every single time, but wanted to learn what made the rise the best. Here are our two key takeaways:
Make sure your sourdough starter is bubbly and active. You want the kind of starter where you can almost see it bubbling and rising right after feeding. That is what worked best in this recipe. Feed the sourdough, then when it has doubled in the jar, it is time to bake. (Learn how to make sourdough starter.)
Give the rolls enough time to rise. We tried different techniques with how long to rise and when to roll out the dough. For our starter, we found allowing the rolls to rise overnight at room temperature made them at just the right spot in the morning to bake when we woke up. The timing on this can depend on how warm your kitchen is, humidity and how active your starter is. If you bake them before they’ve risen nicely, they will be dense and a little tough.
Timeline for Making Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
Please note: This is the timeline that works for us. You will most likely have to adjust this based on weather, temperature inside your house, the type of starter you have. There are so many factors that can affect sourdough! But you can at least use this as a guideline.
Morning that you want to make the rolls: Feed the starter so that it is at the height of activity by about 3PM.
3PM: Make the dough, then allow it to rise for about 4 hours.
8-9PM: Roll out the cinnamon rolls and place in a baking pan. Cover and let the rolls rise at room temperature overnight.
In the morning: Bake the rolls once they’ve risen to about 1.5 times their original size.
Tips for Making the Rolls
When mixing the dough, make sure the butter and milk are warmed, but not too hot or it will kill the yeast in the sourdough starter.
A high quality bread flour works best. Bread flour gives the rolls a strong, artisan-style texture. If you use all purpose flour, you may need slightly more flour when mixing. This is the bread flour we use.
Follow the instructions for resting the dough during mixing. Don’t speed through and skip these steps. This helps gluten to start to form and allows the flour to combine well.
Do not add too much flour. I mentioned this earlier, but it is key for this recipe. Add the flour during mixing slowly so you don’t accidentally add too much.
You’ll know you’ve added enough when the dough ball cleans the sides of the bowl as it spins but still sticks on the bottom. The dough should feel tacky to the touch.
The dough should roll really easily after it has it’s 5 hour rest (bulk fermentation). This is not a hard dough to roll out!
We added a tablespoon of flour to the filling mixture. This helps keep the filling in the center of the rolls.
Don’t skip the heavy cream! This is our secret to the gooiest rolls and is especially important in this sourdough recipe.
Make sure the rolls have nicely risen before baking. If your sourdough was active, they should rise just fine overnight at room temperature. We tried putting these in the fridge overnight and they did not rise much. We had to remove them from the fridge and allow them to rise at room temperature for about 5 hours before they were ready to bake. You can refrigerate them overnight if you’d like, just know they may take longer to rise that way. They rise best in a warm spot.
The rolls will take about 27-30 minutes to bake. The time will vary based on how big the rolls are, what type of pan, how close the rolls are packed, etc. Check the rolls at 20 minutes. If they are getting too browned, cover loosely with foil for the remaining baking time.
Frost the rolls while warm for the ultimate gooeyness. You can frost the rolls whenever you’d like, just remember that if the rolls are warm, the frosting will soak in.
Want to use sourdough discard to make cinnamon rolls?
1/2cupsalted butter(Melted, but make sure it isn't super hot. Just barely melted, or even softened, is fine.)
1/2cupgranulated sugar(110 grams_
3 ½ to 4cupshigh quality bread flour520 to 540 grams (divided)
For the Filling:
1 1/2cupspacked brown sugar
For pouring over before baking:
1/2cupwarmed heavy cream(for pouring over the risen rolls)
For the Frosting:
Prepare plenty of time in advance! We start this recipe at about 3PM, then let the rolls rise overnight to bake in the morning. You can adjust this timeline, but the key is letting the rolls rise until they are about 1.5 times the original size.
Make the dough:
We use a stand mixer to mix this dough. You can mix it by hand if you'd like.
Add the milk, starter, eggs, butter, salt, sugar and half of the flour (250 grams) to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to mix these ingredients until they form a very wet dough. Allow this mixture to sit for 20 minutes.
After the mixture sits, switch to the dough hook and turn the mixer on low speed. Add the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time while the dough kneads. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes while adding the flour. We use a total of about 525 grams of bread flour, but add it slowly. You don't want the dough to be too dry, but rather be slightly tacky. You'll know you've added enough when the dough ball cleans the sides of the bowl as it spins but still sticks on the bottom. The dough should feel tacky to the touch. If it is too dry, the rolls will end up dry.
Move the dough to a clean bowl that you've sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cover and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 5 hours.
While the dough is rising, prepare the cinnamon filling. In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour, mixing until well combined. Set aside.
Sprinkle a pastry mat with flour. Turn out the dough onto the lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with additional flour if it feels too sticky.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about a 24×15" rectangle. (the size of the rectangle can vary…it does not have to be exact!)
Use a rubber spatula to smooth the cinnamon filling over the whole dough rectangle.
Starting on the long side, roll the dough up tightly jelly roll style.
Cut into 12 slices and place in a greased 9×13 baking pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise at room temperature for about 10-12 hours or until they are about 1.5 to 2 times the original size.
The next day after the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Warm the heavy cream until the chill is off. Don’t make it hot…you just don’t want it cold. It should be warm to the touch.
Pour the heavy cream over the top of the rolls, allowing it to soak down in and around the rolls. It's ok if some is sitting on top. It will bake in.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Note…the time will vary based on how big the rolls are, what type of pan, how close the rolls are packed, etc. Check the rolls at 20 minutes. If they are getting too browned, cover loosely with foil for the remaining baking time.
Prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer. Blend well.
Add in maple extract and the powdered sugar. Beat until combined.
We spread half of the frosting over the rolls right when they come out of the oven. The frosting will melt in and help the rolls be soft and "gooey".
Spread the remaining frosting over the rolls after they have cooled.
These are best served fresh and warm.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and rewarm in the microwave to serve leftovers.
*If you don’t have cream, use half and half, coffee creamer, evaporated milk, whole milk or coconut cream. Any of these will work. Even 2% milk will work, but we prefer a higher fat milk.*The Calorie count shows the amount with ALL of the frosting used. There will be less calories in the rolls if you don’t use all of the frosting at once. Calories are per roll with the recipe making 12 frosted rolls.