Now or Later Cinnamon Buns

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: 16 buns

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Cinnamon buns are so ethereal. Fresh and hot out of the oven: wonderful. The next day (or even several hours later), not nearly as good. The following recipe allows you to serve cinnamon buns hot from the oven, if that fits into your schedule; or buns up to a few days old. Reheated for 10 minutes, and freshly glazed, your guests will never know they're not newly baked.

You'll notice that there's an extra ingredient and step in the buns you plan on serving later: melted butter, brushed on top when you take them out of the oven. We feel this helps keep the buns soft during storage.

Now or Later Cinnamon Buns

star rating (35) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 16 buns
Published: 05/05/2010





  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Tips from our bakers

  • What if you'd like to serve half the buns now, and half later? Brush both pans of baked buns with melted butter, but make only half the amount of confectioners' sugar glaze. Brush the glaze on one of the pans of buns, and serve immediately. Cool the other pan of buns completely, and wrap airtight for storage.
  • Want warm cinnamon buns in the morning? Shape the buns, place them in the pan, cover, and let rise overnight in the fridge. Next morning, remove from the fridge, preheat your oven, and bake till golden brown. It might take about 5 minutes longer than the recipe indicates; just keep your eye on them towards the end.
  • Here's another way to have warm cinnamon buns in the morning, quickly and easily. Bake the buns in a preheated 325°F oven for 15 minutes; they should be set, but not browned. Remove from the oven, cool completely, then wrap tightly and freeze. The night before you want to serve buns, place them (still wrapped) in the refrigerator to thaw. Next day, take them out of the fridge, and let them warm a bit as you preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake for about 15 minutes, until they're a very light golden brown. Remove from the oven, brush with butter, spread with icing, and serve warm.


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1) Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's just about doubled in bulk.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

4) Roll the dough into a 20" long rectangle, about 12" wide. This soft dough rolls easily, so you shouldn't have much trouble with shrinking or "push back."

5) Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cinnamon over the surface of the dough. A small sieve or tea strainer works well here.

6) Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a 24" log; it'll naturally stretch from its original 20" to about 24" as you roll. In order to make the neatest job of cutting out the buns, use a sharp knife to mark the log at 1 1/2" intervals.

7) Slice the dough into 1 1/2"-thick buns. The neatest way to do this, by far, is by looping a piece of dental floss underneath the dough where you want to cut it, then pulling the ends in opposite directions. The floss will cut the dough neatly, without squashing it.

8) Lightly grease two 8" round cake pans. Divide the buns between the two pans, spacing 8 in each pan.

9) Cover the pans, and allow the buns to rise till they're crowded against one another and quite puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

10) Uncover the buns, and bake them for 20 to 23 minutes, until they're golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it.

11) To serve buns now: Just before the buns are done, stir together the confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and cream or milk to make the glaze. Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Spread with the glaze, and serve immediately.

12) To serve buns later: Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Cool completely. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for a couple of days; for longer storage, freeze. Just before serving, tent the buns lightly with foil, and rewarm in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes (a bit longer, for frozen buns). Stir together the glaze, brush over the buns, and serve warm.

Yield: 16 glazed cinnamon buns.


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  • star rating 01/15/2015
  • Curtis from Greensboro,NC
  • Family loved it, the dough seem sticky. I may need to oil my hand and my rolling pin more, The next time..
  • star rating 12/29/2014
  • tangrene17923 from KAF Community
  • I think they were OK but just can't touch the old recipe I use which uses buttermilk (not the Can Do Quick type). I think it should be possible for folks to scale up the recipe...who only needs 16 small cinnamon rolls?? NOT my family. I doubled recipe and tried placing 12 each (making larger buns) on half sheet pans and then letting them cool rise in garage/refrigerator on top of car that is...and it worked ok. I will try again but when doubled I plan to NOT double the yeast. I think they will taste less yeasty. I recommend for novices.
  • star rating 12/26/2014
  • SusanL from Houston, TX
  • I have looked at this recipe for years, always intending to make it for Christmas morning, but the idea of homemade cinnamon rolls was just too intimidating. I didn't really believe the comments that talked about how easy this recipe was to make. Well, count me as an official BELIEVER now! This was so easy to make, the dough was a dream to roll out, and the rolls tasted fantastic! I especially liked (as did my guests) having that little bit of cinnamon in the glaze. This is not a recipe to reserve for only the holidays; it deserves year-round treatment! Thanks, King Arthur, for talking me through this one!
  • star rating 12/26/2014
  • MichelleC from Virginia
  • Fantastic! I followed the instructions to bake now and serve later. The only thing I changed was the addition of 2tsp Buttery sweet dough flavor, and I used the KAF bakers cinnamon filling. Turned out beautifully when I warmed and iced them two days later on Christmas morning. I had been looking at a do-ahead recipe for cinnamon rolls. Perfect!
  • star rating 12/19/2014
  • Monica from New Windsor, NY
  • I've been making these buns for several years as Christmas breakfast, and they always come out perfectly. I knead and let the dough rise in my Zo, and then follow the directions for partially baking and freezing for later use. Take them out of the freezer and into the fridge on Christmas Eve, let them warm up on the counter on Christmas morning while presents are being opened, and then pop them in th oven. They are really tasty, especially with the cinnamon in the glaze. I've never had a problem with the dough's rise, so for me, this recipe is a winner! Thanks!
  • star rating 10/13/2014
  • NovaRo from KAF Community
  • I decided to take a stab at this recipe because like others I was looking for one that didn't use so much butter throughout. It was just an okay batch for me. But it did indeed fit the bill in the low cal/ fat category. So this could be perfect for you if you want that kind of cinnamon roll. Like the other reviews mentioned (and I now agree), I think this lacks the butter, sugar, cinnamon filling and found the dough wasn't as lush and delicate as another recipe I recently made. But it won't stop us from finishing the rolls! ;-)
  • star rating 09/12/2014
  • Holly - JoyHouse Baker from Fennville, Michigan
  • I came to this recipe after looking for a cinnamon roll that would be cost effective, plate nicely, and be simple to pre-bake in quantity. For my trial run, I increased the recipe by one-third and rolled into a 14x28 rectangle, cutting the roll into 11 thick rolls. I gently pressed these flat in a 4-3-4 pattern on a buttered light-colored aluminum half sheet pan, keeping the original baking/rising directions. The consensus? They were much lauded by all ages and will replace my usual butter, sugar, and egg laden recipe. I wondered if we would miss the sugar in the filling but we absolutely did not! The cinnamon in the glaze really helps these achieve star status! (I did add a bit more powdered sugar to the glaze). I will have to update this post after making hundreds of these for a civil war muster! :) Thanks, KAF! I wish I lived closer to you!
  • star rating 05/27/2013
  • Sondra from Missoula, MT
  • We made these and seem to have eaten them all. And licked out the pan! These are perfect and the ability to make them ahead of time really is handy.
  • 12/29/2012
  • teresa3 from KAF Community
  • The comment below about baking the buns anyway is from me. I forgot to sign in before writing. :-)
  • star rating 12/29/2012
  • from
  • I chatted with a KA baker who was very helpful! Thank you. My dough still did not rise, but I sliced the buns anyway and let them rest overnight in my refrigerator. I just couldn't waste my ingredients. I baked them in the morning and they were fine. I am certain they will be even better when I get the dough to cooperate.
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