I'm making cinnamon rolls tonight but they're not going to be baked until Sunday morning, what is the best way to store them without baking them until Sunday?

  • 1
    For people reading this in the future -- Sunday is the 25th. Today is either the 22nd or 23rd (depending on what time zone the poster is in), so this would be holding the dough for overnight + one or two days.
    – Joe
    Dec 23, 2016 at 16:08

1 Answer 1



With yeast-leavened dough, there are two approaches you can take:

  1. par-bake
  2. refrigerate

With chemically-leavened dough, you can't refrigerate, but you get a third option:

  1. don't mix. (probably not applicable)

I'll explain all three:


Here, you go ahead and bake the rolls tonight, but only until they're mostly done. You want the dough fully set, but not browned. It's best to look for recipes, but generally this means a slightly shorter bake (e.g., maybe 30 minutes instead of 40) or slightly lower temperature.

Then you freeze them (for very short term—say next day—just leave them on the counter, or—if you're going to serve them warm—refrigerate them for a day or two). They store in the freezer fairly well for up to a few months.

When you want to serve them, you defrost and then put in the oven to reheat and brown (often the defrost and brown are both done in the oven). After baking, you apply the glaze/frosting/etc. as normal.

This is surely familiar—it's the way many commercially-produced frozen baked goods work.

  • Advantages: very easy & predictable on the day of service; fairly long storage life.
  • Disadvantages: slight quality loss. Enemy here is basically staling, though the reheat/brown will take care of a lot of staleness, at least until they cool. Frozen greatly slows staling (and as almost always, you want to get them frozen as quickly as possible; here you actually want to defrost them quickly as well, because fridge temperatures promote staling).


Yeast activity can be nearly slowed and stopped by keeping the dough cold, in the fridge. The colder your fridge, the less the yeast will grow. You go ahead and make your dough (probably with a less yeast), and then throw it in the fridge. Sometimes it'll be between the first and second rise, other times before either (even going so far as to use ice water in the stand mixer). Good recipes will tell you about this option, and how to best apply it to the recipe.

On the day of, you take the dough out of the fridge, let it warm up, and continue the process where you left off.

  • Advantages: Excellent quality, often the refrigeration step even improves quality, though this isn't likely in a highly-enriched dough like yours.
  • Disadvantages: More time day of, and far less predictable. You've got to wait for the yeast to do their thing, on their time table. Also, can only be done for one to three days, depending on how cold your fridge is.

Don't mix

Chemical leaveners are normally activated by mixing the dry and wet ingredients. So, you prepare them and then don't mix them until the day of. Another popular method commercially (pancake mix, cake mix, ...).

Depending on the liquids, you may or may not be able to pre-mix them. E.g., egg + lemon might react over time.

This probably isn't applicable here, especially with the amount of butter you've likely got in the dough. I'm just including it for completeness.


Sounds like you're asking about Christmas morning breakfast, where I suspect you need something predictable & easy. I'd go with par-baking it.

  • 1
    A couple of additions to your very comprehensive answer: if it's only for 2-3 days as in this case, you don't need to freeze after par-baking (fridge or even airtight box would be fine); if you prove in the fridge and it's not quick enough, take it out to room temperature a bit early. You might want it to warm up before cooking depending on size, for even browning.
    – Chris H
    Dec 23, 2016 at 7:07
  • 1
    And if you want to prove in the fridge, you can and should drastically lower the yeast content. (cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/53698/…)
    – Stephie
    Dec 23, 2016 at 11:24
  • @ChrisH problem with storage in the fridge is the amount of staling you get—countertop might be OK, or might not (can't say I have much experience with leftover cinnamon rolls—they tend not to be left over ☺). But freezing is probably ~1day of quality loss, so better than ~2 days countertop.
    – derobert
    Dec 24, 2016 at 6:23
  • @Stephie thanks, added. Though I doubt the improved flavor from less yeast is going to be noticeable in cinnamon rolls.
    – derobert
    Dec 24, 2016 at 6:28
  • 1
    @ChrisH OK, I hope I've addressed that all. A quick search failed to find a good question to link to, so I haven't. The normal number I've heard is about 1 day for freezing (I'm sure it depends quite a bit on how quickly you get them frozen & defrosted), but yeah it's close in this case. If it were a week in advance, it'd be a no-brainer.
    – derobert
    Dec 24, 2016 at 7:34

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