Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

These Sourdough Cinnamon Buns are the best cinnamon rolls ever! There’s a bonus “sticky bun” layer at the bottom & cream cheese frosting on top. WOW!

a sourdough cinnamon bun

Does anything in the world smell as good as freshly baked Cinnamon Buns? I know, stupid question.

I think we can all agree that even a bad cinnamon bun (aka cinnamon roll) is pretty good. But we can do better. Two things set this recipe apart from other Cinnamon Bun recipes.

First and foremost, the dough is made with sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast. If you love to bake bread but haven’t delved into the world of sourdough yet, I encourage you to dive-in head first.

If you don’t already have one, I can show you how to make a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.

You cannot imagine how a little sourdough starter enhances the taste and texture of any bread recipe. That’s a long-winded way of saying that these Sourdough Cinnamon Buns are extra yummy because of the starter.

Click through the slideshow to see how to assemble Sourdough Cinnamon Buns:

sourdough sticky bun dough
Brush the dough with egg wash to help the filling stick
a sourdough with cinnamon sugar on top
Use a generous full cup of cinnamon sugar for great flavor and a “sticky bun” bottom
raw cinnamon rolls
Roll the dough tightly and cut into 1.5″ wide buns
cinnamon buns before and after baking
The cinnamon buns will rise enough to fill the pan when they’re baked

The other thing that sets this recipe apart is the result of a happy-mistake. Because I wanted lots of cinnamon sugar in the buns, I sprinkled a whole cup of sugar over the dough before rolling it up to form the buns.

This is an “overnight” recipe, so the assembled buns spend a night in the refrigerator. That’s great because you can do most of the work the day before and then bake the buns in the morning.

The first time I tested the recipe I found that during the overnight rest in the refrigerator some of the sugar “melted” and formed a syrup at the bottom of the pan.

But, hey, you know what? That syrup bakes up to form a sticky, gooey bottom layer on the buns, which is really quite nice. So I embraced the “mistake” and it’s now part of the recipe.

a sourdough cinnamon bun
The syrup that forms in the pan overnight bakes into a sticky, gooey layer on the bottom of the buns.
Sourdough Cinnamon Bun

Tips for making great Sourdough Cinnamon Buns (sourdough cinnamon rolls)

  • To work ahead the logs can be wrapped tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the dough overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the recipe as listed.
  • To bake the buns the same day instead of putting the pan in the refrigerator, let the the buns rise at room temperature until they almost fill the pan. Bake as directed.
  • To get the chilled buns active I like to warm them up a bit. Turn on the oven for just a minute or two to get it just a little warm. Turn off the oven then place the pan with the buns in the barely warm oven. Once they’re starting to rise remove the pan from the oven. You can then preheat the oven while the buns finish rising.

So it’s kind of a twofer recipe; sticky bun on the bottom and iced cinnamon bun on top. Who’s going to complain about that? Not me!

Sourdough Cinnamon Bun with cream cheese icing

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider giving it a 5-star review.

Sourdough Cinnamon Buns
Print Recipe
4.57 from 309 reviews

Overnight Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

A long slow rise gives these Sourdough Cinnamon Buns an extra special flavor & texture. The warm buns are topped with cream cheese frosting for an indulgent breakfast or brunch treat.
Prep Time1 hour
Bake Time25 minutes
Rising Time12 hours
Total Time13 hours 25 minutes
12 Buns
Save Recipe


For the Dough

  • 8 oz active sourdough starter (1 cup, 100% hydration)
  • 2 oz warm water (¼ cup)
  • 8 oz whole milk (1 cup, scalded and cooled)
  • 20 oz unbleached all purpose flour (4 cups, see note)
  • 3 oz sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter (¼ cup, melted)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

For Assembly:

  • 2 oz unsalted butter (¼ cup, melted)
  • 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
  • 4 oz brown sugar (½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg for egg wash

For the Icing

  • 2 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 3 oz confectioner’s sugar (¾ cup)
  • 2 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)


  • In a mixer bowl combine 8 oz active sourdough starter, 2 oz warm water, 8 oz whole milk and 2 cups (10 oz) of the flour. Mix to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
  • Add 3 oz sugar, melted 2 oz unsalted butter, 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon table salt then mix to combine. Change to the dough hook if using a stand mixer. With mixer on low add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be soft and elastic, will clear the sides of the bowl and gather on the hook. Knead for 5 minutes. If mixing by hand continue mixing and then kneading in the flour by hand. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead into a smooth ball.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough over into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. Cover the bowl and every 60 minutes repeat the procedure for a total of 3 hours fermentation time. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature.
  • Generously brush a 9” x 13” baking pan with some of the melted butter, reserve the rest. In a small bowl, combine 4 oz granulated sugar, 4 oz brown sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Turn the dough onto a floured surface without kneading out the air. Roll the dough to a 18" x 16" (46cmx41cm) rectangle. Generously brush the surface of the dough with egg wash. You should use almost 1/2 the egg wash to get a good coating so the cinnamon sugar will stick. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg washed dough. Use your hands to smooth out the cinnamon sugar to an even layer all the way to the edge of the dough.
  • Working from the long side, tightly roll the dough into a log, pinch the seam to seal. Straighten out the log so it's of even thickness and is 18" 46cm) long (see note).
  • Use a serrated knife to cut the log into twelve 1.5" (3.5cm) wide buns. Place the buns in the prepared pan. Generously brush the tops of the buns with the melted butter. Cover the buns with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (see note).
  • In the morning take the pan out of the refrigerator. You’ll see some melted sugar in the bottom of the pan, this will form a sticky bottom as the buns bake. Allow the buns to proof at room temperature until they’re puffy and almost filling the pan, about 1.5 – 2 hours. The exact time needed for proofing will vary depending how active your starter was and the temperature of your kitchen.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°c) Bake the buns until they’re until golden brown and set in the center, 25-30 minutes. 
  • While the buns are baking, make the icing. Combine 2 oz unsalted butter and 3 oz confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl and cream until well combined. Add the 2 oz cream cheese and whip until well aerated. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and optional 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. The lemon juice will spark the flavor of the icing but it's ok to go without.
  • Remove the buns from the pan to a serving plate while they are still warm. Spread cream cheese icing generously over the buns and indulge.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
At this point you can wrap the log and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost and then continue the recipe.
If you want to bake the buns the same day you can leave them at room temperature to rise at this point.


Calories: 426kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 471IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Could you clarify this please? Does it mean to add 8 oz active sourdough starter,2 oz warm water,8 oz whole milk,20 oz unbleached all purpose flour after the 30 minute rise? Thank you!

    In a mixer bowl combine the starter, water, milk and 2 cups of the flour. Mix to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
    8 oz active sourdough starter,2 oz warm water,8 oz whole milk,20 oz unbleached all purpose flour

    1. Yes, except it is just 2 cups of the flour (10 oz). I’ve updated the recipe card to make it clear.

  2. Did I miss the “yeasted” recipe? I put my starter on a hiatus as I was obsessed with it….ha ha! I’ll look for your reply – and THANKS!

  3. These were the best ever! Are you able to make the rolls and let them sit in the fridge for 2 days? Or would that be too long?

    1. Hmmm, it would probably be ok if you made the dough with a very actively and lively starter. I would refrigerate them right after cutting rather than giving them any time at room temperature.

  4. Hi. I baked one separately tonight just to try one before I bake the rest.
    It was so good! I remember my dad making homemade cinnamon rolls when I was a kid and so I made mine as I remembered him making them, with mostly brown sugar and raisins. I had baked your bread recipe this morning and it was denser than expected and so I was worried the same would happen with the cinnamon rolls, but they turned out great! My only question is, could I freeze the cooked rolls until they’re ready to be eaten? I already cut the log and placed the rolls in the baking pan before reading the comments about freezing the log so I’d prefer to just continue with the process. There will be more rolls than there are people to eat them!

    1. Yes! Bake the rolls and freeze them without the icing. Defrost then warm them in a 200F oven before icing and serving. Which bread came out dense?

  5. Hi there
    This is my first time making anything with sourdough starter. How do you know if they have risen enough to then bake them? And not over rise them? I haven’t baked them yet, but put them in a slightly warm oven to get them started.

    1. When the buns looks puffy and almost fill out the pan they should be ready to bake. Assuming you used a 13×9 pan, that is.

  6. So I started this at night and must have got confused on what I was doing because I let them set with my bread instead refrigerating them the set at a little colder than room temp for 7 hrs.. are they still good too cook? Or should I throw them away?

    1. Are they already sliced and in the pan or is it just the dough? Either way they should be okay as long as the sliced buns don’t look over-risen.

  7. Hi, I love this recipe. I am wondering if I can freeze the rolls before baking, and if so how to thaw and bake them?

    Based on the frozen croissants I get from the baker, I am thinking of leaving the rolls in the fridge overnight to thaw, then let rise for 1h30 or until double in the morning, then bake? What do you think?

  8. I used 100% hydrated starter and for some reason after I added the final 2 c. of flour (4 total), my dough was almost runny. Did anyone else have this issue?

    1. Of you use cup measure for the flour you need to “dip and sweep” the cup into the flour bin to make sure you are sufficiently filling the cup.

  9. I have made this several times and it is always wonderful! Most often I use poppyseed filling instead of sugar/cinnamon. I omit the egg wash and they turn out delicious! I also use cashew milk instead of regular whole milk. It’s what I usually have on hand and I find it performs so similarly to traditional dairy milk. I see you have a cook book. Does it include this and other sourdough recipes as well? Would love to purchase if so!!!

    1. My book does not include sourdough recipes since it was written as a book of “easy” recipes for beginning and experienced bakers. Maybe if I can gear myself up to do another book I’ll do a sourdough book.

  10. Thank you for this recipe! It’s so easy to follow, and the result is mind-blowing. Of course, it also depends on the starter, but I cooked these cinnabons many times, and it was always a success.

    1. Yes, as with all sourdough recipes, the starter can make a world of difference in the results. Glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  11. Hello, we’ve tried a few of your sourdough recipes (pizza crust, soft pretzels, cracked wheat loaf) and they’ve all turned out really well.

    When we tried out this recipe, whilst the dough had been nice and soft and elastic, after baking the buns were lovely in flavour but a bit dense and dry in texture. Might this have been related to our technique when rolling the dough? We had used a rolling pin and were wondering whether we should have instead tried to pat/stretch it out by hand, in case using the rolling pin meant we lost the air in dough perhaps?

    1. No, I use a rolling pin. Could have been the dough was over-risen and then fell during baking or they could have been overbaked.

    2. @Eileen Gray, thank you, that’s really helpful- we’ll give it a try again…thanks for getting back to us so quickly!

  12. I love this recipe and have used it several times. Any chance I could get some tips on how to adapt into a pumpkin cinnamon roll? I don’t want to switch to another recipe I found, I just want to modify THIS ONE with pumpkin purée and some pumpkin pie spice.

    1. Treat the pumpkin puree as a liquid. This is how I recently adapted my donut recipe to make a pumpkin donut. Try replacing the milk in this recipe with pumpkin puree. You may have to adapt the amount of flour to get the proper texture in the dough, adding a little more or less as the dough comes together.

  13. This recipe sounds amazing. Can I prepare the buns and let them rise like for a same day bake and then put them in the refrigerator overnight? I would like to bake early in the morning without having to wait a couple of hours for final rise.

    1. Yes, that should work. You’ll have to use your judgement a bit to avoid having the buns over-rise during the night. If your starter is very active and the room is warm, etc, you might want to just let the buns rise for a little while and then put them in the refrigerator to finish rising slowly overnight. If you dough is more sluggish and your room is quite cool you can let them rise almost completely before refrigerating. Just gauge how long you leave them at room temperature when to refrigerate based on the activity of the dough and the temp.

  14. This is my go to recipe for cinnamon buns. I have made them many times over and they are always a huge success. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Hi there! I accidentally killed my sourdough starter this year but I still want to make these on Christmas. Is there a way to make them using instant yeast instead of 1 cup starter??

    1. You can use 4 oz of water, 4 oz of flour and a packet of yeast to replace the starter. Rising times will be much faster.

  16. I have made these many times and they are amazing! I use potatoe water and add a 1/4 c. Mashed potatoes to the dough.


  17. Questions:
    How do I get my cinnamon rolls from not burning on the bottom?
    You say to turn the dough in the bowl when it’s raising, but am I pulling it? Or just flipping the dough?
    If I want to feed my starter until the afternoon, then it might be ready about evening where I am able to make my dough. Something like that? 🙂

    1. As far as burning on the bottom, that could be an issue with your oven temp or the material of your baking pan. Use an oven thermometer to make sure the temp is accurate. Also, the type of pan you use make mean more or less browning. At the very least, try moving the rack up a few inches. In step 4 when I say “turn the dough” I mean just dump it out of the bowl onto the work surface. I’m not sure I understand your last question. Your starter needs to be active before you make the dough. So if you feed your starter in the afternoon and it’s ready to make dough in the evening then you can make the dough then, but you’ll have to leave it at room temp to ferment for 3-5 hours before you can roll the buns.

  18. I’m pretty sure I did something wrong. Maybe over kneading or something. The texture was tough and dense although I had bubbles when I rolled the dough out. It also tasted like too much flour; yes my flour is fresh. This was my first experience with sourdough so I know I need more experience.

    1. If you’ve never worked with sourdough before the main advice I can give you is to be patient. If your starter is not super-active and/or if your room is on the cooler side the dough can take a good 4-5 hours to ferment. You should see the texture of the dough change during the long fermentation from dense and sluggish to aerated and lively.

  19. This recipe was delicious. Thank you so much for sharing. I had a problem rolling out the dough to the 18x16ich rectangle. It keeps springing back. Did I do something wrong?

    1. No, that just means you’ve got nice gluten development. If you leave it for 10-20 minutes to rest it usually easier to roll.

  20. Hi Eileen. Love your recipes & this one in particular is a favorite. I’m making 2 batches for family for July 4th & was wondering if the unbaked rolls can be refrigerated in the pan for 48 hours instead of just overnight? I wanted to prep Friday & bake Sunday morning so we have them fresh. They are so good!! Appreciate your hard work on the recipes, especially for us sourdough lovers!

    1. Hi Jenna, it’s so hard to say with sourdough since there are so many variables. If your starter and dough are very active 48 hours might be too long. The buns could over-rise. I have successfully frozen the log of dough. I let the log mostly defrost and then sliced the buns and left them to rise overnight.

    2. @Eileen Gray, thank you for the feedback, great timing.. I was worried about it being too long since my starter is really active. I’ll freeze the logs. Appreciate the timely response

  21. just made these, but halved the recipe, except for the egg, so a little extra flour, about 20 grams. These are amazing, can’t wait to make them again!

  22. Hi there-
    I’m working on this recipe for the first time and scrolled through the comments but didn’t see anything specific to this question. If I roll out the dough and form the log on day 1 and then freeze the log. When I pick up the recipe again, would you still recommend letting the cut rolls it overnight again? Or would I be able to defrost overnight, and then cut and bake the next morning?
    Basically I’m making the dough/log today because I have to work tomorrow, but want to bake them on Friday morning. So I’m not sure the best steps to take.


    1. I think it would be fastest to take the frozen log out of the freezer and leave it at room temp until it’s mostly defrosted. Slice the rolls, put them into the pan and leave the pan at room temperature until the rolls are completely defrosted and maybe even starting to rise a bit. Refrigerate before going to bed then finish rising and baking in the morning. I think if you give the dough time to “wake up” the night before the buns will rise faster in the morning. A lot of this will depend on your environment. My kitchen is still quite cool this time of year so this is how I’d do it. In the summer, I’d probably slice, put them into the pan and refrigerate right away since the dough will be more active in a warmer kitchen.

    2. @Eileen Gray, I continued scrolling and did see in one of the comments you mentioned putting the dough in the refrigerator and forming the log and subsequent buns the next morning (Thursday). Then refrigerate them until the next morning (friday) then bake after rising. Since I am working from home tomorrow I should be able to follow this process!

  23. I’m new to sourdough and I can’t come to terms with having to throw out the extra so am looking for lots of recipes. I’ve made this recipe 6 times and have frozen 3 of them for future use. I don’t add the icing as I like them plain but this is fabulous especially when they start to cook and all that good cinnamon smell starts to fill the kitchen. My family of 6 loves them.

  24. I have a question about the starter. I have been keeping mine in the refrigerator but now I’ve been baking so much that I’d like to keep it out. If the starter becomes active by mid to late afternoon, and I leave it out overnight can I use it immediately.? Or do I need to feed it again in the morning and wait. I’d like to begin recipes right away in the morning not wait till afternoon.
    I realize it is good to bake some of the things in the afternoon if they have to stay in the refrigerator overnight.
    I love making the artisan and sandwich bread. I have also made the hamburger buns, the cinnamon rolls, and the bagels. Next thing I’m going to try is the English muffins

    1. There are no hard and fast rules about the timing with the starter. I find the optimal time to use my starter is just after it’s reached it’s peak and started to recede. If it peaked the day before and you wait overnight to use it, it will work but it won’t be as active. Your dough might be a bit sluggish getting started. I would say if you want to start your dough first thing in the morning, wait until just before bed to feed the starter. It should be nice and active by the morning.

  25. I am making this today. I have a question….or more a curiosity. Why do you use an egg wash a opposed to butter after rolling out, before adding the cinnamon and sugar?

  26. I tried this today. I realized I did not have enough active starter. I had 180gms. I added 4 gms of commercial yeast to the recipe. It turned out so good. The frosting was so nice too. I finally found my perfect recipe. Thank you so much.

  27. Made these dozens of times so far, great recipe. I wanted to leave a bit of feedback for you (not that you probably need any tips) but also for others coming across this recipe.

    I have modified the schedule for making these to better meet my available time with working. On night 1 after work I make the dough, do the folds, leave it rise for a couple hours, and then put it in the refrigerator overnight covered with plastic wrap.

    On night 2, I prep the filling and my pans (more on that later), and then I take out the cold dough. I immediately roll out the dough and apply the filling. I then roll out the log. If the log has gotten soft, I transfer the log onto a cookie sheet (cut the whole log in half to make it fit) and then put back in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm back up. Then I cut the log, but here is the biggest of all my tips. Get unwaxed dental floss, a piece about 18 inches long. Pick up the end of the log, and place the dental floss under the log. Wrap around, and pull tight. You end up with perfect cuts every time, with no worries of sticking to the knife or flattening the rolls. I cut mine to about 1″ thick because 1.5″ is a bit too much to east for me. I have reduced cook time to about 22-25 minutes vs 25-30 as a result.

    The next tip comes with the pans. I bought some 2.5-LB disposable Takeout Pans with cardboard Lids – 8.6″ x 6.1″ x 2″ on amazon. I put 4 or 6 roll in each pan, and then a lid on top, with butter already on top. I leave one pan in refrigerator, and then on third morning, wake up, proof, and eat for breakfast. The other pans freeze nicely, in very convenient containers to get out and cook as desired. You can leave some frozen icing in a baggie in the pans if desired as well, just take out before you cook.

    1. omg, I just added all four cups to my initial mix and THEN re-read that it’s only supposed to be 2 cups at first. WAAAAHHHH!! Certainly my own fault but I wonder if perhaps it would be handy to adjust the ingredient list to say “4 cups flour (separated)” to remind people as they’re working? I’m freaking out because I don’t have enough starter left to start over, and these were going to be for Thanksgiving breakfast. I have NO idea what to do now… 🙁

      1. Don’t worry, you can still go ahead with the dough. Just finish adding the remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe. The initial “sponge” made with part of the flour does help with gluten development, but you can certainly still mix the dough without that step.

  28. These are delicious!!! The sourdough adds just the right amount of tang. I omitted the cream cheese frosting because my kids don’t like it, and honestly I think they taste great without it!

  29. I’ve baked these twice now and each time they came out delicious. I’ve just started my sourdough journey since lockdown in the uk. I may have gained some Covid kilos though.

  30. Quick question about the egg wash. Can you describe your recipe that you are using. I am using a 1 TBSP water with an entire egg including yolk. Are you adding water or milk to your egg to make the egg wash? My issue might be simply that I am applying too much egg wash, but my issue is that when I roll it up, I end up with the brown watery sugary mix being sort of runny and wanting to squirt out and making the process of rolling and cutting a mess. Any tips on this part that might be helpful would be appreciated.

    1. I use a little water (maybe a Tablespoon) and one egg for the egg wash. I use about 1/2 the egg wash on the dough. With the amount of sugar filling I haven’t had a problem with it becoming runny as I roll the dough. After sprinkling on the sugar, pat the sugar in place so it adheres to the egg wash. There will be some liquid leaking out and it proofs.

      1. I ran out of eggs in the middle of the recipe and used 1/4 cup of melted butter instead of the egg wash. It worked great! Love your recipes. I’m working my way through everyone of them.

  31. I’ve made these a couple times and they are now my husband’s favorite cinnamon rolls! i do have a question: i started a batch last night but it got really late and I put the dough in the fridge before forming the rolls so it’s been in the fridge about 12 hours and am now ready to finish up. How long should I leave to rise now once I for the rolls? Do I need to bulk ferment again?

    1. You don’t need to bulk ferment again. Once you roll them you can cut them and leave them to rise at room temp and then bake.

  32. Hi Eileen! I baked them off this morning and they were so delicious! I also made the soft crust sourdough sandwich bread at the same time..because I’m an eager baker…lol it .was also so delicious. I broke off a piece and spread some butter on it… i couldn’t wait for it to cool down. I’ll be sure to leave my remarks and comments on the sourdough sandwich bread recipe page. thank you so much for all your hard work and detailed note taking! as an amateur baker i now have confidence to continue with breadmaking!

  33. hi thank you so much for all the detailed instructions and notes! I’m not sure what i did wrong but i had a hard time rolling and cutting the log. the dough was extremely soft with huge bubbles. I’d like to know what you think went wrong. in any case, they’re sitting in the fridge right now to bake tomorrow. thank you again!

    1. Hi Livy. It is a soft dough and you do often get large bubbles with sourdough. Just use plenty of flour when handling the dough. Also, make sure your starter is 100% hydration. If your starter is wetter you’ll need to adjust the flour or liquid in the recipe. Finally, since these guys bake in the pan they are very forgiving. Even if they don’t look perfect when you cut them, they’ll bake up deliciously. Let me know how they work out.

  34. Hello!
    I’m excited to try this recipe. I was wondering if you bake them the day of about how long do they take to rise for baking?

    1. It will be faster, probably 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It depends on the temp in the room of the dough how active your starter was, etc. Just look for them to be nice and puffy and almost fill the pan.

  35. Thank you for this recipe! I’ve made these a couple times, they are a family favorite. I froze half of the dough for the first time. How long would you recommend defrosting in the refrigerator before slicing the log?

    1. Depends on how cold your fridge is. I would expect it to take at least over night. You could also defrost at room temp for a faster turn around. I like to let them defrost until they are still slightly frozen in the center, but soft enough to slice. This way you get nice clean slices.

  36. Has anyone ever tried using butter for in between the layers, rather than the egg wash? I made this recipe over the weekend and while the flavour was good, one of my favourite parts of eating a cinnamon bun is peeling the layers and eating my way to the middle! Mine turned out to be more like a cinnamon bread role and the layers did not pull apart at all. I’m wondering if using butter instead of egg wash would help this, as butter is what I use for my usual cinnamon bun recipe I make. Additionally, my starter is also very active. I wanted to bake them same day so I proofed the buns at room temp for 3 hours and they already filled the pan. Not sure if that would have anything to do with how they turned out.

    1. I have had readers comment that they use softened butter for the filling. I use egg because I use so much of the filling I don’t want it to separate the layers too much. Try it and let us know how you like it.

  37. Hi these look delicious. I was wondering if I can cut the log into pieces and then freeze them and then take them out to defrost? Does it make a difference when it gets frozen?

    1. Yes, you can do that. I’ve done it. Defrost the log until it’s soft enough to slice. Then proof and bake as directed. I’ve also frozen the fully-baked buns. To serve just defrost in a low oven until warmed through. I freeze the frozen buns with a bag of icing so I can take out and and serve as many buns as I want.

  38. These are amazing! I made them vegan with a flax egg. Instead of an egg wash, I spread super softened vegan butter over the dough and sprinkled the cinnamon sugar mix over that. Deelish!

    1. A starter that is fed with equal weights of starter-flour-water is 100% hydration. The percentage refers to the water in relation to the flour. If you had 10g of flour and 8g of water it would be an 80% hydration starter. I put that note so someone with a thicker or thinner starter can adjust the liquid in the recipe as needed.

  39. My second time in a week to bake these — seriously, this is the most delicious way to use some sourdough discard! The second time I added some finely chopped raisins and toasted pecans to the swirl, and used browned butter in both the dough and the glaze. One of the best things to come out of my kitchen during the Shelter-in-Place started in mid-March — and I’m sure they’ll be in regular rotation for family events. The day-before assembly and overnight rise makes them really easy. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  40. I made these last night and baked them this morning. They were absolutely delicious! I used my traditional approach to the filling (soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon) but otherwise used your recipe (minus icing). So impressed with the results and how tasty and light they are. Thank you!

  41. My family didn’t want to wait so I added a little yeast and did them on the day – I don’t think this changed them much because they were so light and fluffy. Next time I will do them overnight to compare.

    1. Leaving the rolls overnight for a long slow rise at a cool temp gives the rolls great flavor. But they still taste good made in one day.

      1. Doing another batch now and leaving overnight. Doing a double batch so I can also try apple and cinnamon. Will let you know how it goes

  42. A friend of mine just made these buns and had nothing but good things to say about them. I’m hoping to make them next weekend, but want to use non-dairy milk and butter. Do you have a recommendation on which non-dairy milk to use? I usually lean towards oat milk

    1. Hi Elaine. I don’t have a lot of experience with non diary milk. The dairy milk is contributing water, fat and milk solids (protein). As long as you get a similar mix it should work.

  43. In the first step, when you let it rise for 30 minutes, how much rise should I be expecting? Double in size? A lot less?

    1. During the first hour you’ll see very little rise. I generally see the dough “wake up” during the second hour.

  44. I left my 1st review a little over a week ago. I have to date made these buns 5 times. Twice for my family and 3 batches for my husband and son to take to work. I have gotten rave reviews from everyone.
    I can’t really take the credit though, after all I found the recipe here. Thank you Eileen for sharing such a scrumptious recipe.

  45. Amazing— came out perfectly— even for this sourdough novice! Just wondering how long they will stay fresh in the refrigerator? Thank you!!!

    1. Ideally they shouldn’t be refrigerated. Like all breads, the refrigerator makes them stale faster. If they’re already iced you could leave them at room temp for a day and then freeze. If they’re uniced they can stay at room temp for a couple of days and ice them as you eat them. I eat what we want the first day then freeze the baked buns (uniced) in a freezer bag. I put a sandwich bag of the icing in the bag with the buns. This way you can defrost and ice only as many buns as you will eat that day.

    1. I couldn’t say. It would totally depend on the room temp. But I could estimate a good 2-3 hours until they are defrosted enough to slice and then an hour or two to rise.

  46. Tasty – but dough was very very hard to roll and work with – perhaps increasing the flour would help next time.. Thanks!

    1. You can add more flour if you’re having trouble handling the dough. Less is more so sprinkle a little at a time. It may change the texture of the final buns if you add a significant amount of flour. Because this is an enriched dough (milk, eggs, butter added) it is softer and more supple than a straight bread dough. But that’s also what makes the buns softer and richer when baked. Another strategy to make the dough easier to handle would be to refrigerate the dough overnight and roll the buns in the morning while the dough is cold.The cold dough is easier to handle. At that point you can either refrigerate the assembled buns and bake on the 3rd day or leave them to rise and bake the day you roll them. My mantra these days is that with sourdough we always have to be flexible and adapt as the starter and dough tells us to.

  47. Just came across your recipe and it sounds delicious! Can I use a glass Pyrex dish for baking the buns as I don’t a deep metal one?

  48. I was looking for new ways to use my sourdough and came upon this recipe. I made them following the recipe and they were very good. But as a baker. I have a few comments. I hate recipes that waste my time with unnecessary steps.. The constant turning of the dough does nothing for this recipe. Sourdoughs are slow rise breads as they are formulated from naturally made yeast. They can be made tough by too much handling. The next time I would just let it rise for approximately 6 hours to where it was doubled in size, then form it. I also let mine rise in a pan on the counter overnight and they turned out just fine. I would make this recipe again but not waste the time constantly turning the dough.

    1. I’m sorry if you think I wasted your time. I like to do the folds during fermentation, each fold taking about 10 seconds, so I can monitor the progress of the dough. The folding also develops the gluten, which is necessary even in an enriched dough. It would be hard to make a dough with milk sugar butter and eggs too tough, especially since it will rest for hours at room temp. I think leaving the buns out on the counter overnight is great if you have a cool kitchen. It might be a problem in warmer months so as always with sourdough, we need to be flexible. Glad you liked the end product.

    2. Shelley, folding over a sourdough dough multiple times does help the dough. It helps develop the gluten in the flour and it makes the bubbles smaller and more uniform. That said, in this recipe it probably isn’t as necessary as it would be in a lean bread dough. Also a baker.

  49. Thanks for the recipe, and for the starter instructions. My first starters (I’ve got 2 in the fridge) are going like crazy, and I made the cinnamon rolls today. My first sourdough adventure! They’re so good!

  50. I made these and used buttermilk. I also used a combination of melted butter and the remaining egg wash brushed on the top before refrigeration. Lastly, I used fresh squeezed tangerine juice instead of lemon. O M G
    Hands down the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made, and my neighbors all agree.
    Thank you very much for the recipe!

  51. Hi Eileen, Can I make the buns up in the morning and then put in the fridge for the next morning bake? Not sure if there was a certain amount of time they should or shouldnt be in the fridge. Thank you.

    1. They can stay in the fridge for quite some time. But given how long it takes to make the dough and let it ferment even if you start super early in the morning it would be at least afternoon by the time the dough is ready. That being said 12-16 hours in the fridge should be just fine.

  52. I interpreted “active” starter to mean fed, so I did that 4ish hours before and pulled the starter out over it had doubled. Forgot to add the egg until the first knead, and worried at several points that the dough hasn’t risen enough, but these are hands-down the best and moistest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made. My other tweaks: mostly used honey in place of sugar (and probably reduced it some); stirred a little cinnamon into the dough and perhaps a 1/2 teaspoon cardamom into the filling. I made only half a batch of the frosting, which was the perfect amount, to my taste.

  53. Oh man, I added the zest of one orange to my filling, and used orange juice in the glaze/frosting DELICIOUS! I just love this dough, thanks again for the recipe!

  54. Eileen,

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!! I just made it again and the results were as perfect as they were last time. Although… ha ha ha, This time I used half of it to make monkey bread for the kiddos for Easter Eve and we will have the other half for dinner rolls tomorrow on Easter. The monkey bread turned out amazing and I’m sure the rolls will too. This is seriously the best sourdough bread recipe that I have found. My dough ends up gorgeous! So elastic and smooth, just luscious. I feel like a weirdo for describing dough so vividly, but after so many failed or half-successful attempts at dough you can imagine my relief to have such great results with minimal effort. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Small tip for anyone whose results are not perfect. It’s imperative that your sourdough be active. Very active. Both times I’ve made this my sourdough has been sitting out for at least a week with daily feedings (I’ve found that I can get away with once a day although twice a day feedings is really optimal). Active. Active. Active! Your sourdough and beautiful body require it! Ha ha Happy Easter! #Heisrisen

    Thank you!!!!

    1. I know what you mean by describing sourdough vividly. I often describe the dough as alive or lively. It really does come alive under your hand as you work it over the fermentation. A good active starter can make all the difference!

  55. It’s not going to be as tidy as yours as the dough was so fluffy and light I couldn’t roll thin so only managed one lot of swirls!! Smells divine and I am sure it will taste great.

  56. I’ve made these twice now, once refrigerating overnight, and once left out on the counter. Both turned out amazing and delicious. I like being able to pop them right in the oven in the morning when left out overnight. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Thanks Jamie. I do think if you kitchen is quite cool you can leave them out overnight. Glad it worked out both ways.

  57. Can anyone convert the measurement from inches & ounces to EU measurements? I really want to try this recipe but with all those measurements to convert it’s really difficult.
    Also, it give three different weights for butter – 2 oz is 55 g, 56 g and 60 g?

    1. Thanks for pointing out the inconsistencies. I’ve updated the recipe. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      1. I’m afraid the conversions between cups and ounces/grams is still all mixed up, You have 1 cup = 8 oz and then later 4 cups = 20 oz! That’s not great for us bakers outside North America!

        1. The conversions are not all mixed up. Not all ingredients have the same density so a cup of water will not weigh the same as a cup of flour. A cup of water weighs 8 oz. A cup of all purpose flour weighs 5 oz. So 4 cups of all purpose flour weighs 20 oz. I go through the trouble of converting all my recipes from volume measure to US weight measures and to metric measures. I include metric measures specifically for bakers outside of North America.

    1. Yes, I have frozen the unbaked log. Then defrost, cut and proceed with the recipe.

      I’ve also frozen the baked buns (uniced). A few second in the microwave to warm up. I froze a bag of the baked buns with a sandwich bag of the icing in the same bag. It’s easy to just scoop out enough icing for the number of buns you will defrost.

      1. I have tried to freeze these twice and both times they never rose when I tried to continue with the recipe and had to throw them away 🙁

        1. Hi Kait, sorry it didn’t work out for you. I have frozen the unbaked buns before and they worked out well. I freeze the log and the cut the buns when the dough is mostly defrosted. I do this the night before and leave the pan out until the dough is completely defrosted. In warmer months I’ll refrigerate the pan overnight. In the cooler months you could probably leave the pan out overnight and bake in the morning.

    1. Probably.

      Editing to add: I had previously frozen cinnamon buns that I defrosted, sliced and put in the refrigerator on Christmas eve afternoon for Christmas morning. Later on Christmas eve night they were still quite cold so I took them out and left them on the counter overnight. By about 8 the next morning they were perfectly risen and ready to bake. So I would say if the buns are quite cold and your house is cool you can certainly leave them out overnight.

  58. Cinnamon bakes are so much my weakness I feel like a kid at the bakery / stall that sells these. the sourdough would have lent a deper flavour and texture, Elleen ! gorgeous looking rolls, and perfect with a hot cuppa !

  59. Nothing smells better than cinnamon buns baking! Nothing. Sadly, I just had to throw my sourdough starter out because it had been neglected for so long that it turned on me. But I am willingly to give it a go again, if only to try your gorgeous overnight buns, Eileen. That sticky bottom!

    1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought my starter back from the brink. It’s hard to remember to revive it once it gets shoved to the back of the fridge.

      1. I’ve left them as long as 16 hours with good results. I think it should be fine. Also, another way to extend the time would be to put the dough (before forming the buns) in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before forming the buns and leaving them to rise.