Climb Eat Cycle Repeat | Small-Batch Cinnamon Buns with Vanilla Bean Icing. These overnight cinnamon buns are the perfect weekend treat for your family of 2!

Small-Batch Cinnamon Buns with Vanilla-Bean Icing

We have a bit of a love affair going on in our household. I can’t deny that we’ve got a sweet tooth (Jonty, even more so than me!) and I also can’t deny that we go through phases where we need to try every bakery in the local area that claims to have “The Best” of something. | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

We went through a phase with donuts (it started on our 3-month road trip), then mile-high coffee cake (we blame Whole Foods), and we must not forget all the lemon meringue pie… 🙂 | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

Through all of our sweet-tooth phases, we have always had a soft-spot for cinnamon buns, and we have taste-tested our way through the Vancouver bakeries over the years. Finally, I thought, it’s time to step up my game and make my own. Why has it taken me this long? Perhaps I was worried I wouldn’t be able to live up to Grandma’s cinnamon buns and cinnamon twists (but really, can anyone ever live up to their Grandma’s baking? Probably not 🙂 ). | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

One thing was certain, however, and that was I needed to create a recipe for a small-batch of cinnamon buns – for a household of two. There was no way we needed a dozen cinnamon buns floating around. We don’t have the freezer space and the temptation to “eat them all while they’re fresh” would be too great! | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

So this was the result! A small batch of 4 cinnamon buns, one for each day of the weekend 🙂 I made the first version on New Year’s Day. Some may have called them a Sticky Bun, as there was lots of goo in the bottom of the pan so that, when you turned them out, the lovely sugary buttery goodness would seep down through the cinnamon cracks. Very tasty (and I’ll share that recipe soon). | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

The only major drawback was that it took the entire morning to make. So with this batch, I kicked my smarty-pants-thinking up a notch and turned it into an overnight cinnamon bun recipe. I made the dough on Friday after work, rolled them up, stuck them in the fridge over night, then baked them in the morning. They were fantastic! Fresh cinnamon buns, less than an hour after waking up on a Saturday morning 🙂 | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

I wasn’t sure how well the cinnamon bun dough would fare, sitting in a layer of “goo” overnight, so I opted for minimal “goo” and maximal icing. A vanilla-bean cream cheese icing, to be precise. | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

So sooo good – if you love cinnamon buns, give these a whirl! With this recipe only making 4, you can’t really go wrong, and your tummy and taste buds will thank you 🙂 | Small-batch cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

Small-Batch Cinnamon Buns with Vanilla-Bean Icing
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 buns
  • Serving size: 1 bun
  • Calories: 434
  • Fat: 17.8 g
  • Saturated fat: 10.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60.5 g
  • Sugar: 20.2 g
  • Sodium: 362 mg
  • Fiber: 2.7 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Cholesterol: 49 g
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This small-batch, overnight cinnamon bun recipe is perfect for a household of two!
For the dough
  • 200 g (1½ cup) All-Purpose flour (we like the Anita's Organic line)
  • 20 g (1½ tbsp) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 5 g (1¼ tsp) dried instant yeast
  • 150 mL (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) warm milk
  • 29 g (2 tbsp) melted unsalted butter
For the filling
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter, for brushing
For the goo (if using)
  • 35 g (~1 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
For the icing
  • 50 g softened cream cheese
  • 35 g (1/3 cup) sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, scraped (or ½ tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 - 4 tbsp milk (depending on how runny you want your icing)
  1. To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast in to warm milk and let stand for a few minutes.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the melted butter, milk and yeast. Mix with the dough-hook attachment of a stand-mixer, or with your hands. Knead until the dough is soft and slightly tacky (about 5 minutes), adding more flour if needed.
  3. If using a stand-mixer, finish with kneading by hand on a lightly-floured counter top and shape into a ball. Place the dough in a clean, lightly-oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (~1 hour).
  4. To make the cinnamon bun filling, mix together the cinnamon and sugar, and set aside.
  5. When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly-floured counter top and roll into a rectangle (~25 x 40 cm, or 10 x 16"). The dough should be about 0.5 cm thick.
  6. Brush the melted butter all over the dough and sprinkle on all the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Make sure you cover the entire rectangle, all the way to the edges.
  7. Roll the dough into a log, starting with the short end and cut the roll into 4 equal pieces (I like to use a piece of dental floss to cut through the roll, so the pieces don't get squished).
  8. Place the 4 rolls into a greased 8 x 8" pan.
  9. If you are leaving these to rise overnight, securely cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Otherwise, cover loosely and leave on the countertop to rise for 1 - 2 hours, until they smoosh into each other.
  10. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F.Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 25 minutes, until the buns are a light golden colour.
  11. To make the icing, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla bean. Add a splash of milk and continue mixing until smooth and spreadable. If you want the icing to seep into the nooks and crannies, just add a bit more milk until the icing is quite loose (but not pourable).
  12. Once the buns have been removed from the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes before icing.
For overnight cinnamon buns, remove the pan from the refrigerator in the morning and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking.


    1. Sorry about that! I’ve updated recipe. There is 20g (1.5 tbsp) of granulated sugar in the dough. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!! Let me know how they turn out! 🙂

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