This post is sponsored by McCormick, maker of the yummy cinnamon in this casserole.
Oh man, guys. I think I may have just discovered the most easy cinnamon rolls hack EVER.
I mean it. This overnight casserole version takes all of 10 minutes to prep ahead of time, and none of those steps have anything to do with bread-dough-making (or working with yeast). Which means that instead waking up extra-early the next morning to mix and proof and roll out dough from scratch — guys — you can totally sleep in. Because once you roll out of bed, all you need to do is drizzle the the casserole with some cinnamon-sugar-butter, pop it in the oven for 25 minutes, and whip up a quick batch of cream cheese icing while it bakes. Then, in less than 30 minutes total, this ridiculously delicious pan of cinnamon roll goodness will be ready to serve up, share, and enjoy.
Truly, the easiest cinnamon “rolls” I’ve ever made. So if you’re looking for a laid-back recipe to make for brunch this weekend — or hey, how about a super-stress-free-crowd-pleaser for Easter the next weekend — this one’s for you.
The secret to these amazing rolls?
A good loaf of challah bread + good-quality cinnamon.
If you’re unfamiliar with challah, it’s a traditional braided Jewish bread that’s slightly sweet, dense, and makes the best French toast ever. And as such, it also works perfectly in this recipe for cinnamon rolls! I usually buy mine at Great Harvest Bread Co, but it’s available at most places where fresh bread is sold. (Or if not, ask for a good brioche.)
Good quality cinnamon is also a must for me with cinnamon rolls, and I’m happy to be partnering with McCormick Spices again this year, whose cinnamon has always been a staple in my pantry and tasted awesome in this recipe. (Bonus, they also have a new toasted cinnamon that I’ve been using lately and love with cinnamon rolls too — check it out!)
To make the casserole, simply dice up your loaf of bread into bite-sized chunks. Then whisk together some milk, eggs, and cinnamon, and toss the bread in the mixture until it’s evenly coated. Turn the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Then, once you’re ready to bake the cinnamon rolls, drizzle on a cinnamon-sugar-butter mixture on top of the casserole. Bake for 25 minutes. And while the casserole is in the oven, whisk together a simple cream cheese icing.
Then once the casserole is cooked through and nice and toasty on top, drizzle on lots and lots of that cream cheese icing.
(Oh, and don’t forget to drizzle on just a little more icing…for good measure.)
Seriously, this casserole brings together all of the amazing cinnamon roll flavors we know and love, with just a fraction of the work. So if you’re looking for a good brunch hack for this weekend or Easter weekend, I can’t recommend it enough.
Mix eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon, and vanilla extract in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add bread cubes, and toss until they are evenly coated with the milk mixture. Pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, that has been prepared with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove casserole from refrigerator.
In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon until combined. Drizzle the mixture evenly over the casserole.
Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. While the casserole is baking, prepare the cream cheese icing (see below).
Once the casserole is cooked through and toasted on top, remove it from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Drizzle the cream cheese icing over the top of the casserole. Then serve warm, drizzled with extra icing if desired.
To Make The Cream Cheese Icing:
Whisk cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add milk — 1 teaspoon at a time — to thin out the icing, until it reaches your desired consistency. Use immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
Slightly adapted from this recipe by McCormick. *Edited on April 7 — I omitted the baking powder in the recipe. After re-testing it, I realized the recipe really didn’t need it! :)
This post is sponsored by McCormick Spices, whose spices I love and use regularly in my everyday cooking. Thanks for continuing to support the brands who help make this site possible.