Nothing says breakfast (or lunch, or sugar-filled snack) quite like a fresh baked cinnamon roll. The delicious scent of sweet cinnamon is enough to make anyone get out of bed, even if they aren’t enticed by the concept of eating an icing coated treat for breakfast. But while homemade rolls can satisfy your sweet tooth, making cinnamon rolls from scratch is a lot of work. That’s why pre-packaged cinnamon rolls are a godsend for mornings when you want to treat everyone (or just yourself) to a sweet, delicious pastry on the fly.
To save you the time of choosing between pre-made, refrigerated cinnamon rolls, we tried four different brands available in grocery stores and online. Here are our rankings, from best to meh.
Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnabon Cinnamon ($4.29 for 5)
You might be thinking that it was the Cinnabon cinnamon that made this variety our winner. And yes, the cinnamon is delicious. But it’s the level of flakiness that truly makes this cinnamon roll stand out. The dough is superiorly soft, and the airy layers give these buns’ texture something special that the other brands in our taste test lacked.
The one note to make on these cinnamon rolls is that, rather than coming in a plastic package, the icing comes in a plastic tub with a loose lid. If you’re not careful, you could easily drop the icing and make a mess while opening the can. But hey—at least less plastic means less environmental waste, which feels a great excuse to use the next time you feel like adding these delicious treats to your shopping cart.
Kroger’s Ooey Gooey Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls with Buttercream Icing ($2.50 for 4)
Kroger’s jumbo cinnamon rolls are so good that they almost beat our top pick. They’re surprisingly decadent, especially considering each roll only costs $0.75. In addition to an icing packet, these rolls come with a thick cinnamon paste, which you are meant to spread over the rolls before baking. There’s already cinnamon in the folds of the dough itself, but the paste makes the rolls even more tender, moist and delicious once they’re out of the oven. It’s worth noting, also, that although only four come in the package, most of our testers ended up only eating half of a roll because they are so… well, jumbo. So if your sweet tooth is easily satisfied, then you can definitely make these delectable rolls last a little longer.
WATCH: How to Make Pistachio-Tahini Cinnamon Rolls
Not Our Favorites
Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cinnamon Rolls with Icing ($5.89 for 5)
Annie’s cinnamon rolls are fine. They’re a little bready, and even when cooked at their shortest recommended time, a little dry. But at the end of the day, they do taste like cinnamon rolls. If organic is important to you, then Annie’s is here for ya.
Signature Select’s Cinnamon Rolls ($1.79 for 8)
I get it; we’re all trying to eat healthier. But if you decide to have a cinnamon roll, you at least deserve a good one. These don’t quite fit that bill. For one thing, they’re less than half the size of some of the brands we tested. For another, they are dry and kind of lacking in warm cinnamon flavor. And to top matters off, the icing isn’t anything to write home about. It’s basically the same stuff you get in a packet of Toaster Strudels. If you shop at Safeway and you’re trying to decide between cinnamon rolls, go ahead and grab a name brand. Love yourself.
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