A fluffy, light homemade cinnamon roll topped with the most perfectly melty cream cheese frosting is truly a thing of beauty. And they seem so simple, right? It’s basically a roll with cinnamon swirled in it. Homemade cinnamon rolls are actually pretty tricky to get just right and are not for the faint of heart. Getting the yeast dough just right can take quite a bit of practice, the filling can easily come off as cloyingly sweet, and making sure the rolls are done in the middle without drying out on top is a whole other challenge. So, with a variety of store-bought, bake-at-home cinnamon rolls available, we set out to see if any were worth buying in a pinch when going the homemade route is just not feasible.
We sampled eight different varieties of store-bought cinnamon rolls. Most were pop-and-bake rolls from the refrigerated section, while two were found in the freezer section. All rolls were baked according to package instructions, and we judged each variety on appearance, texture, and flavor. All bites were taken straight from the middle of each roll since we all know that’s the best bite.
Here’s the link to our full review or scroll for the results.
- Rhodes Anytime
- Rhodes Thaw, Rise & Bake
- Pillsbury Grands Cinnabon
- Trader Joe’s
- Pillsbury Original
- Pillsbury Flaky Cinnabon
- Food Club
Least Favorite Cinnamon Rolls
Though these cinnamon rolls looked promising, the texture of the bread wasn’t as fluffy as we were hoping, and the overall flavor tasted artificial and manufactured. They weren’t the worst, but we wouldn’t buy them again.
While these rolls do have convenience on their side as they come in a tin container and go straight from freezer to oven, they simply didn’t hold up. With a sad, pale exterior and a middle-of-the-road flavor and texture, we can’t recommend these cinnamon rolls.
Pillsbury Grands Cinnabon
These cinnamon rolls were great visually – they had the ideal cinnamon roll swirl, were nice and tall, and appeared to have a healthy amount of cinnamon between each layer of bread. However, looks aren’t everything as these rolls were dense and had a very bland flavor.
From the disappointing appearance to the dense texture of the bread and the lackluster flavor with a bad aftertaste, these cinnamon rolls were, unfortunately, pretty bad. We recommend avoiding these.
Best Cinnamon Rolls
Annie’s cinnamon rolls came highly recommended by our readers. And, while they looked good, they were quite a bit denser than we were hoping for, almost as though they were made with whole wheat flour. Annie’s is very intentional about the ingredients they use, but these cinnamon rolls came off more like a piece of whole-grain toast instead of a fluffy cinnamon roll. Texture aside, we didn’t mind the flavor of these rolls.
Due to what looked like an unfortunate manufacturing mishap, our Pillsbury Original cinnamon rolls were missing that distinct cinnamon roll swirl. Looks aside, the flavor of these cinnamon rolls was buttery and the texture wasn’t too dense. A decent middle-of-the-road option.
Pillsbury Flaky Cinnabon
Of the pop-and-bake cinnamon rolls, Pillsbury Flaky Cinnabon rolls were the best. They baked up to a nice golden brown and had a pleasant buttery flavor. We still aren’t huge fans of any pop-and-bake cinnamon rolls, but these weren’t bad.
Rhodes Thaw, Rise & Bake
Rhodes Thaw, Rise & Bake cinnamon rolls looked delicious and tasted delightful. These cinnamon rolls do require a little more prep, but this extra step creates a soft cinnamon roll that is the closest to homemade and tastes miles above the other cinnamon rolls. We would buy these again and would be happy to use them in a pinch.