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When it comes to sweet treats, it’s hard to beat a good cinnamon roll. The best cinnamon rolls are the epitome of pastry perfection: soft and sticky, yet lightly crisped around the edges for just a bit of texture. A thick slather of cream cheese icing adds a tasty touch of tangy sweetness, while a hefty rub of cinnamon sugar gives it a delicious sparkle of spice. There’s no doubt that a warm cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is truly the stuff dreams are made of — especially when it’s paired with a nice cup of coffee.
That said, making cinnamon rolls from scratch isn’t exactly quick or convenient. Sure, there’s an outrageously delicious payoff in the end, but the reality is that the whole affair is quite time-consuming. Sometimes you just want to kick back and enjoy a nice cinnamon roll without having to put in any major work. The problem is that store-bought cinnamon rolls can greatly vary in quality among brands, so it can be difficult to know which ones are worth it. That’s where we come in.
Luckily for you, we’ve taken the time to showcase the best of the bunch, along with some duds that are best to steer clear of. Here are 12 cinnamon rolls, ranked worst to first.
Big Texas is an offshoot from Cloverhill Bakery, which is a company that produces different pre-packaged baked goods via Food Dive. Big Texas and Cloverhill Bakery were bought out by Hostess in 2018. While the company’s choice to offer pre-packaged cinnamon rolls was a wise move, there seems to be a growing consensus that these cinnamon rolls leave much to be desired.
Apparently, at one point these cinnamon rolls were actually pretty decent, but plenty of customers have complained that the quality has recently gone downhill. One customer claims via Google Reviews that these cinnamon rolls are smaller than they used to be and are also so dry that even microwaving them a bit doesn’t seem to help. Others tend to agree, with one Amazon customer comparing them to having the texture of “a hockey puck.” Yikes!
No one likes a tough cinnamon roll. At the end of the day, all we really need here is a healthy punch of cinnamon and a touch of frosting in a soft bun. Sadly, these rolls don’t really seem to deliver. And there are too many other options on the market to settle for less.
Hostess floods the market with tons of iconic sweet treats, many of which have oddball names like Twinkies, Zingers, and Ding Dongs. But just because Hostess dominates the snack aisle shelves of countless stores doesn’t necessarily mean that it provides the tastiest options in the business. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having some chocolatey HoHos once in a blue moon when the mood strikes. But to be honest, if we’re going to indulge in a sweet treat, we’d rather really make it worth our while and reach for something a little bit better than what Hostess has to offer.
Hostess cinnamon buns come with a little swirl of cinnamon along with thin stripes of icing. The main problem is with the quality of the cake itself, which many customers complain is too stale and dry via Amazon. The magic of a great cinnamon roll mostly lies in its moist, almost gooey center. The reality is that mass-produced cinnamon buns stuffed into a plastic wrap rarely rise to the occasion and deliver a level of highly satisfying stickiness. We give Hostess some credit for taking a swing at this, but at the end of the day, we’re struggling to come up with any redeeming qualities here aside from its affordable price point.
Tastykake makes a wide range of pre-packaged snacks, including donuts, cupcakes, and other sugar-laden pastries. But unlike the Hostess and Big Texas versions, the icing on Tastykake’s cinnamon buns is evenly spread in a smooth layer, rather than with thin stripes. This is partly what helps nudge Tastykake’s cinnamon bun above those other competitors. The icing on all of these cinnamon buns is one of the most important variables at play here. And we’d much rather have icing that’s evenly distributed across the whole top of the bun, rather than drizzled in lines on the surface.
The reason we prefer that method of icing on a cinnamon bun is simple: It guarantees that every inch of cake is covered in icing with every bite. On the other hand, at least one Amazon reviewer says these cinnamon buns are a little on the bland side. Considering cinnamon is such an inherently bold spice, we’re not exactly sure how that’s possible, so this seems to be a case where not enough cinnamon is being used. And we don’t know about you, but we expect a cinnamon bun to be generous with the spice that bears its name in the title.
Entenmann’s is another popular brand of pre-packaged baked goods that’s widely available. The company offers its cinnamon rolls in single-serving bags or in larger boxes. There are a few things that set Entenmann’s apart from the pack of the previous competitors on this list. For starters, this cinnamon roll has an impressive moistness to it. Other pre-packaged cinnamon rolls tend to be on the dry side, but Entenmann’s seems to have cracked the code and figured out how to mass produce these in a way that retains some stickiness.
While the icing on these cinnamon rolls is a little bit thin, the quality is still better than some other pre-packaged brands. The icing is also spread across the whole roll, and the taste of the icing is a bit more creamy and complex. Equally important is that the cinnamon sugar swirls on the inside of the roll are thick and delicious. In fact, these cinnamon sugar swirls often drip down all the way to the bottom of the roll, which makes the cake even tastier. Between its commendable moistness, delicious icing, and succulent swirls of cinnamon sugar, Entennman’s makes a solid pre-packaged cinnamon roll that’s definitely worth it when you don’t feel like turning on your oven.
Walmart’s house brand Great Value makes everything from jars of creamy peanut butter to containers of organic coconut oil. Within the company’s increasingly sprawling inventory of goods is a tube of bakeable cinnamon rolls with icing. While these Great Value cinnamon rolls have some downsides (more on that in a minute), the bottom line is that just about any cinnamon roll that comes in a pressurized tube is pretty much guaranteed to be lightyears better than already baked cinnamon rolls sealed in a plastic bag. Bakeable cinnamon rolls from a tube tend to offer a level of moistness and overall freshness that cheaper, already baked cinnamon rolls just can’t compete with.
The main issue here is that these cinnamon rolls seem to have very mixed reviews. While some described them as soft and fluffy, others say they’re flat and dense, claiming that their quality has recently gone downhill. There have also been reports of the can not popping when opened, which may have caused the rolls to not rise in the oven during baking. While these cinnamon rolls are fairly affordable, it seems like the quality level is quite inconsistent. You’re free to roll the dice on these, but be aware that you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Even though these cinnamon rolls from Whole Foods brand 365 are packed in a plastic box (rather than in a tube that requires baking), they are still incredibly satisfying. Unlike some of the other cinnamon rolls on this list, these ones are mini-sized — which is actually a good thing. It’s nice to have cinnamon rolls on the market that are designed for a light nibble, instead of a massive one that feels like a full meal.
These cinnamon rolls don’t come with any frosting, but plenty of customers are happy to report that they don’t even need it. This is due to the generous amount of cinnamon sugar baked into them. If you really want to go the extra mile, some consumers recommend warming these up in the microwave for a few seconds. The end result is a cushy, sticky roll of pure cinnamon heaven that’s worth every penny. Between the thick and tasty swirls of cinnamon sugar and the pastry’s munchie-inducing bite-sized shape, 365’s cinnamon rolls are a respectable option in an endless sea of sweet treats.
When it comes to cinnamon rolls stuffed into a pressurized tube, perhaps no brand is more iconic than Pillsbury. Maybe it’s just nostalgia getting the best of us here, but Pillsbury original cinnamon rolls hold a special place in our hearts. While this is at least partially due to the brand’s undeniable ubiquity along with the warming presence of these cinnamon rolls on those cold winter mornings from childhood, we also have to give credit to the quality of the cinnamon rolls themselves. While these cinnamon rolls aren’t necessarily mind-blowing, they’re still highly satisfying.
Sticky and sweet with icing, Pillsbury original cinnamon rolls manage to hit all the right marks for a reasonable price and with ultimate convenience. They are also remarkably consistent. All you have to do is pop the top, spread them out on a pan, and give them a quick bake. The trick with these is just make sure that you pull them out of the oven while they’re still soft. In our experience, these tend to go from perfectly moist to overly dry in just a matter of minutes, so it’s important to make sure you have good timing. Then just spread on the icing and enjoy while they’re still warm.
These cinnamon rolls are nearly identical to Pillsbury’s original cinnamon rolls, but with one important difference. And that’s the cream cheese icing. The inclusion of cream cheese flavored icing may seem like a minor detail, but the truth is that it really does elevate these cinnamon rolls to a new level of deliciousness.
While the icing on the original Pillsbury cinnamon rolls is sweet and thin, the icing on these cinnamon rolls has a slightly thicker and creamier texture. There’s also a hint of tanginess to the icing that’s reminiscent of cream cheese frosting. The main problem here is that there’s something missing from the ingredients list — cream cheese. As far as we can tell, these cinnamon rolls don’t include real cream cheese and instead rely on artificial flavorings to mimic the flavor. If you look closely at the label on the package, the words “cream cheese” and “icing” are big and bold, while the font of “artificially flavored” is thin and barely visible. While it’s true that the cream cheese flavoring here does a pretty good job at resembling the real stuff, we can’t help but wonder how much better these would be if Pillsbury used authentic cream cheese in the recipe. It’s quite possible that the chemical logistics of such a feat are far more pricey and challenging, but wouldn’t it be nice if cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing actually contained some real cream cheese?
Sister Schubert’s makes a variety of baked goods, from strawberry shortcake bites to yeast rolls to sausage pinwheels. Among its relatively humble list of offerings is a frozen tray of cinnamon rolls. There are a few things that give Sister Schubert’s cinnamon rolls a well-deserved boost on our list here. Unlike some other cinnamon rolls in our ranking, Sister Schubert’s comes with a separate packet of cream cheese icing so that you can slather it on however you like when the rolls come out fresh from the oven. Being able to add the icing after baking allows the icing to retain its creamy, buttery sheen and prevents it from drying out. At first blush, this may seem somewhat insignificant, but it really makes all the difference and gives these cinnamon buns a level of succulent stickiness that’s far superior to the previous brands we’ve featured here. Plus, the cream cheese icing actually contains real cream cheese, which is greatly appreciated.
There’s also the fact that these cinnamon buns come packaged in their own aluminum tray for baking. This may seem like another minor detail, but less dishes to wash is always something to celebrate in our book. Of course, there’s the cinnamon bun cake itself, which Sister Schubert’s has generously blessed with a thick smear of cinnamon sugar. All in all, there’s no doubt that Sister Schubert’s offers some of the best cinnamon rolls on the market right now.
Unlike a lot of other packaged food brands at the grocery store, Annie’s is well-known for using high-quality, organic ingredients. Among its impressive lineup of delicious offerings is a tube of organic, bakeable cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls contain no artificial flavors or synthetic colors, which is part of the reason why they’ve landed so high on our list. At the end of the day, we definitely prefer products with natural ingredients over brands that cut corners and save money by adding weird chemicals that we can’t pronounce. Annie’s puts genuine effort into creating cinnamon rolls with wholesome ingredients. The final product is truly spectacular and worth every penny.
Plenty of customers happily report that these cinnamon buns are so good that they can’t help but make them on a regular basis. These cinnamon rolls feature luscious swirls of cinnamon sugar, and the roll itself is remarkably moist and fluffy. The icing on top is sticky without being too thick, yet thin enough to slightly drip over the edges without being too runny. If you haven’t given these a whirl yet, it’s definitely time to change that. Pick up a tube of these bad boys to see what you’ve been missing out on, and spread the good word.
Publix is a chain of grocery stores located throughout a handful of states in the Southeast. The company is particularly well-known for its deli and bakery departments that offer custom-made subs, cakes, and freshly baked loaves of bread along with plenty of other baked goods. Among its tasty offerings is a gourmet tray of cinnamon rolls slathered in icing made with 100% real cream cheese.
This tray comes with four oversized buns that are sticky and sweet. Each bun is stuffed with a cinnamon sugar filling that’s deliciously rich. The flavors here are bold, and the dough of the roll itself is moist and fluffy. One fan of these cinnamon buns has aptly described them as “unbeatable” (via Reddit).
The only potential downside is that these are pre-baked, so if you want to enjoy them warm (which we’d absolutely recommend), then you’ll need to pop them in the microwave real quick. But that’s a very small price to pay for this level of tasty convenience. There’s no doubt that Publix’s gourmet cinnamon buns are some of the best we’ve ever encountered at a grocery store.
Immaculate Baking Company specializes in sweet treats like various cookie doughs, biscuits, and pie doughs. Nestled in among all those baked goods is a tube of organic cinnamon rolls with icing. Like Annie’s, Immaculate Baking Company also takes pride in creating products that feature high-quality ingredients that keep it a few steps ahead of competitors. The difference here is that these just taste a little bit more indulgent. Sure, the fat content on these might be a little bit higher compared to Annie’s, but let’s be honest. Eating cinnamon rolls is like throwing caution to the wind. It’s about satisfying your inner animal and treating yourself to what basically amounts to dessert for breakfast. And these cinnamon rolls deliver the goods in spades.
There’s a reason these cinnamon rolls have a nearly perfect five-star rating after thousands of glowing reviews on Amazon. In fact, the only complaint people seem to really have about these rolls is that they wish there were more of them. Some customers rave that these are the best cinnamon rolls from a can they’ve ever had. They smell amazing while they’re baking in the oven, the cinnamon filling is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sugar, and the icing provides some creamy sweetness without totally smothering out the other flavors. If you want to experience a deliciously convenient cinnamon bun at the top of its game, then look no further.