12 Ways To Make Canned Cinnamon Rolls Taste Like They Were Made From Scratch

Whether you're baking for a birthday, holiday, or another special occasion, or just craving a sweet breakfast on a weekday, it's hard to beat fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls. Although homemade cinnamon rolls are incredible, they're quite a time commitment. Kneading the dough, waiting for it to rise, rolling it out, and all the other steps can feel like a lot of work, especially if you're prepping for a busy morning like a holiday when you already have a million other things going on. That's why canned cinnamon rolls are such a lifesaver. The ease of ready-made dough that you can pop in the oven and bake is perfect when you don't have the time or energy to make your own.


But while canned cinnamon rolls are the faster and easier option, if you're craving homemade or bakery cinnamon rolls, the premade rolls can leave something to be desired. Fortunately, they're easy to upgrade. There are so many unexpected secret ingredients and at-home hacks that you can use to transform canned cinnamon rolls into the perfect decadent, gooey treat.

Using personal baking knowledge, love for kitchen shortcuts, and viral recipe hacks, we've compiled a list of 12 of the best ways to transform your canned cinnamon rolls to make them taste homemade. All of these recipe additions are easy to do in a few minutes, so you still get the ease of canned cinnamon rolls with the flavor of the more time-consuming version.


Brush them with butter

One of the easiest ways to give your canned cinnamon rolls a boost is by adding butter. When shopping, look for specific label clues to find the best butter at your grocery store, like higher fat, which indicates a richer flavor. In this case, all you have to do is place unbaked cinnamon rolls in a baking dish and brush melted butter over the top. As you bake, the spread will melt and seep into the cinnamon filling, which helps keep the rolls tender and moist. It also adds a deep, lightly nutty flavor to the rolls.


This is an excellent step that you can use to enhance canned cinnamon rolls while still keeping the process super easy. To melt the butter, add 1/4 to 1/2 a stick to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. You could also melt it on the stovetop; just be sure not to let the fat burn. After thawing, use a pastry brush to lightly paint a buttery layer over the rolls. You could also add a bit of spread beneath the rolls to grease the pan and keep the cinnamon buns from sticking. Then bake as usual for rich, creamy, and irresistible cinnamon rolls.

Try the viral heavy cream trick

Adding heavy cream to your canned cinnamon rolls makes them taste homemade. All you have to do is pop open your cinnamon roll container, slice the cylinder of dough into separate rolls, and lay them in a greased pan. Then, add the ultimate secret ingredient by pouring heavy cream over and around the rolls before baking.


If you've seen the TikTok videos with this trick, then you'll know that the results are ultra-soft, gooey, buttery rolls. That's because the cream adds fat and moisture, keeping the dough perfectly soft as it bakes. On top of that, any cinnamon sugar that melts out of the cinnamon rolls during the baking time will blend with the liquid cream, resulting in a rich, sugary mixture that you can spoon over the freshly baked cinnamon rolls before serving.

If you try this trick, start by pouring the heavy cream into a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Using a measuring cup instead of adding directly from the carton of cream will make it easier to pour evenly and avoid adding too much. Another trick is to whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to drizzle over the heavy cream. The cream and butter will melt together to make the ultimate gooey cinnamon roll recipe.


Make a cinnamon crumble topping

Canned rolls already have a delicious spiced filling rolled into the dough. Unfortunately, the premade canned version isn't as sweet, fresh, and strong as homemade cinnamon filling. But don't worry; you can easily rectify things with a homemade crumble topping to make your from-the-can pastries taste sensational. It only takes a few extra minutes and ingredients that you probably have in the pantry already.


For this recipe addition, add the cinnamon rolls to your pan, mix the crumble topping, and sprinkle it over the rolls before baking. After baking, drizzle icing over the top for the perfect combination of buttery, spiced crumble, and sweet icing.

You can adjust the streusel topping based on how many rolls you're making or how strong you want different flavors to be. If you have a streusel topping recipe that you typically make, feel free to use that. If not, an easy starting point is to add 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon sugar to a mixing bowl. Then add 1/4 cup of chilled butter. Dice the butter into smaller pieces before adding it to the bowl, and use forks or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the brown sugar mixture until it forms a sandy consistency with some larger crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over your rolls and bake.


Add homemade icing

While canned cinnamon rolls often come with prepackaged icing that you can easily spread over the top, making your own will yield a much richer and more decadent result. A homemade glaze also means you can add more to each cinnamon bun. If you love extra sweet and heavily iced rolls, there's nothing worse than running out halfway through the frosting process. This trick makes it easy to avoid dry, barely-iced baked goods because you can adjust the recipe to make as much icing as you want.


For a quick and tasty homemade cinnamon roll icing, combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk and a pinch of salt. After mixing, you may need to add another splash of milk to form a smooth, glossy mixture that will easily spread over the rolls. One simple way to add a bit of extra flavor to your icing is by mixing in a dash of cinnamon or other spices with the sweet glaze.

The recipe we've recommended makes a simple pourable mixture. If you prefer a thicker, frosting-like topping, you could finish your cinnamon rolls with rich cream cheese frosting instead. This adds a wonderful combination of sugary and tangy taste. You could also upgrade your storebought icing with Baileys for a rich, boozy twist.


Sprinkle on nuts

There are so many delicious additions that you can make to canned cinnamon rolls to make them more appetizing and personalized to your taste. Think of the plain premade dough as a starting point that you can build on with other creative ingredients. One simple way to make a big difference is by adding chopped nuts. A sprinkling of nuts is a great way to add a contrasting crunch to the soft and gooey treat. Use any of your favorite varieties: Chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts would all taste wonderful. Depending on your taste, you could use regular almonds or slightly different Marcona almonds. You could even use toasted nuts for more enriched, earthy, and sweet flavor notes. 


To ensure that the crunchy topping adheres to the rolls, you can brush them with melted butter. Then, sprinkle the nuts over the buttered rolls. This makes a scrumptious addition to the topping and creates extra gooey, buttery rolls. After baking, add the icing and place whole or slivered nuts on top to decorate the pastries before serving. 

Drizzle caramel on top

Another addition to extra-sweet rolls is caramel sauce. This is an excellent option for anyone who loves decadent caramel desserts and wants to bring that flavor into their cinnamon rolls. For this version, you can bake the canned pastries according to the package instructions. Then, drizzle the sauce over the freshly baked rolls, adding as much or as little as you'd like. You can add the caramel topping over the icing or use it to replace the icing, depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have.


Homemade caramel sauce is easy to make with a combination of butter, brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, and heavy cream. Of course, if the appeal of canned cinnamon rolls is that you don't have to make them from scratch, you can skip the homemade sauce and purchase a jar at the grocery store. If you like dulce de leche, it also makes an excellent spread for this breakfast treat. There are some key differences between caramel and dulce de leche, but both are amazing topping options.

Keep in mind that you can always combine our recommendations. Caramel sauce would taste delicious if added with nuts or along with heavy cream. Mix and match these ideas to make the baked goods of your dreams.

Try a berry filling

Try adding fresh, fruity flavor to the mix for a beautiful twist on traditional cinnamon rolls. The pastries taste amazing with juicy berries added to the filling. To add fruit, open the canned rolls and take out the dough. Use clean hands to unroll the cinnamon dough. You can wet your fingertips with water to help prevent them from sticking as you work. And if you use a rolling pin to even the dough out, be careful not to make the mistake of deflating the pastry by rolling down the sides. 


Once lying flat, it's easy to add new filling options. Simply place fresh berries over the layer of cinnamon sugar. You can use sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or any of your other favorite varieties of fruit. Once you've added the berry filling, roll the dough back up into a log shape. Slice into individual rolls and bake until you have fluffy, golden brown rolls with a bubbly and juicy fruit center.

If you don't have fresh fruit, another option is spreading berry jam or jelly in the center of the cinnamon roll. To add to the sweet and tangy flavor, you can also flavor the icing with a bit of strawberry or raspberry extract. You can even add food coloring to the icing to match the berry color and top the cinnamon rolls with fresh fruit to garnish them.


Add chocolate chips

For any chocoholics, this is the cinnamon roll reinvention you've been waiting for. Just like adding berries or nuts, you can try other types of add-ins like chocolate chips. For a melty chocolate filling, unroll your cinnamon roll dough and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the cinnamon filling. Depending on your flavor preference, you can use semisweet, dark, milk, or white chocolate. Mini chips work well because you can more smoothly re-roll the dough without large chunks of chocolate. After you've added the chocolate chip filling, bake the cinnamon rolls as usual for gooey, rich, melty rolls.


If that's still not enough chocolate for you, there are many more ways to make your rolls extra indulgent. For a chocolate topping, you can add either drizzle melted chocolate over the baked rolls, make chocolate icing to add to the rolls, or spread Nutella over the warm rolls. You could also sprinkle cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, or chocolate shavings over regular vanilla icing for just a touch of cocoa decoration. Additionally, you can incorporate other chip flavors, like peanut butter chips, cinnamon chips, or toffee-flavored chips, for a similar concept with a different taste.

Roll in brown sugar

One of the best ways to improve storebought cinnamon rolls is by enhancing the cinnamon filling. A rich, sugary, perfectly spiced filling can make basic cinnamon rolls taste bakery-worthy, and it's not hard to do. Simply give your rolls a rich, caramelized, toffee-like flavor by adding brown sugar to the standard filling.


Unroll the canned cinnamon roll and sprinkle brown sugar over the filling. Mixing a little ground cinnamon with sugar will also help balance the flavors. If you add the sweetener on its own, it will taste delicious, but it will be harder to notice the original spiced flavor. You can also make the brown sugar addition richer by mixing the sugar and cinnamon with a bit of butter before spreading it into the cinnamon rolls. Butter adds extra flavor and makes for a deliciously melty, syrup-like filling.

As you bake, some of the brown sugar and cinnamon filling will likely seep out of the bottom of the rolls. Instead of letting that go to waste, you can scoop the sugary mixture off the bottom of the pan and drizzle it over the sweet rolls when you serve them.


Use honey for sticky buns

If you like sweet, sticky buns, this is an excellent way to transform your standard cinnamon roll recipe. After baking the canned rolls, you can add honey to make them extra sweet and gooey. Either spread honey on its own or make a rich honey glaze that you can pour over the baked goods instead of the icing. The glaze may be preferable since it's thicker and will set better.


For the homemade glaze, make a standard mixture with a combination of powdered sugar and 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream. Whisk the liquid ingredient into a cup of powdered sugar, adding more as needed until it has a smooth consistency. Then, add a tablespoon or two of honey to give the sweet glaze a natural, floral, sweet flavor. If you want to make the glaze richer, you can add a little vanilla extract and melted butter to the mixture. Pour a generous amount of the rich honey glaze over your cinnamon rolls and let it set for a few minutes before serving.

Make orange cinnamon rolls

Just like you can add berries to the cinnamon roll filling, another way to add delicious fruit flavor to your is with an orange filling. The combination of zesty citrus flavor and sweet and spiced rolls goes beautifully together. 


To incorporate fresh orange flavor into your canned cinnamon rolls, start by zesting and juicing an orange. Once you have your ingredients ready, you can unroll the dough and sprinkle zest over the cinnamon filling. Re-roll the dough, and add the pastries to your baking sheet. Then, brush the tops of the rolls with fresh orange juice. For even more citrus flavor, you can whisk fruit juice into the glaze before frosting your cinnamon rolls and sprinkle additional zest on top.

You can also use this same method to add lemon flavor to your cinnamon rolls. And don't be afraid to incorporate the orange flavor with other fruit fillings like strawberry, raspberry, or cranberry.

Try an apple pie filling

One more delicious fruit addition that you can try on your canned cinnamon rolls is apple pie filling. The classic sweet and spiced ingredients of the apple mixture go perfectly with the cinnamon filling in the rolls. To stick to pre-made ingredients, you can purchase your favorite brand of canned pie filling. Or, if you don't mind spending a little extra time in the kitchen, make homemade apple pie filling or upgrade your store-bought filling with fresh fruit.


Once it's ready, you can spread it over the center of the rolls with the cinnamon filling. Feel free to add melted butter or a little cinnamon sugar to enhance the flavor. Re-roll and bake the apple cinnamon rolls according to the package instructions.

This apple version is amazing for the holidays or to enjoy any time during the fall and winter months. It also goes very well with the addition of a nut or streusel topping to finish the apple cinnamon rolls.