It’s chilly and gray outside, you have a ton of holiday shopping to do, and there isn’t much that can cheer you up—except, of course, for cinnamon rolls. Gooey, warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven cinnamon rolls loaded with frosting, bursting with nuts and aromatics, and just waiting to comfort you and remind you that while the snow falls, the cinnamon roll calls. Here are 11 variations on the cinnamon roll that are sure to restore your holiday cheer.
1. Nutella Cinnamon Rolls
Because Nutella is the new chocolate, right? Gimme Some Oven layers a classic roll recipe with a mixture of cinnamon and Nutella. She bakes them until they are warm and oozing with melted Nutella, then tops the rolls with tangy cream cheese icing. She says that a drizzle of Nutella on top is optional, but let’s be honest—it’s pretty mandatory.
Photo and recipe from Gimme Some Oven
2. Potato Cinnamon Rolls
We know what you are thinking: “Potatoes? Really?” But Slate promises that this secret ingredient results in the softest, moistest rolls you will ever eat, since potatoes offer a ton of starch with no gluten to make the dough rubbery or tough. Make sure that the potato is peeled and mashed or riced into smooth submission, then work it into the dough and smile with self-satisfaction as your family members fight one another for the final roll.
Photo and recipe from Slate
3. Bacon Cinnamon Rolls
The only thing that makes sweet, sticky breakfast pastries even better is adding bacon to them, and How Sweet It Is does just that with her bacon cinnamon rolls. She crumbles cooked bacon into the cinnamon-sugar filling, but she doesn’t stop there. She uses the reserved bacon grease to brush the dough and also in the glaze for a smoky-salty background to the sweet and cinnamon flavors.
Photo and recipe from How Sweet It Is
For the mornings where you get up late or just don’t feel like doing dishes, look to Chow for inspiration. Just roll out the store-bought dough, brush it with melted butter, and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar. Slice into strips, roll into spirals, and bake until golden brown and aromatic. If you're feeling frisky, throw some cream cheese icing on those puppies.
Photo and recipe from CHOW
5. Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls
The perfect birthday breakfast for foodies of any age. Sally’s Baking Addiction takes her inspiration from a classic sprinkles cake and goes wild from there. A creamy, vanilla-scented filling, homemade cake crumbles, and a sugar glaze make these the Willy Wonka–est cinnamon rolls you are ever likely to enjoy!
Photo and recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
6. Boozy Butterscotch Cinnamon Roll Cake
Boozy … butterscotch … cinnamon … roll … cake. If any of those words don’t sound good to you, time to check in on your taste buds. The Moonblush Baker goes down the cinnamon roll rabbit hole with this decadent gâteau. Fragrant, eggy sponge cakes, whipped cream, butterscotch sauce, meringues, and an entire cake pan full of cinnamon rolls as the top layer. It’s glorious, it’s magnificent, and it might just put you into a sugar coma.
Photo and recipe from The Moonblush Baker
7. Apple Cheddar Sticky Buns
Sweet meets savory in this new take on apple pie with cheddar. Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker makes a moist applesauce dough that she layers with cinnamon, sugar, rosemary, apples, and cheddar cheese. The result is something that is perfect for breakfast but equally delicious with a powdered sugar glaze. Guess you will just have to eat these sticky buns for breakfast AND lunch.
Photo and recipe from Frugal Antics
8. Cinnamon Roll Sandwich
Brunch at Sea & Smoke in Southern California takes cinnamon rolls to the next level. Forget a tinge of meat here or a sprinkle of sea salt there—this is unabashedly entrée fare. Their cinnamon roll sandwich features candied pepper bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, ham, a perfectly fried egg, and maple syrup all on two slices of cinnamon roll. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s porky … it’s asking for a Bloody Mary and nothing else.
Photo from Serious Eats
9. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
America’s favorite breakfast foods unite! Say hello to a mash-up of golden brown flapjacks and frosting-layered cinnamon rolls. Recipe Girl shows how to carefully swirl syrupy cinnamon sugar into pancake batter so it mimics the swirl of a cinnamon roll. She then drizzles the finished pancakes with a tangy-sweet cream cheese glaze. The sugar swirl gets crunchy, the pancakes are fluffy, and you are in cinnamon roll heaven.
Photo and recipe from Recipe Girl
10. Pumpkin-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Because you KNOW that you didn’t use up all of your pumpkin and pecans in pies this year. Don’t let those extra Thanksgiving ingredients go to waste—put them to delicious use in From the Little Yellow Kitchen’s pumpkin-pecan cinnamon rolls. A marigold-hued pumpkin and maple dough with a pumpkin pie spice and pecan filling is topped with maple-pumpkin-cream-cheese frosting. A final farewell to fall flavors has never been tastier.
Photo and recipe From the Little Yellow Kitchen
11. Classic Cinnamon Roll
Sometimes, it’s a classic for a reason. This recipe, from Lauren’s Latest, clones Cinnabon’s famously buttery, sweet cinnamon rolls without any unpronounceable ingredients or dubious airport locations. Just buttermilk, margarine, cinnamon sugar, and the usual suspects. These traditional ingredients manage to create an unusually ethereal breakfast pastry.
Photo and recipe from Lauren's Latest; header image from Sandhira
Sarah Spigelman Richter is a New York City–based writer, blogger, and social media manager. She has developed recipes for Tabasco, blogs about her favorite restaurants and recipes at Fritos and Foie Gras, and can be found, most Friday nights, watching "Arrested Development" reruns.