Cinnamon Roll Brands
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We Tried 8 Store-Bought Cinnamon Rolls and These Were the Best

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 Cinnamon Roll Brands
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Freshly baked cinnamon rolls are a gooey, guilty pleasure, oozing with warm cinnamon sugar and dripping with sticky-sweet icing. But who has the time to make cinnamon rolls from scratch (or wants to clean up the kitchen afterward)? No one. That's what makes store-bought cinnamon rolls so great: They're easy! Just remove them from the tube, arrange in a cake pan, and in 20 minutes or less, you've got a sweet treat ready to ice and eat. Pillsbury is the big brand when it comes to refrigerated cinnamon rolls, but it's got plenty of competition from Walmart's Great Value, Annie's Homemade, and other brands. To determine which is best, we sampled eight cinnamon rolls from six brands. The results are ranked worst to first.


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Hill Country Fare Cinnamon Rolls
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Hill Country Fare Cinnamon Rolls

150 calories, 5 grams fat, 11 grams sugar per roll


Hill Country Fare is Texas grocer H-E-B's house brand; we included it to see how well the local grocery chain could make cinnamon rolls. The answer: not that well. The icing was cloyingly sweet, with an overpowering artificial vanilla flavor that lingered. The rolls themselves tasted a bit undercooked and were doughy. They had plenty of visible cinnamon sugar in the tight layers, but if we'd tasted them blindfolded we'd be hard pressed to detect much cinnamon flavor.


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Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Cream Cheese Icing
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Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Cream Cheese Icing

140 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 10 grams sugar per roll


Pillsbury's rolls are studded with cinnamon-sugar nuggets that melt and spread over the top like a lacy web. This gives them a slightly odd appearance compared with other brands, all of which looked like classic cinnamon rolls with clearly defined spirals of sweetness. These had a dense, almost biscuit-like texture and density and lacked the generous slathering of cinnamon sugar you'd expect in such a treat. The icing itself was creamy, sweet, and buttery, but lacked the tang we expect in homemade cream cheese icing. Worth noting: The icing comes in a small plastic tub, requiring you to spread it on with a knife, which is fussier and messier than the icing squeeze packets that other brands use.


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Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Original Icing
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Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Original Icing

140 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 10 grams sugar per roll


The only difference between this version and the cream cheese version is the icing itself: not as creamy or buttery, but still sugary with that disappointedly familiar flavor of cheap vanilla. They weren't bad, just … boring. Note: Pillsbury also makes cinnamon rolls with butter cream and orange icing, as well as a low-fat option.


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Great Value Original Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
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Great Value Original Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

150 calories, 6 grams fat, 10 grams sugar per roll


Walmart's icing was surprisingly smooth, more like homemade than we expected for a store brand and definitely better than Pillsbury's version. The Great Value cinnamon roll was notably spicier than Pillsbury, too; there was no mistaking the sharp bite of cinnamon, which lingered on the tongue for perhaps a moment too long. The dough was buttery and even a bit flakey, though some of us thought they tasted a bit cardboard-like.


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Great Value Original Cinnamon Rolls with Icing
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Great Value Original Cinnamon Rolls with Icing

150 calories, 5 grams fat, 11 grams sugar per roll


Go with this version of icing instead of Walmart's cream cheese cinnamon roll and you'll find it very smooth, with the right balance of sugar and vanilla — but tasting more like a glazed doughnut than a cinnamon roll. Still, this was our favorite of the smaller-sized refrigerated cinnamon rolls we sampled.


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Trader Joe’s Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls
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Trader Joe's Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls

340 calories, 15 grams fat, 23 grams sugar per roll


Is bigger better? The results of our taste test say yes. All three of the larger-sized refrigerated cinnamon rolls we bought ended up at the top of the ranking. Least impressive (though still darn tasty) is Trader Joe's offering. The icing was thinner than most of the other samples, along the lines of what you'd ice sugar cookies with. It tasted like confectioner's sugar with hints of butter and vanilla, but none of the overpowering artificiality that cheaper cinnamon rolls often have. Despite what appeared to be a generous amount of cinnamon sugar in the spirals, the dough was surprisingly flavorless, a bit on the pasty side, and too buttery for our taste.


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 Immaculate Organic Cinnamon Rolls
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Winner (tie): Immaculate Organic Cinnamon Rolls

330 calories, 12 grams fat, 24 grams sugar per roll


We admit we were skeptical of how good this brand of cinnamon roll, bought at Whole Foods, would taste. The icing had an unappetizing off-white, almost wallpaper paste-like appearance, and it was very runny. But once that icing was drizzled over the fat, baked spirals of thickly spread cinnamon sugar, wow, what a difference. The dough was flaky and buttery, with plenty of sweet and spicy flavor that lingered pleasantly. It tasted just as good served cold as it did fresh from the oven.


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Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cinnamon Rolls
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Winner (tie): Annie's Homegrown Organic Cinnamon Rolls

330 calories, 12 grams fat, 24 grams sugar per roll


We'll be honest: It was almost impossible to detect much difference between the Immaculate cinnamon roll and this one. (Both brands are owned by General Mills, which may have something to do with it.) The icing had the same unappealing appearance that somehow transformed magically into a sweet topping with hints of maple and vanilla. The rolls themselves were tender, buttery, and just begging to be pulled apart as the gooey goodness oozes all over your fingers. Tastes (almost) as good as what you'd find in a bakery. Yum.


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