3-Ingredient Cinnamon Rolls—So Decadent, So Simple It Might Be Illegal!

A quick glance at the calendar tells me that the Holidays are in full view ahead! There was a time that I felt compelled to rise early on Christmas morning to bake Cinnamon Rolls—my family’s breakfast item of choice on that very special day of the year.

cinnamon rolls

 

When I say early, I mean 3:30 am. It takes hours for sweet bread dough to rise multiple times. And let’s just say that over the years, some attempts have been more successful than others.

Those days are gone. I’m done with that routine and not because I don’t love my family.

Now I sleep in until 40 minutes before I want everyone to wake up to the smell of fresh, hot, decadent, perfect-every-time Cinnamon Rolls with heavy cream and brown sugar.

I may regret letting the cat out of the bag on this because they still think I’m a world-class Cinnamon Roll baker. But for right now, I’m excited to show-and-tell the most outrageously awesome food hack I’ve ever discovered.

You’re going to doubt me as we get started here, but you shouldn’t. Trust me on this. Magnificent Cinnamon Rolls in no more than 40 minutes from start to glorious finish.

Ok, here we go:

A bottle next to a cup of coffee on a table, with Cinnamon roll and Family

Ingredients

You’ll need:

  • Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls
  • light brown sugar
  • heavy cream

That’s it.

 

cinnamon rolls

Directions

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Open both cans of refrigerated dough. You’ll find 5 rolls in each can plus a little tub of icing. Set the icing aside for later, then arrange the rolls in the baking dish—4 down the middle, and 3 on each side.

 

A close up of food on a plate, with Cinnamon roll and Baker

All of those open spaces will fill up, so do not be concerned about this arrangement.

 

In a small bowl or preferably, a 2-cup measuring cup, combine 1 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup heavy whipping cream.

 

A glass cup on a table, with Cinnamon roll and Icing

Mix well until the sugar and heavy cream are fully incorporated and it looks like melted ice cream. You’ll be tempted to take a sip, but do not give in. You need every drop for these amazing Cinnamon Rolls.

 

A dessert on a plate, with Cinnamon roll and Icing

Pour this thick liquid over the rolls. Every last drop of it.

 

A plate of food on a table, with Cinnamon roll

The rolls will appear to be swimming in liquid and you will be certain this cannot possibly be right. Do not fret. This is right. And for the record, up to this point you have spent 5 minutes prepping this recipe.

Place baking dish and rolls into the pre-heated oven. Set a timer for 32 minutes. Note: 5 + 32 = 37 minutes.

NOTE: Your time may vary depending on your oven, so check at 32 minutes. Do not over bake!

Once the timer goes off, check to make sure rolls are golden brown. They may look slightly underbaked, and this is right. However, not every oven is the same—yours may be calibrated slightly different than mine, so use your good judgment. Just be careful not to overbake! I have determined that 32 minutes at 350F. is the perfect amount of time for my oven.

Important!

While baking, remove all evidence (packaging for those cans of cinnamon dough for starters) by pushing it way to the bottom of the trash can. I am not suggesting that you lie, not at all! I do suggest that you simply clean up, to avoid any hint of negativity or chiding on such a lovely day.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool only as long as it takes to open those little tubs of icing.

Halve the recipe

To make half this recipe (1 tube of 5 cinnamon rolls) start with an 8″ x 8″ baking dish, 1 can of Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar. Place one roll in each corner of the pan and one in the center. Carry on.

 

cinnamon rolls

Spread the icing over the hot Cinnamon Rolls, and there you have the last 2 minutes, to make it about 35 minutes start to finish.

Greet your family members as they will now be wandering into the kitchen to find out what smells so amazing.

 

cinnamon rolls on a table

Serve warm and enjoy!

 

A plate of food on a table, with Cinnamon roll and Minute

Recipe

cinnamon rolls on a table
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.63 from 45 votes

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream and Brown Sugar

This is just short of a miracle. Magnificent, as close to homemade from scratch Cinnamon Rolls in just 40 minutes from start to glorious finish. Ok, here we go:
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time32 minutes
Cooling time3 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American, Caribbean
Servings: 10
Calories: 169kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls (See NOTE 1)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (See NOTE 2)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (See NOTE 4)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Lightly spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray, or grease the pan with butter.
  • Open cans by following the directions on the label. Set aside both tubs of icing.
  • Arrange the 10 rolls (5 in each can) in a 9" x 13" baking dish as follows: 4 rolls down the middle and 3 on each side.
  • In a small bowl or 2-cup glass measuring cup, place 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup heavy cream. Mix well until it looks like melted ice cream.
  • Pour the liquid over the rolls
  • Bake at 350 F for 32 - 36 minutes. (Do not overtake!) Remove rolls from the oven. Allow cooling for 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Spread the icing over the rolls.

Notes

  1. To make half this recipe (1  tube of 5 cinnamon rolls) start with an 8" x 8" baking dish, 1 can of Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar. Place one roll in each corner of the pan and one in the center. Carry on.
  2. While the recipe stipulates light brown sugar, the dark option works well so use what you have. I will say that my familyl prefers the recipe made with light brown sugar. 
  3. DIY brown sugar: Yes you can make it yourself! Place 1 cup of white granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses in a small bowl. Using a fork, press and stir until the molasses and sugar are fully incorporated.
  4. Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream work equally well. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 47mg | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

First published: 12-04-18; Updated and republished 11-29-21


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71 replies
Newer Comments »
  1. Dianna G says:

    I am definitely going to try these. I was also thinking these may also work with the frozen cinnamon rolls. It would just take longer for them to rise. I put a pan in a slightly warmed oven, covered with a towel. They are ready to bake in just an hour. Couple that with this incredible sounding caramel sauce……..Omg!

    Reply
    • Karla says:

      I am a big fan of the roads frozen cinnamon rolls. In my families opinion, you can’t tell a difference between those at homemade. I am going to try this topping with those. They rise very nicely overnight in the refrigerator, but may need an extra hour or so once they are removed in the morning. But nothing like getting up at three or 4 AM to mix up rolls from scratch!

      Reply
  2. Katie French says:

    5 stars
    Thank you thank you thank you Mary! You just started a new tradition in my household. I have used this recipe every year since Mary first shared it with us. I just made it again for Thanksgiving morning. Mary is not exaggerating in the least. It makes this incredible, almost buttery, caramel. My family goes nuts for it! Hmmmm maybe sprinkle on some nuts next time.

    Reply
  3. Jamie says:

    Do you think this would work with other brands of canned cinnamon rolls, same size and everything, just already have something else just looking for a way to spruce what u have up lol

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Hi Jamie … I have tested Kroger store brand and also Annies brand. No one in my family happy with those substitutes. They just tasted flat and bland—yes, even with the brown sugar and heavy cream (hard to imagine, I know!). But I encourage you to experiment. Let us know!

      Reply
    • Katie French says:

      Jamie, I had my kids go out and get the cinnamon rolls and of course, they came back with some of the Grands cinnamon rolls but also some of the store brand. I mix them in together and I don’t think anybody even noticed.

      Reply
  4. Ann says:

    I haven’t tried the cinnamon rolls yet, but definitely will. I get a little upset when someone criticizes a recipe and then continue to tell others to do this and this and this for a better outcome. If you don’t have anything nice to say to someone, keep your opinions to yourself!

    Reply
  5. Cinnamon rolls says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely the best cinnamon rolls. My family loves them and wants me make them every time they come to visit.
    Thanks, Mary

    Reply
  6. Katy says:

    5 stars
    This looks wonderful! If I wanted to halve the recipe – aside from halving the contents- should there be any changes on the baking time?

    Reply
      • Mary Hunt says:

        Not at this time Mara, but you never know! I am working on creating a Recipe Index right here at EverydayCheapskate.com. So stick close!

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Just halve everything—one can biscuits, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup heavy cream. I use an 8 x 8 pan with one roll in each corner, one in the center. Works out perfectly! Same oven temp and baking time.

      Reply
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