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

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.


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 exactly 43 minutes before I want everyone to wake up to the smell of fresh, hot, decadent, perfect-every-time Cinnamon Rolls.

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 just 43 minutes from start to glorious finish.

Ok, here we go:

Ingredients for homemade cinnamon rolls


You’ll need:

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

That’s it.


Ingredients for homemade cinnamon rolls


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.


Un-cooked cinnamon rolls

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.


Frosting for Ingredients for cinnamon rolls

Mix well until the sugar and 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.


Pooring frosting over cinnamon rolls

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


Un-cooked cinnamon rolls soaking in frosting

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 oven. Set a timer for 36 minutes. Note: 5 + 36 = 41 minutes.


Baked cinnamon rolls

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 36 minutes at 350F. is the perfect amount of time.

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.


Finished product of homemade cinnamon rolls

Spread the icing over the hot Cinnamon Rolls, and there you have the last 2 minutes, to make it 43 minutes start to finish.

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


Finished product of homemade cinnamon rolls

Serve hot and enjoy!


Finished product of homemade cinnamon rolls


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4.25 from 20 votes

Cinnamon Rolls (Semi-Homemade)

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. You're going to doubt me as we get started here, but you shouldn't. Trust me on this. Magnificent Cinnamon Rolls in just 43 minutes from start to glorious finish. Ok, here we go:
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time36 mins
Cooling time2 mins
Total Time43 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American, Caribbean
Servings: 10
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Mary


  • 9 x 13 baking dish
  • 2-cup measuring cup


  • 10 Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, (two refrigerated tubes/cans)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • 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 whipping cream. Mix well until it looks like melted ice cream.
  • Pour the liquid over the rolls
  • Bake at 350 F for 36 minutes. Remove rolls from the oven. Allow cooling for 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Spread the icing over the rolls.


To make half this recipe (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.


Calories: 350kcal

First published: 12-04-19; Edited to update and add recipe card 12-16-19

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  1. Rob Turnage says:

    I made these for the office yesterday and when they were gone, I found someone scraping the baking dish for every last bit.

  2. Chris says:

    I would like to try this, however, we have several family members who are lactose intolerant. Any idea if I could sub something for the heavy cream or if there is a lactose free product I could find?

    • Ldyslpr says:

      Maybe an almond, soy, rice or other nut drink? I know butter is a dairy product but you could make them into a caramel roll with brown sugar, corn syrup and margarine.

  3. Nancy says:

    I’ve made this exact recipe (minus the goo at the end which I usually throw away) for YEARS. I made them a bunch for our Saturday morning men’s Bible study at church and they just knew I slaved many hours for them. They’re a family tradition on Christmas morning at my house. It works well with the small 8-pack of rolls too if you want smaller rolls. There I line up 3 rows of 5 and give my dogs the leftover 1.

  4. pawandclawdesigns says:

    My Aunt used to do this except she used butter and brown sugar and heaped globs on mid baking. She’d also buy a tub of cream cheese frosting instead of what is included. Now I just need to find tinned gluten free cinnamon rolls and I’m set!

    • Estelle Stone says:

      YES! I was just thinking the same thing. I need to find ones that are Gluten Free. 🙁 I wish someone would come up with an already-made refrigerated GF dough like this. Ahhhh, well, I guess we can dream.

  5. Gary says:

    Mary I learned to make them the old way but I will have to
    try this method.

    I do have to ask Where are the Raisins, my Grandmother taught
    me how to make Cinnamon Rolls when I was young. When my granddaughters were about 4 they would
    ask me “Papa can you make some Rollups for us (Twins) but don’t put those Brown things in them'”
    why rollups, they always unrolled them
    when they ate them. Mary your article reminded me of the time when I was
    stationed overseas in the military in the mid ’60’s. Both my Grandma’s would send a “care”
    package but they didn’t pay attention to what I said about shipping. This is the
    only time I had to eat Chocolate chip cookies with a spoon as the pieces were about
    the size of a dime and my other Grandma’ s Cinnamon Rolls, looked good but they
    could only be used for Hockey pucks. At that time any mail you wanted someone to receive soon had to be sent Air Mail as regular mail was boat mail and 30 days until arrival. Now I wrote them and
    thanked them but asked them to send the next package Air mail. Both my Grandma’s were wonderful and loving women & I still miss them & I’m 75.

    The Boat mail reminds me of one occasion. My Mother went in
    for urgent surgery and I get a letter from my Dad, your Mother is doing fine
    after the surgery. What the **** is he
    talking about so I’m all freaked out and I asked the Red Cross to find out what
    up, they did and a week later I get the letter via Boat Mai my Dad sent saying your Mom is gong in for surgery. She was OK. Mary I need to Thank You for your column, I save many of them in my Cheapskate file.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      What a great comment Gary! Thanks for sharing it with us. And thanks for being such a loyal, faithful reader/follower!

  6. Ya But Queen says:

    Mary, I really enjoy, and pass along your columns. My only thought is that the nutrition count must be over the top on these! I hardly ever but Grands of any variety because of the memory counts. I do on occasion, but not often. And yes….I know…. we can loosen up just for Christmas…..

  7. Whosyourdaddy says:

    So what exactly does the whipping cream do…make them softer? Added flavor? Never have bought that stuff as it seems expensive.

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