We tried 4 kinds of ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls — and the winner could be confused for homemade

Zoe MillerThese cinnamon rolls come ready to bake.
  • We tried four types of ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls.
  • We sampled Pillsbury, Annie’s Homegrown, Immaculate Baking Company, and Cinnabon (also made by Pillsbury).
  • Annie’s Homegrown, which had the most flavour and the best consistency, was the winner.

Cinnamon rolls are a festive favourite during the holiday season and year-round. If you have a craving for this sweet, sticky treat, various brands offer ready-to-bake cinnamon roll dough.

To determine the best rolls on the market, INSIDER baked and sampled four different types as part of an ongoing taste test series. Other items we’ve tried range from powdered doughnuts and cookie dough to chicken noodle soup and tacos.

We tested:

To keep things consistent, we stuck with each brand’s standard, or “original,” flavour. We also evaluated the rolls on three criteria: dough, icing, and consistency when baked.

Keep scrolling to see how these cinnamon rolls fared.

We started off with Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Original Icing, the cheapest option

Zoë MillerPillsbury Originals cost $US2.49.

The first cinnamon rolls we made were Pillsbury Original. At $US2.49, they were the cheapest option – and, at 140 calories per serving (one baked, iced roll), they were also the least caloric.

Each tube yields eight smaller rolls instead of five larger ones, making them a solid choice for a holiday gathering.

They were the easiest to separate

The Pillsbury Original rolls were the easiest to separate when we removed them from their tube. Flakes of cinnamon encrusted the dough, promising a tasty final product.

But they were lacking in icing

Zoë MillerThere wasn’t that much icing.

There was not enough icing in the accompanying small, round container to evenly coat all eight coils of dough when we tried it. We immediately noticed that a few buns were slathered in thick layers of hardened glaze.

When we tasted the rolls, the icing seemed saccharine to us. If you have a sweet tooth, you’d probably enjoy it, but in our opinion, it was too sweet.

When baked, they had a doughy, bread-like consistency

Zoë MillerThey had a more bread-like texture.

Biting into these cinnamon rolls was not unlike munching on a dinner roll. Their doughy, bread-like consistency was a little disappointing, in our opinion.

Plus, contrary to what the splotches of cinnamon suggested, they had a mild kick that was overpowered by the icing.

Next, we tried Annie’s, one of two organic brands we sampled

Zoë MillerAnnie’s cinnamon rolls cost $US3.99.

Annie’s is better known for making items like crackers and mac and cheese, so we were curious about how their cinnamon rolls, priced at $US3.99, would taste.

With each iced roll coming out to 330 calories, they weren’t the healthiest option despite being organic.

The dough looked homemade but was messy to separate

The dough was somewhat difficult to remove from its tube. Not only did we have to re-roll each coil as we separated the dough – there was so much cinnamon that our fingers were coated in it.

Although the process was messy, it felt more like baking from scratch.

Annie’s icing came in a pouch, making it easy to distribute

Zoë MillerAnnie’s came with an icing pouch.

The frosting, labelled “organic vanilla icing,” was packaged in a handy pouch that you can cut to form a makeshift pastry bag. It was easy to distribute evenly over the rolls.

When we sampled the baked buns, the icing was sweet but not overpowering.

Zoë MillerAnnie’s had a strong cinnamon taste.

The baked rolls had a pleasant crunch and tasted strongly of cinnamon

More crunchy than doughy, we thought Annie’s cinnamon rolls had a balanced consistency. Of the options we tried, they also had the strongest cinnamon flavour.

Moving on, we made the Immaculate rolls, the most expensive option we sampled

Zoë MillerThese rolls cost $US5.99.

Like Annie’s, Immaculate’s cinnamon rolls were organic. They also came out to 330 calories per iced roll. At $US5.99, however, they were the most expensive option.

The dough was still homemade looking but less messy

It had a homemade look but we found it was easier to separate than Annie’s. Although some of the dough had to be reshaped, the coils generally stayed together.

Zoë MillerThis dough wasn’t messy.

But the icing was similar to Annie’s

Immaculate’s “organic vanilla icing” also came in a pouch for convenient spreading. But we thought it was slightly sweeter than Annie’s.

After they were baked, the rolls had a slightly doughy consistency

Zoë MillerThese were on the dough-ier side.

Apart from the outer layer of each roll, which was pleasantly crunchy, Immaculate’s cinnamon rolls were a little doughy in our opinion.

Flavour-wise, we thought the icing was more prominent than the cinnamon.

Finally, we sampled Cinnabon Flaky Grands! Cinnamon Rolls with Original Icing

Zoë MillerThese cost $US3.78.

Since Cinnabon is famous for their signature item – cinnamon rolls – we were excited to try this iteration. They cost $US3.78, with each iced, flaky pastry roll packing 360 calories.

The rolled dough was impressively large

Living up to their “grand” name, the Cinnabon rolls looked enticing even before they were baked. Each of the five coils of dough was impressively large.

As an added bonus, the dough was easy to separate.

Zoë MillerCinnabon is famous for their cinnamon roles.

There was enough icing to evenly coat the rolls

Since there were five rolls in the tube rather than eight, there was plenty of icing to go around.

The sugary icing complemented the flaky Cinnabon rolls.

They were moist and very rich

Zoë MillerThey were very buttery.

The Cinnabon rolls were moist and palpably buttery. Some might find them too rich, but they’re a good option if you’re looking for a more decadent, croissant-like treat.

Annie’s was the winner

Zoë MillerThe first place spot goes to Annie’s.

With a homemade feel and a balanced consistency, Annie’s cinnamon rolls also boasted the strongest cinnamon flavour.

Cinnabon’s cinnamon rolls were the runner-up

Zoë MillerCinnabon was a solid runner-up.

Thanks to their rich, buttery flavour, they were the most indulgent option we sampled.

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