Years ago, we started making filled cinnamon rolls…filled with everything from maple-flavored cinnamon and butter to lemon curd. And they made great and easy rolls, especially when you made them from a bread mix, but we couldn’t get them exactly as fluffy as the ones from the bakery.
It wasn’t until later that we discovered the secret was making cinnamon rolls from a donut mix, leading us to our donut cinnamon roll mix. You can find variation recipes below.
A Quick Note on Making the Best Cinnamon Rolls
As we developed out donut cinnamon roll mix and the following recipes, we did a survey to see what people like in a sweet roll. Here are the results.
Soft, Fluffy, and Pillowy
To get the softest, fluffiest sweet rolls you’ve ever had, you need to let the rolls rise to their highest volume, allowing it to become a very soft dough.
Plenty of Filling
A sweet roll is often only as good as its filling. If there’s not enough to taste it, that’s a problem. Rolling out the dough to 1/4-inch thick makes for thinner layers of breading between thicker layers of filling.
Lots of Flavor
Whether you’re making cinnamon rolls or flavored sweet rolls, it’s important not to skimp on the flavor. Using good-quality cinnamon and flavors is essential for a great sweet roll.
Plenty of Frosting
When you get a can of cinnamon rolls from the store, the icing makes a thin glaze. It’s not nearly as exciting as it could be. People tend to enjoy a thick, fudgy-type frosting more.
The Customer’s Secret: Cinnamon Rolls from a Donut Mix
One day, a lady was in the store buying a bunch of raised, glazed donut mixes.
“Could she really be frying this many donuts?” I wondered. So, I went asked her.
“Oh, no,” she said. “These make fantastic cinnamon rolls.”
It didn’t take us long to try them. They did make fantastic rolls. Now we have a donut cinnamon roll mix. It’s simply a donut mix and a cinnamon-sugar filling mix.
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls with Pastry Fillings
We took her donut cinnamon rolls a step further with pastry filling. It’s super easy, and the results are divine.
If you buy a tube of premade pastry filling, it’s super easy. Snip the corner off the tube and squeeze what you want on the sheet of the rolled-out dough, instead of spreading the usual butter, cinnamon, and sugar mixture. Lots of filling is better, so we usually use a couple cups of filling, about half a tube.
You can use any pastry filling you like from raspberry to Bavarian cream. Often, we mix a fruit filling with a Bavarian cream or a cream cheese filling to make an apple cream or raspberry cream filling.
Donut Cinnamon Rolls Three Ways
While you can make the original donut cinnamon rolls simply according to the package instructions, the following variations combine your favorite pie flavors with cinnamon buns, and the results are scrumptious.
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
As implied by the name, these apple pie cinnamon rolls have all the apple pie flavors with cinnamon chips, an apple pastry filling, and a delightful caramel cream cheese frosting.
Lemon Cream Rolls
These lemon cream sweet rolls are reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie with the lemon pastry filling and a lemon cream cheese frosting.
Raspberry Cream Rolls
These raspberry cream sweet rolls taste just like a raspberry cream pie with the raspberry tidbits, a mixture of raspberry and Bavarian cream pastry fillings, and a raspberry vanilla cream cheese frosting.