Unfortunately, we can’t all live within a stone’s throw from a Cinnabon location—and baking cinnamon rolls from scratch isn’t always feasible in terms of time or culinary prowess. Pillsbury’s cans of cinnamon rolls are a dependable alternative: All you really need is a pan, an oven, and the patience to wait for them to cool for a few minutes before you ice them. They also use actual Cinnabon cinnamon filling and cream cheese icing.
But it doesn’t take a professional food critic to notice that even Pillsbury’s beloved breakfast treats have a tough time competing with freshly baked Cinnabons when it comes to moisture. A handy hack to fix that issue recently made the rounds on TikTok, and Kitchn’s Patty Catalano put it to the test.
Basically, you place all five Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls in the pan like you normally would. But before you pop them in the oven, you pour half a cup of heavy cream right over them. Then bake per usual, ice them after they’ve cooled, and enjoy.
“The resulting rolls were plush, soft, and rich, just like Cinnabon’s!” Catalano wrote. They were still delicious when reheated the following day. She had some pointers for getting the most out of the hack, too. If your goal is to mimic a Cinnabon as closely as possible, she recommended opting for Grands! over Pillsbury’s smaller cinnamon rolls. They might need a little longer in the oven than usual to soak up all the cream, so if the tops are already golden-brown before they’re fully cooked, cover the pan with foil for the rest of the baking period.
Also, feel free to double the recipe. Grilled Cheese Social’s MacKenzie Smith—from whom Catalano first learned of the trick—doubled the quantity in her TikTok (two sleeves of Grands! for a total of 10 rolls, and a full cup of heavy cream), which seemed to work just as well.
See Catalano’s mouthwatering results and check out her full review here.
A version of this story originally ran in 2022; it has been updated for 2023.