In our dream world, we’d like to make cinnamon rolls from scratch every weekend. (Or wake up to them freshly prepared for us, along with a mimosa or two.) In the real world, mornings are a scramble, and we’ll take every shortcut to an epic brunch we can get. But when you’re staring at the rows of refrigerated dough at the grocery store, you’ll soon realize…they all kinda look the same. Which one’s worth your money (and effort)? That’s where we come in: Over the past three weeks, we’ve snacked on sweets morning, noon and night—causing friends to vow never to eat a bun again, or at least until next week—to bring you the best store-bought cinnamon rolls on the market. (And OK, one honorable mention that can’t quite qualify as a cinnamon roll…but it’s just too good to leave out.)

RELATED: The 11 Best Pancake Mixes You Can Buy at the Grocery Store

best cinnamon rolls testing
CANDACE DAVISON

How We Tested the Cinnamon Rolls

We scoured the supermarket and called in samples of every tube of cinnamon roll dough we could get our hands on, baking and frosting them all according to the package’s instructions. From there, a team of six people sampled each variety—without knowing which came from which brand—rating them on overall flavor, texture, quality of ingredients, ease of baking, value and the pastry-to-frosting ratio. (Yes, we take our jobs very seriously.)

The 7 Best Store-Bought Cinnamon Rolls

1. Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls with Original Cinnabon Icing

Best Overall

  • Value: 17/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Texture: 19/20
  • Ease of Baking: 19/20
  • Frosting-to-Roll Ratio: 19/20

TOTAL: 92/100

The Dough Boy dominates the store-bought cinnamon roll game—three stores we visited only stocked Pillsbury, and its website lists 17 products in this category. After baking 10 different rolls during this test, we quickly learned why: Their rolls are consistently the fluffiest, with thick, rich frostings that can hold up to a fresh-from-the-oven pastry. Overall, the original Cinnabon icing scored the highest marks; if you prefer your sweets with a tangy kick, go for the cream cheese variety. There’s no losing here.

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Cinnabon/Candace Davison

2. Cinnabon Frosting-Filled CinnaPastry

Fastest Way to Satisfy Your Cravings

  • Value: 14/20
  • Flavor: 17/20
  • Texture: 15/20
  • Ease of Baking: 20/20
  • Frosting-to-Roll Ratio: 18/20

TOTAL: 84/100

While Pillsbury offers multiple rolls made with Cinnabon cinnamon, testers were most excited about Cinnabon’s own line of ready-to-bake pastries. These treats stand out from the others on multiple fronts: (1) They’re sold in a box, not a tube; (2) They stay in the freezer, not the fridge; (3) They’re microwaved, not baked in the oven. This results in getting your cinnamon fix in record time—less than two minutes, tops—but it also means you need to eat them quickly (or heat up only what you’ll eat immediately). Out of the Frosting-Filled CinnaPastries and Frosted CinnaSweet Swirls, we preferred the CinnaPastries, since they had a muffin-like exterior that gave way to a gooey, frosting-filled core that was like biting into the center of a cinnamon roll. However, testers complained that if they waited 30 minutes to go for seconds, the pastry had hardened a bit, making it tougher to chew.

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CANDACE DAVISON

3. Trader Joe’s Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls

Closest to Homemade-Tasting

  • Value: 18/20
  • Flavor: 17/20
  • Texture: 15/20
  • Ease of Baking: 19/20
  • Frosting-to-Roll Ratio: 16/20

TOTAL: 85/100

When searching for these sweets online, Google immediately tries to autocomplete the term, posing a question: Are Trader Joe’s cinnamon rolls good? Yes, they are—and they’re the closest to homemade in the batch. They’re a little chewier and denser than Pillsbury’s pastries, with a mild vanilla frosting that takes a backseat to the cinnamon swirls. That said, as much as testers commented on how it reminded them of childhood, many still preferred a softer, fluffier roll. Sorry, Mom.

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Target/Candace Davison

4. Pillsbury Grands Pumpkin Spice Rolls

Best Seasonal Treat

  • Value: 17/20
  • Flavor: 17/20
  • Texture: 18/20
  • Ease of Baking: 19/20
  • Frosting-to-Roll Ratio: 19/20

TOTAL: 90/100

Pillsbury has rolled out all kinds of specialty flavors—hot cocoa, strawberries & cream, orange, peaches & cream—but none compare to the Pumpkin Spice variety. They’ll make your entire home smell like fall, and the seasoning gives the rolls a greater depth of flavor. (Testers noted hints of ginger and nutmeg—commonly found in pumpkin pie spice—though the ingredients don’t specifically list them.)

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Target/Candace Davison

5. Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Rolls

Best Organic Rolls

  • Value: 17/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Texture: 13/20
  • Ease of Baking: 19/20
  • Frosting-to-Roll Ratio: 19/20

TOTAL: 86/100

If you want a cinnamon roll you can (mostly) feel good about, check out Annie’s. It doesn’t contain artificial flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup, which is something many competitors can’t claim. It’s also non-GMO, and some reviewers felt it had the most sophisticated flavor. You weren’t slammed by a wave of cinnamon or the pure sweetness of frosting; you got hints of both as you chewed, neither overpowering. But the one complaint was that it resulted in the driest treats of the bunch.

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PILLSBURY/CANDACE DAVISON

6. Pillsbury Mini Cinni Stix

Best Late-Night Snack

  • Value: 19/20
  • Flavor: 18/20
  • Texture: 17/20
  • Ease of Baking: 19/20
  • Frosting-to-Roll Ratio: 18/20

TOTAL: 91/100

Technically, they’re not a roll—just little strips of cinnamon-flecked dough, slathered with cinnamon-infused icing—but we’d argue that Pillsbury’s classic cinnamon rolls aren’t actually rolls either (more on that later). While most treats we tested took around 20 minutes to bake, these sweets were ready in 8 minutes flat. They’re crisper and lighter than the traditional roll, making them a lot more snackable. Plus, at 24 to a tube, they’re a great treat for a crowd.

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PILLSBURY/CANDACE DAVISON

7. Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Original Icing

Best Value

  • Value: 18/20
  • Flavor: 13/20
  • Texture: 14/20
  • Ease of Baking: 19/20
  • Frosting-to-Roll Ratio: 18/20

TOTAL: 82/100

Eight cinnamon rolls for less than the price of a latte? Believe it, though the value comes at a cost: These are more like cinnamon chip-encrusted biscuits than the rolls you used to race to the mall to devour. (Honestly, is it even a cinnamon roll if you can’t unravel it?!) Still, the crispy-edged, airier-centered texture is still nice; it’s just not the delightfully gooey mess we know and love.

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Nestlé/Candace Davison

Honorable Mention: Nestlé Toll House Cinnamon Roll Cookie Dough

Nestlé, you sly devils, making us seriously question whether we can have cookies for breakfast. (Our verdict: It’s 2021, we’re surviving a pandemic, go for it.) These cinnamon-flavored cookies are studded with cream cheese pieces, and they essentially taste like snickerdoodles living their best life. They’re soft, chewy and a little bit gooey—and ideal for dunking in coffee or milk. Check your local grocery store for availability.

RELATED: What’s the Best Store-Bought Cookie Dough? We Tested 9 to Uncover One for Every Palate

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