Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

published Oct 15, 2021
Cinnamon Crescent Rolls Recipe

Cinnamon and sugar wrapped in pre-made crescent roll dough make for the easiest cinnamon rolls ever. Don't forget the cream cheese glaze!

Makes8 crescent rolls

Prep20 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 12 minutes

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cinnamon crescent rolls on a baking sheet being drizzled with icing
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

While we rarely had freshly baked treats in my house when I was growing up (my family wasn’t super into baking), we consistently had cans of pre-made Pillsbury biscuits and crescent rolls. On weekend mornings, I would wake up to the smell of my dad frying up bacon and eggs, which he always paired with a fresh batch of crescent rolls.

During this time, I discovered you can customize crescent rolls to lean either sweet or savory. If I was craving savory, I would roll up my dough with deli ham and sliced cheese to make ham and cheese “croissants.” But when I wanted sweet, I’d make these cinnamon crescent rolls — aka the easiest cinnamon rolls imaginable. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

What’s the Difference Between Cinnamon Rolls and Cinnamon Crescent Rolls?

Classic cinnamon rolls are made with a homemade yeast-based dough that has to rise twice before baking. Cinnamon crescent rolls start with pre-made crescent roll dough, which cuts down the prep time significantly. All you need to do is pop open the can, roll out the dough, fill it with cinnamon sugar, and roll it up — and 12 minutes later you’re digging into warm rolls. Sign me up!

How Do I Assemble Cinnamon Crescent Rolls?

Making cinnamon crescent rolls couldn’t be easier. You’ll start by whisking sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. (I also sometimes add cardamom). Then, pop open the can of crescent roll dough, remove half of it, and place the other half in the fridge to stay cool. Unroll the dough and shape into triangles, then repeat with the reserved dough. Brush melted butter onto the surface of the dough and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar.

Working from the wide end of the triangle, roll up the dough and shape into crescents. Transfer the rolls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden-brown and puffed, about 12 minutes. While they cool, make the glaze.

Should I Use a Vanilla or Cream Cheese Glaze?

Why not both? This glaze recipe has both cream cheese and vanilla in it. With that said, feel free to infuse the glaze with whatever flavor you like — almond extract would also taste great. Add enough milk to make it easily spoonable, then drizzle over the crescent rolls.

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls Recipe

Cinnamon and sugar wrapped in pre-made crescent roll dough make for the easiest cinnamon rolls ever. Don't forget the cream cheese glaze!

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Makes 8 crescent rolls

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the rolls:

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 (8-ounce) tube

    refrigerated crescent roll dough

For the glaze:

  • 2 ounces

    softened cream cheese

  • 1/4 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons

    whole or 2% milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Open the crescent roll dough. Remove half of the dough from the package and refrigerate the remaining dough. Unroll the dough and separate the 4 triangles. Using your hands, gently pull and stretch each triangle dough until it is balanced isosceles triangle. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  3. Generously brush the melted butter onto the triangles so that there is a visible layer of butter. Using a spoon, generously sprinkle the sugar mixture over the butter, about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons per triangle. You may have some left over; reserve it for another use like cinnamon toast.

  4. Starting from the wide end, snugly roll up each triangle and shape into a crescent moon shape. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.

  5. Bake until golden-brown and puffed, about 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

  6. Place 2 ounces cream cheese in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until softened, about 15 seconds. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and pinch of kosher salt. Vigorously whisk until smooth. Whisk in more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed until the glaze is pourable.

  7. Using a spoon, decoratively drizzle the glaze over the crescent rolls and serve.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in a toaster oven or microwave.