Recipe Review

I Tried the Viral Pillsbury Hack and Will Never Bake Cinnamon Rolls Any Other Way

updated Jul 17, 2022
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Credit: Patty Catalano

As the primary cook in my house, I’m always looking for smart shortcuts that deliver delicious results. While I adore homemade cinnamon rolls, the time and effort involved means I reserve them for lazy weekend baking projects or holidays. For all other times, I reach for a tube of refrigerated cinnamon rolls.

If you’ve been anywhere near TikTok or Instagram lately, you’ve likely seen cascades of heavy cream poured over refrigerated rolls in kitchens across the country. I first saw this hack from MacKenzie Smith of @grilledcheesesocial. She credits @mississippi_kween and @manthacancook with the inspiration, but it’s still not clear where this sensation started. The claim is that pouring heavy cream over place-and-bake breakfast pastries turns them into decadent Cinnabon-style cinnamon rolls. Could it be that easy? I took to the kitchen to find out.

How to Make the Viral TikTok Cinnamon Rolls with Heavy Cream

Making these mall-inspired pastries is easier than finding a parking space during the holiday rush. Arrange a package of refrigerated cinnamon rolls in a buttered baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup heavy cream over the rolls and bake according to package directions. Once the cinnamon rolls are puffed and brown, frost them with the included icing and serve. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

My Honest Review of the Viral TikTok Cinnamon Rolls with Heavy Cream

I’ve always believed that the best part of refrigerated cinnamon rolls was the icing. The rolls themselves were always oddly dry and and without much flavor. Baking the rolls with heavy cream changed all of that — but with a few caveats!

While MacKenzie makes a double batch, with two tubes of dough and one cup of cream, I baked half that amount — one tube of rolls and a half-cup heavy cream — for my family of four. I feared that the underside of the rolls would be soggy, but the rolls soaked up most of the cream. The resulting rolls were plush, soft, and rich, just like Cinnabon’s! With a few rolls leftover, I set them aside at room temperature to see how they would hold up. The next morning the rolls were still soft and, once warmed, were immediately gobbled up.

If You’re Going to Try the Viral TikTok Cinnamon Rolls, a Few Tips

  • Use Grands cinnamon rolls. I tested this hack twice (you know, for science). First I baked regular-sized Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, then the larger Grands-style rolls. The size and texture of the Grands cinnamon rolls resembled the Cinnabon rolls much more closely than the regular rolls.
  • Do not underbake. The heavy cream can slow the bake time, so even if you’re used to pulling refrigerated rolls from the oven a minute or two early (as I am), you’ll want to shoot for the middle of the recommended baking time. If you’re worried about over-browning, cover the top with foil once they turn golden.
  • Wait before icing. Let the cinnamon rolls cool for two minutes before adding the icing. If the icing is added to pipin’ hot rolls, it will melt and glaze them. Waiting a bit will ensure the icing goes on like a thick, rich frosting.

Have you tried this hack? What other smart breakfast solutions have you tried? Share your ideas in the comments below.