Best Substitutes For Cinnamon Rolls

best substitutes for cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a beloved baked good that combines the flavors of cinnamon, sugar, and a buttery dough. However, there may be instances when you find yourself without the necessary ingredients to make these delightful treats. In such cases, it’s helpful to know about the best substitutes for cinnamon rolls that you can use to recreate the wonderful flavors and textures.

Key Takeaways

  • Cinnamon rolls are a popular baked treat loved for their flavors and textures.
  • There are several reasons why you might need a substitute for cinnamon rolls, such as dietary restrictions or ingredient shortages.
  • The best substitutes for cinnamon rolls include cinnamon roll-flavored desserts, alternative pastry recipes, and creative sweet treats.
  • Choosing the right substitute depends on factors such as personal preferences, dietary needs, and available ingredients.
  • Cooking with substitutes for cinnamon rolls requires following recipes, adjusting ingredients accordingly, and experimenting to achieve desired results.

Why You Need A Substitute For Cinnamon Rolls

There can be various reasons why you might need a substitute for cinnamon rolls. Some possible scenarios include:

  1. Dietary Restrictions: If you or someone you’re baking for has dietary restrictions, such as gluten intolerance or a vegan diet, finding a suitable substitute becomes important.
  2. Ingredient Shortages: At times, specific ingredients needed for cinnamon roll recipes might not be readily available. In such cases, alternative ingredients can be used to achieve a similar taste and texture.
  3. Flavor Variations: While cinnamon rolls are incredibly delicious, it can be fun to experiment with different flavors and tastes. Substitutes can help you create new and unique treats that still satisfy the craving for something sweet and comforting.

Types Of Substitutes For Cinnamon Rolls

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls

When it comes to substituting cinnamon rolls, you can explore several options, depending on your needs and preferences. These options fall into three broad categories:

  1. Cinnamon Roll-Flavored Desserts: These substitutes mimic the flavors of traditional cinnamon rolls by incorporating cinnamon and other key ingredients into different desserts. Examples include cinnamon roll pancakes, cinnamon roll cookies, and cinnamon roll-flavored ice cream.
  2. Alternative Pastry Recipes: If you’re looking to recreate the texture and experience of biting into a warm and gooey cinnamon roll, alternative pastry recipes can be an excellent choice. Think options like sticky buns, danishes, and sweet rolls.
  3. Creative Sweet Treats: This category covers unique and creative substitutes that still fulfill the desire for something sweet and comforting. These treats may not resemble cinnamon rolls but capture the essence of the flavors and textures associated with them. Ideas include cinnamon-spiced bread pudding, cinnamon-sugar muffins, or cinnamon swirl cake.

Best Substitutes For Cinnamon Rolls

Here are some of the best substitutes for cinnamon rolls, each offering its own unique characteristics and flavors:

1. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Cinnamon roll pancakes combine the best of both worlds: the fluffy goodness of pancakes and the cinnamon-infused flavors of cinnamon rolls. These pancakes are made by incorporating the flavors of cinnamon rolls into the pancake batter and topping them with a sweet cream cheese glaze. The result is a satisfying breakfast or brunch treat that captures the essence of cinnamon rolls in a different form.

2. Sticky Buns

Sticky buns are a classic alternative to cinnamon rolls. They feature a similar dough base but are baked in a caramel or sugar syrup that gives them a sticky and gooey texture. The buns are typically filled with a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and sometimes nuts or raisins. Topped with a buttery glaze or frosting, sticky buns provide a delightful variation to the traditional cinnamon roll experience.

3. Danish Pastries

Danish pastries are another delightful alternative to cinnamon rolls. These flaky and buttery pastries can be filled with a range of ingredients, including cinnamon and sugar, fruit preserves, chocolate, or cream cheese. The result is a light and indulgent pastry that satisfies the craving for a sweet and flavor-packed treat.

4. Sweet Rolls

Similar to cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls are soft and fluffy yeast-based pastries. However, they can be filled with a variety of ingredients to create different flavors. Some popular options include chocolate, fruit preserves, nuts, or cream cheese. While not identical to cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls offer a versatile and customizable substitute that can be tailored to your taste preferences.

5. Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Cinnamon roll cookies are a fun and portable substitute for the traditional cinnamon roll. These cookies are made by incorporating cinnamon and brown sugar into the cookie dough and then rolling each piece of dough in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. The result is a chewy and flavorful cookie that captures the essence of cinnamon rolls in a smaller form.

6. Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream

For those who enjoy cold and creamy treats, cinnamon roll ice cream is an excellent substitute. This dessert incorporates the flavors of cinnamon rolls into a rich and creamy ice cream base. Chunks of cinnamon roll dough or swirls of cinnamon and brown sugar are added to the ice cream, creating a delightful treat that combines the best of both worlds – ice cream and cinnamon rolls.

While these substitutes offer unique flavors and textures, it’s important to note that they may not replicate the exact experience of biting into a warm and freshly baked cinnamon roll. However, they provide suitable alternatives that can satisfy your cravings and offer new taste experiences.

Pro Tip: To enhance the cinnamon flavor in your substitute for cinnamon rolls, toast the ground cinnamon in a dry pan for a couple of minutes before incorporating it into the recipe. Toasting the cinnamon helps bring out its natural oils, intensifying the flavor.

Choosing The Right Substitute For Cinnamon Rolls

Choosing the right substitute for cinnamon rolls depends on several factors, including personal preferences, dietary restrictions, and available ingredients. Consider the following when selecting a substitute:

  1. Flavor Preferences: Think about whether you want to replicate the flavors of traditional cinnamon rolls or explore different taste profiles. If you’re looking for an exact replica, options like cinnamon roll-flavored desserts or alternative pastry recipes may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you’re open to new flavors, creative sweet treats can provide a unique and satisfying substitute.
  2. Texture Expectations: If you’re primarily after the texture of cinnamon rolls, alternatives like sticky buns, Danish pastries, or sweet rolls offer similar experiences. These pastries typically have a soft and fluffy interior with a slightly crispy exterior, similar to cinnamon rolls.
  3. Dietary Requirements: Consider any dietary restrictions or preferences that may impact your choice of substitute. For example, if you require a gluten-free option, selecting a pastry recipe that uses gluten-free flour or opting for cinnamon roll-flavored ice cream can be suitable alternatives.

It’s worth experimenting with different substitutes to find the one that best meets your needs and preferences. You may discover new favorites along the way!

Cooking With Substitutes For Cinnamon Rolls

When using substitutes for cinnamon rolls in recipes, it’s important to follow the specific recipe instructions and adjust the ingredients accordingly. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Ingredient Substitutions: If a recipe calls for cinnamon rolls but you’re using an alternative pastry or dessert, make sure to adjust the ingredients accordingly. You may need to modify the dough, filling, or glaze to match the specific recipe requirements.
  2. Texture and Consistency: Different substitutes may result in variations in texture and consistency compared to traditional cinnamon rolls. Pay attention to the dough’s hydration levels, mixture thickness, or any additional steps required to achieve the desired outcome.
  3. Baking Temperatures and Times: Follow the baking instructions provided in the recipe for the chosen substitute. Baking temperatures and times may vary depending on the specific substitute being used. Adjustments may be necessary to ensure the treats are baked to perfection.
  4. Flavor Enhancements: To further enhance the chosen substitute’s flavors, consider adding additional spices or ingredients that complement the main flavors. For example, adding a hint of nutmeg or cardamom to the dough or filling can amplify the overall taste experience.
  5. Creative Freedom: Don’t be afraid to get creative and make adaptations to the recipes you find. Baking is a form of self-expression, and experimenting with different combinations of flavors and ingredients can lead to delightful and unexpected results.

Remember that cooking with substitutes for cinnamon rolls may require a bit of trial and error. Feel free to experiment and make adjustments until you achieve the desired outcome.

Recipes Using Substitutes For Cinnamon Rolls

Here are a few recipes using substitutes for cinnamon rolls to get you started:

1. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and melted butter.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the ground cinnamon and brown sugar.
  5. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly grease with butter or oil.
  6. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet and using a spoon, sprinkle a small amount of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the pancake.
  7. Cook until bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake, then flip and cook for another minute or so.
  8. Repeat with the remaining batter and cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  9. Serve the pancakes warm and drizzle with a sweet cream cheese glaze, if desired.

2. Sticky Buns

For the dough:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm milk, sugar, melted butter, salt, and yeast mixture.
  3. Add the flour gradually, mixing well after each addition until the dough comes together.
  4. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle shape, about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Spread the softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly.
  8. Roll the dough tightly from the shorter end, then cut it into slices about 1 1/2 inches thick.
  9. Grease a baking dish and arrange the slices cut-side up in the dish.
  10. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for another 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  12. In a small saucepan, melt the butter for the glaze over medium heat.
  13. Stir in the brown sugar and heavy cream, cooking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened.
  14. Pour the glaze over the risen buns, making sure to coat each one.
  15. Bake the sticky buns for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.
  16. Allow the buns to cool slightly before serving.

These are just a couple of examples. There are numerous recipes available online that use substitutes for cinnamon rolls, allowing you to explore different flavors and variations.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Substitutes

The storage and shelf life of substitutes for cinnamon rolls depend on the specific substitute being used. However, as a general rule, it’s best to consume these treats as soon as possible to enjoy them at their freshest. Here are some guidelines:

  • Cinnamon Roll Pancakes: These are best consumed immediately after cooking to retain their fluffy texture. However, any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat the pancakes in a toaster or on a skillet before serving.
  • Sticky Buns, Danish Pastries, and Sweet Rolls: These pastries are best enjoyed on the day they are baked due to their delicate texture. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Warm the pastries in the oven for a few minutes to restore their freshness before enjoying.
  • Cinnamon Roll Cookies: Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. They can also be frozen for longer storage, staying fresh for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen cookies at room temperature before serving.
  • Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream: Homemade ice cream is best enjoyed within a few days of making it for optimal freshness. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Allow the ice cream to soften for a few minutes at room temperature before serving.

It’s important to note that these guidelines may vary slightly depending on the specific recipe and substitute used. Always refer to the recipe instructions and use your judgment to determine the freshness and suitability of the treats.


While cinnamon rolls are a beloved baked treat, there are plenty of substitutes available to recreate the flavors and textures. Whether you opt for cinnamon roll-flavored desserts, alternative pastry recipes, or creative sweet treats, these substitutes offer unique and satisfying alternatives. Consider your flavor preferences, dietary needs, and available ingredients when choosing the right substitute for your cravings. Remember to follow the recipe instructions, adjust ingredients accordingly, and get creative in your baking experiments. Happy substituting!

Pro Tip: Don’t limit yourself to just one substitute for cinnamon rolls. Experiment with different options to find your personal favorite and enjoy the delightful flavors and textures each substitute has to offer.


What Are Some Alternatives To Cinnamon Rolls That Are Still Sweet And Satisfying?

If you’re looking for a sweet and satisfying alternative to cinnamon rolls, try a warm slice of banana bread with a smear of cream cheese frosting. Other options include sticky buns, danishes, or sweet rolls filled with flavors like apple or blueberry.

Are There Any Gluten-free Options For Cinnamon Roll Substitutes?

Yes! Look for gluten-free pastry dough in the frozen aisle of your grocery store, or try making your own with almond flour or coconut flour. Fill your rolls with sweetened cream cheese, fruit preserves, or a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar for a tasty treat.

Can I Make A Vegan Version Of Cinnamon Rolls?

Absolutely! Instead of butter and eggs, use a vegan butter substitute and almond milk or soy milk. You can also substitute the sugar for a healthier option like coconut sugar or maple syrup. Topping your rolls with a vegan cream cheese frosting is the perfect finishing touch.

Are There Any Savory Substitutes For Cinnamon Rolls?

If you’re looking for a savory alternative to cinnamon rolls, try making brioche buns with a savory filling like ham and cheese, or bacon and egg. You can also try making savory croissants or buttermilk biscuits with herbs and cheese.

How Can I Make My Cinnamon Roll Substitute More Healthy?

Opt for ingredients like whole wheat flour, coconut sugar, and unsweetened applesauce instead of butter and sugar. You can also try filling your rolls with healthy alternatives like sliced bananas, chopped nuts, or natural peanut butter. Finally, skip the frosting and instead top your rolls with a dusting of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.

  • Healthier Cinnamon Rolls – Crazy for Crust
  • Best Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (Better than Cinnabon)
  • The 9 Best Cinnamon Substitutes – The Spice House
  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.