We all love a comforting treat, but don’t always have the time or energy to make it from scratch. This is especially true for a dessert like cinnamon rolls, which are rich, buttery and sweet but can take hours to whip up. Although the aroma of homemade cinnamon rolls wafting through your kitchen is unmatched, some clever shortcuts can help you prepare this treat in a faction of the time. Sounds too good to be true? Keep reading to learn how to cook a batch of “lazy” yet mouthwatering cinnamon rolls in your air fryer — no kneading, rising or preheating required. Plus, we have three yummy ideas for infusing your cinnamon rolls with even more flavor!
Air-frying versus baking cinnamon rolls
Most cinnamon roll recipes call for baking them so the dough cooks thoroughly. But it’s tricky to get a golden brown color all around the rolls when they’re in a baking pan. Also, baking cinnamon rolls can take 25 to 30 minutes, which may feel like an eternity on top of the hours worth of work beforehand.
For these reasons, your best bet is air-frying cinnamon rolls instead as it’s a quicker and more hassle-free way of cooking them. Because air fryers use circulating heat, it’ll create a fully browned exterior on the rolls that nicely contrasts the pillowy interior. Plus, you can cook a small or large batch, depending on whether it’s a dessert for one or a few. (Click through to learn more about the ins and outs of air fryers.)
How to make air-fryer cinnamon rolls
Beyond using an air fryer, you can take an additional shortcut by kickstarting them with canned cinnamon rolls instead making everything from starch. Sure, it’s fun to knead and roll homemade dough — but store-bought dough can satisfy your sweet tooth when you’re short on time.
Below, Farwin Simaak, founder of Love and Other Spices, shares her recipe for Air-Fried Cinnamon Rolls, which uses Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls (Buy from Walmart, $4.88). To make these rolls extra delicious, she ditches the icing that comes in the can and makes a homemade cream cheese glaze instead.
While it’s often recommended to preheat your air fryer before using it, Simaak notes that you can skip this step for cinnamon rolls. “Preheating the air fryer when baking will make the baked goods brown on the outside faster while the inside is still not cooked,” she says.
Air-Fried Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Glaze
- 1 (17.5 oz.) can cinnamon rolls like Pillsbury
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- Active: 10 mins
- Total time: 13 mins
- Yield: 5 servings
- Remove cinnamon roll dough from can. Separate rolls.
- Line air fryer basked with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray. Place cinnamon rolls in air fryer basket, allowing ample space between each one.
- Let cinnamon rolls air fryer at 350°F about 6 minutes. Flip cinnamon rolls and cook another 4 minutes until nice and browned on top. Once done, remove cinnamon rolls from air fryer and let cool about 3 minutes.
- For cream cheese glaze: Mix together cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon (if desired) until creamy glaze forms.
- Top cinnamon rolls with icing while still warm. Enjoy!
How to upgrade air-fried cinnamon rolls from a can
Canned cinnamon rolls are a convenient option, but they don’t have to be boring. With a few flavor twists, you can make air fryer cinnamon rolls taste as if you spent hours making them. Start with these three simple and tasty ideas!
- Top the cinnamon rolls with pie filling before air frying. For delectable cinnamon rolls, place 1 tablespoon of your jarred pie filling like apple, pecan or cherry onto each cinnamon roll and then air fry. As the rolls cook, the filling will caramelize and become gooey. Plus, the chunks of fruit or nuts in the filling will add texture to each roll.
- Add citrus zest to the icing. In addition to vanilla extract, mix in about ½ teaspoon of lemon or orange zest into the icing for a pop of freshness. You can add a squeeze of the citrus juice for a more intense flavor and to make the icing slightly thinner, if desired.
- Give the iced cinnamon rolls one final garnish. Even when the cinnamon rolls are glazed, feel free to add more toppings. For a hint of saltiness, sprinkle chopped bacon bits over the rolls, or place a handful of mini chocolate chips on top for a decadent twist. Sprinkles are another great topping that add a sugary flavor and color to the cinnamon rolls.
For more “lazy” dessert ideas, read the stories below:
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