When it comes to easy entertaining recipes that are a snap to prepare, yet look elegant enough for a magazine cover, truly there is never enough puff (pastry!). These sweet and flaky Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls are the easiest way to add something special to your breakfast spread.
I grew up with a love of cinnamon rolls of all kinds. My Grandma Dorothy spoiled her family with her legendary from-scratch cinnamon rolls for as long as I can remember. To me, these will forever be the greatest cinnamon rolls in the world.
On summer mornings and weekends, my sisters and I would pop open a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and devour the entire batch—no comparison to Grandma’s but convenient and delish.
I still adore cinnamon rolls as much as ever, but my tastes are a bit more discerning. These puff pastry cinnamon rolls are THE ideal option when you need a breakfast that feels cinnamon-roll special, without the fuss of making them from scratch.
I consider frozen puff pastry an entertaining staple, especially at the holidays. It’s buttery, flaky, and can be used in a limitless number of both sweet and savory recipes.
Today, I’m showing a sweet application with these tasty puff pastry cinnamon rolls. They’re a SNAP to prepare and make any meal feel a little bit fancy.
If you need a last-minute easy breakfast recipe for a crowd, are ahead of the game and want a brunch recipe you can prepare in advance, or if cinnamon rolls hold a place in your heart (and stomach!) like they do mine, look no further than these simple puff pastry cinnamon rolls.
How to Make Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls
Traditional cinnamon rolls are a sweet breakfast pastry made with a buttery, yeast-based dough. These puff pastry cinnamon rolls swap the usual dough for a sheet of puff pastry, which is available in the freezer section of most grocery stores (no need to make it from scratch, truly!). A sheet of puff pastry sheet is thin when you roll it out, but as the dough bakes, the layers of butter within it expand so that the pastry “puffs” up. It’s light, flaky, and absolutely delicious.
The only advance prep you need here to make this recipe is to ensure that you thaw your puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight. Once you have it on hand, you are ready to roll! <—did you see what I did there?
- Pecans. A toasty, crunchy element that’s delicious with cinnamon.
- Puff Pastry. My easy method for achieving perfectly fluffy and buttery cinnamon rolls.
- Butter. A key ingredient in developing the best cinnamon roll filling.
- Cinnamon + Sugar. The shining star of our filling! I used a combination of brown and white sugar.
- Glaze. A stellar combination of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.
- Toast the pecans on a baking sheet. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn. When done, transfer to a cutting board and chop. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir together the cinnamon and sugar filling.
- Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface so that the folds open left to right and the seams run vertical. (See above)
- Roll the pastry out a bit, and brush the surface with melted butter, leaving a 1-inch border on the sides. Then, sprinkle the sugar mixture over the butter.
- Roll the pastry from bottom to top, and trim off the ends. Slice the roll in 8 equal pieces.
- Arrange the pieces spiral side up on the baking sheet. Repeat steps with the second sheet of puff pastry. Bake the puff pastry cinnamon rolls for 18 to 22 minutes at 350 degrees F. Once golden brown, remove and let cool.
- Whisk together the glaze ingredients. Drizzle the glaze over the rolls and sprinkle with pecans. Let the glaze set for a few minutes, then serve. ENJOY!
Make This Recipe Ahead + Storage Tips
- To Store. Store leftover puff pastry cinnamon rolls in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftover cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through.
- To Freeze Before Baking. After you roll your dough into a log, you can freeze the whole log unbaked. Wrap the dough very tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake the cinnamon rolls, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, and slice and bake as directed.
- To Freeze After Baking. Bake the cinnamon rolls as directed, and let cool completely. Then, arrange them in a flat layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once fully frozen, place the rolls in an airtight freezer-safe storage container and store for up to 1 month. Reheat pre-made cinnamon rolls directly from frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F until warmed through.
- To Make Ahead. To prepare your cinnamon rolls ahead of time, you can toast the pecans up to 3 days in advance, and make the glaze 1 day in advance and store in the refrigerator. Drizzle the glaze and top with pecans just before serving. You can also refrigerate the unsliced log for up to 1 day.
- Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese. Swap the simple icing in this recipe for a cream cheese glaze.
- Puff Pastry Cinnamon Twists. Prepare your cinnamon and sugar mixture as directed. Unfold your puff pastry between pieces of parchment paper, and chill dough for 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut each sheet of dough crosswise into 1-inch strips. Move half of your strips to the refrigerator. Brush each strip with water, then dredge them through the sugar mixture. Twist each strip of dough from the middle to the ends, and transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with all remaining dough, then freeze for about 10 minutes. Bake as directed. Once they’re golden brown, remove, and use tongs to lay each one end of each twist on the edge of the baking sheet. Let cool.
- Muffin Tin Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls. For a more uniform round shape, instead of baking the puff pastry cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet, bake them inside a muffin tin. After you cut your puff pastry log into slices, place each cinnamon roll piece into a muffin well. Bake as directed. (Note: this idea is a spinoff of the puff pastry cinnamon rolls Barefoot Contessa. Ina also adds melted butter and pecans to the wells of the muffin tin, which I assume is delicious; we were happy with the simple sprinkle on top I used for this recipe.)
- Cinnamon Puff Pastry Bites. For mini, more bite-sized cinnamon rolls, slice each sheet of puff pastry in half-length wise, so that you have 4 narrower rectangles, instead of 2 wider rectangles. Fill and roll each sheet as directed, starting at the long end (you’ll have much narrower logs with smaller diameters). Slice and bake as directed, subtracting a few minutes from the baking time. The rolls will unravel more easily as they bake, so if you’d like to prevent this, you bake the rolls inside the wells of a lightly greased mini muffin tin.
- Gluten Free Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls. I have not yet heard of a gluten free brand of puff pastry dough. If anyone knows of one, please leave it in the comments section below, and I’ll update to include it as a reference for others.
More Make Ahead Breakfast Recipes for a Crowd
- Crockpot Egg Casserole
- Overnight French Toast
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
- Overnight Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats
Recommended Tools to Make Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls
- Baking Sheet. Ideal for making these cinnamon rolls.
- Measuring Spoons. Easy to organize in my drawer, and they’re great for measuring ingredients.
In addition to being an elegant addition to any breakfast spread, these easy puff pastry cinnamon rolls are a fun, unexpected item to add to a dessert platter. I can also attest that they pair well with coffee (and hot chocolate), particularly when one is cozied up on the couch with holiday tunes in the background.
Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls
FOR THE CINNAMON ROLLS
- 1/3 cup raw pecans
- 1 package frozen puff pastry (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) thawed in the refrigerator overnight (I like Pepperidge Farm)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk plus 1 to 3 teaspoons as needed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on an ungreased baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until the pecans are toasted, fragrant, and light tan on the inside when broken in half, about 8 to 12 minutes. Stir the pan once halfway through, set a timer, and don't walk away during the last few minutes (nuts love to burn at the last moment). Transfer to a cutting board, then finely chop. Set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- On a lightly floured work surface, unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry so that the folds open left to right and the seams run vertical. Roll it to a 10-inch square (if it is not already). Lightly brush the sheet all the way to its edges with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on all sides of the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with half of the sugar mixture. Starting with the end closest to you (the "bottom" of the square), tightly roll the pastry up and away from you like a sleeping bag around the filling. The roll will expand sideways somewhat and a bit of the sugar will fall out, which is fine. End seam-side down. Trim off about ½ inch from each end of the roll and discard. With a serrated knife, slice the roll in 8 equal pieces. Each will be about 1 1/3 inches wide. Arrange each piece, spiral side facing up, on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining filling, spacing the rolls evenly and allowing them plenty of room to spread.
- Bake the rolls for 18 to 22 minutes until they are golden brown on top and firm to the touch. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool.
- While the rolls cool, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk. The glaze should be a little thick, but still pour easily. If you’d like it thicker, add more powdered sugar; for a thinner glaze, add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time. For easy frosting, scoot the rolls on the parchment paper so that they are touching at the edges. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the rolls then immediately sprinkle with pecans. Let the glaze set for a few minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- TO STORE: Store leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftover cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through.
- TO FREEZE BEFORE BAKING: After you roll your dough into a log, you can freeze it unbaked. Wrap the dough very tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you're ready to bake the cinnamon rolls, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, and slice and bake as directed. Then, add the glaze and pecans.
- TO FREEZE AFTER BAKING: Bake the cinnamon rolls as directed, and let cool completely. Then, arrange them in a flat layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once fully frozen, place the rolls in an airtight freezer-safe storage container and store for up to 1 month. Reheat pre-made cinnamon rolls directly from frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F until warmed through.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: To prepare your cinnamon rolls ahead of time, you can toast the pecans up to 3 days in advance, and make the glaze 1 day in advance and store in the refrigerator. Drizzle the glaze and top with pecans just before serving.
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