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Super Simple Christmas Cinnamon Rolls!

Much to my family’s chagrin…I have never been much of a cinnamon roll maker. For years it was because I was afraid of anything having to do with yeast. Now it’s just because they are a lot of work! So when someone by the name of “Anonymous” posted in a comment how they make cinnamon rolls, I was intrigued! Not only was it super simple, but they had also “doctored up” the idea, making it irresistible!

I decided to make them last weekend. I started them Saturday night…and Sunday morning all I had to do was turn on the oven and 25 minutes later we had hot, fresh, semi-homemade cinnamon rolls! They were a big hit amongst the “free to eat gluten” members of the household! (Don’t worry, I made it up to my son Kell and made him his favorite Pumpkin Pie Cake!)  :-)

After the feeding frenzy was over…it occurred to me these would make perfect Christmas cinnamon rolls! By the time everyone is done ripping open presents the cinnamon rolls would be just coming out of the oven! Even if you have a different Christmas morning breakfast tradition (ours is Strawberry Waffles)…these would still be a nice (and simple!) addition.

Short on time? Try the canned cinnamon roll hack in my video at the end of this post!

Super Simple Christmas Cinnamon Rolls


  • 1 bag frozen cinnamon rolls (12 count)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream (measured AFTER it’s melted)
  • 5 Tablespoons butter


Put frozen rolls into two greased 8 x 8 pans. (I didn’t have any square pans, so I used pie plates which made for slightly unusually shaped rolls…but they tasted delicious nonetheless!) You could also use a 9 x 13 pan.

Add sugars, ice cream and butter to a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute then pour over the frozen rolls and place in the oven overnight. The next morning bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then drizzle icing that came with the rolls over the top.

Yummy-looking aren’t they? But to get down to the bottom of their deliciousness you have to dig deeper….like “bottom of the pan” deep. That is where you can see the “secret sauce” we added on top of the cinnamon rolls before we baked them. That, my friends, is what elevates these super simple cinnamon rolls to being worthy of Christmas cinnamon rolls!

Christmas morning cinnamon rolls

What is your traditional Christmas Morning meal?

Don’t have time for homemade cinnamon rolls? This is the next best thing!

YouTube video
Canned cinnamon rolls that rival Cinnabon!? Watch and see!

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  • I recently tried these out on the parents as they won’t be around for Christmas this year. They were yummy. For a smaller batch I just halved the sauce mixture.

  • We made these for Christmas morning! Not sure what happened – followed the directions word for word but after doubling the baking time I ended up taking them out of the 9×13 and placing the rolls on greased cookie sheet to finish. Worked out great! They just would not bake otherwise… Oh well! They were divine!! We poured the leftover goodness from the 9×13 over the rolls and had a wonderful Christmas morning. Thanks for the recipe Jillee! Would love to hear thoughts on where I went wrong so I can skip the extra steps next time :)

  • Exchanged Eggnog for IceCream for convenience. Tried Pecans throughout, then a section for Costco Bacon Bits, Apples & Craisins. The Craisins were sickly sweet, Yuck! but the Bacon was a winner. The Sauce was way too sweet for me but the rolls need its moisture…half it with apple sauce? suggestions? (half or quarter out the cream cheese frosting that they come with for real cream cheese) I used a 9×13 but think the small wide mouth mason jars next time would be better & help retain moisture. I have a leftover roll packed to send to work w/Mr tomorrow, an idea from bigredkitchen.com.

  • Walmart has frozen cinnamon rolls. If you use pillsbury, you could make jills sauce then pour over rolls and bake as tube says maybe turn over after baking onto plate for sauce to run over tops. loving all these ideas. Going to try jills sauce over homemade cinnamon rolls, will pour sauce over and rise as I would then bake as usual and add frosting.

  • Wondering at what market anybody has found the frozen cinnamon rolls? I have looked at Vons and Albertsons and neither carry them. Instead I bought the pillsbury cinnamon rolls in a tube and I’m just going to freeze them myself and go from there.

  • I am a T1 on a pump and have made cinnamon rolls forever for Christmas breakfast—don’t ask WHY this Nice Jewish Girl is the Christmas baker but here I am!

    I have used regular biscuit dough or roll dough or home made–for home made you can either cut down on the sugar in the recipe and keep track of how much you used to bolus by; or you can use recipes using Splenda or whatever non-sugar sweetener you prefer. For a yeast roll you might NEED a small amount of sugar to get the yeast “working” but this would be small compared to the over all recipe. I think these need less time to bake or they get a bit “crisper” than I prefer but keep an eye on them to your done-ness level! For the inside of the roll—the cinnamon swirl–you can use a combo of cinnamon and butter and Splenda–I just use the regular I am not fond of the “baking” mix or the one where they mix Splenda and sugar—I can do that myself for way less than they charge! The “trick” is getting the distribution of cinnamon to sweet to butter right–you don’t want clumps of the dry ingredients. You can melt the butter and then brush on and sprinkle with your pre-mixed spices–I like to add some ginger to this!–and use it like cinnamon sugar on toast. Or you can melt the butter with the cinnamon and add the sweetener–some sweeteners don’t take well to too much heat and you are going to bake these! I have thought about adding some ground up or very fine oatmeal or nuts–can’t have nuts so this is out for me!-to the mix to mimic the texture of the sugar spice mix. But it is just fine as is!

    For the Top Layer–I have either–sadly—gone naked or used a dab of the regular frosting. But you could play around with a combination of cream cheese and some Splenda thinned with a bit of milk and vanilla—you want both the taste and the texture here! I would mix that up the night before and give it time to blend—and then adjust the thickness before serving. (I have had other peoples versions of the Cream Cheese Frosting and been fine as long as I kept track of what I was bolusing for)

    Ours never last long enough to know about left overs–and I do have to defend “my” version from hungry elves!

    Now–I know little about GF baking but–the thought occured to me-Could you not use a slice of a GF BREAD and make the topping as if you were doing a Pain Perdue (essentially what the recipe Jillee has posted is!) –if you made a “jelly roll” of the bread and the filling and placed a few in a small ramekin or personal baking dish—you could then bake it along with the rest of the rolls and use a topping with no gluten. So–slice of bread-sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar–roll up–place in baking pan–cover with ice cream topper as per Jillees recipe–bake in AM! Of course if this comes out OK–or–sad face!!!!– if it does not–please let us all know!

  • Jillee, Do you have any idea how the bags of the frozen cinnamon rolls by Rhodes compare to the ones that are already in an aluminum pan? None of the stores where we live sells the bag of 12 in the package. All I can find are packages of 6 in the aluminum pan. I’m thinking that the ones in the aluminum pan are probably just larger?

  • I will try this tonight! Thanks! Hey everyone can you post your reviews of the ingredients you use on Reviiz.

    I discovered this website you can review on food and beauty products. The best part is that you have circles, which includes you closest friends, whose opinions you can around anyway! lol Any who, you can post a review, rate it, and recommend it! Check it out. http://www.reviiz.com Thanks!

    Sharing is caring. :)

  • I’m so glad you posted this. I decided to try out making 4 of the Rhodes cinnamon rolls last weekend, but I thought they were kinda boring. I’m sure adding more cinnamon and sugar to them will give them the flavor I was missing. Thanks!

  • Two Christmas morning traditions (no matter what else was cooked)– cinnamon rolls and cereal (because each person got their own box a favorite “junk cereal” as a gift). It is the only time I buy sugared cereal. Cinnamon Rolls by scratch became a a common breakfast in the winter because they are budget friendly and filled you up. To make them healthier I used to spread apricot preserves (not butter) inside them & cut down on the sugar in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. The preserves are way sweet, the apricot is so mild that it goes undetected (only by kids who ask–does everything have to be healthy?)– but the gooeiness (sp)is not sacrificed.
    I used to pack a roll in their school lunches, the rolls were very big & all they needed was to buy a milk. Back then lunches were kept in the classroom-the teachers used to be say they could smell the roll throughout the room.
    Want a fabulous soft cinnamon bun cookie– visit http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/cinnamon-bun-cookies/
    Now to check out Debbie’s blog.

    PS The Star Wars paper snowflakes came out nice. Most were easily recognizable: I liked the Storm Trooper best because they are already white–Yoda looked really good too.

  • This recipe sounds great. I am spending Christmas Day at a friends house though. Do you think there would be a problem (the dough would “fall”) if I was to do everything up to baking here at my home, then take them with me and bake at my friends house? It’s only about a 15 min. drive.
    Thank you.

  • not as gooey but equally quick (and cheaper) is this ‘recipe’ that works up very quickly. btw – these can be made in the microwave if you don’t need them really golden brown.

    1 can biscuits
    3-4 T butter
    6-8 T brown sugar
    pinch of salt
    finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

    melt butter and mix with brown sugar and butter. pour into 9 inch pie pan. separate biscuits, dip in salt/sugar mix, turn over and place in pan. do this with all biscuits. bake per package directions.
    voila! cinnamon rolls.

    use glass pie pan or even a glass plate for microwave. you can also microwave the tubes of cinnamon rolls! just experiment a bit with the timing based on the power of your microwave. only takes a couple minutes.

    jd in st louis

  • I enjoy making cinnamon rolls for my family from scratch. One thing that I have started doing which my family enjoys is adding some diced apple to it before I roll up the cinnamon roll. I think you could push some small diced apple slices into the rolls before baking them with this recipe. It gives it an apple fritter taste. We typically eat the apple cinnamon rolls quicker than just plain cinnamon rolls.

    • And THIS is why I love writing this blog so much! Thank you Gloria! That is brilliant and something I would never have thought of! I’m actually going to go try it right this very minute!

      • Let us know how it turned out! Sounds delicious.
        I think I’m totally making these on Christmas morning!

  • They DO look yummy. I do have a few questions…1)Are the rolls covered or uncovered while thawing in the oven overnight? 2)Do you remove the risen rolls from the oven while preheating it in the morning? Thanks so much for sharing this idea.

    • KayZee….I did not cover the rolls…and I didn’t take them out while the oven preheated. Just turned it on….put the temp to 350 degrees…and checked them 25 mins later and they were done. :-)

  • Well, I was planning on making the cinnamon roll pancakes that I saw, I believe through this site, but now I think it will be these we shall be supping on come Christmas morn. Much easier for me and will be enjoyed by all, I am sure. Thanks!

  • They look great! I’m curious about the Ice Cream part of the recipe, how did you come up with adding that ingredient?

    I’m running to the store to get my cinnamon rolls!

  • Hey Jillee,

    Cinnamon rolls are very easy to make. I wrote about it on my blog last week. Check it out: http://debbieschrijft.nl/2012/12/13/zweedse-kanelbullar-bakken/
    Google will help you translate :-)
    Swedes make cinnamon roles with flour and yeast because they don’t have self-raising flour. I was hesitant to try it that way, cuz it is a little more work. I tried it with self-raising flour myself and it worked out fine. They were delicious. I’m sure you have that in the US as well?

    • Debbie…thanks for sharing your recipe! I love how you put them in individual baking cups! They look much nicer that way. I’m going to have to give your recipe a try. You’re right…looks very baker-friendly. :-)

      • Thanks for the link. Had trouble finding the recipe–I was side tracked by the Nutella Cinnamon Rolls Recipe. But does the cinnamon compete with the Nutella? I’ll have to stop drooling and look some more.

      • Wow thanks everyone or checking my article! I had 208 views from the US today, love it. Have a nice christmas y’all!

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