This article was updated on 4th July 2023, and a new method was tested; the frying pan
This article is all about how to keep your cinnamon rolls tasting as fresh as possible, for as long as possible. I’ve personally experimented with five different reheating methods, to find out which one delivers the best-tasting cinnamon roll.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best way to reheat multiple cinnamon rolls is in the oven. Sprinkle some water over the cinnamon rolls or put a small pat of butter on top. Cover the cinnamon rolls in foil and heat at 350°F (180°C) for 10-15 minutes. For a single cinnamon roll, the microwave is more convenient.
How I tested reheating cinnamon rolls
There’s a lot of confusing and downright rubbish information online when it comes to reheating cinnamon rolls.
Related: how to reheat hot cross buns
In order to clear up the confusion and save you the grief of ruining one of your precious cinnamon rolls, I decided to test every method to find the best one.
The reheating methods I tested include:
- In the oven: The best method for multiple rolls.
- In the microwave: Great for stale or individual rolls.
- In an air fryer: Good and quick.
- In a George Foreman-style grill: Bonus method!
- In a frying pan: Fun and tasty.
Each cinnamon roll was reheated and sampled immediately. I’ve based my judgment on how the cinnamon roll tasted, the texture (how soft they were), and how easy the method was.
How to reheat cinnamon rolls in the oven (or toaster oven)
Time: 10-15 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water on each cinnamon roll or add a small pat of butter.
- Cover the cinnamon rolls with foil.
- Place the cinnamon rolls on a baking tray and reheat in the oven for 10-15 minutes*.
- Add extra icing before serving if you have any.
*If you have a toaster oven, the heating time will be quicker. You’ll only need 5-10 minutes. And if you’re reheating the cinnamon rolls from frozen, you’ll need an additional 10ish minutes
The water helps to create steam in the oven which will rehydrate the cinnamon roll as it reheats. The foil is to trap the steam, but if you want a crispy top on your cinnamon roll, you can remove the foil for the last few minutes of reheating.
Butter or extra cream cheese isn’t necessary, but I find that they add even more moisture to the rolls and help revive the flavor.
Pros: this was my favorite way to reheat cinnamon rolls. In my tests, the oven produced the softest and least dry cinnamon rolls. And you can reheat lots of cinnamon rolls at once.
Cons: it’s pretty slow compared to the other methods and probably not worth it for just one roll (unless you have a toaster oven).
How to reheat cinnamon rolls in the microwave
Time: 30 seconds
The microwave is great for reheating and softening stale cinnamon rolls.
- Place a single cinnamon roll on a microwave-safe plate and place a small pat of butter on top of it (if no icing).
- Dampen a single paper towel and cover the cinnamon roll with it (use toothpicks if you don’t want it to touch the icing).
- Microwave on full power in 10-second increments. Most cinnamon rolls will be fully reheated in 20-30 seconds. If you’re microwaving frozen rolls, allow up to a minute.
- Remove the cinnamon roll from the microwave, ice it, and let it sit for 60 seconds before serving (it will be very hot).
Adding butter before microwaving allows it to melt right down into the roll and introduces lots of extra moisture. It’s delicious!
The paper towel should be fairly wet – but not dripping. And avoid wrapping the whole roll, because otherwise, you’ll end up with a soggy bottom.
Pro tip: eat the roll as soon as possible after it comes out of the microwave. If you leave it too long the cinnamon roll will dry out and become like cardboard.
I also tested the glass of water trick, but I think the paper towel performed better.
Pros: the microwave is super quick and convenient and the cinnamon roll turned out soft and delicious (even the more stale ones).
Cons: you need to eat the cinnamon roll really quickly after you microwave it because it dries up FAST, therefore it’s only really suitable for reheating one roll.
How to reheat cinnamon rolls in the air fryer
Time: 3-4 minutes
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over each cinnamon roll and spread some extra butter on top to taste.
- Optional: place a sheet of parchment paper underneath the cinnamon rolls to catch any residual icing/butter drips.
- Reheat the cinnamon rolls in the air fryer at 350°F for 3 to 4 minutes (or up to 10 minutes if the rolls are frozen).
- Serve immediately.
Warning: the cinnamon rolls will be VERY hot to the touch out of the air fryer, especially if you added extra butter.
I tend to use tongs to lift the rolls out, but you can also get creative with two forks.
Don’t forget about the rolls because they’ll overheat and dry out very quickly.
Pros: if you love crispy things out of the air fryer, you’ll love air-fried cinnamon rolls. The air frying is also quick and easy.
Cons: the rolls were a touch too dry for my liking, and I wasn’t a fan of the crispy top (but you might be!).
How to reheat cinnamon rolls in a frying pan
Time: 3-4 minutes
- Melt some butter in a pan on medium heat.
- Then place the cinnamon roll bottom side down in the pan.
- Sprinkle a small amount of water around the edge of the pan, then quickly cover it with a lid to trap the steam.
- Heat the rolls for 2-3 minutes, removing the lid for the last 30 seconds. If the rolls don’t have any icing, you can flip the roll over for another 30 seconds at the end.
Note: you can’t reheat frozen cinnamon rolls with this method, the excess water would leave them soggy.
You can see my cinnamon roll looks pretty fried because I went all in and pressed it down with a spatula to make sure I got some crispiness.
The lid and steam make sure the roll heats all the way through and softens the roll if it’s a bit hard.
Pros: the bottom of the cinnamon roll came out super crispy using this method, and it was really tasty
Cons: it’s messy and the icing can melt all over the pan, it’s also not so healthy with all the extra butter
How to store cinnamon rolls
To store leftover cinnamon rolls, let them cool to room temperature and then place them in an airtight container. You can keep them at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer-term storage, it’s best to freeze the rolls.
While you can technically refrigerate the cinnamon rolls, it’s not recommended. They tend to go quite tough after being in the fridge for a few hours.
The only grey area is when cream cheese icing is involved. Some sources (like Americas Test Kitchen), say cream cheese icing is okay to sit out for a few hours but then you need to refrigerate it. While other sources (like Cinnabon), say it’s okay to sit out for 2 days.
I personally would be comfortable leaving cream cheese icing out at room temperature for around a day, because I know all the sugar will help preserve it.
Make sure the rolls are completely cool before you store them because any condensation in their container will render them soggy. I always line my container with a paper towel to help get rid of any excess moisture (just in case).
How to freeze cinnamon rolls
To freeze already-baked cinnamon rolls, first, ensure that they’re fully cool. Next, individually wrap each cinnamon roll in plastic wrap and place the wrapped cinnamon rolls into a freezer bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to one month.
If icing is preventing you from wrapping the rolls tightly enough, place the rolls uncovered in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. This will harden the icing and mean you can wrap the rolls properly.
When you want to eat the rolls, take them out of the freezer a few hours before to give them time to thaw. Then you can reheat them using any of the methods detailed above.
If you forget to thaw the cinnamon rolls this is okay too, they’ll just take longer to reheat.
The BEST Way To Reheat Cinnamon Rolls [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion cinnamon rolls
- 1 sprinkle water
- 1 tbsp icing or butter (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Sprinkle (or spray) approximately 1 tablespoon of water on each cinnamon roll. The water allows the roll to rehydrate while it reheats.
- Optional: add additional icing or butter to taste. I personally love cream cheese icing – but feel free to adapt. I find that adding icing before reheating adds additional moisture to the cinnamon roll.
- Cover the cinnamon rolls completely with foil. This prevents the tops from burning and prevents moisture from escaping. It’s key to not drying them out.
- Place the foil-wrapped cinnamon rolls on a baking tray and reheat in the oven for 10-15 minutes.