Might we be so bold as to suggest peanut butter, banana, and bacon?
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Baking cinnamon rolls is one of our favorite ways to make any morning special. Whether it's a holiday brunch or just your average Sunday morning, the aroma of a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls wafting through the house is sure to rouse the whole family from its slumber. And while we love cinnamon rolls for all their gooey deliciousness, we must admit that they are predictable. You know what you'll get when you eat a cinnamon roll—whether homemade or from a can. The pillowy dough with a sugary, well-spiced cinnamon filling rolled up to create that signature swirl is a classic, but we're here to permit you to think outside the box. 

That's right. Cinnamon buns can be more than the traditional cinnamon and sugar. There are so many ways to put a new spin on this classic treat. For your next social brunch or lazy Sunday morning, try swapping the cinnamon in your rolls with one of these creative fillings.

Orange Rolls
Credit: Southern Living

Fruit-Based Combinations

Orange Rolls

While cinnamon rolls may be popular across the U.S., the South has been making these citrusy rolls for decades. Filled with orange marmalade, these bright, sunny Orange Rolls will be a welcome addition to your breakfast spread.

Raspberry Rolls

Rolls swirled with raspberry jam? It doesn't get much prettier than that. While a layer of raspberry jam is an excellent filling for these rolls, we also like to add some fresh raspberries.

Lemon Sugar Rolls

We're keeping things light and fresh with these Lemon Sugar Rolls. To make these rolls, combine softened butter with white sugar and lemon zest, then spread the filling over the dough. The final product has a lovely citrusy kick—we love to top these with a thick cream cheese glaze.

Blueberry-Cream Cheese Rolls

If you swoon over danish at the local coffee shop, these rolls are for you. Mix white sugar with cream cheese and spread it over the rolled-out dough, then sprinkle on a layer of blueberries. Roll it up and top with a few extra blueberries before baking.

Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Glaze
Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Inspired by Desserts

Chocolate-Hazelnut Rolls

Break out that jar of Nutella and use the fan-favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread as a filling for your morning rolls. For extra elegance, sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over the Nutella layer before you roll it all up.

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Your favorite dessert is now acceptable to eat for breakfast. You're welcome. Use shaved carrots, brown sugar, sweetened shredded coconut, chopped pecans, butter, and cinnamon to channel the flavors of carrot cake into these sweet rolls

Birthday Cake Rolls

Sprinkles make everything more fun. There's no denying that. Make a sweet roll filling with cream cheese, white sugar, vanilla extract, and rainbow sprinkles for a special birthday treat. It's like a party in your mouth.

Reimagined Classics

Cardamom Rolls

Think of these as the cinnamon roll's cool, sophisticated cousin. Cardamom is a warm spice with a bright, distinctively citrusy flavor. This twist on cinnamon rolls draws inspiration from Swedish cardamom buns, which you may have seen at a fancy bakery before. To make cardamom rolls, swap all of the cinnamon in your filling for the same amount of cardamom. To make cinnamon-cardamom rolls, substitute only half of the cinnamon.

Pecan Rolls

All Southerners know the beauty of the Pecan Sticky Bun—these rolls draw inspiration from that beloved pastry. Layer your rolls with softened butter, brown sugar, and chopped, toasted pecans to achieve a nutty, caramel-y flavor.

Babka Rolls

Inspired by babka, a classic Jewish sweet bread made from braided dough layered with chocolate, these rolls are anything but ordinary. Create a thick filling with butter, honey, and bittersweet and milk chocolates. You can also use ground chocolate wafer cookies to achieve this combination of flavors. 

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Credit: Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

A Twist on Classics

PB&J Rolls

It's peanut butter and jelly time. This iconic duo gets a morning makeover when used as the filling for sweet rolls. Spread a layer of peanut butter over the dough, then top it with a layer of the jelly of your choice and roll it all up. It's as simple as that.

S'mores Rolls

Gather 'round the campfire for these decadent s'mores rolls. For our take on the classic camping treat, stuff your sweet rolls with chocolate, mini marshmallows, and crushed graham crackers.

Elvis Rolls

In an homage to Elvis's favorite sandwich, create these funky rolls filled with peanut butter, banana, and crumbled bacon if you're feeling crazy. To sweeten things up, you can even add in marshmallow fluff.

Tropical Rolls

Head to the tropics. Layer your cinnamon rolls with cream cheese, sweetened shredded coconut, and chopped pineapple for a taste of sunshine.

Perfect for the Holidays

Pumpkin Spice Rolls

In the fall, we go all-in on all things pumpkin. Accordingly, we make our autumnal cinnamon roll filling with butter, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice.

Apple Pie Rolls

Use leftover filling from an apple pie and repurpose it in a breakfast roll. For an extra sweet combination, layer apple pie filling over cinnamon roll dough and roll it to make a swirl.

Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Nothing says "autumn" quite like a trip to the apple orchard. Use that haul of apples to make slow-cooker apple butter. You can use it in plenty of different ways, but we love to spread it over enriched dough to make Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Glaze.

Christmas Morning Rolls

Christmas morning calls for something extra-festive. For your next holiday morning, stuff rolls to the brim with cranberries, orange zest, brown sugar, and pecans if you're feeling crazy. Find a starter recipe for Christmas Morning Rolls and add or substitute ingredients based on your family's preferences.