5 Awesome Twists on Cinnamon Rolls

These sweet and savory buns are swirled with cool combos like chocolate and tahini, marmalade and crispy bacon, and more. Why should cinnamon have all the fun?
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lemon cherry rolls

Start Here:

  • 1 envelope (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 4 cups flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 stick butter, chopped, at room temperature 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Filling and topping ingredients

1. In a small bowl, mix 2/3 cup warm water (about 110°) and the yeast. Let stand until dissolved, about 10 minutes. In a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, mix 4 cups flour, the butter, 2 eggs, sugar, salt, and the yeast on medium speed until a smooth ball of dough forms, 3 to 4 minutes. (Or mix the ingredients in a large bowl, then knead by hand until soft, about 10 minutes.) Transfer the dough to a greased bowl; turn until coated. Cover; let rise in a draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

2. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 14-by-16-inch rectangle. Top with the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Starting with 1 long end, roll the dough into a log. Cut into eight 2-inch-thick rounds.

3. In a greased 8-inch round cake pan, arrange the buns, cut-side up. Cover; let stand in a draft-free area until the buns are puffed and fill the pan, about 25 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with 1 tbsp. water; brush on the buns. Bake at 350° until golden and cooked through, about 35 minutes. (Tent the buns with foil if they brown too quickly.) Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the buns out onto a platter. Add the topping.

Twist #1: Lemon-Cherry

lemon cherry roll close up

Filling: Spread with 5 tbsp. lemon curd. Sprinkle with 1 cup chopped dried tart cherries. 

Topping: Drizzle with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar whisked with 1 tbsp. milk and 1/4 tsp. lemon zest. Rub 2 tbsp. sugar with 1 tsp. lemon zest; sprinkle on the buns.

Twist #2: Orange & Bacon

orange bacon rolls

Filling: Spread with 2/3 cup orange marmalade. Sprinkle with 1 lb. chopped cooked bacon. 

Topping: Drizzle with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar whisked with 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup.

Twist #3: Stromboli

stromboli rolls

Filling: Mix 2 tbsp. olive tapenade and 2 tbsp. olive oil; spread on the dough. Sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup chopped hot soppressata. 

Topping: In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook 1 sliced garlic clove in 1/4 cup olive oil until browned, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the buns with the garlic oil.

Twist #4: Herb Garden

herb garden rolls

Filling: In a food processor, blend 5 tbsp. olive oil with 3 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; 2 tbsp. each chopped fresh chives, sage, and thyme; and 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary. Season the filling with 2 tsp. salt; spread on the dough. 

Topping: Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

Twist #5: Chocolate-Halvah

chocolate halvah rolls

Filling: Sprinkle with 1 bar (3.5 oz.) finely chopped milk chocolate and 1 cup crumbled halvah (soft sesame candy).

Topping: Drizzle with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar whisked with 2 tbsp. tahini, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, and 3 tbsp. milk. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.