These gooey, tender cinnamon rolls are everything you love about the classic brunch treat — down to the blanket of cream cheese icing — but they’re ready in a fraction of the time. The secret? A tube of crescent roll dough and your air fryer, which not only keeps your kitchen cool but also cooks the rolls to perfection in just 20 minutes. Here’s how to do it.
Start with a can of crescent roll dough
Crescent roll dough is the perfect shortcut for a quick batch of cinnamon rolls. It bakes up buttery, flaky and so much more tender than what you get from a tube of cinnamon rolls. After unrolling the dough on a piece of parchment paper, take a minute to pinch the seams together. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but close them as best you can. Then you’ll spread the brown sugar and cinnamon filling over the dough, roll it up, cut into slices and air-fry.
Air Fryer Cinnamon Rolls
Serves 4, Makes 8 small cinnamon rolls
- 1 ounce cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour
- 1 (8-ounce) tube refrigerated crescent roll dough
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole or 2% milk
1. Cut 1 ounce cream cheese into 8 pieces. Place in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature to soften while you prepare the cinnamon rolls.
2. Place 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, about 30 seconds. (Alternatively, melt the butter on the stovetop in a small saucepan.) Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, heat an air fryer to 325 F.
3. Add 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon to the butter and stir to combine.
4. Cut a sheet of parchment paper about the size of the air fryer basket or tray and place on a work surface. Unroll 1 tube crescent roll dough onto the parchment. Gently press the seams together with your fingers. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.) Spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly onto the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Gently press into the dough. Starting at a long side, tightly roll up the dough. Use your fingers to tightly press and seal the seam. Arrange seam-side down and cut crosswise into 8 pieces.
5. Arrange the rolls cut-side up, touching on another, on the parchment paper. Slide, still on the parchment, into the air fryer basket or onto the tray. Air fry until puffed and golden brown, 20 minutes. Let cool on the tray or in the basket for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the icing.
6. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar to the cream cheese. Stir until smooth. Whisk in 1 tablespoon milk until thinned and smooth. Spread over the warm rolls and serve immediately.
Recipe notes: Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to one week. Rewarm in a 300 F oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
(Kelli Foster is the food editor for plan and prep content for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
In this Series
- 6 updates