These Savory, Taco-Flavored 'Cinnamon Rolls' Are Exactly What Your Next Brunch Needs

If you don’t have a sweet tooth at breakfast, this is the dish for you.

Cinnamon rolls are a fan-favorite for a reason: They're swirly, sweet, and perfectly indulgent. But what happens when you take cinnamon rolls to the savory side? Good things, my friends — very good things. Once we saw food blogger Jonathan Melendez pioneering the way with his Savory Taco "Cinnamon" Rolls, we knew this was a culinary journey we couldn't miss out on.

Now, it might be hard to wrap your head around at first, but instead of a buttery, sweet interior, picture a meaty, cheesy filling. Instead of a drizzle of vanilla icing, envision a cascade of white queso. Every bite of these savory pastries is like a whole Tex-Mex meal in your mouth, from the refried beans inside to the sliced avocado on top. For brunch, tailgates, or potlucks, these unexpected rolls will impress.

Melendez of The Candid Appetite hasn't stopped with just a taco filling — he's created rolled masterpieces with all kinds of savory flavors, from Savory Muffuletta "Cinnamon" Rolls to creamy Spinach Artichoke Rolls. Just name a dish, and I bet he can cinnamon-roll it. (Also, his sweet creations are just as gorgeous).

Swapping out store-bought pizza dough for the homemade yeasted dough will yield denser and chewier (but less time-consuming) rolls. Just make sure not to roll the pizza dough too thin (like I did) or you won't get a great rise. These game day-ready rolls are a great opportunity to use up any ground beef or refried beans from taco night, and you can finish them off with any taco or nacho toppings you have in the fridge.

How to Make Savory Taco "Cinnamon" Rolls

Recipe adapted from The Candid Appetite

  • 1 16oz portion fresh pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup prepared refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups prepared queso
  • Optional toppings: chopped cilantro, avocado slices, pico de gallo, lime juice
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, then cook the ground beef until fully browned. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the water, taco seasoning, and tomato paste until fully combined. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a buttered 9x13 baking dish. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, until about ¼ inch thickness. Spread a thin layer of refried beans evenly over the dough. Spoon the ground beef mixture evenly over top, then sprinkle with a generous layer of shredded Cheddar cheese.
  3. Starting at a long end of the dough, carefully roll the dough into a long, tight log. Slice the log into 12 even pieces using a serrated knife. Place the rolls, cut side down, into the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Drizzle with warm queso and desired toppings, and serve immediately.
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