Turn canned cinnamon rolls into next-level baked goods with these sneaky cheats.

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Nothing is better than the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the morning. But when you don't want to put in the effort of making freshly yeasted dough, you can customize canned cinnamon rolls into breakfast treats that'll make everyone think you're a baking genius.

Tip: These hacks work best with the kind of canned cinnamon rolls that you can unroll.

1. Make them fresh and fruity.

cinnamon roll baked with fresh fruit
Credit: Jackie Freeman

Tuck some chopped fresh fruit tossed with a pinch of cinnamon and brown sugar into the rolls and you've covered two food groups (fruit and cinnamon rolls, am I right?!). Chop up an apple, pear, or persimmon, or add a handful of fresh or (well-drained) defrosted frozen blueberries and mix with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Unroll the dough, gently press the fruit inside, and re-roll. Then simply bake according to package instructions. If you're feeling super fancy or super fruity, you can even spoon a little extra fruit on top of the rolls as they bake.

2. Pantry pump-up.

canned cinnamon rolls stuffed with dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate before baking
Credit: Jackie Freeman

Dive into your pantry and pull out the last little bits of spices, dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips to mix into your cinnamon rolls. Unroll the dough then add a sprinkling of cardamom, raisins, and toasted sliced almonds; nutmeg and chocolate chunks; or chopped dates and toasted chopped walnuts. Roll the dough back up and bake as directed.

3. Better with bacon.

canned cinnamon roll dough baked with cooked bacon rolled up inside.
Credit: Jackie Freeman

Make it a complete breakfast by adding a slice of bacon to each roll. It's the perfect combination of sweet and salty (if you've ever had a maple-bacon doughnut, you'll know what I mean). Par-cook the bacon for a few minutes first, until just before crisp, so your rolls aren't swimming in bacon grease and the bacon has a bit of bite. Take your not-quite-crisp bacon, lay it flat on your dough, roll up, and bake following package directions.

4. Monkey around.

canned cinnamon roll dough with cream cheese being turned into monkey bread.
canned cinnamon roll dough baked in a bundt pan to make pull-apart monkey bread
Left: Credit: Jackie Freeman
Right: Credit: Jackie Freeman

You can turn cinnamon roll into monkey bread — a finger-food breakfast dish that's perfect for sharing, or just for eating by yourself in front of the TV. This is basically pull-apart bread, with a delightful cinnamon twist. If you really want to up the ante, you can stuff each roll with a bit of cream cheese. Take an 8-ounce block and cut it into enough small pieces to give you one per cinnamon roll. Using three cans of cinnamon rolls, flatten each roll and place a piece of cream cheese in the center, then wrap the dough around and pinch to seal. (If you're not using cream cheese, simply form each cinnamon roll into a ball). Toss the balls into a lightly greased Bundt or tube pan and bake in a 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven for about 40 minutes, until golden. Drizzle with the icing packets that come with the rolls.

5. The pie's the limit.

canned cinnamon roll dough flattened and pressed into a pie dish to make pie crust
Credit: Jackie Freeman

Turn cinnamon rolls into cinnamon roll pie crust. Thinly slice your dough into about ½-inch-thick rounds. Then lightly roll and press them, flat-side down, evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate, making sure there are no spaces. Prepare your favorite pie filling, like Apple Pie Filling, Peach Pie Filling, or Sweet Potato Pie. Pour it on top of the rolls, and bake according to the recipe.

6. Waffling around.

canned cinnamon roll dough baked in a waffle iron
Credit: Jackie Freeman

No need to turn on the oven for this hack. Just pull out your waffle iron. If your waffle iron isn't non-stick, grease it up the way you would if you were making regular waffles. (Need a non-stick waffle iron? Try this $30 Target best-seller.) Place a rolled up cinnamon roll flat-side down in the hot waffle iron, close the lid, and cook until golden and crisp. For a special treat, top these breakfast hybrids with Cinnamon Syrup, Chocolate Syrup, or frosting (see the next tip).

7. Fantastic frosting.

canned cinnamon roll dough topped with homemade chocolate icing
Credit: Jackie Freeman

Sometimes the frosting that comes with store-bought rolls can taste, well, a little store-bought. Take a few extra minutes to make your own icing, resulting in a game-changer. Start with basic Cream Cheese or Chocolate Frosting, or branch out with Eggnog Frosting or Maple Buttercream Frosting.

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