I made cinnamon rolls in an air fryer and they were better than my usual method

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When it comes to indulgent treats, nothing is tastier than a cinnamon roll. Made with enriched flour (which contains fat), these sweet bread-based snacks are stuffed with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, and topped with a rich cream cheese icing.

As a keen baker, they are one of my favorite pastries to make, even though they are time-consuming. While you can buy ready-made dough from the grocery store, I prefer to make my own, but making the dough from scratch requires proofing time, and 30 minutes of cooking time, roughly making cinnamon buns in total. It takes three hours.


While there’s nothing I can do to reduce the proofing time of homemade dough, the air fryer is great for creating an evenly browned crisp finish, often in less time. This got me wondering, could cooking them in an air fryer produce better results than my traditional method of cooker? While a cooker can brown the top of the cinnamon rolls evenly, the edges are often yellow, even when they’re crunchy—unlike the ones I buy from bakeries.

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Read on to find out what happened when we cooked cinnamon rolls in an air fryer, or if you’ve already decided you want to invest in an air fryer, check out the best prices right now:

here comes the science bit

When baking bread, mid-range temperatures are best as these ensure that the cinnamon rolls are fully cooked, so they are soft and cushiony, rather than raw and dense. It also ensures that the crust is crisp and evenly browned without burning.

In my traditional cooker, using a temperature of 356 F/180 degrees is perfect for cinnamon rolls, but as we’ve already mentioned they take about 20 minutes to cook. On top of that, another 10 minutes while the oven reaches the desired temperature. Although they are still delicious, they are often not as brown and crunchy as those bought from a bakery.

Air fryers have a smaller cavity than traditional cookers, which means that hot air circulates more evenly around the food during cooking, and they heat up quicker than traditional ovens. Together, this means they can crisp and brown food more evenly and quickly than traditional cooking methods.

I have it Instant Vortex Plus, which currently tops our list of the best air fryers, and can bake, roast, reheat, and dehydrate as well as air fry. However, when bake mode is used the hot air does not circulate as fast as it does in air fryer mode.

This means the finish isn’t as crisp, crunchy, and earthy—which is ideal for soft bakers like Victoria Sponge—but in the case of cinnamon rolls I want a crunchy and dark brown instead of a soft and light one, so the inside In this instance, I stuck with using the appliance as an air fryer. Now only cooking was left.

let’s cook

Over the years, I’ve tried many different recipes for cinnamon rolls and I’ve found that some aspects of a recipe prove successful, others not so much. So I’ve come up with my own hybrid method, which uses flour enriched with BBC Good Food Recipes,

However, if you’re short on time and can plan ahead, it’s possible to make and proof this dough in advance, then freeze it in an oiled plastic container.

Remove from freezer a few hours before needing and let it defrost at room temperature. Then follow the steps below to fill and cut the cinnamon rolls.

When it comes to buttery, slightly-spicy fillings, after several tries, I’ve decided to use 2.1 oz/60 g of softened butter spread over the dough, then 3 oz/85 g of dark muscovado sugar and 1.5 tsp of cinnamon. sprinkled with the mixture.

I mixed the dough ingredients, and left it to proof for 1.5 hours, then I rolled it into a rectangle 15.7 x 9.8 inches / 40 x 25 cm (lxw) wide and spread over the filling.

Using the long side of the rectangle, I rolled the dough into a long sausage shape (the same way you would roll a swiss roll) and cut it into 11 equal parts (I always cut each edge down to make sure that the rolls are clean) before being cut into equal sizes, meaning I get 11 rolls instead of 12). Then I left it for another 30 minutes to proof.

Once the cinnamon rolls were ready to cook, I turned on the air fryer and set the cooking temperature to 356 F/180 degrees. I used my previous experience cooking in an air fryer – for example when I discovered this game-changing hack to make fries taste even better in an air fryer and when I Rival KFC created fried chicken, then combined with some research into an air fryer cinnamon roll recipe (all of which use pre-made flour, incidentally) and settled on a cooking period of 10 minutes — exactly half the time in the oven. to cook in.

However, when I went to put the cinnamon rolls in the air fryer, I ran into my first problem—the air fryer basket wasn’t big enough to hold all 11 cinnamon rolls. I managed to comfortably fit seven rolls on crisper trays in the air fryer basket, setting the rest aside to cook later.

The Instant Vortex Plus has a reminder for shake function, which alerts you halfway through the cooking process so you can shake or turn food in the air fryer drawer to make sure every inch of it is crisp and crunchy Is. However, when it comes to cinnamon buns, they don’t need to be browned on the bottom as well as the top, just cooked through, so I simply ignored this notification during cooking.


Once I reached the end of the cooking time, I peeped into the air fryer and was very impressed. The cinnamon rolls were crunchy and browned evenly on top, but the sides were still as pale as when using a cooker. I removed the roll closest to the front of the air fryer drawer to check that it was fully cooked inside.

When I cut into it, the dough was soft and spongy, indicating it was actually cooked. All that was left over me was topped with a sweet sticky mixture of powdered sugar and cream cheese and mixed in.

As soon as I started removing the leftover rolls for the air fryer, I suddenly saw a huge error. Some buttery spicy filling had seeped through the buns and onto the crispy plate, some air was dripping into the fryer basket.

The crisper plate is dishwasher safe, which makes for easy cleanup and takes just as much effort as when baking on a tray in the oven. The air fryer basket is another story—as on this model it must be cleaned by hand (though some air fryers have dishwasher safe baskets) which means it took a little longer to clean than I’d like.

To make sure that wasn’t the case with the second batch, I placed them on a round baking tray and placed it on a crisp plate of the air fryer. This turned out to be even better than just using an air fryer, as the metal tray reflects hot air onto the sides of the roll, creating crisp, evenly browned sides as well as the top.

I shared the baked goods with my partner, who was very impressed and unaware that they were cooked differently from my usual way.

It’s clear that an air fryer can really improve cinnamon rolls, by ensuring that the sides are crisp and evenly browned as well as the top, without compromising on their quality. I certainly wouldn’t go back to cooking them in the oven.

However going forward I will always use an extra oven tray to hold the cinnamon buns in during cooking to make sure I get a perfect result every time. If you love these sweet treats as much as I do, I urge you to try them too.

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