Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are perfect for fall and for feeding a crowd!  AND they start with a Pillsbury® Cake Mix!  Love that!

I am in love with cinnamon rolls.

Like, I kind of want to marry them.



But the thing with cinnamon rolls, is that they aren’t a simple whip up a batch and make kind of thing.

There’s yeast involved, rising, sitting, kneading…


Anyhow when Pillsbury asked me to have a look at some of their new fall seasonal products, I jumped at the chance…because a little birdie told me that Caramel Apple was one of their new flavors!  ANNNND I knew that might be nothing better in life than using that Caramel Apple Cake Mix in a batch of cinnamon rolls.  Can you even imagine a better flavor combo?

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Here’s the thing…

Since Cinnamon Rolls are a bit of a “process” I always used to think of them as “special occasion” food.

But, what Pillsbury asked me to focus on with their new line of mixes was “Celebrate More”… and so that made me pause.

Cinnamon Rolls don’t have to be a special occasion food… they can be a, “Let’s celebrate Saturday” food…right?


Celebrating more of your everyday moments is really something that I try and do…as hard as it might be.


And while cinnamon rolls might not be your “celebration breakfast” of choice.. you could certainly make a cake to celebrate an evening at home.  What’s more fun than cake after dinner when it’s NOT a birthday?  Right?


Or celebrate your kid’s soccer game with an expected batch of cookies… it’s just little things like that you can do to make normal days a celebration.


But with all that said, we’re here today to focus on Cinnamon Rolls.  Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls…basically a party in a pastry.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Let’s talk about these…yes they start with a cake mix, but you still have to do a little bit of work.

The cake mix in this case adds the delicious caramel apple favor which is unexpected!  But you could absolutely use a vanilla cake mix for this recipe as well!


I started by making a caramel apple filling…again you could omit this step, no problem..I just liked the idea of the little chunks of apple through out!

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

It’s a simple filling..some chopped apples, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon.  Once you have cooked all that together, set it aside to cool down, and get started on the dough.


First mix your cake mix, flour and yeast (Rapid Rise) into a large bowl…

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Add some warm water and mix that together.

You’ll need to add a little more flour to the mix and knead that on a floured surface until it comes together…

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Grease a large bowl and set your dough in there to rise.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

It will almost double in size in about 45 minutes…

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Once it’s ready divide it into two equal portions and roll it out in a rectangle.  Brush it lightly with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar…

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Then top that with half of your apple mixture and roll it up…

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Slice it carefully into 12 pieces and place it in a greased 9×13 baking dish.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Cover that and let it rise again for about 20 more minutes.  During this time repeat the process with your remaining dough.

Then bake your cinnamon rolls up!

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

Now to finish them off, I used the Caramel Apple frosting.  You could easily use a vanilla or cream cheese frosting too!  I heated the frosting up in the microwave for about 25 seconds until it was pourable and then drizzled about half of the frosting onto my first batch of cinnamon rolls, reserving the other half for the other pan.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

And then I dug in.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls |

I loved using the Pillsbury Cake Mix in this recipe…the flavor combo was sensational!

Don’t forget to visit the Pillsbury Baking Facebook Page, their Pinterest Page and also their website for great recipes!


Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
makes 2 pan of 12 cinnamon rolls (total 24)
Caramel Apple mixture
  • 2 apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
Cinnamon Roll dough
  • 5 - 6 cups flour, divided
  • 1 box Caramel Apple Cake Mix, or you could use vanilla
  • 2 (.25 oz) packages of quick rise yeast
  • 2½ cups warm water
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 can Caramel Apple Frosting (you could sub vanilla or cream cheese frosting as well!
Caramel Apple Mixture
  1. In a medium saucepan combine apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes until apples are soft and mixture thickens. Set aside to cool.
Cinnamon Rolls
  1. In large bowl combine cake mix, 4 cups of flour and yeast. Pour in warm water and mix to combine.
  2. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and add in 1-2 more cups of flour, kneading until the dough is elastic and soft.
  3. Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400° and grease 2 9x13 baking pans.
  5. When dough has doubled in size remove from bowl and divide in half.
  6. Roll half of dough out on a floured surface into roughly a 10x14 inch rectangle.
  7. Mix together the cinnamon and light brown sugar for filling.
  8. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Reserving the other half for the second dough.
  9. Top this with half of reserved caramel apple mixture.
  10. Roll up the dough and cut it into 12 slices and brush with a little bit more butter. Place your rolls into one of the prepared pans and cover with a towel for another 20 minutes. Rolls will almost double in size.
  11. Repeat process with the leftover dough and remaining toppings.
  12. Bake each pan for 15 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Microwave the frosting for 20-25 seconds, stirring until smooth and pourable.
  14. Drizzle frosting over cinnamon rolls.
  15. Serve warm.
If you can't find the Caramel Apple Cake Mix, simply sub in a vanilla or french vanilla cake mix. Also, you can easily use vanilla or cream cheese frosting.


*Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but thoughts are my own. ©/® The J.M. Smucker Company. Pillsbury is a trademark of The Pillsbury Company, LLC, used under license.

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33 Comments on "Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls"

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These look amazing!! I haven’t seen that cake mix before… I’ll have to try it out!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

Wow, great idea for the cake mix! I’ve seen cake mix cinn rolls before, but have never tried. Love that you really went the extra mile to boost the flavor and filled them with those apple chunks. Oh those look so good! I made caramel apple cheesecake bars last week and today randomly relinked my cinn roll recipe on my FB page and have been flooded with questions today about cinn rolls. LOL Your version looks so straightforward. Love it.

Seeing this post reminds me of our recent trip. How ironic, eh? 🙂



These are so creative! I have never seen cake mix used in cinnamon rolls! I bet it add amazing flavor and I mean caramel apple?!?! I am sure these could get any better! Love them! 🙂

Cookbook Queen

These have got to be the best cinnamon rolls EVER!! In. Love.

Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet

Who would of known you could get this from a cake mix!! Looks delicious!!

Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker

Woow these cinnamon rolls look delicious. I love how you got the pieces of apple in there.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

These cinnamon rolls look straight up perfect! LOVE!


So, my never ending list of recipes to create has caramel apple cinnamon rolls on it. You beat me to it and now I just want to eat yours instead of creating my own.

Jennifer | Bake or Break

I frequently dream of baking homemade cinnamon rolls, but I never do because they’re so much work. This is so smart!


Awesome! Can’t wait to try these. Thanks so much for sharing!



OHMYGOSH! These look fantastic!! Great recipe Shelly! Totally trying these!

Megan {Country Cleaver}

Well helloooo carby, caramelly covered luvahhh!! These look divine!


What a great idea – just wondering though can this recipe be cut in half. I never need to have 2 trays of cinnamon rolls in the house – yes really.

Allie | Baking a Moment

These look so good & gooey Shelley! I never would have thought it could be done with a mix. So smart & I’m sure the flavor is amazing…


Shelly…these look incredibly good. I can’t wait to make these. Love all the photos. Great job!

Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

I LOVE that these use a cake mix! So soft, fluffy and gooey! These are amazing, Shelly.


Love your idea to use cake mix, they look great. I will have to make these.

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective

Shelly, these look absolutely amazing!!


Oh My Gosh. These really look divine.
Can’t wait to make these; some for me and some for a bake sale
Thanks 4 sharing the recipe


It looks delicious! I’m planning on making them today, though I need to make a few changes, since I’m Dutch and here in the Netherlands we don’t have everything you have (like the caramel cake mix for example). Anyhow, it looks amazing and I can’t wait to start!



GIMME!! I love the sound of these!

Coco in the Kitchen

Cinnamon Rolls are my fav thing for breakfast on a chilly morning.
You took them over the top with the apples.
Can’t wait to make a batch.

Karen @ Sugartown Sweets

These look to die for! I just tried the caramel apple icing this week..amazing! The apples you added just put these over the top. Looks like a fabulous recipe. 🙂

elliott dad egglestone
elliott dad egglestone

Shelly, you are still trying to drive me crazy, along with this and the October 15th rendition, Isa has some major cooking on tap.


Another recipe that I won’t get a chance to try… It’s tough to modify when you live in Canada and have no access to the ingredients! 🙁


I am making this weekend for a party, but wondering if I could par bake them and then day of party finish them off? If so, any recommendations for temp and how long? So excited to try these!!!


You just reminded me about using cake mix for cinnamon rolls! I love that you used the caramel apple cake mix. I`m sure these were amazing!


I am all about celebrating Saturday with cinnamon rolls! Or Mondays. Or Thursdays.

Jennifer Young

This is very impressive. I can’t believe you made these with cake mix and frosting. Seems way simpler than the traditional method. I am going to have to give this recipe a try. Thanks!

Rhonda O

How would these work making them the night before and baking in the morning? They sound so yummy and I want to make them for my work but would never have the time in the morning.