What makes a good cinnamon roll? Fluffiness, chewiness, and, of course, just the right amount of cinnamon. Some prefer a nice glaze, while others (ourselves among them) want great big dollops of frosting. Below are our five favorite purveyors of cinnamon rolls in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Go forth and eat! By Jessica Allen.
Stoners might snigger at the name, but folks have been making the long slog to Red Hook just for a taste of Baked’s baked goods. The bakery has since expanded into Tribeca, and the treats are just as good. Made fresh every morning, the cinnamon buns are topped with icing and pairs perfectly with a cup of Stumptown; not surprisingly, the buns sell out fast. Other morning goods include turnovers, croissants, bundts, coffee cake, scones, and muffins. If you need more incentive, have a gander at the bakery’s Instagram page.
Using natural, organic ingredients and relying on traditional baking techniques, Breads Bakery makes lots of yummy things, including chocolate babka, baguettes, and rugelach. There’s also a “bread of the day,” such as herb bread on Thursdays and marzipan challah on Saturdays. But we’re here to talk about cinnamon rolls: Breads’ version features layer-after-layer of buttery, cinnamon-dusted dough, with a croissant-like texture. It’s not for the faint of heart or kind of full—it’s big, it’s hefty, and it’s perfect for a coffee-and-paper kind of morning or afternoon or evening.
Formerly known as BabycakesNYC, Erin McKenna’s Bakery on the Lower East Side is the city’s best vegan gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free bakery. You say you prefer your baked goods with eggs, etc.? You’ll change your tune once you’ve had a bite of her cinnamon rolls, or cupcakes, or donuts, or cornbread, or muffins, or brownies. They’re ah-maaaaayyyyy-zing. You won’t miss any of the other stuff. In fact, many of the ingredients, such as cold-pressed coconut oil, used here are really good for you, which means you can gobble guilt-free.
In the past, whenever we’d go to Levain, we’d get so sucked in by the glory of the bakery’s cookies, we couldn’t seem to see anything else on offer. One day, an Oprah-watching friend mentioned that the host had featured Levain’s cinnamon buns on her show, so we decided to try one on our next visit. Now we make room in our hearts, and bellies, for the cookies and raisin sticky buns, which are held together with an incredible honey-brown sugar-and-cinnamon paste. (Note: they come in walnut too, and are only available on the weekend—doors open at 8 on Saturday and 9 on Sunday.)
Oh, cinnamon rolls from Rock Hill Bakehouse, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways: you’re light yet filling, soft, and chewy. Your blanket of icing is laid on with a generous, loving hand, and you are equally good warmed up as at room temperature. You’re made upstate, using natural leavens and high-quality flour, without additives and preservatives, and you’re sold on Saturdays at the Union Square Greenmarket. The last point is particularly notable, since if you were available every day, around the clock, we might not be able to control ourselves.