The Internet Swears By This Easy Hack For Upgrading Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, And I'm Low-Key Upset I Didn't Know About It Sooner

If cooking isn't your forte, the yearly approach of Thanksgiving can often feel like impending doom. Whether it's a formal, sit-down Thanksgiving dinner or a casual Friendsgiving gathering, no one likes showing up empty-handed — which means you're basically forced to bring a store-bought pie (inconsistent at best), yet another bottle of wine (boring), or attempt a homemade dessert (usually nerve-wracking). For your celebrations this year, never fear: I just so happened to come upon this recipe that'll ease your holiday anxieties.

Warner Bros. / Via giphy.com

Last Thanksgiving, a shockingly-simple dessert from Meals and Munchies made its rounds on TikTok. Brooke, the recipe's creator, prefaces the video: "It's Thanksgiving Day and you want people to think you can bake. I've got you covered." She goes on to whip together a one-dish, three-ingredient dessert that I can only describe as a pumpkin pie and cinnamon roll hybrid, and the second I saw her pull it out of the oven, I knew I had to try it for myself.

icing and pumpkin puree cinnamon rolls with text saying your'e gonna go to the store and get some cinnamon rolls, and you're gonna get one can of pure pumpkin
Meals and Munchies / Via tiktok.com

The ingredients are ridiculously simple, and you'll only need three of them: 1 8-count refrigerated can of cinnamon rolls (Brooke specifies the cream cheese icing variety), 1 15-ounce can of 100% pumpkin purée, and some pumpkin pie spice.

cinnamon rolls for 4.79, pumpkin pie spice for 2.19, and pumpkin puree for 3.29

Especially with rising grocery costs, putting together an entire Thanksgiving dessert for just about $10 is a total win in my book.

Ross Yoder

STEP #1: You'll start by pre-heating your oven to 350ºF...

350 degrees on the oven display
Ross Yoder

...then spraying a 9- or 10-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Ross Yoder

Brooke used a casserole dish in her video, but since I ended up buying a regular-sized package of cinnamon rolls instead of the larger variety she used, I found the smaller pie dish to be a more appropriate-sized baking vessel. And TBH, it feels very *Thanksgiving* to serve a non-pie in a pie dish.

STEP #2: Open your cinnamon rolls. Not gonna lie — the pop always scared me as a kid, and it still definitely scares me now. So, I can say with complete confidence that even if you can't open a can of cinnamon rolls without letting out the world's tiniest and most embarrassing shriek, you're still more than capable of making this dessert.

directions for opening cinnamon rolls and popping the cardboard can open
Ross Yoder

STEP #3: Use kitchen scissors to cut each cinnamon roll in half, then arrange the cinnamon roll halves on your greased pie dish.

cutting cinnamon rolls in half with scissors and arranging them, in contrast with the baking dish in brooke's original tiktok

Brooke cut her five larger cinnamon rolls into four pieces each, and I cut my eight smaller ones in half. Because of #math, I wound up with a similar amount of cinnamon roll chunks (16 as opposed to 20), but you can feel free to cut these to the size of your choosing, too.

Ross Yoder / Meals and Munchies / Via Instagram: @https://www.instagram.com/mealsandmunchies_/?hl=en

Oh, importantly, hang onto the icing container! You'll need it post-bake.

holding icing container in front of the cinnamon rolls
Ross Yoder

STEP #4: Mix in your pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice. First, scoop the purée on top of the cinnamon rolls...

can of pure pumpking being spread out over top the cinnamon roll halves
Ross Yoder

...then add about 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

open container of pumpkin pie spice over pumpkin puree
Ross Yoder

Mix everything together until well combined, then smooth everything out so the cinnamon roll chunks and pumpkin mixture are equally dispersed.

mixed up cinnamon rolls, spice, and puree in the pie dish

STEP #5: Bake! Pop the pie dish onto a rack placed in the center of your pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

30 minutes set on a timer

Pro-tip: Since all ovens are a little bit different, I'd highly recommend checking for doneness at the 20-25-minute mark.

Ross Yoder

While it bakes, wash the four tiny kitchen tools you used to make this dessert happen. Breathe a deep, necessary sigh of relief that you didn't need to take out every last piece of cookware and utensil you own.

can opener, measuring spoons, teaspoon, and scissors sitting in a steel sink
Ross Yoder

When the cinnamon rolls are no longer doughy to the touch and they're just starting to turn golden brown on the top, they're done. Remove the dish from your oven and allow it to cool slightly. At this point, your house will smell absolutely glorious.

not pictured: how exceptionally delicious my entire home smells and the cooked cinnamon rolls
Ross Yoder

STEP #6: Pop your icing container into the microwave for 10 seconds, and please don't forget to take off the metal lid. When the icing is nice and melty, drizzle it all over the warm, pumpkin-y cinnamon rolls.

Ross Yoder

That's it! From beginning to end, it took me less than 45 minutes to put together — 5 minutes or less to assemble everything, 30 minutes of totally inactive time, then, about 10 more minutes of waiting so I didn't scald my mouth with piping hot pumpkin purée. TBH, it might be the easiest dessert I've ever made.

author holding up a bite of the cinnamon rolls
Ross Yoder

Beyond its simplicity, it's also outrageously delicious. You taste the velvety, warmly-spiced pumpkin first, which feels fitting considering the palpable Thanksgiving vibes. Then, you get that soft, pillowy chew of the cinnamon rolls. Beyond adding flavor, the pumpkin also helps to keep the cinnamon rolls moist and fluffy. Like, if you're always fighting people for the center (read: best) cinnamon roll, this dessert was basically made for you.

top down shot of the icing covered rolls
Ross Yoder

If baking isn't your thing and you need something to take to this year's festivities, I'm thrilled to report that this dish is practically foolproof. Hell, even if you're an experienced baker, this dish would make the world's easiest kid-friendly Thanksgiving breakfast to serve your fam while you attend to, you know, cooking five thousand dishes for dinner.

cinnamon rolls on a fork, close up of the texture of a cross-section of the cinnamon roll with icing

One quick note: The resulting dessert isn't all that sweet, which I feel most people either love or kind of hate. (Pumpkin purée is unsweetened, folks!) If you fall into the latter camp, I'd recommend mixing 1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar into the cinnamon roll, pumpkin, and spice mixture to give it some added sweetness.

Ross Yoder

For more easy recipes, you can give Brooke (aka Meals and Munchies) a follow on her TikTok, Instagram, or website. And if you make this recipe for your friends and family this Thanksgiving, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.