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How To Cook Cinnamon Rolls in An Air Fryer

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Air fryers are taking over kitchens all over the world. With a promise of healthier food and better cooking times, air fryers seem to be a highly welcome addition to the fried-food front. 

You may be wondering how they fare when it comes to baking. It turns out that air fryers are not just good for frying but for all types of baking too.

Think of them as miniaturized convection ovens on your tabletop. Whether it’s cakes, cookies, or cinnamon rolls – air fryers can cook anything. 

How do you cook cinnamon rolls in an air fryer? It’s easy! Air fryers can cook any type of food. There are different settings that you can use to bake your cinnamon rolls to perfection. Air fryers cook using hot air, take less time and distribute heat evenly, which means you get perfectly baked rolls every time. 

If you are looking for a quick, healthier, and better fix for cinnamon rolls, then you’re in luck. Not only can air fryers specifically cooks cinnamon rolls, but in some cases, they may even do a better job than conventional baking methods.

Read on to learn more about how you can use air fryers to your advantage for baking:

Air Fryer Technology – What You Should Know

Air fryers have a very specific way of cooking food. 

Most air fryers require little to no cooking oil because of how they are designed and how they dissipate heat. Air fryers work just like convection ovens. They blow heat in different directions to cook food evenly.

Convection cooking is when hot air is blown onto the surface of the food to cook it evenly and properly. You may be familiar with large convection ovens, well, air fryers are their smaller versions. But they have some important differences.

Typically, air fryers or convection ovens have a heating element in front of a fan.

The fan blows air that comes in contact with the heating element which heats it up and then the air passes around inside the chamber or “frying basket” to cook food.

More specifically, the air is pushed down from above the basket which comes directly in contact with the food.

The excess air is then drawn up from the basket and is circulated downwards, this is where convection happens. Think of this process as a tornado of hot air

While the air escapes from the top and travels to the bottom of the frying basket it heats the sides and is pushed upwards from underneath using specially designed grooves. 

These star-fish-shaped fins/grooves direct the air up the basket providing a thorough flow that encapsulates the entire basket equally. Meaning that the air is circulated not only inside the basket but outside and around it too. 

This is why air fryers are great at cooking food evenly, regardless of how packed or sparse the food is placed inside the basket. You can always count on thorough circulation and even cooking temperatures.

Do air fryers match conventional cooking methods? Almost. 

Of course, the best way to fry food is to dip it in hot oil but air fryers come very darn close which is why they are preferred over regular frying methods

Also, air fryers are well-known for being a much more convenient option over regular cooking methods. You will end up using less oil, create less mess and post-cooking cleanup is also going to be very easy

This cooking technology is relatively new and a lot of big brands like Samsung and Philips are investing more and more in the research and development of better air fryers.

We truly believe that this new range of fryers will continue to change the way we cook, bake and fry food in the near future.  

Convection Vs Regular Baking

The benefit of having an air fryer is that, unlike regular gas ovens, the heat is distributed much more evenly resulting in even cooking temperatures and time, without the need to turn or move the food.

Convection cooking heats up and cooks food from the outside in, resulting in a uniform, cooked surface. 

Air fryers use this same method but are much more compact and dissipate heat more efficiently than convection ovens.

This has a lot to do with their size. See, convection ovens are designed to cook food in large quantities. You can roast a whole chicken inside a convection oven. 

However, air fryers have a smaller cabin and you may end up cooking food in batches.

Most standard fryers come in sizes ranging from 0.5 kg to 1.5 kg and even more (some can go up to 14 kg). Meaning that in a 1.5 kg fryer you can fit in about 1.4 kg French fries

The main advantage air fryers have over convection ovens is that they distribute heat much more evenly than convection ovens and can operate on high heat resulting in lower cooking times.

Also, they can eliminate the need for excess oil. In fact, if your food has enough fat, you might not need any oil at all!

Baking In Air Fryers

Using air fryers to bake food is not an “out there” idea. It’s widely used and is also encouraged by a few professionals.

The thing with air fryers is that they are smaller in size, so you may need to prepare your food in batches but that is completely doable because you get a better product in the end.

When it comes to cinnamon rolls, baking in an air fryer offers a lot of advantages.

The most important advantage is that you get to cook your cinnamon rolls throughout without turning them or moving them around – and that too in record time!

But that’s not all, because of the way air fryers distribute heat, you can get fluffy, golden, and well-cooked layers on your cinnamon rolls without over-drying or overcooking them, which is a common complaint with most ovens. 

How To Bake Cinnamon Rolls In The Air Fryer

To bake perfect cinnamon rolls, we recommend you always use premade canned and refrigerated cinnamon rolls from brands like Pillsbury, though you can also use your own too.

You will need cooking oil (either spray or liquid), but not too much, as cooking cinnamon rolls in an air fryer will use as little oil as possible. You will also need some parchment paper

  1. Measure the base of the air fryer basket and cut a piece of parchment paper so that it fits perfectly in the air fryer. Place the paper at the bottom of the basket and lightly spray or coat it with oil. 
  2. Place the refrigerated cinnamon rolls over the parchment paper inside the basket. Since air will move around freely, you don’t have to space them out or worry about moving them around. You should be able to fit in about 8, two-inch cinnamon rolls.
  3. Ready the air fryer by setting it at 320°F and set the time to 12 minutes. You can also manually time the cooking process by using a stopwatch. 
  4. Check the surface and doneness of the cinnamon rolls. You can add in 5 more minutes if you want a deeper color or if you think that the rolls aren’t ready.
  5. Take out the cinnamon rolls using tongs and place them on a plate. You can now add in toppings and serve them immediately.

Additional Steps

While you don’t generally have to move around the rolls inside an air fryer, you can use a neat trick to make your cinnamon rolls even more irresistible. 

During step 3, start by cooking the cinnamon rolls for about 6 minutes then stop the timer and use a pair of tongs to invert the rolls so that they are upside down.

Start the fryer again and continue cooking for another 7-10 minutes. This will give you a much more satisfying outer layer that is both golden and thoroughly cooked.

We think this simple alteration will do wonders but if you don’t have the time, the steps above should suffice as well.   

A great reason to follow these optional steps is that the use of parchment paper can hamper the cooking process because it may block the hot air coming from below the basket.

Sure, you can go without parchment paper by directly spraying on oil at the base but this isn’t recommended, as canned spray oils have pressurized chemicals that can erode or damage the base of the fryer.

If you want to go without the parchment paper then you can use regular oil and a brush to coat the fryer basket directly. In the end, it comes down to how you want to use the fryer.

If you don’t mind the depreciation of your fryer then use whatever is available to you. However, if you want to go the extra distance then we recommend that you follow the above steps to maintain the quality and longevity of the air fryer. 

Air Frying Different Types Of Cinnamon Rolls

The only real disadvantage of baking in air fryers is that they are small. Naturally, a tabletop air fryer will have a smaller cooking base (or “basket”) compared to an oven or even a regular convection oven. 

So, we highly recommend that you go with premade refrigerated cinnamon rolls because you can only take out as many as you need and keep the rest back in the freezer. The biggest advantage you have here is time. 

Because air fryers operate on high heat and evenly distribute hot air around the cabin, you essentially bring down the cooking time while maintaining quality.

This makes up for cooking in batches because you get perfectly and equally cooked cinnamon rolls every time.

Generally speaking, any type of cinnamon roll will work with air fryers. You can make them fresh or you can cut them up and keep them in the freezer.

Refrigerated cinnamon rolls work best with air fryers because you get to control how many to bake at a time. 

Usually, with regular ovens, most bakers prepare a large sheet of dough for cinnamon rolls that result in a dozen or more rolls. Bulk baking is suitable for regular ovens but for air fryers, you will have to compromise on the quantity. 

Key Things To Lookout For

Of course, you can go for the largest available air fryer in the market but you would also need to consider the cost.

The bigger the air fryer, the more it will cost. Then there are other features to consider as well, like digital timer, touch controls, digital temperature control, and more.  

The more control you have over the cooking/baking process the better cinnamon rolls you will get. Also, because air fryers are so diverse you can use any type of dough. Some air fryers may also come with cooking or baking presets. 

Also, most premade and canned cinnamon rolls have detailed instructions. Even if your favorite brand has not accounted for air frying, you can follow the regular baking instructions using your air fryer.

Remember, every air fryer is different so you will have to go through somewhat of a learning curve. 

Always increase the cooking time with 5-minute intervals. For example, if the cooking instructions call for 12 minutes, then set your air fryer at the desired temperature and cook for 12 minutes then stop and check the basket. 

If you feel that the cinnamon rolls need more time then add in 5 more minutes and check again.

Since you can’t check what’s happening inside through a glass window like you would on a regular oven, you will have to use instinct and approximation to get the best results. 

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how to best cook cinnamon rolls in the air fryer, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

How long do cinnamon rolls take to cook in an air fryer?

Most air fryers can properly cook cinnamon rolls within 12 minutes if the temperature is set at 320°F.

Of course, you can tweak the settings as per your requirement but ideally, air fryers are known for their quick cook times.

With the right settings, you can achieve faster cooking speeds and a better overall experience when compared to regular cooking methods. 

How many cinnamon rolls can I cook at a time in an air fryer?

A typical-sized air fryer can hold about 8, two-inch diameter cinnamon rolls inside the frying basket.

Most cinnamon rolls range from 2-4 inches in diameter. We recommend that you only place enough to fill the basket as overfilling it may cause problems while cooking. 

8 cinnamon rolls are perfect for most air fryers but you can check with the brand and the specification of the air fryer for a more detailed number. 

How do you cook without oil in the air fryer?

You can use as little to no oil in air fryers. Oil is generally used as a barrier and conduit to transfer heat evenly.

In a regular deep-frying pan, you use oil so that the food is submerged and is evenly cooked on all sides (because the oil covers all sides)

However, in an air fryer, the oil is replaced by air. Hot air is circulated on all sides to achieve the same effect but having a bit of oil can help with browning and adding color or flavor to your food.

Some food items like chicken wings can even cook without oil as the fat in the skin is rendered via heat. 

Do air fryers make a lot of noise?

Air fryers can be loud since the machine uses a large fan to distribute heat. Some air fryers can be as loud as a vacuum cleaner

But since most air fryers don’t take that much time to cook food, the noise may be tolerable and if you have a large kitchen then odds are that you might not even mind the extra noise.

This technology is new and is constantly being worked on so you can expect a lot of positive changes down the road. 

Can I bake cakes or other items apart from cinnamon rolls?

Yes. Air fryers are highly versatile and can cook or bake almost anything. You just need to tweak the settings and use the appropriate temperature for the best results

Some air fryers come with presets and smart functions where you can control the air fryer using your smartphone, allowing even greater control over how you bake or cook food. 

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