Move over, smores, because pie iron cinnamon rolls are coming for your #1 spot as the ultimate camping treat! These easy campfire desserts are sweet, cinnamon-spiced, and require no prep work at all – campfire baking cannot get any easier than this! Follow our simple instructions below.
Campfires can be loads of fun, whether you're enjoying a night under the stars in your backyard or headed on a weeklong camping excursion.
Even better than the beautiful campfire itself is the deliciously smoky, fun campfire food you can make on the open flame.
The classic campfire dessert is the sweet chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker smore, and while we still think it’s pretty decadent, we've found one of our new favorite camping treats to make: cinnamon rolls!
Baking cinnamon rolls over the campfire can be as simple or complicated as you like. We designed our instructions with Pillsbury ready-made dough, but you can also make some cinnamon rolls from crescent rolls, or build a dough from scratch!
Follow our simple recipe below to make some gooey cinnamon rolls for your next campfire get-together!
How to Make Campfire Cinnamon Rolls
Our campfire cinnamon roll recipe uses a pie iron, which is a long-handled, cast-iron clamp that you can latch together to cook all sorts of things over the fire.
The iron protects the food inside from falling out, making it handy to cook things that generally fall to pieces on a traditional campfire skewer.
You can use a pie iron to make grilled sandwiches, stuffed french toast, or even savory cheeseburger pies.
If you don't own a pie iron, you can still make our cinnamon rolls – just try using one of the other tools in our FAQ!
Tools & Ingredients
- Pie iron
- 1 Package Pillsbury cinnamon rolls
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Build your campfire until it's big enough to heat a pie iron. A small fire at a low temperature best cooks the dough throughout without burning the cinnamon bun.
- Spray the inside of your cast-iron pie iron with a non-stick cooking spray of choice.
- Carefully open the can of cinnamon rolls, and place one cinnamon bun into the pie iron. Close the iron and secure its latch.
- Hold the pie iron over the campfire for approximately 15 mins, cooking the cinnamon bun. Flip the pie iron several times in the fire to ensure it cooks evenly.
- Unlatch the top of the iron to check for doneness as needed.
- When fully cooked, remove the cinnamon rolls from the pie iron and top with cinnamon bun frosting.
- Serve and enjoy your campfire cinnamon rolls!
Pie-Iron Cinnamon Rolls FAQ
Do I need a pie iron to make cinnamon rolls on the campfire?
Nope! While a pie iron is likely the most hassle-free method, you can use any of the following options, too.
You can make some Dutch oven cinnamon rolls using a campfire-safe Dutch oven. They're a little heavier to lug around than a pie iron, but you can make your cinnamon rolls in a large batch, which can be a handy option.
You can use our recipe below or use a premade package in the Dutch oven for convenience.
Stainless Steel Skewers
You can use a long-handled stainless-steel roasting stick to skewer and cook a cinnamon bun over the open flame.
Make sure you skewer the cinnamon roll's loose flap so it doesn't come unraveled as it cooks. You can roast the cinnamon rolls over the campfire for 5 mins on one side, then flip and roast for another 5 mins on the top, then turn to sear the sides for another 5-10 mins. Rotate the stick as needed if you see the cinnamon rolls starting to burn.
Pie Tin or Foil Tray
You can use an open-faced pie tin or disposable foil tray for baking your cinnamon rolls in the fire too. Make sure any foil you use is heavy-duty so that it can withstand the high heat of the campfire.
Ah, nature's cooking tool can work too, if you don't mind a few pieces of bark in your snacks – it's probably a great source of dietary fiber!
If you choose to use a stick or skewer to make your cinnamon rolls, stick to premade packages and pie iron recipes with crescent rolls. The homemade dough tends to weigh more and will slide off your stick as it cooks.
How can I pack this campfire dessert for a camping trip?
You'll want your cinnamon rolls to be cold when you begin the cooking process to keep them from sticking together better and prevent the rolls from burning.
If you're making your cinnamon rolls in the backyard, no problem – just take the rolls out of the fridge right before you cook them.
For proper packing before a camping trip, place the package of cinnamon rolls in a gallon-sized zippered bag and then store it in a cooler with ice.
Can I make campfire cinnamon rolls using crescent rolls?
Absolutely! Making cinnamon rolls with crescent rolls gives you a light, fluffy roll that cooks to perfection over the campfire.
To make crescent roll cinnamon rolls, follow the mini recipe below:
Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 package crescent rolls
- 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ c. powdered sugar (optional)
- 2-3 Tbsp water (optional)
- Combine the cinnamon and white sugar in a small mixing bowl.
- Remove the crescent rolls from their package and separate them. Roll the separated rolls around a cooking skewer.
- Roll the wrapped skewer in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Cook on the campfire for ~ 5 mins, frequently rotating for even cooking.
- Optional: Mix the powdered sugar and water to make a glaze, then drizzle over the cooked cinnamon rolls.
Can I make a homemade cinnamon roll recipe for the campfire?
You can! While we don't recommend a homemade recipe if you're campfire cooking with skewers, you can easily use a homemade recipe instead for your pie iron or Dutch oven.
Simply prep the cinnamon rolls before you leave home (if you're heading on a camping trip), roll the cinnamon dough into a log, and freeze it until the morning you leave.
Pack as instructed above in a zippered bag inside an ice-filled cooler, and then slice the rolls the next morning and cook as usual.
For a simple dough recipe, follow our steps below.
Campfire Cinnamon Rolls: Ooey, Gooey Pie-Iron Desserts
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 ¼ c. of warm milk
4 Tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp salt
5 ⅓ c. flour
6 Tbsp softened butter
1 ½ c. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp of cinnamon
1 c. raisins
1 c. pecan pieces
3 Tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
1 c. powdered sugar
Mix yeast, ¼ c. of warm water, and 1 tbsp of granulated sugar in a large stand mixer. Let it stand for ~ 5 mins.
Next, pour in the milk, melted butter, eggs, and a sprinkle of salt. Using a dough hook, slowly combine your flour into the mixture, then mix on low speed to form the dough, ~ 10 mins. If the roll dough is too sticky, add some more flour; if it's too dry, add a splash of water.
Cover your dough ball in a light layer of oil, and leave it to rise (while covered) for 1 hour.
When your dough rises, transfer it to a floured surface and knead for 10 mins, then roll into a large rectangle, ~ 12" x 24" in size.
Butter your dough, then mix brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and pecans in a medium bowl. Spread the roll filling over the butter so your dough is evenly covered.
Roll your dough so that it’s ready for freezing. Start at the long bottom edge of the rectangle and roll the dough into a large log-shaped cylinder.
Cut your log in two, and store both pieces inside a lightly greased freezer bag. Keep your dough in the freezer until camping time!
Final Note: Don't Leave the Bun in the Iron
Once you've cooked these delicious rolls to smoky perfection, it's crucial to get the cinnamon roll off the pie iron ASAP. The iron will be hot for a long time after it comes out of the fire, so if you leave your roll in the iron, it may get overcooked or burnt.
Lastly, beware when handling your iron, as it can easily cause some awful burns. Use heat-proof gloves and keep anything hot a safe distance away from others, especially any little ones!
Enjoy your campfire cinnamon rolls!
If you enjoyed your recipe, you might also like our campfire french toast recipe.
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