The secret ingredient in Cinnabon's cinnamon rolls

Everyone who has ever had to kill time in a shopping mall or airport knows that Cinnabon has some serious tricks up their sleeve when it comes to luring in would-be customers. The alluring, familiar scent of freshly baking cinnamon rolls wafting through food courts drove over $332 million in sales in 2018 according to Franchise Times.

In a profile on Kat Cole, the COO and president of Focus Brands (the company which owns Cinnabon), Bloomberg reported that the dessert chain sells around 100 million of the classic Cinnabon cinnamon rolls per year, each of which contains a whopping 880 calories. The outlet states that part of what makes these rolls so good — and so over-the-top — is that they are made with enough brown sugar, cinnamon, cream-cheese frosting, and one unexpected ingredient to leave puddles of sweet, sugary goop in the bottom of the container they are packaged in.

Mental Floss says that to make a Cinnabon classic cinnamon roll, the chain's employees roll and stretch the dough out into a rectangle, which they then spread with a layer of margarine and sprinkle with a pound of brown sugar and cinnamon before rolling then up for baking. Why margarine? Executives for the company assert margarine holds up much better when baked than traditional butter.

You can recreate classic Cinnabon-style cinnamon rolls at home

Want to make your own Cinnabon-style cinnamon rolls at home? Just a Pinch has you covered with their copycat Cinnabon cinnamon rolls recipe. It will make 12 regular sized cinnamon rolls or 24 mini ones, and takes about six hours in total to complete, including the time you'll have to wait for the dough to rise — as cinnamon roll dough is prepared using yeast.

If you're looking for a recipe made without margarine or are a little short on time, check out this Taste of Home recipe which they say perfectly replicates Cinnabon's classic treat. The outlet replaces the margarine used in both Cinnabon and Just a Pinch's versions with plain old butter, and also calls for a much shorter amount of resting time to allow the dough to rise, stating that their dough should be doubled in size after only one hour. This recipe creates 16 cinnamon rolls.