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Food Critics: The Best Cinnamon Rolls In Kansas City In 2019

Sylvia Maria Gross
KCUR 89.3
Cinnamon rolls at McLain's Bakery.

People in Kansas City go crazy about cinnamon rolls, says Carlton Logan, an administrator of the Kansas City Eats Facebook group and Central Standard food critic. He says conversations about this baked good include the right way to eat them (there's an ongoing debate between starting with a middle piece or a corner) and what to eat them with (some people say chili).   

And while Kansas City is well known for its barbecue, cinnamon rolls by area bakers have been putting the city on the map; a 2017 piece in Conde Nast Traveler said Kansas City “quietly owns the breakfast treat."

Here are a few reasons why that might be true, according to Central Standard’s critics.

Carlton Logan, writer for KCFoodGuys.com and co-administrator of Kansas City Eats:

  • Big Momma’s KC — Located for several years in Crown Center, this shop recently reopened on Bannister Road and I-435. It has a traditional cinnamon roll with icing available in 3 sizes: Mini Momma, Little Momma and Big Momma.
  • Munchers Bakery— This old-fashioned bakery in Lawrence is open 24/7. The cinnamon rolls, which come in mini and regular sizes, have a thin glaze as opposed to an icing. Orange rolls are especially popular.
  • Best Regards Bakery and Café — These cinnamon rolls are baked in a fancy bread liner with pour-as-much-as-you-can-handle icing.
  • Ibis Bakery — Cinnamon rolls here are made with croissant dough, so it’s a flakier, crispy roll as opposed to soft and fluffy.
  • McLain’s Bakery — Buttery, sugary, cinnamon-y pastry drizzled with icing. It’s excellent served warm.
  • The Corner Cafe — This is the favorite cinnamon roll at Kansas City Eats. At locations in Riverside, Liberty and Independence, cinnamon rolls are heavily coated with confectioner’s glaze and available in two sizes: normal and humongous.
  • Hurts Donut — This spot has only one size: Humongous. It’s $5.

Jill Silva:

  • The Pantry KC— These cinnamon rolls are known as “morning buns” (the British term for a category of baked breakfast items that includes cinnamon rolls) and made with croissant rather than bread dough. The orange-flavored ones are the most popular, according to owners Dee Patel and Joanna Young; there's also a refined (rather than gargantuan) cinnamon roll with piped cream cheese frosting.
  • Broadmoor Bistro— About twice a week, the bakery turns out basic, standard cinnamon rolls: tall and cake-y with lots of cream cheese frosting.
  • Dolce Bakery— This is another refined cinnamon roll, also offered in orange and seasonal flavors on Saturdays (right now it’s lemon blueberry).
  • Donutology — Here there are gluten-free cinnamon rolls as well as regular ones.
  • Strawberry Hill Povitica— This heavy rolled cinnamon-nut bread by Croatian and Serbian bakers comes in many flavors.

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

  • Marrio’s Donut ShopMica Marriott left corporate America to open her doughnut shop at 95th and Antioch last summer. Made from scratch on site, these large cinnamon rolls look to be individually hand-formed; she rolls a yeast dough to medium thickness, fills it with cinnamon sugar, then bakes and frosts with a glaze. Just like your grandma would make.
  • Heirloom Bakery & Hearth— The Butterscotch Brioche Cinnamon Roll is made with brioche dough, covered with a thick coat of white frosting and drizzled with butterscotch sauce. It's very, very sweet, but cooked beautifully all the way through.
  • Dolce Bakery— The dough recipe is originally from owner Erin Brown’s great-grandmother. The roll is light in color, with some light cinnamon, dried orange zest and sugar on the inside, while the outside is frosted with vanilla cream cheese with flecks of fresh orange zest. It's a pleasant change from the standard cinnamon roll.
  • Tin Pan Cinnamon Rolls— Dan Edwards is a stay-at-home father of four who has turned his cinnamon roll recipe into a side hustle: Every morning, he makes and delivers his cinnamon rolls — still hot from the oven — all over the city. He makes cinnamon the star of the roll, using three different, extremely fresh kinds: from Saigon for spice and power; from Indonesia for warmth; and from Sri Lanka for exotic floral notes. Edwards uses a soft yeasty brioche dough and a simple vanilla glaze on top.
  • Park Street Pastry— Pastry chef Doug Flick and his team a cinnamon roll that’s about the size of a hamburger bun using a delicious brioche dough, with plenty of fragrant cinnamon and cream cheese frosting.

Listener recommendations:

  • Chris' Cafe — The cinnamon rolls are light and loaded. The bread is good and loaded with cinnamon.
  • M And M Bakery & Delicatassen— The cinnamon rolls are delicious at this family-owned bakery. There's a choice of rolls with or without icing.
  • LaMar's Donuts— They have donut-like cinnamon rolls. 

Celisa Calacal is an intern with KCUR 89.3. You can reach her at @celisa_mia.

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