Restaurant News & Reviews

The best cinnamon rolls in SLO County

Is there anything more satisfying than a cinnamon roll?

That glazed, gooey paragon of breakfast breads features sweet, tender dough swirled with cinnamon-flavored filling. Served warm from the oven, it’s the perfect complement to a steaming cup of coffee or a frosty glass of milk.

The Tribune recently scoured San Luis Obispo County in search of the best cinnamon rolls, relying on suggestions from readers and staff members to select our top 10. We then submitted the finalists to a blind taste test by 16 hungry volunteers.

Cinnamon rolls were scored on appearance, flavor, texture, gooeyness and overall quality.

Below are our five favorite rolls, ranked in order of preference.

No. 1: Cider Creek Bakery

Tribune photo by Joe Johnston

205 Oak Hill Road, No. 2, Paso Robles | $2.95 each

Big, bold and bursting with flavor, these rolls immediately captured our judges’ attention due to their pretty frosting-swirled tops. Their tasty interiors, meanwhile, invited accolades such as “awesome,” “perfect” and “yum yummy” thanks to their tender yet chewy texture and scintillating sweetness. From looks to flavor, Cider Creek Bakery performed well across the board.

No. 2: Emily’s Cinnamon Rolls

Tribune photo by Joe Johnston

588 California Blvd., San Luis Obispo | $3 each, discounts for 2 and more

Compared to some of the buttery behemoths we saw, Emily’s frosted rolls were on the smaller side. What they lacked in size, however, these sweet, petite rolls more than made up for in flavor and general gooeyness. Our tasters praised the rolls’ “excellent” taste, noting they achieved the “right combination of cinnamon and sugar.” Others enjoyed the generous dollop of frosting topping each roll.

No. 3: Joe’s Place & Joe's Other Place

Tribune photo by Joe Johnston

305 Spring St., Paso Robles | 730 S. Main St., Templeton | $4.95 each

“Amazing” was the way one taster described these massive, slightly messy cinnamon rolls, served drizzled with delectable frosting. Our reviewers called attention to the rolls’ giant proportions — big enough for a breakfast for two — as well as their dense, moist interiors and well-balanced use of cinnamon. No wonder online reviewers have called Joe’s Place “cinnamon roll heaven!”

No. 4: Hush-Harbor Artisan Bakery

Tribune photo by Joe Johnston

5735 El Camino Real, Atascadero | $3.75 each

Our reviewers were nuts about the chopped nuts in these tangy apricot-glazed cinnamon rolls, which featured a slightly tart flavor profile with subtle notes of spice. As one enthusiastic judge put it: “Nuts, sugar, spice, yum!” The aforementioned glaze added a hint of crispness to the uniquely chewy pastry dough. Hush-Harbor Artisan Bakery delivered toothsome cinnamon rolls with a modern twist.

No. 5: Village Café

Tribune photo by Joe Johnston

112 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande | $4.25 each

Arriving at fifth place were these mammoth cinnamon rolls from the Village Café, served with a side of bright pink frosting. Although the frosted rolls’ appearance was a bit off-putting — one taster described it as “a little creepy” while another commented “I hate the red”— their buttery taste and chewy texture won over even the most dubious judges. Plus, the rolls can apparently double as fashion accessories. One reviewer voted them “most likely to be on the side of Princess Leia’s head!”

The rest

We also sampled cinnamon rolls from, left to right, Back Bay Café in Los Osos, The French Corner Bakery in Cambria, Joe Momma’s Coffee in Avila Beach, Old West Cinnamon Rolls in Pismo Beach and Sea Shanty in Cayucos.

Who do you think makes the best cinnamon rolls in San Luis Obispo County? Tell us in the comments.