Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls

by Erin

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurelySimple #CollectiveBias

Who said you can’t have dessert for breakfast? These key lime pie flavored cinnamon rolls are the perfect way to make your morning extra special.

Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls 10

Let them eat cake! I mean, wait that’s not cake is it? Key lime pie? But that’s not any pie I’ve ever seen before either. What games are you trying to play Erin?! It sure looks like a cinnamon roll to me. And you know what, you are correct. It is a cinnamon roll that tastes like key lime pie and it made with Pillsbury’s new Purely Simple cake and frosting mix. Are you licking your screen yet?


I love using cake mixes to create alternative treats beyond cakes and cupcakes. I’ve actually already shared a recipe for cake batter cinnamon rolls (yes it was the inspiration for these) using Pilllsbury’s funfetti cake mix among many other creations. At the same time I’ve also dabbled in making cakes from scratch because it’s nice to know exactly what is going into what I am eating. That’s where Pillsbury saves the day with their new Purely Simple line at Target has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Next time you go shopping at Target be sure to utilize my favorite App, Cartwheel, as there is a coupon for 25% off on any Pillsbury Purely Simple product.

Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls 1

After spotting them at Target, I scooped up the white cake mix and buttercream mix (yes they even made making frosting easier). But of course in true Erin fashion I couldn’t just make cake or cupcakes with it, I had to come up with something really good. That’s when I remembered the cake batter cinnamon rolls and how spectacular they were. Combine that with my recent obsession with citrus flavors and viola, key lime pie cinnamon rolls made with cake mix.

Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls 2

In order to infuse the flavors of key lime pie into these cinnamon rolls, for starters there is key lime zest, juice, and even graham cracker crumbs mixed into the dough itself. If you looks closely you can see the little flecks of green in that beautiful mound of dough shown above that has been punched in the middle. Don’t punch it too much though, you don’t want to turn into a bully.

Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls 5

After it’s done rising, the dough is rolled out into a giant rectangle, spread with butter, and topped with sugar, cinnamon, and chopped white chocolate before being rolled up tight and cut into those beautiful swirls we all know and love.

Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls 6

By the way, I surely hope you are making these on a weekend as they do take some time but they are well worth it. Let it be known however that you can shove them into the fridge, covered, overnight and then finish baking the next morning. Prep the night before and enjoy hot cinnamon rolls the next day? Yes please. Or cozy up on the couch while the yeast does it’s thing.

Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls 7

What’s missing? Oh right the frosting! To the pouch of frosting mix I added key lime juice along with the other ingredients make sure the key lime pie flavor was sealed in. But just to make sure, I sprinkled some more white chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, and key lime zest on top. Just in case you were confused by what flavor it was.

Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls 8

Can you believe I made these cinnamon rolls using the Pillsbury Purely Simple cake and buttercream mixes? What’s you favorite cake-mix treat to make?

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One year ago: Lighter Chicken Bellagio

Two years ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Four years ago: Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Basil Roasted Peaches


Makes 24 rolls



2-1/4 cups warm water

2 pkg (4-1/2 tsp) active dry yeast

1 box Pillsbury Purely Simple white cake mix, dry

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup key lime juice

2 Tbsp key lime zest

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

4-1/2 to 5 cups bread flour


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup white chocolate chips, chopped


1 pkg. Pillsbury Purely Simple buttercream frosting mix

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp key lime juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup white chocolate chips, chopped


  1. Pour warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast over the water and let it sit until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the cake mix, graham cracker crumbs, salt, lime juice, lime zest, vanilla, and then the bread flour one cup at a time. Use dough hook attachment to knead dough together, just for a minute or two. Add more flour if necessary to form a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but it still slightly sticky to the touch.
  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough inside. Cover with saran wrap or a clean towel. Let sit for an hour until doubled in size. Punch dough down with your fist, cover again, and let rise for an additional hour until double in size.
  4. Once dough has gone through its second rise, remove and placed on a clean floured surface. Roll out into a large rectangle shape measuring about 24×12 inches.
  5. Smear softened butter over top. Next evenly sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over top. Rub gently to evenly cover if needed. Next sprinkle with chopped white chocolate.
  6. On one of the long sides, roll up to make a long and skinny log. Slice into 24 even 1-inch rolls.
  7. Place in a greased 9×13 baking pan, 12 rolls per pan. (You can place them in the fridge overnight at this point or continue on.)
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and let cinnamon rolls rise a final time in the pan, about 30 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.
  9. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
  10. While cinnamon rolls are baking, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat buttercream frosting mix, butter, water, lime juice, and vanilla.
  11. Spread frosting over warm rolls. Sprinkle with additional graham cracker and white chocolate if desired.

Source: Adapted slightly from my Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls.


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Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel August 23, 2015 - 11:40 pm

Uhm, these sound AMAZING!! I love the key lime twist! I have seen orange cinnamon rolls, but never lime. Sounds awesome!

CakePants August 20, 2015 - 9:56 am

What a creative idea to make a cinnamon roll with key lime flavors! So unexpected, yet so, SO delicious, I’m sure!

Joanne August 20, 2015 - 7:50 am

I actually love having a bit of sweet tartness in my cinnamon rolls! Typically I’ve done lemony flavors, but key lime sounds even better!

spiffycookie August 20, 2015 - 8:09 am

Heck yea, I am totally lime and citrus obsessed in general right now. Trying to hold on to summer for dear life.

Laua @ Laura's Culinary Adventures August 20, 2015 - 7:48 am

These look so soft, tender, and delicious! Great recipe!

spiffycookie August 20, 2015 - 8:08 am

Thanks Laura!

Susan August 19, 2015 - 6:24 pm

You had me with the flavor combo – until I got to the cake mix. I just don’t do cake mixes. I used to make cinnamon rolls using Bisquick made into a pie crust – delicious. But I probably wouldn’t eat that anymore, either. Too bad. I’ll have to figure out a way to use those flavors together for breakfast – perhaps in some overnight oats. Thank you for the inspiration…

spiffycookie August 20, 2015 - 8:08 am

Aww even though this cake mix doesn’t have any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives? I hoped this cake mix would please all those people who don’t like traditional boxed mixes. But if you are still not convinced I do know how to convert recipes that call for cake mix into not: use milk instead of water (or half milk half water), and instead of the boxed mix use another 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Susan August 20, 2015 - 12:06 pm

This cake mix is definitely better than the usual. I guess part of my issue is that I just don’t eat cakey things any more. When I get started on that stuff I can’t stop – a place I really can’t afford to be. I did take the time last night to come up with some overnight oats with those flavors, though. And I have saved your non-cake mix instructions, for just in case.

spiffycookie August 20, 2015 - 12:51 pm

I would love to know how you made the overnight oats, that sounds like a splendid way to start the day.

Susan August 20, 2015 - 4:03 pm

I’ll share the recipe after I make it. My husband was looking up something about making mesquite flour this morning and said something that made me realize I could add some mesquite flour to the oats, which could sub for the graham crackers in your cinnamon rolls. Probably what it needed. I’ll have to wait until I can get to the grocery store before I can make it, because I have no limes…

June @ How to Philosophize with Cake August 19, 2015 - 6:17 pm

What a great idea! I like this combo of breakfast and dessert. Key lime sounds like a deliciously summery flavor too :)

spiffycookie August 20, 2015 - 7:57 am

Thanks June!

Medha @ Whisk & Shout August 19, 2015 - 3:28 pm

These look fabulous! Weekend brunch anyone?!

Michelle August 19, 2015 - 12:05 pm

That is such a unique and creative idea! I would never have thought to make cinnamon rolls with a cake mix like this. Definitely going to have to put this on the to do list! #client


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