These savory cinnamon rolls made with leftover pulled pork are my family’s new favorite meal. Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
Me, I love pulled pork.
I eat it by itself, on buns as a sandwich, on baked potatoes with all the fixings, and more. Did I forget to mention pulled pork nachos?
I can make a big batch and be happy for days.
She does this with many foods, and I discovered that if I make that food (say… chicken) an ingredient, she loves it again. Even if she won’t eat it on its own.
Needless to say, that’s how the idea for these savory cinnamon rolls came about.
Years ago, I made pizza pinwheels, and this recipe follows that mantra. Anything inside bread magically becomes delicious. It’s true!
This recipe makes 12 savory cinnamon rolls with leftover pork. One per person is generally a good serving size, especially if you serve a salad or other veggies with it.
And yes, they taste delicious the next day. Make sure you refrigerate them in a tightly sealed container, and gently reheat them in the microwave.
Can I use refrigerated pizza dough instead of making my own?
You absolutely can, as the dough is essentially what I make when I do homemade pizza dough. Make sure you have enough for two crusts when you make this.
Note that when I say refrigerated pizza dough, I don’t mean the kind that comes from a can. That has a different texture and ingredients from actual pizza dough.
Many grocery stores sell refrigerated pizza dough, and that’s absolutely fine to use. And yes, you can buy it and freeze it to use later.
Can I make these savory cinnamon rolls ahead of time?
You absolutely can. I often make my dough in advance then refrigerate it to use later in the day or freeze it to use up to a month later.
Alternatively, you can assemble the savory cinnamon rolls and place them in the baking dish, then cover them (with an opening for the yeast to breathe) and refrigerate for up to 12 hours before you bake them.
You could also freeze the rolls at this point to make another day.
If you have frozen dough, let it thaw in the fridge overnight for at least eight hours. You can thaw it on the counter for two or so hours, but the temperature difference often means you get condensation on the dough and it gets a little sticky.
What if I don’t have red onion?
Red onion tastes delicious with pulled pork and BBQ, so it’s the best onion to use. However, you have a couple options if you don’t have red onion on hand.
You can also use green onion and slice it thinly on the bias in place of the red onion. Both taste delicious with these savory cinnamon rolls.
Can I use fresh pulled pork for this?
This recipe is designed for leftover pulled pork. However, I actually have made pulled pork specifically to use in these savory cinnamon rolls.
They key is to ensure that the pulled pork is chilled or at the very least room temperature. Warm pulled pork will heat up the dough and the moisture will make it difficult to work with.
If you make pulled pork specifically for this, put it in the fridge first. If you are pressed for time, spread it in a thin layer on a jelly roll pan and place that in the freezer for a half hour while you work on the dough and let it rise.
If you are a visual learner, make sure you watch the video for a tutorial on how to make these.
How to Make Leftover Pulled Pork Savory Cinnamon Rolls
Make your pulled pork, or purchase your favorite prepared pulled pork and ensure you chill it fully.
For the dough
Add warm water to your bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Immediately add the oil and mix with your dough hook.
Add two cups of flour and stir again. The dough will be very wet and liquidy – that’s ok.
Add the salt and another cup of flour and mix on low. The dough will start to come together more, but it should still be fairly sticky.
Depending on how humid your house is, you will need to add more or less flour at this point. Start with a half cup and see how your dough looks. If it doesn’t stick to your fingers after mixing, you have enough flour.
However, if the dough remains wet enough that it sticks to your fingers and little bits come away when you press into it, add another quarter cup of flour and repeat.
Once you have enough flour, knead the dough another 5-7 minutes, until it’s soft and smooth. Place a slightly damp towel over the bowl, and let the dough rise for one hour.
To assemble the savory cinnamon rolls
Slice the red onion into very thin pieces. The easiest way to do this is to slice off the top, then cut the onion in half through the root end.
Slice off thin half rounds. For the larger half rounds on the outside, you may want to cut those in half, but that’s your call.
Grease a 9×13 glass baking dish, and set it aside for now.
After the dough finishes rising, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 12×24 inch rectangle.
Spread the BBQ sauce across the dough rectangle, leaving a half inch uncovered along the long edge at the top. Feel free to use bottled sauce or make your own homemade BBQ sauce.
Add the shredded pulled pork over the sauce, making a nice layer. Sprinkle cheese atop the pork, then top with the sliced red onion.
Starting at the bottom, carefully roll the dough into a long log. You can’t roll it all at once, so roll just a little of the far left, then move your hands down to roll a little further down the rectangle and so forth.
Once you have it fulled rolled, pinch the last flap so that it seals the log. Use a serrated knife to cut the log into twelve even pieces.
I find it easiest to cut the log in half, then in half again to give me four pieces, then cut each of the four pieces into thirds. This makes my rolls much closer in size than if I try to eyeball it.
Carefully pick up each roll and add it to the greased baking dish. If some filling falls out, just press it into the roll. You will end up with four rows of three rolls.
I use my bench scraper to pick it up and carry it, and this seems to help keep the filling in place. If you don’t have one, get one – this is hands down the tool I use most in my kitchen for all sorts of tasks (including cleaning up my counter after rolling out dough).
Cover the savory cinnamon rolls with the same towel, and let them rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees while they rise.
Remove the towel, and bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately when they come from the oven.
If you have leftovers, store them in a tightly sealed container in your fridge and reheat gently. They will last two to three days in the fridge.
Have you ever had savory cinnamon rolls?
The amount of flour you need will vary based on the humidity in your house. After adding the listed 3 1/2 cups and mixing it, check your dough. If your dough remains sticky, especially if small bits of dough come off on your fingers when you press into it, slowly add more flour, a scant quarter cup at a time. The dough should not be dry and should feel slightly tacky but not wet or sticky. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.
For the Dough:
For the Rolls:
Nutrition Information: Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 333Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 837mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 16gProtein: 14g
The amount of flour you need will vary based on the humidity in your house. After adding the listed 3 1/2 cups and mixing it, check your dough. If your dough remains sticky, especially if small bits of dough come off on your fingers when you press into it, slowly add more flour, a scant quarter cup at a time. The dough should not be dry and should feel slightly tacky but not wet or sticky.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.