[2-Pack Review] Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Rolls and Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls

(50) Days of Pumpkin: Day 39*

Guys, I’ve got to be honest with all of you. As fat fun as this whole 50 Days of Pumpkin thing has been, it’s really starting to take a toll. Prime example: much like Pillsbury and good ol’ Trader Joe, I’m developing pumpkin rolls.

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Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Rolls return to shelves this year, following Pillsbury’s sorry attempt at S’mores Rolls a few months ago. Not to be outdone, Trader Joe’s has also brought back its Pumpkin Rolls for a limited time. Noticeably, the Grands! rolls seem to maintain their cinnamon roll base, while the Trader Joe’s rolls double down on pumpkin (and pumpkin spice). So which rolls reign supreme? It’s time for a battle of the buns. 🍑

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The packaging for Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Rolls touts that they’re made with Cinnabon cinnamon, and unfortunately, they don’t let you forget it. The roll itself is a standard Grands! cinnamon roll–the dough is buttery but rather plain, and the swirl is just pure cinnamon. That means that the only chance of these rolls tasting like pumpkin spice is in the icing.

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It doesn’t deliver. The icing is heavily sugar and cinnamon, too. There’s a decent pumpkin flavor lingering somewhere in the icing, but I had to strain to taste it. Pumpkin isn’t listed anywhere in the ingredients, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. With its sweetness and strong cinnamon taste, this isn’t far off from a plain Grands! cinnamon roll, so it isn’t bad. There’s just not a lot of “pumpkin spice” going on here.

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Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls, on the other hand, boast that they come with pumpkin spice icing. My little pumpkin spice ears just perked up. Right off the bat, the dough is noticeably more pumpkin-y, even displaying a somewhat orange hue.

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Well, Trader Joe’s nailed it. The swirl in each roll–made with dried pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove–provides a great balance of pumpkin spice flavors. The pumpkin spice icing–made with pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and ginger–is excellent. Each bite of this roll starts with a burst of pumpkin, followed by a nice balance of a variety of spices, not just cinnamon. The spice aspect could be a bit stronger, but what’s there is really enjoyable. Even the dough, with its light and fluffy texture, was more enjoyable and superior to the Grands! roll.

Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Rolls are definitely an improvement over the S’mores version, but they’re no match for Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls. If you happen to see them at Trader Joe’s before they leave shelves in the next few weeks, don’t hesitate to pick up a pack or two. As for me, I should probably pick up a cardio regimen.

*Days 36-38 of (50) Days of Pumpkin can be found on the Snack Cellar Instagram page, or here on the blog under Instagram Reviews.

Item: Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Rolls and Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls
Price and Place of Purchase: Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Rolls: $4.19 at Cub Foods

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls: $3.99 at Trader Joe’s

Nutrition Facts (serving size-1 roll with icing): Grands! Rolls: 300 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 540 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein.

Trader Joe’s Rolls: 340 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 600 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein.

In a Nutshell: Grands! Rolls are cinnamon roll first, pumpkin spice second. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls achieve a near-perfect balance of pumpkin and spice. So many rolls.
Overall Score: Grands! Rolls: 6.5 out of 10

Trader Joe’s Rolls: 9 out of 10

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