As strange as the combination may sound, chili and cinnamon rolls make for a warming lunch or dinner that does not disappoint. A favorite in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, this pairing is salty, spicy and sweet, making it a super flavor-rich choice when you’re looking for a dish that is hot, comforting and easy to prepare—all at once.
Why Are Chili and Cinnamon Rolls a Thing?
A cold weather fan favorite, tasting is believing when it comes to the chili and cinnamon roll pairing. There is one obvious ingredient in both recipes that ties them together: cinnamon. Sourced from the inner bark of several tree species, cinnamon is unusually versatile, adding an easy-to-identify depth of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes.
With chili, cinnamon flavors are subtle, melding with the earthiness of cumin and the heat of peppers that are signature to the stew. In a cinnamon roll, however, the spice is the obvious star of the show adding warmth to the butter/sugar mixture that makes this baked good so, well, good!
Why is Chili Served with Cinnamon Rolls?
Put simply, chili is served with a cinnamon roll because a good, hot, savory meal should be accompanied by a delicious sweet treat! Experienced eaters will tell you that there is no “right” way to eat chili and cinnamon rolls. There is a lot of cafeteria hot lunch nostalgia and even more debate around how to pair the two iconic dishes, however. Different chili and cinnamon roll aficionados will say you can:
- Eat your chili first, and and then have your cinnamon roll for dessert;
- Tear off sections of your cinnamon roll, and dip them into your spicy chili;
- Alternate bites of the two: savory, then sweet;
- Top your cinnamon roll with chili, let the flavors meld, and then eat both spoon-by-spoon.
Needless to say, no matter how you eat your chili and cinnamon rolls, you are going to love both elements of this pairing.