How much sugar is in a Panera cinnamon roll?

Panera Bread is a popular bakery-cafe chain that offers a variety of pastries, sandwiches, salads and soups. One of their most popular menu items is the cinnamon roll, which comes in different sizes. However, many people wonder just how much sugar is packed into one of these sweet treats.

What is Panera Bread?

Panera Bread is an American chain of bakery-cafe fast casual restaurants established in 1981. As of December 27, 2020, it had 2,129 bakery-cafes in 48 states and Ontario, Canada. Panera Bread offers fresh baked goods, sandwiches, salads, soups, and specialty drinks. The company is owned by JAB Holding Company and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

Some key facts about Panera Bread:

– Founded in 1981 as the St. Louis Bread Company. The name was changed to Panera Bread in 1997.

– Specializes in baked goods, sandwiches, salads and soups. Popular menu items include bread bowls, pastries, bagels and coffee.

– As of December 2020, there were 2,129 locations across the United States and Canada. This includes over 100 franchise operations.

– Panera Bread serves over 8 million customers per week. In 2019, system-wide sales were over $6 billion.

– The company focuses on serving high quality and wholesome food. Menu items are made without artificial trans fats and many locations now offer organic and clean food options.

– Panera Bread is part of JAB Holding Company, a privately held German investment firm. JAB has owned Panera Bread since 2017.

– Ron Shaich founded Panera Bread and served as CEO until 2018. Niren Chaudhary became the CEO in 2019.

So in summary, Panera Bread is a leading bakery-cafe chain in North America. It serves a variety of baked goods, sandwiches, salads and soups daily to millions of customers. The company is especially known for its artisan bread.

Nutritional Information for Panera Cinnamon Rolls

Panera Bread offers cinnamon rolls in different sizes – the original cinnamon roll, the mini cinnamon roll, and the large cinnamon roll. The amount of sugar will vary depending on the size.

Here is the nutrition information for each size of Panera cinnamon roll:

Original Cinnamon Roll

  • Calories: 450
  • Total Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 25mg
  • Sodium: 330mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 81g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 32g
  • Protein: 5g

Mini Cinnamon Roll

  • Calories: 210
  • Total Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg
  • Sodium: 150mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 15g
  • Protein: 2g

Large Cinnamon Roll

  • Calories: 680
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 40mg
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 121g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 48g
  • Protein: 7g

As you can see, the amount of sugar ranges from 15g in a mini cinnamon roll up to 48g in a large cinnamon roll. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 25g per day for women and 36g per day for men. Just one large Panera cinnamon roll exceeds the daily recommended sugar intake.

Sugar Content in Common Foods

To better understand just how much sugar is in one Panera cinnamon roll, it helps to compare it to the sugar content of some other common foods:


  • 12oz can of Coke: 39g of sugar
  • 12oz can of Pepsi: 41g of sugar
  • 20oz bottle of Mountain Dew: 77g of sugar

A large Panera cinnamon roll has more sugar than even a 20oz bottle of soda!


  • 1 regular size Snickers bar: 27g of sugar
  • 1 fun size Milky Way bar: 11g of sugar
  • 1 regular size Butterfinger bar: 28g of sugar
  • 1 fun size packet of Skittles: 10g of sugar

The large cinnamon roll exceeds the amount of sugar in even a regular size candy bar. The original size cinnamon roll has slightly less sugar than a regular Snickers or Butterfinger bar.

Other Baked Goods

  • 1 glazed doughnut: 14g of sugar
  • 1 slice of cinnamon bread: 5g of sugar
  • 1 slice of banana bread: 31g of sugar
  • 1 slice of coffee cake: 35g of sugar

The original cinnamon roll and banana bread have about the same amount of sugar. The large cinnamon roll has significantly more sugar than even a slice of coffee cake.

So compared to other high-sugar foods, Panera’s cinnamon rolls truly pack in the added sugars. Just one large roll exceeds the recommended daily limit.

Sugar Recommendations

Health authorities provide guidelines for how much added sugar is healthy to consume on a daily basis. Here are some of the recommendations:

World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 5% of your daily calorie intake. For a normal 2,000 calorie diet, this equals about 25g or 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

American Heart Association (AHA)

The AHA is more strict with its sugar recommendations. It advises no more than 36g or 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day for men, and 25g or 6 teaspoons for women. This strict limit is because the AHA is concerned about the strong link between high sugar intake and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more.

U.S. Dietary Guidelines

The latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest limiting added sugar to no more than 12.5% of daily calories. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this comes to 50g or 12.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. This is double what the WHO and AHA recommend. However, the guidelines do emphasize that less than 10% of calories from added sugar is most ideal.

As you can see, health authorities universally recommend limiting added and free sugar intake. The small size Panera cinnamon roll fits within the limits but their regular and large size rolls exceed even the highest recommendations. Consuming too much added sugar from foods like cinnamon rolls poses long term risks for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

What Makes Cinnamon Rolls So High in Sugar?

Cinnamon rolls contain so much sugar because sugar is added to both the dough and the filling. Here are some of the sources of sugar in a typical cinnamon roll:

The Dough

The dough used to make cinnamon rolls often contains extra sugar, milk or butter. This makes the dough richer and more tender. Sugar enhances the yeast fermentation process. Extra sugar is also added to create the sweet flavor in the dough.

The Filling

The filling is where most of the sugar is coming from in a cinnamon roll. The filling typically contains a mixture of butter, brown sugar and/or white granulated sugar, along with cinnamon and perhaps raisins or nuts. All this extra sugar makes the filling sweet and gooey.

The Icing or Glaze

Many recipes top the cinnamon rolls with a sugary icing or glaze after baking. This can be a simple powdered sugar glaze, or a more elaborate cream cheese frosting. Either way, the icing adds more sweetness and sugar to the already sugary treat.

The Sweet Yeast Dough

The underlying dough lends even more sweetness to cinnamon rolls. Sweet yeasted doughs use extra sugar which the yeast consumes to produce carbon dioxide gas. This gives the dough more rise and a lighter texture. The sugar also contributes to the golden brown exterior and tender interior crumb.

So in summary, sugar plays many roles in producing the classic taste, texture and appearance of cinnamon rolls. From the dough, to the filling, to the icing, sweetness comes from added sugar in multiple components. This makes for an indulgent treat but a heavy dose of added sugar as well.

Health Risks of Too Much Sugar

Eating too much added sugar from foods like cinnamon rolls, candy, sodas and other sweets poses serious health risks:


Foods high in added sugar but low in nutrients can promote overeating and excess calorie intake. This contributes to unwanted weight gain over time. The extra calories from sugar are stored as fat in the body.


Frequent blood sugar spikes from high sugar foods increase the risk of developing insulin resistance. This can progress to type 2 diabetes.

Heart Disease

Excess sugar intake raises triglycerides levels and inflammation. It also contributes to high blood pressure. These are major risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

Fatty Liver Disease

The fructose found in added sugars promotes fat building up in the liver. This can progress to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Tooth Decay

Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities. Sticky foods like cinnamon rolls that adhere to teeth are especially harmful.


A high sugar diet stimulates inflammatory pathways in the body. This can exacerbate inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

In summary, an excess of added sugars in the diet contributes to chronic diseases and health conditions. While the occasional cinnamon roll or other treat is fine, frequent or daily overconsumption of sugary foods like these is problematic.

Ways to Make Cinnamon Rolls Healthier

Cinnamon rolls will always be a high sugar indulgence. However, there are some simple ways to lighten them up a bit:

  • Use less sugar or honey in the dough and filling.
  • Add dried fruits like raisins, cranberries or apricots for a dose of natural sweetness.
  • Use a sugar alternative like stevia or erythritol to cut down on calories.
  • Skip the icing and enjoy the roll plain instead.
  • Choose a small or mini size roll over a large one.
  • Enjoy cinnamon rolls only occasionally as a special treat.
  • Split one roll with a friend or family member.
  • Balance out the sugar by eating cinnamon rolls alongside protein, fats and fiber like eggs or fruit.

While cinnamon rolls will always be a sugary indulgence, following healthy baking practices and eating mindfully can prevent excess sugar consumption from these sweet treats.


Panera Bread’s cinnamon rolls certainly live up to their reputation as an indulgent bakery treat. However, with 32g of sugar in an original size roll and 48g in a large roll, they far exceed the recommended daily limits for added sugar intake. Consuming frequent and large portions of foods this high in sugar poses real health risks, including obesity, diabetes, liver disease and cavities. The key is to enjoy Panera’s cinnamon rolls only occasionally and in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. Splitting one roll between friends or choosing a mini size are simple ways to lessen the sugar load. While cinnamon rolls will always be a sweet guilty pleasure, being mindful of how much sugar they contain can help balance out their enjoyment.

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