Bring Back Morton Honey Buns

If the 1950s were the Golden age of TV Dinners, the 1970s were the Golden Age of Frozen Food.

Brands like Banquet, Swanson, Morton, Birds Eye and Stouffer’s were actually thought of as luxury items, not the Lazy-Parent-Also-Ran dinners of today.

These frozen food brands were the perfect icons for the Ice Storm decade, a time when upper-middle-class families with an Amana Radarange and a Zenith Chromacolor TV were on top. If the 50s were all about watching Howdy Doody with a TV Dinner, the 70s were about watching TV all the time, and eating frozen on special nights. Divorced parents could watch divorce sitcoms (Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and then serve up frozen foods that made it look like when Dad was still around.

Breakfast to dinner, the brands were full line, and none better than Morton. Oh, Birds Eye sold some frozen peas and stuff, as old Clarence Birdseye was the pioneer in freezing. But Birds Eye was so Quick Freeze Harry Truman! There was also Banquet Foods Corporation of St. Louis, which was, oddly (or quite appropriately), owned by TV maker and NBC owner RCA.

Banquet was the pioneer of TV dinners, and rode the confluence of cheap aluminum and color television to frozen brand greatness. And let’s not forget Stouffer’s, with its fantastico jingles. Stouffer’s was truly deluxe, as it grew out of the famous Stouffer’s restaurant and into hotels. Who else would have made a frozen spinach soufflé or put a pizza on French bread? And Swanson? Steve McQueen bought a stack of ’em in the 1968 San Francisco crime thriller Bullitt.

But the real great brand was Morton Frozen Foods, not connected to that steakhouse brand Morton’s. Morton’s (though the packaging said Morton) was encyclopedic in its frozen grocery offerings, and each package, at least in the 70s, was stylish. (Pictured above is an old Look magazine ad from 1969, before a 70s super-graphic redesign.) There were Morton Pot Pies, Morton Creme Pies, Morton Cinnamon Rolls. But the real star was Morton Honey Buns. Morton Honey Buns came four to a package, and there was so much sugar on each that when you pulled the buns out, the sugar frosting was all over the package and the four came out like a brick.

But the brand is gone, nowhere to be found. And since the launch of the BrandlandUSA blog, we have discovered it is one of the top searched for dead brands on our site. People far and wide are searching for Morton, but cannot find it. While we knew Morton’s was a personal favorite, until we launched the blog, we didn’t know how many others loved the brand too. Apparently, they are mostly searching for the Morton Honey Buns, and not so much the Pot Pies, though those get requests too.

In 1940, Harold Morton of Louisville started selling a chicken and noodle dish, according to an excellent and seminal article in the Crozet Gazette in February 2007. Subsequently, his Morton Packing Co. of Louisville, Ky. launched Morton Chicken Pot Pie in 1949, which was made from an Old Kentucky Recipe. In 1953, Morton bought a frozen food storage facility in Crozet, Virginia for his enterprise; at its height the Morton freezery became Albemarle County’s largest employer.

The freezery factory itself had a long history, and was home to the famed apple beloved in London, the Albemarle Pippin. Streams of snappily dressed truck drivers in liveried trucks would deliver fresh Morton products to groceries across the country. In 1965, Morton was so successful that the company was bought by Continental Baking, a unit of the vast International Telephone and Telegraph conglomerate. In 1981, it was sold to tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds. In 1982, it became a unit of RJR’s San Francisco-based Del Monte, along with Del Monte’s other brands Chung King and Patio. It was part of Con Agra by 1991. The brand existed until at least 2000, when the Crozet, Virginia freezery closed.

As part of the brand, there was also a Morton Donut Shop (registered by the U.S. Trademark Office as a unit of ITT Continental Baking in 1975). Luckily, many of the old commercials are at the Library of Congress in the Karr Collection. In addition, the packaging was done by one of the great brand identity firms of the 1970s., that wonderful site about American foodways, has a great thread on where it has gone. Posted is a letter from ConAgra to a fan who asked about Morton. Whenever a conglomerate kills off a great old brand, of course, it is the consumer’s fault that they didn’t buy enough of the product. (By the way, check out artist Dan Goodsell whose website has great images of the product.)

How would Morton be relaunched?

  • Bring back the Honey Buns for now, with only a small launch. A modest run of the products, sold at a few select media savvy supermarkets, will do the trick.
  • A few T-shirts and promotional items. And word-of-mouth promotion. This will not only preserve the equity and business goodwill of the brand, it will give Con Agra reps calling on supermarkets a boutique item that actually has some punch.
  • License the name to an upstart small company interested in frozen food brands. Take a share of the new start up.
  • License the name to a grocery chain, for store-branded items.

So how about it Joan Chow, Chief Marketing Officer of mighty ConAgra Foods Inc.? Let us latchkey 70s kids have our Honey Buns back!


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. Cut through the crap, just bring back the honey buns.. what is so difficult to comprehend?? Make it happen ASAP.

    1. Con Agra is the kiss of death to anything they buy out
      Look at Marie Callender’s
      Falling in a bottomless pit
      Such a shame

  2. I remember the ‘old man’ who did the TV commercials…

    If they did bring em back, it wouldnt be the same.
    Like ‘Colonial (is good) Bread’…. it aint the same.
    Speaking of honey buns, back in the 60’s , Colonial in Atlanta made the very best honey bun ever- they used Krispy Kreme glaze on them….
    Man, a taste of heaven.

  3. Honey Buns came in three flavors – cinnamon, orange, and chocolate.

    My very favorite was the orange which had an orange glaze but same insides as the regular honey bun.

    What was so good about this product was the consistency of the dough part of the product. It was dense and not too fluffy.

    I sure do wish they would bring back the honey buns in EXACTLY the same way they were before.

    This is a good tasting snack is great to have on hand. Kids and adults of all ages love them.

    Actually, I think Morton – Con Agra whoever owns it now is STUPID to have discontinued this item. There are really no good yeast raised pastry products in the frozen food section anymore.

  4. Please bring back all Morton donuts. I grew up eating an entire box of the cinnimon sugar donuts, hot out of the oven, every morning. I believe there were 20 in a box. I also loved the honey buns, glazed donuts, chocolate raised and pretty much all the Morton products. They are so awesome dunked in milk. M-m-m-m-m-m!

  5. Bring back the mac and cheese!!!!

  6. I too am a latchkey kid of the 70’s/80’s. I never had nor do I want Morton’s honey buns or pies..I had the pleasure of eating the frozen cinnamon sugar donuts only a couple times but I NEVER forgot them and have never had anything as good from anywhere. This page as well as roadfood page has tons more people talking about those mini donuts than honeybuns or any other product. IF MORTON Heir wants to bring back ONE product market research would tell you that is the one..i will not sign a petition for anything else. However Conagra is evil. I will not hold my breath. On roadfood an ex employee told the secret ingredient that made those mini donuts impossible to duplicate. I am going to try to.

  7. I just found this feed because I have been thinking about those honey buns for 20 years now. Nothing compares! Glad to find I’m not alone out here

  8. My mom used to feed my little fat ass honey buns for breakfast for like 10 years. That plus bagels with an inch of cream-cheese. Now I realize they are just donuts! But man, they were good.

  9. Wow. I find myself thinking back on, and longing for, Morton’s frozen honey buns. I go online really just to find out what happened to the Morton’s company, only to find out that the honey buns were something of a cult favorite. Amazing.

  10. Yes please bring back the Honey Buns and the cream pies.

  11. I thought the best was the Chicken Pot Pies that my Mom used to get from the outlet shop next door. You might a mashed Pot pie or one with no top on it but they were only $2.00 for 30 (I think I’ve got that right) Pot Pies. The dinners came the same way, $2.00 for 40 dinners. Some might just have 2 things of corn in them or all mashed potatoes but they were good. I was in High school, then, 1970.

  12. I think we can find a version of the honey buns now in the dollar tree chain in Virginia.

  13. Ten years after this original post, here I am, finding this article while trying to solve the mystery of whatever happened to little frozen Morton’s doughnuts.

    Mystery, sadly solved.

    Oh, if only I had one more box of those little doughnuts…

  14. What about the Mortons frozen doughnuts that I had a spice sugar glaze on top? Someone should buy that recipe and put them back in the freezer for us! God bless, peace out!



    I MISS THEM SO MUCH!!!!!!!

  16. I remember these honey buns. My mother would buy them, pretty dang good…

  17. IT seems con-agra doesn’t read these posts they just don’t care.lets start e mailing tem DIRECTLY.

  18. Bring them back! Would make a great tradition for any generation to enjoy.

  19. Bring back Morton’s !!!!!! I will buy ALL Morton products !!!! And thousands of the donuts, pot pies, and honey buns especially !!!

  20. I hope they bring back Morton’s. O especially loved the tuna pot pie, and Morton’s was the only one that made it. I remember the donuts that you baked in the oven too. I’d like for this to he brought back, for the nostalgic taste, even if it was under the Banquet brand, also owned by ConArga
    The ‘con’ in ConAgta is attiquite as they by discontinuing loved brands, they stolen from consumers, while stealing from farmers by robbery of their livelihood. Praise the Lord for Leaf Brands, they Hydrox cookies are back along with several other vintage foods.

  21. Hello – my name is Dr. Sean Heuvel and I am the great-grandson of one of the co-founders of Morton Frozen Foods. My great-grandfather Jean D. Patton (1898-1956), helped his childhood friend Harold M. Morton establish the company in 1938, later becoming (by the 1950s) vice president of production and a member of the company’s board of directors. Anyways, I co-administer the Morton Frozen Foods FB page and a group of us have just started a petition to request that ConAgra resume production on at least one Morton product – probably the honeybuns. If we can collect enough signatures it may compel ConAgra to at least start a dialogue with us on this. Please check out the attached link to sign the petition and be sure to share it with others who may be interested. Thanks!

  22. Loved the jelly donuts. Brings back great memories. BRING THEM BACK

  23. I really liked Morton’s frozen macaroni and cheese. In my single days often had it as entrée for dinner. I liked it much better than any of the mac & cheese servings I can find these days (frozen or mix). Is anything similar in taste & ease of preparation available today?

  24. When I was growing up Morton’s honey buns were a Christmas morning tradition. I lo GED for them for so many years on that day after they discontinued them. I then realized how that a warmed up Krispy Kreme was almost identical.

    That being said, nothing beats the original. Please bring them back.

  25. As I watched my 16 yo son inhale a large after-dinner snack tonight, I wished that Morton’s honeybuns and mini donuts were still around. They were a staple in our house growing up and a favorite of my brother when he was in high school. Imagine my surprise when I googled these delights on a whim and came upon this site. Nice to have company! But I’d sure like to see them back.

  26. Our family was big on the Morton pies. Especially my late brother Walter. His favorite and mine was the Chocolate Cream Pie. We especially enjoyed eating them while still frozen. At holiday time I think of him and those terrific Morton pies.

  27. Please, please, please, someone bring back the mini frozen sugared donuts!, I promise I will single-handedly keep you in business!!

  28. I was so happy to see this site, thinking it might convince ConAgra or someone, ANYONE to bring back Morton Honey Buns and mini-donuts! But now I see people have been leaving messages for YEARS. What would it take? Who do we have to convince? We have to find a way to make it happen…

  29. When I was a kid, I used to love going to my grandparents’ house out on the farm for one main reason…Honeybuns!!!

    I would pay $100 today, for one last 4-pack of Morton Honeybuns. Then I would be really tempted not to share…lol

  30. I grew up on morton honey buns they were the best ever. Im 54 years old now & i still miss & talk about them. They would be a great sell !! Many foods are still around because they were great tasting. Why not bring back morton honey buns !!!!

  31. Please bring back Morton products; specifically the Honey Buns and donuts…they were the best and there are no similar products on the market that I have found!!!

  32. Please bring back morton honey buns no one can or has come close to your four packs. Thank you

  33. I have been looking for any reference to Morton Frozen Foods, on 1980 Captain America items. I have several I found but can find no reference between the two. I imagine they advertised for the comic books?

  34. Please bring back the donuts. I can taste them right now with my eyes closed.

  35. Krispy Cream Donuts are a lot like Morton Honey Buns

  36. The best thing that could happen to the brand is for someone to buy the trademarks and the Honey Buns recipe from ConAgra and start making the frozen dinners that people actually liked again, rather than the puny things they were selling a notch under Banquet. ConAgra says low sales killed the line; I say low quality did.

    My 15 year old son and I just saw that Twinkies and Cupcakes from Hostess are back. I was just telling him about my favorite food that is no longer available. I too, thought it most like a HOTTIE from Krispy Kreme. Delicious, not nutritious! He thinks he would love to try one! Please let him!

  38. PLEASE….return the Morton’s Honey Buns to all Grocer’s freezers. You may as well open up the entire Morton line. Check out the responses posted for the past 5 years. Just do us a big favor …process all of the Morton line using the original recipes and the original ingredients (no high fructose corn syrup or any other additive that may or may not cause cancer!! Ingredients link listed below: buns recipe. Shall we get a petition going?


  39. I would love to have some Morton meatloaf dinners, the carrots was awesome…….banquet does not compare to these old TV dinners, the pot pies was a favorite of mine to, please bring these dinners back

  40. I had a little Debbie honey bun with my kids tonight and I was immediately craving a Morton’s honeybun. I told them how I heated them in the oven with butter on top and it was so hard to stop eating more. So I got online tonight to see if they were still around and I land on this Honey Bun Blog. My kids were amazed and now want to try Morton’s amazing Honey Buns too. “Bringem back!” from a 60’s kid and his 9 kids.

    1. i totally agree David….little Debbie doesnt come close. I think the genius was that there wasnt too much sugar, but there was plenty. i also think the cinnamon was greater. it was also baked better…less puffy.

  41. I still miss the honey buns, but especially the cinnamon & sugar donuts. All I can do is hope that one day they will come back.

  42. We were just talking about Morton Honey Buns and the Glazed donuts at the dinner table. They were soooo good. We first got them at the Kwik Chek, now Winn Dixie, here in Florida some 30 plus years ago. I too still look in the freezer dept, hoping they would appear. They were the best!!!

  43. I still look for them after all of these years (the Honey Buns) – just hoping they will “reappear” on the store shelves! I have tried other ones – but nothing compares!

  44. If Morton’s Honey Buns are back in the grocery, I will regularly buy them, simply delicious.

  45. I still go through the freezer section looking and hoping to see those little Morton’s Cinnamon Donuts. And now that I know there are so many others that miss and love Morton’s, I’ll continue to look and hope.

  46. I can remember burning my tongue on the jelly from the jelly donuts… it was sooooo worth it.

  47. We were talking about those yummy honey buns today at work. One of the things I miss the most from my childhood. Please bring them back. And yes, those warm from the oven cinnamon donuts too.


  49. I loved the frozen Morton honey buns. There has never been a honey bun like Morton’s honey buns. Now I know to no longer look for them. How sad that they are not around.

  50. I really miss Morton’s pot pies and tv dinners. Banquet could never hold a candle to their quality … and Swanson always cost too much for what you got. Morton was simply a lot more reliable than what you can buy in the freezer case today! And yes, the donuts were great, too!

  51. I agree, bring them all back. I am almost 50 and can still taste them!

  52. Yes, please bring back the honey buns and the donuts (all of them).

  53. I was just reminiscing about the Morton glazed and jelly donuts and stumbled om this. Bring ’em back I say!

  54. Had Honey Buns for breakfast almost everyday. First the oven and then Microwave. I liked them from the microwave as they did not get crunchy around the edges..and faster..I looked this story up as I hoped they really were not gone! Bring them back…there is no replacement out there!

  55. I walk by my grocersd freezer every week hoping to see Morton’s honey buns. One day I hope to see them and fill my freezer full.

  56. I, like so many others, have had cravings for those wonderful cinnamon donuts. How can we get them back???

  57. PLEASE, bring back the Morton’s Honey Buns,….but the original recipe from the 70’s. Thsoe were the absolute BEST!!!

  58. I have had a craving for the Morton mini cinnamon doughnuts since I had a “food memory” of them suddenly surface last year. Last week I bought the Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Eggo Waffles at Target, and one bite brought me close to the taste. They are definitely less sweet, but give them a try for a quick Morton doughnut craving fix!

  59. I was just telling my husband about these, particularly the mini cinnamon doughnuts, and the honey buns, and I tried to google them and came across this. I am going to Con-Agra’s site after this. I don’t understand why, if all these people are searching for them, they don’t start making them again!!!

  60. I have been searching for years for the Morton Honey Buns,,like all the others that have posted on this site, I was rasied eating Morton Brands and miss them so much! I also gave them to my kids as they were growing up. Like a person posted before me..if they did bring them back, I’d buy a second freezer and stock up! Please bring back the HONEY BUNS!!!!

  61. I was only about 4 years old when I had my first Morton (glazed) donut, which was shortly after we had moved to Minnesota from Texas in 1974. Naturally as a child…I LOVED THEM, and I recall how flake worthy the glaze was after they were taken out of the toaster oven. (No other frozen donut has been able to share that particular quality that I know of since!) We moved back to Texas the next year and unfortunately they were not being sold in our State. Little could I have imagined then, that I would go on missing and thinking about them for a lifetime! I was curious to their ingredients. After many years of entering searches on eBay for a Morton donut box, I landed an original which had come from a late hoarder’s estate…lol. When I get time to do so, I’ll come back and list the ingredients. There’s no nutritional facts as to total calories or fat content, This was not required back then. Amazing!

  62. Every Sunday Morning after Mass 2 boxes of Morton’s Honey Buns and 1 Sara Lee Coffee Cake – either crumb or Pecan – There were 9 of us eating them so it really wasn’t as overkill as it sounds – but it was a Sunday only treat that all of my siblings and I still crave to this day.

  63. I loved the little mini donuts. I have been telling my kids about them for years….I think ConAgra should start selling them again. I think they would be surprised at the popularity.

  64. I had forgotten about the honey buns. They were delicious, but what I really loved were the mini donuts. I have never eaten such a good donut. I have told my son about them so many times he is tired of hearing me bring them up. They need to bring them back. They were awesome!!

  65. Morton Honey Buns were the greatest ever!
    I can almost taste the gooey goodness with butter ane drizzeled SueBee honey. Every morning for breakfast while watching the Bozo Show and the Three Stooges before school. EVERY morning! So u cant tell me they werent good sellers. LOOK at all these people. Ya may have a riot on ur hands if u dont return them to the masses.
    pLeAsE bring em back, Conagra…or are you skeered? I’d pay whatever just to have my tastebuds not mad at me anymore.
    Send me a Morton Honey Bun shirt XL and I’ll advertise for u. It’d be the greatest comeback EVER!!!!
    Lost Without You

  66. It occurred to me not long ago that I had not had those wonderful honey buns my mom used to make me and I have been to every grocery store looking for them. Finally I have decided to look online. If so many of us want them why wouldnt someone bring them back! They are so much better than all those dry nasty donuts that come in a box. Even Little Debbies honey buns are dry and nasty. Mortens were moist like they were homemade, just a little crispy on the outside and all soft on the inside, and completely covered in that wonderful sugary glaze. PERFECT! I want them back to make for my kids! And myself of course, lol!

  67. i, along with many others, thought i was the only one still looking for morton’s honey buns. they were the BEST!!! I have such fond memories of eating them right out of the oven. They just melted in your mouth!!! I wish they’d bring them back……..

  68. I too remember the honeybuns from my Pittsburgh days. They were simply the best. The only ones that come close are from Dunkin Donuts and that’s one I had in Nassau Bahamas. I’m not sure if the American ones make them as well.

    Do the right thing and bring them back!

  69. WOW! I knew Morton Honeybuns were popular but I didn’t realize just how much! My mom didn’t have alot of money but growing up they were the Sunday morning treat for me and my sister. We’d wake up to the smell of them wafting into our room and race to get to the kitchen! I burned my mouth and tongue SO MANY TIMES cause I couldn’t wait for mine to cool down. They were the BEST! Bring em back!

  70. I’ve missed the Mortons honey buns AND donuts so much, I’d love to have them come back!! I’d sure stock up.

  71. I miss those Blueberry Rounds. I remember them in the freezer isle in the store as a little girl and wish they were still around for my children to taste how wonderful they were coming out hot from the toaster and letting the butter melt all over before I took my first bite!

  72. My grandma always had Morton’s glazed donuts. She lived across the street and it seemed like whenever I looked in her freezer, they were there. She died in 1981 and I don’t think I’ve had them since. My mom would never buy them. Krispy Kreme comes close, but I agree, there’s nothing the same as that piping hot donut coming out of the toaster oven, all warm and crisp and sweet on the outside and all soft on the inside. I miss Morton’s! Just wish I could have them one more time and let my kids try them. I miss my grandma!

  73. please please !!!!!bring back the morton honey other ones have ever come close to tasting like those from the 70’s!!even my daughters born in the 80’s say they were the would make sooo many people happy again.doritos listened to us and brought back the original taco doritos so please listen to our needs and wont regret it!!

  74. Please, please, please bring back the cinnamon sugar donuts and the pot pies…so good…been looking for years…why would you not want to make millions from your 70’s children?

  75. If they ever brought back Morton honey buns and frozen donuts, (I preferred the jelly- there is nothing like a hot jelly donut) I would buy a second freezer and order them by the case!

  76. Please bring back the original Morton’s Honey Buns. I grew up eating those things by the box. Nothing these days even comes close!

  77. Bring back the cinnamon sugar donuts!! Those things were a staple of my breakfasts before school, back before our family got it’s first microwave. Those donuts were so good, I ate them frozen on many occasions. Unfortunately, the donuts were doomed once the microwave became common in the mid 80’s. Like most frozen foods when nuked, they tasted awful and soggy.

  78. I’ve been searching for the Morton mini-donuts with the sugar you could pop into the oven & they would come out crisp on the outside warm & soft on the inside. A few with a glass of milk for a child or with a cup of coffee for an adult, how do we get them back?

  79. I was at a fund raiser the other day and had a cake doughnut. Immediately I was transported back to my childhood and having Morton’s mini doughnuts. I am very sad to know that I can not find them anywhere. If they came back, I would love to share them with my kids.

  80. Please bring back the Morton’s Honey Buns!!! I ate them for breakfast every morning and would love to share them with my kids! They were the best! I can still remember how they just melted in your mouth! If they want to sell the recipe, I’ll make them myself!

  81. I was an exchange student from Brazil in Massachusetts and I absolutely loved those donuts. I looked for them everywhere ever since but to no avail. It is a pity, they were delicious!

  82. Bring back the Morton mini-donuts! I am 53 and can’t recall the last one I enjoyed…..had I known they would disappear, I would have bought up all the boxes in the store to freeze for later!!

  83. I came from a poor family but had no clue that I did. My parents, mostly my mother, did a fantastic job managing the money. The biggest thrill I can remember was Christmas morning, not for the presents, but for the Morton Honey Buns warming in the oven. It was a “special” purchase my mother mostly made at Christmas and they had become a tradition in our home. Even though I am 45, I have been searching for them at the stores, wanting to share this special item with my baby daughter. She is almost 6 years old now, and I just now learned here that what I wanted to share was gone forever.

  84. I grew up and these, I got a divorce from my wife because she would not get them for me. ( I did not realize they were off the market).

  85. Please bring back Morton’s donuts and honey buns! If you take Crispy cream donuts & freeze them, heat them @ 350 for 5 min. in the oven, its almost the same, but not quite as good.

  86. My whole family loved the Morton Honey Buns the most. My brother has recently found out that his cancer has returned and we were sitting in the hospital talking about Morton Honey Buns. He stated sure could eat one before I start my chemo. I told my sister if I ever found some I would buy cases of them. PLEASE, PLEASE bring them back. We loved them when we were little and would love for our children to be able to see how good they were.

  87. I too have been searching for the honey buns and little donuts! They were the BEST!! Bring them back to us!!!

  88. And I thought I was the only person on the planet still searching for Morton’s honey buns! My favorite food of all time! Especially with some butter on top!

  89. I TOTALLY miss them. Remember when my mom would fix them for breakfast as my brother & I were getting ready for school. Loved all the Morton Breakfast Products………the tiny cinnamon donuts & those yummy jelly filled donuts with sugar! Bring them back~

  90. Yes, PLEASE bring back the Honey Buns and the little sugar (Cinnamon?) donuts. They
    were awesome. I think there was like 12 or 18 donuts in the box?

  91. Hey man where’s the lemon pies? Gone with the 70s!