Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan Option)

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These gluten free cinnamon rolls are fluffy and soft, with a sweet filling and icing. Make this gluten free brunch recipe for the holidays! Vegan option included.

hero shot cinnamon rolls

Gluten free cinnamon rolls recipe testing

This recipe was tested over 16 times – yes, I am completely serious!

To be absolutely sure that you have the very best cinnamon rolls, we tested this recipe:

  • with yeast and without yeast – ALSO, using active dry yeast versus instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • using an egg and no egg
  • adding xanthan gum versus using gluten free flour that has xanthan in it.

To be honest, they all taste delish! The difference is in the texture of the final product. Obviously, no yeast means a heavier, denser roll, which isn’t what we were looking for.

SO, we narrowed things down and now the recipe is PERFECT!

For a  softer, fluffier texture like you find in a traditional cinnamon roll, make the rapid rise yeast version, and use an egg. 

Vegan cinnamon rolls (without egg) are equally delish.

Either way, be sure to serve them warm and hot out of the oven (with glaze) for best results. Another benefit is that you can make the batter ahead of time, very easily!

How to make cinnamon rolls

NOTE: If you’re making the vegan cinnamon rolls recipe, see the notes below. You will need to make an adjustment to the first step. The rest of the recipe is exactly the same.

  1. Make the dough.

For the best results, use an electric stand mixer to combine the ingredients. When you mix ingredients by hand, it can be really easy to overwork the dough, which causes the rolls to be hard and chalky tasting.

Knead the dough using a dough hook attachment, and only for only 2-3 minutes. The dough should be similar in consistency to pizza dough.

If the dough seems too dry (depending on the kind of flour you’re using), add a tiny bit of water.

  1. Shape and rise the dough.

With well-floured hands, shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. The texture will be similar to sticky playdough.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. This usually takes 70 to 90 minutes, but it could be longer if your environment is cold or too dry.

TIP: If you live in a cold climate, preheat your oven to its lowest temperature for a couple of minutes, then turn it off. Then, let the dough rise inside the warm oven.

cinnamon roll dough rising in glass bowl

Filling, slicing, and baking

  1. Make the filling.

While the dough is rising, make your filling. Just combine the sugar, cinnamon, pinch of sea salt, and softened butter. You should have a thick, paste-like texture. Set it aside until your dough is ready to roll out.

  1. Roll out the dough, add filling, and slice.

You’ll want a rectangle that is approximately 10×12 inches, and about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in thickness. I like to place wax paper on top, then use a rolling pin to roll it out.

Brush the dough with some melted butter, then spread the filling out onto the dough, leaving 1/2-inch space as a border.

Starting on the longer side of the dough, gently roll the dough into a tight log.

Gently pinch the seam down to seal on both ends. Then cut the ends off so you can create even slices. I like to freeze the dough for 20 minutes so it’s easier to slice (noted below). Then slice the dough into 10 or 12 slices.

NOTE: If the dough seems too soft to slice, place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up.

  1. Rise the rolls again, then bake and serve!
pan of unbaked cinnamon rolls after second rise

The second rise takes about 30 minutes, but don’t expect them to double in size again. They may barely rise at all, but they WILL rise!

After that, put them into the oven to bake. That’s when I usually make the icing for the top

There are multiple options for icing. If you can tolerate dairy products, feel free to make regular cream cheese frosting, or powdered sugar icing.

If you need a vegan option, I recommend using my recipe for sweetened vegan condensed milk. Or, vegan cream cheese frosting… it’s SUPER delish!

fork on white plate with gooey gluten free cinnamon roll

Gluten free cinnamon rolls recipe tips

  • Flour is your friend! The cinnamon roll dough is VERY sticky. Fortunately, there isn’t gluten in the flour, so feel free to use a LOT of it to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands, counter top, and clothing… haha.

    If your batter becomes too sticky to work with (after you add the yeast and milk) then place it in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes. Or, flour your hands VERY VERY WELL so you can roll the dough into a ball before letting it rise.

  • Stand mixer recommended. Using a stand mixer will give you the best results with the smallest amount of effort. Also, it keeps the flour blend more consistent. I tried mixing with hands/spoon, and while it works, the dough isn’t as fluffy.

NOTE: If you are adding xanthan gum to the batter (versus using a GF flour blend that already has it in the mix), it is VERY important not to over mix.

  • Tip for easier rolling. If the dough is too dry to roll, lightly wetting your fingers with water will help. Or, use flour if the dough is too sticky.
  • Buttermilk replacement- The non dairy milk and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) create a buttermilk-type liquid, which also helps the dough rise. You may replace it with yogurt or real buttermilk if you can tolerate dairy.

Gluten free cinnamon rolls are the BEST way to celebrate any occasion, but I highly recommend them for a gluten free brunch recipe on Christmas morning or New Year’s day!

Print

hero shot cinnamon rolls

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan Option)



  • Author:
    Lindsay Cotter

  • Prep Time:
    2 hours

  • Cook Time:
    20 minutes

  • Total Time:
    2 hours 20 minutes

  • Yield:
    10-12 servings

  • Diet:
    Gluten Free

Description

These gluten free cinnamon rolls are fluffy and soft, with a sweet filling and icing. Make this gluten free brunch recipe for the holidays!


Ingredients

With Egg

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) gluten free all purpose flour (preferably without xanthan gum)
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast 
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (if your flour already has xanthan in it, reduce to 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp (50 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup warm non dairy milk milk 
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter melted (or refined coconut oil, liquid) + extra to wash for dough
  • 1 large egg, whisked

Vegan Option

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) gluten free all purpose flour (preferably without xanthan gum)
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast 
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (if your flour doesn’t already have it, omit if your flour does have xanthan)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp sugar (50 grams)
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter melted (or refined coconut oil, liquid) + extra to wash for dough
  • 1 tbsp ACV (apple cider vinegar) 
  • 1 cup warm non dairy milk

Filling (for both versions)

  • 1/31/2 cup packed coconut sugar or brown sugar* SEE NOTES
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar or sugar substitute
  • 2 tsp cinnamon + pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, softened (or refined coconut oil, softened at room temp)

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar or powdered sugar substitute
  • 1.5 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
  • 23 tbsp non dairy milk/cream

OR my recipe for sweetened vegan condensed milk, heated and poured on top


Instructions

NOTE: If you’re making the vegan version, see notes below. You will just need to adjust the first step

  1. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, whisk/sift together the gluten free all purpose flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and xanthan gum. 
  2. Add warm milk, 3 tbsp melted butter (or coconut oil), and whisked egg to the bowl/stand mixer, and mix until combined.
  3. Knead the dough for only 2-3 minutes (you don’t want to overmix) in the stand mixer with a dough hook. The dough should be similar to pizza dough. If the dough seems too dry (depending on the kind of flour you’re using), add a tiny bit of water.
  4. With well-floured hands, shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Texture will be similar to sticky playdough. Cover bowl with cotton towel and place in a warm place until dough doubles in size. The dough usually takes 70 to 90 minutes to rise. Longer if your environment is cold or too dry.  *SEE NOTES
  5. While the dough is rising, make your filling. In another bowl, mix together the coconut and raw sugar, cinnamon, pinch of sea salt, and softened butter. This should form a paste like texture. Set aside
  6. Once your dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and place it on a well-floured surface. I cannot emphasize this enough; FLOUR IS YOUR FRIEND when you roll this dough. So, keep the surface floured.
  7. With floured hands, spread the dough into a large rectangle.  (10×12 inches), about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in thickness. I like to place wax paper on top, then roll with a rolling pin.
  8. Once you have the dough rolled out into a rectangle, brush the center with 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp melted butter, then spread the filling out onto the dough, leaving about 1/2-inch space from the border.
  9. Starting on the longer side of the dough, gently roll the dough into a tight log. Lightly wet your fingers if the dough is too dry or use flour if dough is too sticky. Gently pinch the seam down to seal on both ends. Then cut the ends for even slices. If the dough seems too soft to slice, then place the dough in the freezer for 10 -20  minutes. If it’s firmer, then proceed to slice the dough into 10 or 12 slices.
  10. Place rolls in a well-oiled or lined pan or baking dish. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for another 30-45 minutes. They won’t rise much, but they will rise! Alternatively, you may place it in the fridge (covered) to bake at a later time.
  11. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350° F. After the dough has risen a second time (anywhere between 30-60 minutes), place the baking dish in the oven and bake until the edges begin to golden. About 20-25 minutes. See notes for tips
  12. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make your glaze. Whisk together glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside
  13. Remove rolls from the oven lightly drizzle the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy! Add optional topping – crushed glazed nuts.

Notes

  • Baking tip – I usually rotate the pan halfway through baking for even heat flow. But that depends on your oven. Total baking time is about 20 minutes.
  • Dough rising tip – preheat oven for 1 minute, then turn it off. Place covered dough in the oven with light on to help it rise.
  • Filling – If you use a higher volume of filling, it does tend to leak out into the pan and soak into the bottom of the cinnamon rolls, almost like sticky buns. It’s delicious though!
  • Make ahead – The dough can be made ahead and placed in the fridge for next day use. You may also make the dough, let it rise the first time, roll out, add filling, roll into a log, cover with plastic wrap, then place back in the fridge to bake later (up to the next day). 
  • Vegan version – If you’re making the vegan version, first combine the warm milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle for 5-10 minutes (like buttermilk). Then proceed to step 2 of the instructions above. 

Note – the vegan version works best when you make the dough ahead, roll it out, add the filling, roll it into a log, cover with plastic wrap, then and set in the fridge overnight. Slice it into 10-12 pieces and let it rise again for 1 hour in a greased baking dish before baking. 

  • Category: desserts
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten free cinnamon rolls, gluten free brunch recipe, cinnamon roll recipe

We had several people in our facebook group try out different versions (with and without yeast, no xanthan, etc.) They all turned out delicious, just different textures! Feel free to check out the group and ask questions! That’s what we’re here for.

Phew, that was a lot of talk about cinnamon rolls, but I think we got this!

Cheers,

LC