Friends, behold: The Gluten-Free Vegan Cinnamon Roll.
They’re like the unicorn of the gluten-free, vegan baking world. Many have attempted, few have succeeded. Yet I knew they existed and were possible if I just believed (and tried and tried again and again).
After 11 – read ELEVEN – attempts, I believe I’ve nailed it. Let’s bake!
These cinnamon rolls are surprisingly easy to make. They require just 10 ingredients you likely have on hand right now (!!) and come together using simple methods.
If you’ve ever been intimidated by yeast in baking, don’t be! I include my favorite yeast below, and as long as you don’t overheat your almond milk, you’re golden. It should activate right away and help your rolls rise to the heavens.
The cinnamon roll dough is kept light and fluffy with a blend of gluten-free flour and almond flour.
Vegan butter adds flakiness to the exterior and moisture to the interior, creating that perfect tender-on-the-inside, flaky-on-the-outside cinnamon roll. YUM.
The one part that looks intimidating (but totally isn’t) is the rolling-out process.
Simply line a cutting board with plastic wrap, dust with gluten-free flour, and plop your dough down. Then top with more plastic wrap and roll into a thin rectangle. And voila! You have a perfect cylinder for cutting your rolls. See? I told you we could do it.
Next is a short rise on a warm oven so the dough can expand. Once the rolls are almost touching, it’s time for a short bake in the oven.
We’re so close, friends. So close!
Whoop! Behold: perfectly crisp and tender cinnamon rolls.
At this point, you can glaze or not glaze. But…glaze. I include two frosting options below so there’s something for everyone.
I hope you all LOVE these rolls! They’re:
Tender on the inside
Flaky on the outside
Easy to make
& Seriously delicious!
These would make the perfect lazy weekend breakfast or special occasion dessert (like the holidays!).
If you’re into cinnamon rolls, be sure to also check out my World’s Easiest Vegan Cinnamon Rolls, World’s Easiest Sticky Buns, Vegan Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls, and Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cookies.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers and happy baking, friends!
*NOTE: Recipe updated July 10, 2018 for improved texture and taste.
Vegan Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
- 3/4 scant cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
- 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
- 1 Tbsp vegan butter (We like Myoko’s brand or Earth Balance)
- 1 packet active dry yeast (~2 1/4 tsp as recipe is written // I like Fleischmann’s active dry original)
- 2 cups DIY gluten-free flour blend* (with xanthan gum)
- 3/4 cup almond flour (not almond meal // I like Wellbee’s brand)
- 2 Tbsp cane sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 Tbsp cold vegan butter
- 3 Tbsp melted vegan butter
- 2/3 cup organic brown sugar (light or dark)
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Simple Powdered Sugar Glaze (see notes)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and use vegan butter oil to lightly coat a standard pie plate or round baking dish. Set aside.
- Heat dairy-free milk in the microwave or on the stovetop to the temperature of warm bath water – approximately 110 degrees F (43 C). Be careful not to exceed that temperature or it can kill the yeast.
- To the dairy-free milk, add the vegan butter and sugar and stir melt. Then add yeast and stir once more. Set aside (uncovered) to proof for 10 minutes, or until it appears puffy on the surface (this indicates the yeast is activating. If it hasn’t activated at this point, either your yeast was expired or the liquid was too hot or not hot enough).
- Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl whisk together gluten free flour blend (including xanthan gum), almond flour, cane sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Then add cold vegan butter and use a fork or pastry cutter to mix or “cut” into the dry mixture. It should resemble the texture of wet sand (see photo).
- To the dry ingredients, add the almond milk-yeast mixture a little at a time and stir. A dough that resembles moist (not crumbly) cookie dough should form (see photo). Add more of the wet mixture as needed. If it gets too wet and tacky (you should be able to form it into a ball when rolled), add more almond flour or GF flour blend. Set aside.
- Get a large cutting board and wrap with plastic wrap (tuck the wrap down around the edges so it stays in place). Then dust the surface of the plastic wrap generously with gluten-free flour.
- Add the dough in the center of the board and sprinkle with more gluten-free flour. Then top with another sheet of plastic wrap and tuck down around the edges of the cutting board (so it stays in place). Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large, thin rectangle. The dough should be about 1/8th-inch thick.
- Carefully remove the top layer of plastic wrap and brush on the vegan butter. Then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and spread gently with fingers to evenly distribute. Then, untuck the bottom layer of plastic wrap from the cutting board and use it to tightly roll the dough lengthwise into a cylinder (see photo).
- Use a serrated knife or floss (my preferred method) to cut into even rolls (as the recipe is written, 7-8). Then carefully transfer to the prepared pie dish or cake pan (they can be fragile to transfer).
- Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set on top of the warm oven and let rise for about 30 minutes, or until the rolls have risen slightly and are touching (or close to touching) – they won’t get as voluminous as gluten-containing rolls, but they will puff up a bit!
- Remove towel and plastic wrap and place rolls on the center rack of your oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and the rolls have risen/expanded quite a bit. While the rolls bake, you can prepare a frosting / glaze (optional).
- Let the rolls cool at least 20 minutes before frosting (optional), then enjoy! Store leftover cinnamon rolls covered at room temperature up to 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. See notes for make-ahead cinnamon rolls to store in the freezer (unbaked).
*To create a simple powdered sugar glaze, whisk 3 cups (300 g) sifted organic powdered sugar with 1 Tbsp (14 g) melted vegan butter and add 1-3 Tbsp (15-45 ml) dairy-free milk until smooth. To thicken, add more powdered sugar. To thin, add more dairy-free milk. Pour onto the rolls after cooling outside of the oven for 10 minutes.
*You can also make the dough ahead of time to the point of rolling and cutting the dough into rolls – at which point you would transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze, and then place in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze up to 1 month. Then, when ready to bake, place in a prepare baking dish, cover, and set on top of the oven to thaw for 1 1/2-2 hours. Then heat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and allow them to continue thawing / rising. Once they’ve thawed and visibly risen, bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and expanded/risen. Glaze as instructed (optional).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without glaze.
*Recipe and method loosely adapted from Recreating Happiness.
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