Apple cinnamon rolls are fluffy, airy, and filled with tender, juicy apple pieces. You'll bite into a cinnamon dream of soft caramelized dough and a sweet apple surprise.
Serve apple cinnamon rolls for a special breakfast or as a sweet Holiday treat. Your family and friends will adore you.
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Check out our best vegan brunch recipe collection!
Our apple cinnamon roll recipe is based on our hugely popular easy cinnamon rolls.
You'll love this recipe because it's easy to make, with simple pantry staples that you already have at home.
There are no eggs in our dough, and you can easily make it vegan and dairy-free by substituting dairy-free milk and butter for their dairy-full counterparts.
The dough is wonderfully light and airy, producing beautifully soft and fluffy apple cinnamon rolls.
The small apple pieces in the rolls get soft and juicy and infuse the dough with an irresistible apple flavor.
This is an excellent recipe to enjoy during the holidays or on the weekend, to make for someone special, and why not, to treat yourself to a delicious homemade delicacy.
For the dough
All-purpose flour is best. We have not tried this recipe with gluten-free flour.
We recommend using instant dry yeast because it's reliable and easy to use.
You can substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast in the exact quantities.
We use almond milk to make apple cinnamon rolls. You can use any non-dairy or dairy milk.
We prefer almond milk because it produces a lighter dough than, for example, whole milk and adds a beautiful aroma.
Use neutrally-flavored oil such as canola or sunflower oil to make the dough.
We prefer oil to butter or vegan butter because the rolls turn out much fluffier and lighter with oil.
The butter tends to make the dough heavy and compact. We use butter in the filling, and we think it's more than enough to give the rolls that buttery flavor. So, make the dough with oil and the filling with butter or dairy-free butter.
Regular white sugar is perfect. The dough is not overly sweet, but a little sugar helps give structure to the rolls.
Salt makes the dough flavorful. Don't worry. It won't be salty.
For the filling
We like sweet red apples like fuji apples, pink ladies, or Honeycrisp apples. But you can use most apple varieties, including granny smith apples, golden delicious, and more.
You can use butter or dairy-free butter. Both work wonderfully. Make sure you soften them at room temperature before using them. Don't soften in the microwave; the butter will melt too fast, and the rolls will get messy.
We like to use brown sugar for the filling. It adds a nice golden color as it melts in the oven.
You need ground cinnamon for the filling.
For the icing
Whisk together powdered sugar, milk or dairy-free milk, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
The cinnamon buns are also delicious without icing or with our vegan cream cheese frosting.
Making the dough
Note: We make the dough by hand, but you can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. You can add the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer in the same order.
To a large mixing bowl, add lukewarm milk, sugar, oil, and instant dry yeast.
Stir and let the yeast bloom for 1 minute.
Add the flour and salt to the yeast-milk mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until you get a dough bowl.
Sprinkle your worktop with flour, then knead the dough on your lightly floured surface with your hands for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Shape cinnamon roll dough into a ball, transfer it into an oiled bowl, brush it with oil, and cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Let proof in a warm place (like a slightly warm oven) for about 1.5 hours or until it doubles in volume.
Filling and shaping
Core and chop the apples into small dice. Set aside.
Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Soften the butter to a spreadable consistency at room temperature.
Transfer proofed dough onto the worktop and fold on itself 5 times.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle of about 12x16 inches or 30x40cm.
Spread softened butter on the dough.
Cover with cinnamon sugar.
Add chopped apples on a single layer. No overlapping.
Roll the dough, starting from the short side.
Cut into 9 apple cinnamon rolls with a sharp knife, best if a serrated knife or bread knife.
Second proofing and baking
Transfer apple cinnamon rolls to a well-buttered baking pan. We are using a squared 11x11-inch or 30x30cm baking dish.
Proof in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in volume.
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C, then brush the rolls with milk or dairy-free milk. When the oven is hot, bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes.
Take them out of the oven, and let them cool down for 15 minutes before drizzling them with icing or frosting.
Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk to make the icing.
Vegan cinnamon rolls
Vegan cinnamon rolls are the easiest, tastiest, and fluffiest rolls you'll ever make. We only use simple ingredients you already have in your pantry so you can make these beauties without running to the store.
Check out our vegan cinnamon rolls recipe.
Vegan cream cheese frosting
Our vegan cream cheese frosting is probably the tastiest thing to smear on your cinnamon rolls.
Check out our vegan cream cheese frosting recipe.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead: apple cinnamon rolls are best eaten right after you bake them. However, if you want to make them for breakfast, you can prepare them in the baking pan the day before, then keep them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, let them proof out of the refrigerator for about 1 to 1.5 hours, then bake them in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Room temperature: store cinnamon rolls in a plastic bag for 2 to 3 days. Warm them up in the microwave for 1 minute to add moisture and make them soft again.
Freezer: you can freeze baked cinnamon rolls for up to three months in a freezer-friendly bag. However, it would be best to freeze them right before baking them in the baking tray wrapped in several rounds of plastic wrap.
Thaw and bake: thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then let second-proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
More Breakfast and Brunch Ideas
If you love pampering yourself and your loved ones with delicious and comforting sweets, get more brunch inspiration here:
- Vegan donuts: baked and fried donuts with 5 different toppings.
- 7-ingredient banana bread: 1- bowl, one fork recipe with delicious banana flavor.
- Quick chocolate glazed donuts: ready in just 30 minutes.
- Easy vegan blueberry muffins: they take just 5 minutes to whip together!
- 20-minute oatmeal pancakes with apple compote and a healthy oat-based batter.
- Vegan pancakes: an easy, airy, and light pancake recipe, ready in just 20 minutes.
More Apple Recipes
Got apple leftovers? No problem, take your pick from these sweet and tender apple dessert ideas:
- 7-ingredient apple cake: a reader favorite and super easy cake idea.
- Easy apple tart with homemade pie crust and sliced tender apples.
- 30-minute apple muffins: whip these cute muffins up in just 5 minutes!
- Baked apples with streusel-oat topping.
- Whole baked apples with nuts and syrup.
- Apple pie with vegan pie crust (coming soon).
For many more breakfast ideas, check out our breakfast category page.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- 11x11 inch (30x30 cm) squared baking dish or a 10-inch (25 cm) round cake pan.
- 1 cup milk any, we use almond milk
- 2½ teaspoons instant dry yeast or active dry yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil or sunflower oil
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter or dairy-free butter
- 2 - 3 apples
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1½ tablespoons milk any, we use almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- To a large mixing bowl, add lukewarm milk, sugar, oil, and instant dry yeast.Stir and set aside for 1 minute.
- Add flour and salt, mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until you get a dough ball.
- Knead on lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Shape into a ball and transfer into an oiled bowl, brush top with oil, and cover with a damp cloth.
- Proof in a warm place (like in a slightly warm oven or next to a radiator) for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until it doubles in volume.
FILL AND SHAPE
- Soften butter at room temperature. Core and chop apples into small dice.
- Mix brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Transfer proofed dough onto worktop and fold on itself 5 times.
- Roll out dough into a 12x16-inch or 30x40cm rectangle.Spread softened butter on top.
- Cover with cinnamon sugar.
- Add chopped apples without the pieces overlapping.
- Roll the dough into a log, starting from the short side.
- Cut into 9 apple cinnamon rolls with a sharp serrated knife.
SECOND PROOFING AND BAKING
- Transfer rolls onto a well-buttered baking pan. We use a 11x11-inch (30x30 cm) baking pan.
- Proof a second time in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in volume.
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C, brush rolls with milk, then when oven is hot bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Take them out of the oven, let cool down 15 minutes, then drizzle with icing or smear with frosting.
- For icing: whisk together powder sugar, vanilla extract, and milk in a small bowl.
- Use milk at lukewarm (not cold, not hot) temperature.
- Proof in warm place to help the yeast do its job.
- Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. It takes from 5 to 10 minutes.
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