Our vegan cinnamon rolls are easy to make with simple pantry staples. They are soft, moist, light, and packed with a lovely cinnamon flavor.
This is the perfect holiday recipe for a cozy breakfast, brunch, or dessert. Try them with our vanilla icing or vegan cream cheese topping; your friends and family will love you.
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Vegan cinnamon rolls are my absolute favorite winter holiday recipe. They’ve become a winter-is-coming ritual in hour home.
I love making the dough for the rolls by hand, letting it proof, filling it with a generous amount of cinnamon sugar, and watching them get puffy and golden as they bake in the oven.
The fragrance of the baked dough and the cinnamon in our kitchen signals the start of the winter and the Christmas period.
Every year, we invite a bunch of old friends over, make the rolls, and chat about the year gone by.
I love watching the happy smiles on their faces as they bite into the warm, cozy, and soft rolls, completely unaware the recipe is 100% vegan.
What you’ll love about vegan cinnamon rolls is how light, soft, and fluffy they are. They literally melt in your mouth. Also, they are so easy to make with a few simple ingredients.
You can top the rolls with icing to make the recipe extra yummy. We have one with powdered sugar, one with vegan cream cheese, and one with vegan butter and cream cheese.
And for the most health-conscious of you, we made a version of vegan cinnamon buns without added refined sugar and less fat, using date paste instead of sugar and butter.
For the dough
Any dairy-free milk works for this recipe. We use almond milk. You can also use soy milk, oat milk, and cashew milk.
We use white sugar for the dough and brown sugar for the filling. You can also use all brown sugar.
Note: Some sugars might not be 100% vegan; if that’s a problem for you, try to find sugar made from beets or cane sugar that is certified organic and vegan.
We recommend using instant dry yeast or active dry yeast.
Instant dry yeast is our favorite because it doesn’t need to be activated, and you can mix it with the other ingredients right away.
Either case, read the instructions on your packet when using the yeast.
Instant dry yeast looks like fine granular dust. You can find it in most grocery stores or online.
You can substitute fresh yeast for instant or dry yeast. However, you need 3X fresh yeast compared to dry yeast.
We recommend using a neutral-flavored vegetable oil such as canola or sunflower oil. Alternatively, you can use dairy-free butter made from oils such as sunflower oil, canola oil, and olive oil.
You can also use vegan butter made with saturated fats like palm oil and coconut oil; however, we tried, and the rolls turn out less fluffy and heavier with that as if they were made with real butter.
All-purpose flour is excellent.
We haven’t tried making this recipe gluten-free, so not sure how it would turn out.
We add a pinch of sea salt to enhance the flavor of the dough. If you are on a low-sodium diet, you can omit salt.
You can use any vegan or dairy-free butter for the filling. It needs to be soft at room temperature.
Add sweetness and color to the vegan cinnamon rolls.
It is mixed with sugar and butter. It’s the main flavor in this recipe, so that you can be generous here.
For a healthier filling, you can replace the sugar and the vegan butter with date paste. Date paste will add enough sweetness and moisture to the rolls.
Icing for cinnamon rolls
Make it with powdered sugar, dairy-free milk, and vanilla.
Cream cheese frosting
Make it with vegan cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
Butter and cream cheese frosting
Make it with your favorite vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Get the full recipe and instructions for vegan lemon frosting and vanilla frosting.
- You can use a 10×10 inch (25×25 cm) squared baking dish or a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan.
- Dental floss or a serrated knife for cutting the rolls.
Make the dough
To a large mixing bowl, add lukewarm milk, sugar, oil (or lukewarm melted vegan butter) and instant yeast. Stir and let the yeast bloom for 1 minute.
Tip: the milk should be lukewarm, not hot or cold. The yeast needs a lukewarm temperature to thrive.
Add flour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula until you get a dough ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.
Knead vigorously for 5 to 8 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.
Note: if you prefer, use a standing mixer for kneading the dough. Add the ingredients in the same order.
Tip: The dough should be as soft as possible without sticking to your hands. So try not to add more flour.
Consideration: As always in doughs, the quantity of flour and water may change slightly depending on the type of flour you use, how old the flour is, altitude, temperature, and humidity of your kitchen.
So if the dough sticks to your hands, add a sprinkling of flour at a time, always remembering that a soft and moist dough is preferable to a hard and dry one.
Shape the dough into a ball, and transfer it into a large bowl you previously brushed with oil.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, leaving enough space between the dough and the cloth for the dough to rise.
Let the cinnamon roll dough proof for about one hour and a half until it has doubled in size.
Tip: For proofing, my advice, especially in the winter, is to let the dough rise in a slightly warm oven, that is, turned on for 1 minute, then turned off and kept with the light on.
The ideal condition for yeast is a temperature of 85°F or 30°C and a draft-free and moist environment. The mild oven temperature and the damp cloth provide that. If your oven is busy, put it next to a radiator.
To a bowl, add softened vegan butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
Incorporate with a fork until the ingredients are mixed and spreadable and set aside.
If the vegan butter starts to melt, keep the mixture in the fridge.
Shaping and cutting
When the dough has doubled in volume, transfer it to a work surface, trying not to add flour.
Fold the dough five times on itself, then roll it into a ball.
Tip: folding gives the dough structure to the vegan cinnamon rolls, making the dough easier to work with.
Dust the work surface with a small amount of flour, and roll out the dough, first with your hands, then with the help of a rolling pin.
Make a rectangle of about 12 x 16 inches or 30 x 40 cm.
Make the corners as square as possible.
Spread the filling on it with a spoon or with a silicone spatula.
Spread it all over the rectangle, leaving just a quarter of an inch at the edges.
Roll the dough on itself. Start from the shorter side, and form a tight roll.
Stretch the rolled dough with your hands to reach 11 inches (28 cm).
Take a piece of dental floss, wrap it around the roll, and tighten it as if you wanted to tie a knot.
Cut each roll to a thickness of just over an inch (about 3 centimeters) to make 9 rolls.
You can also cut it with a serrated knife, but the floss produces a cleaner and even cut.
Transfer each roll to the baking sheet you previously brushed with oil or vegan butter.
We use a 10 x 10 inches (25 x 25 cm) square pan that fits nine rolls.
Second proofing and baking
Let rolls proof a second time (best if in a warm place) for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.
Brush the rolls with a little bit of plant milk. When the oven is hot, bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes.
One important thing: if you use a low-sided pan like the one in our pictures, the cinnamon rolls will bake in about 20 minutes. If you use a high-sided pan, the rolls will take around 25 minutes.
Take the cinnamon rolls out of the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes before devouring them.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk powdered sugar, dairy-free milk, and vanilla extract until you have a smooth glaze.
Cream cheese frosting
In a mixing bowl, beat the vegan cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. You can use a hand whisk or an electric mixer.
Butter and cream cheese frosting
In a bowl, whip your favorite vegan butter with vegan cream cheese. The butter should be softened.
Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and keep whipping until you have a smooth frosting.
They are also delicious as they are or with one of our icing options and a sprinkle of toasted shaved almonds.
Then the frosting goes between all the layers of the roll, all the way down to the bottom. They are super fluffy, slightly gooey, and then melt in your mouth.
No added sugar, low-fat cinnamon rolls
To enjoy cinnamon rolls a little more often, we made a healthier version substituting date paste for sugar and butter.
To make date paste, blend pitted dates that have previously soaked in hot water for 30 minutes with a high-speed blender until the turn into a smooth paste.
All you need to do is replace the sugar in the dough with equal amounts of date paste.
For the dough, mix the date paste with the plant milk, oil, and yeast until the date paste is fully dissolved in the liquid.
Then add the flour and salt and continue as described above.
Thanks to the smooth and spreadable texture, and the lovely flavor, date paste is particularly suitable for the filling of our cinnamon rolls as well and will replace vegan butter and sugar in one fell swoop.
You’ll need 160 grams (5.6 oz) of date paste to mix with the cinnamon.
Mix date paste and cinnamon, and your filling is ready to be spread on the dough. Continue the recipe as described previously.
These also turned out super cute, tall, and fluffy. Since we’re eating these without frosting on top, we immediately brush them with a bit of water to keep them soft longer. They are perfect for breakfast or as a snack.
And even though there are no refined sugars and a lot less fat, these vegan cinnamon rolls are perfectly sweet and soft.
If you don’t eat your vegan cinnamon rolls right away, then store them in plastic bags, airtight, so they don’t dry out too much. At room temperature is ok. They keep for 2 to 3 days.
You can also freeze the cinnamon rolls. Please do so before the second proofing and after putting them on the baking tray. Wrap them with film and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Let thaw in the refrigerator, then let proof for about 1 hour before cooking them in a preheated oven at 350°F or 180°C for 20-25 minutes.
More Brunch Ideas
If you love Sunday brunch, get inspiration from these easy and delightful brunch ideas:
- Easy vegan pancakes three ways with vanilla, blueberry, or banana.
- Vegan apple cake: 8-ingredient reader’s favorite cake with tender apple pieces.
- 1-bowl banana bread: only 8 ingredients are needed for this easy and airy banana bread.
- Oatmeal pancakes with blended oats and a quick apple compote.
- Quick zucchini muffins with shredded zucchini and chocolate chips.
- Apple cinnamon rolls with sweet and tender apple pieces.
- Tofu scramble: an excellent savory brunch idea.
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
- 10×10 inch (25×25 cm) squared baking dish or a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan.
- Dental floss or a serrated knife for cutting the rolls.
- 1 cup dairy-free milk almond, soy, oat, or other
- 2½ teaspoons instant dry yeast or active dry yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil sunflower oil, or melted vegan butter
- 3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1½ tablespoons dairy-free milk (oat, almond, soy)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- To a large mixing bowl, add lukewarm milk, sugar, oil (or lukewarm melted vegan butter) and instant yeast. Stir and let the yeast bloom for 1 minute.
- Add flour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until you get a dough ball.
- Transfer dough onto a lightly floured worktop and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic and smooth.
- Shape the dough into a ball, and transfer it into a large bowl you previously brushed with oil.Brush the dough with oil and cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, leaving enough space between the dough and the cloth for the dough to rise.
- Let the cinnamon roll dough proof in a warm place for about one hour and a half until it has doubled in size.TIP: we like to proof the dough in a slightly warm oven. Turn the oven on for 1 minute, then off, and put the dough in it to proof.
FILLING and SHAPING
- To a small bowl, add softened vegan butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix with a fork till your have a thick spreadable paste. This is your filling.
- When the dough has doubled in size, transfer it back onto the worktop and fold it of itself 5 times, pulling the edges and bringing them back to the centre of the dough.
- With the help of a rolling pin, roll it out into a rectangle shape that is 12 x 16 inches (30 x 40 cm).
- Spread the filling to cover the whole surface of the dough, leaving only ¼ of an inch (½ cm) around the edge without filling.
- Roll up the dough starting form the short side of the rectangle, forming a log.
- Stretch the rolled dough with your hands to reach 11 inches (28 cm).
- Take a piece of dental floss, wrap it around the roll, and tighten it as if you wanted to tie a knot.Cut each roll to a thickness of just over an inch (about 3 centimeters) to make 9 rolls.You can also cut it with a serrated knife, but the floss produces a cleaner and even cut.
- Transfer each roll to the baking pan you previously brushed with oil or vegan butter.
SECOND PROOFING AND BAKING
- Let rolls proof a second time (best if in a warm place) for 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.Brush the rolls with a little bit of dairy-free milk. When the oven is hot, bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Take the cinnamon rolls out of the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes before devouring them.To make the icing, whisk powdered sugar, dairy-free milk, and vanilla extract until you have a smooth glaze.
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