You won’t believe that these are vegan cinnamon rolls! Super gooey and sweet eggless and dairy free cinnamon rolls topped with the creamiest cream cheese frosting. Incredibly easy to make with an overnight option, they’re the perfect sweet breakfast for any weekend or holiday breakfast!
Why you’ll love these undetectably vegan cinnamon rolls
This is the only cinnamon roll recipe you’ll ever need, packed with all of the tips, tricks, and troubleshooting questions to ensure that your vegan cinnamon rolls are undetectably healthy, dairy-free, low in sugar, lower in fat, and refined sugar free!
Trust me, with how gooey, sweet, and beautiful soft these rolls are, you’ll have even non vegan eaters clawing for these healthy cinnamon rolls!
These cinnamon rolls have been approved by all eaters (meaning some were vegan, some were not, some were dairy free, some were not!), and make for the perfect holiday breakfast, whether it’s Christmas morning, Mother’s Day, a birthday breakfast, or just a special weekend brunch!
With a super gooey and sweet cinnamon filling, and the creamiest cinnamon roll icing, any vegan skeptics will be absolutely speechless when they try these cinnamon rolls!
What you need to make homemade vegan cinnamon rolls:
Though they might seem intimidating, baking vegan cinnamon rolls doesn’t require much. In terms of ingredients, you’ll need:
- Flour (I have not yet worked out a recipe using gluten free flour for this specific recipe. If you are gluten free, please see my Paleo vegan cinnamon rolls!).
- Activated yeast
- Dairy-free milk
- Coconut sugar
- Vegan butter or coconut oil (use coconut oil or a nut-free vegan butter if nut-free)
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Powdered sugar (for the icing)
As you can see, there are no funky ingredients in these rolls! In fact, they’re actually pretty low in sugar compared to most homemade cinnamon rolls, and are entirely refined sugar free. I personally love using coconut sugar here because it’s not as processed as regular sugar and yields a more caramelized flavor for these gooey cinnamon rolls.
In terms of equipment, you really don’t need much to make cinnamon rolls:
- A medium and a large bowl (one for mixing, one for rising)
- Rolling pin
- Square or round pan
- Spoon or pastry brush (I prefer the brush for spreading the filling because it yields a more even filling, but you can use a spoon if that’s all you have on hand!)
- Twine or a knife for slicing (twine is a lot easier to slice the cinnamon rolls without smushing them, but if you only have a knife, that will work as well)
How to make vegan cinnamon rolls
I promise you that making gooey and soft rolls that are undetectably vegan and healthy is not as hard as you think. It just takes some patience (ever head of the saying that bread is a labor of love? It holds true for cinnamon rolls too!).
Here are a few of my top tips that I’ve learned along my journey to making the best ever cinnamon roll recipe, vegan or not:
- Properly activate the yeast by ensuring the temperature is 110F. I know some people say that you have a little bit of leeway, but honestly, it’s not a guarantee every time. Make sure that your liquid mixture at the start of the recipe is exactly 110F. Use a food thermometer to check: you won’t be able to detect this with just your hands! Too hot, and the yeast will be deactivated, and too cold and the yeast just won’t activate at all. There is no real trick to fixing this later on in the recipe, so it’s best to get it right the first time!
- Making the dough: cinnamon rolls are just as much a labor of love as as any other bread. You’ll need to do a bit of light kneading, but not much: you don’t want the dough to then yield tough rolls! Just enough so that the gluten starts to activate, which will give it that wonderful soft texture.
- Grease a second bowl that you’ll put the dough into for the first proof. Making sure that the bowl is greased allows the dough to gently climb up the sides and fully double.
- Place the dough in a warm area (at least 75F) and cover properly: it’s crucial that the dough is in a warm area, as this will help the dough rise. Too cold, and your dough won’t rise at all. I sometimes turn my oven on while I’m making the dough if I notice that the kitchen is too cold. Additionally, if it’s warm outside (above 80F), you can place the bowl in a safe spot outside. You can also place the dough in the oven (turned off) and turn on the oven light. Make sure that you use a clean dish towel or even a warm damp towel to cover the rolls. Sometimes the dough needs a little bit more moisture, and damp warm towel will provide that.
- Flour both the surface, the dough, and the rolling pin!
- Use a piece of twine or a thin knife to slice the rolls. Sometimes, too thick of a knife will smush the layers of cinnamon together, and your rolls will look lopsided. If you have an extra thin knife, you shouldn’t have a problem, but you can also use a piece of twine to gently cut the rolls.
- Allow the rolls to rise a second time in a warm area. I go over the make-head option in the bottom section, but the warm area is still crucial for the second rise.
These 7 steps will be the key to your success in making the best ever vegan cinnamon rolls!
Easy cinnamon roll filling
The second most crucial part to perfectly gooey vegan cinnamon rolls is all in the filling. Of course, you can use either vegan butter or coconut oil here, but I prefer vegan butter because it tends to have more moisture than just straight up coconut oil.
The reasoning being is that coconut oil is nearly all fat whereas vegan butter still retains a decent amount of water content, which yields a fluffier roll and gooier filling.
To make sure that the cinnamon and coconut sugar are evenly distributed, I’ll take the pastry brush and just lightly brush the dough once more.
Use a simple dairy free icing or cream cheese frosting!
You can absolutely use my vegan cream cheese frosting recipe found on my vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls (absolutely delicious!), but sometimes, I just like really simple.
I’ve also given instructions for the delicious dairy free cream cheese frosting in the recipe card down below. Personally, I love them both, and they’re both so easy!
This icing only requires 3 ingredients that are very common: powdered sugar, vegan butter, and vanilla extract.
The vanilla is so key here and the ingredient that makes these beat out even cinnabon (though those aren’t vegan, I have testaments that these vegan cinnamon rolls would even convert those who don’t normally eat vegan!).
While this might not be the healthiest part of these healthy cinnamon rolls, it’s certainly fine to have a little vegan cinnamon bun icing in my book!
Just mix the ingredients all together and smear the icing on while the rolls are still warm!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
Making homemade vegan cinnamon rolls seems like a daunting process at first, and while these are easy, there is always a chance for error no matter what recipe you make. So I want to ensure that you go into your cinnamon roll baking process equipped with all of the right tips!
- Make sure that all liquid ingredients that are not heated are room temperature: this mainly is speaking to the applesauce. If you refrigerate your applesauce, simply allow the sauce to come to room temperature before beginning. Cold ingredients when met with hot ingredients will mess up the texture and result of these cinnamon rolls
- Add the glaze when the rolls are still warm: this just makes the rolls extra gooey and sweet. They turn out to be essentially like a cinnabon- but WAY better in my opinion! You’ll never know these vegan cinnamon rolls are healthy!
- If your yeast isn’t activating: a good sign that the yeast isn’t activating properly is right at the start. You should see a foamy mixture sitting on top of the liquid when you first activate the yeast. If you don’t and if it doesn’t smell yeast-y, scratch the mixture and start again. However, if you’re already in the process of making the dough and you’re noticing that the dough isn’t rising properly during the first proof, you can try to get it to rise by placing a damp warm towel over the bowl and ensuring it’s in a warm environment. A warm environment is key. A little extra dampness can go a long way too! Here’s another great post that goes into detail about how to determine if your yeast is good.
- Be sure to check out my other bread posts, as I’ve gone into detail about troubleshooting yeasted recipes.
- Don’t forget to flour the rolling pin too! Most people think it’s enough to flour just the surface (not even the dough!). Short answer: it’s not! Make sure you sprinkle a little flour over the dough, as well as lightly flouring the rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can also use a narrow glass bottle.
How to make overnight cinnamon rolls (Make-Ahead Option)
If you’re like me, then you probably have zero desire to go through an hour process in the morning of making some healthy cinnamon rolls. It’s the weekend, and you just want something easy!
Not a problem at all. This recipe is easily made the night before. All you’ll need to do is prepare the cinnamon rolls by following Steps 1-10 below in the recipe card.
After the second proof, simply keep the rolls covered and place them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, when you’re ready to make your rolls, place the vegan cinnamon rolls into the oven (the oven is turned off), and turn on the oven light. Let the rolls warm for 20-25 minutes in the oven.
Then remove the rolls from the oven, and preheat the oven to 350F, while the rolls rest near or on top of the oven (they still need to be in a warm environment). Once the oven is preheated, bake per the instructions and ice!
You are just going to love these vegan cinnamon rolls! I just know they’re going to become your new favorite cinnamon roll recipe, vegan or not.
If you make them, let me know how they turn out in the comments section below and leave a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others may find the recipe.
Happy vegan cinnamon roll baking!
If you like these homemade cinnamon rolls, you’ll also love these other healthy vegan breakfast recipes:
Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!
You won’t believe that these are vegan cinnamon rolls! Super gooey and sweet eggless and dairy free cinnamon rolls topped with the creamiest icing. Easy to make with an overnight option, they’re the perfect healthy treat for any weekend or holiday breakfast!
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls:
- 4 1/4 cups (540 grams) + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided (plus more for flouring surface)
- 1 packet (8 grams) activated yeast
- 1/2 cup (90 grams) coconut sugar, divided
- 1 1/4 cup (270 grams) dairy-free milk, unsweetened, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (57 grams) salted Flora Plant Butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (87 grams) unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
Vegan Cinnamon Roll Filling:
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) vegan butter or coconut oil, softened
- 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) coconut sugar
Dairy Free Icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) vegan butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Grease a medium sized bowl with olive oil or coconut oil, and set aside.
- Activate the yeast: In microwave-safe bowl, heat the dairy-free milk until it reaches 110F- use a food thermometer to accurately measure the temperature. Any cooler or hotter, and the yeast won’t activate properly. Add in 1 tbsp coconut sugar and the extra 1 tbsp flour. Gently whisk together, then sprinkle yeast, mix with a spoon lightly, cover, and let activate for 10 minutes in a warm area.
- Make the dough: When activated, pour the mixture into a large bowl or a stand mixer with the dough attachment. Add in the remaining coconut sugar, applesauce, melted vegan butter, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until combine. Then add in about half of the flour and mix on medium speed until the flour starts to incorporate into the wet mixture. Add the remaining flour, and mix on medium speed until a shaggy dough forms. Lightly flour a clean surface and place the dough onto the surface, sprinkling some extra flour on top or kneading.
- First proof: Knead the dough lightly, for 2-4 minutes, until it forms a smooth dough ball that’s not sticky. Then place the dough into the greased medium bowl, cover with a cloth or wrap, and place into a warm area to let rise for 1 hour. It should be double in size. If it’s at least 80F outside, you can place the bowl outside, otherwise you can place it in the oven (which is turned off) and turn on the oven light or start preheating the oven to 350F and place the bowl near or on top of the oven.
- While the dough is rising: grease a large casserole dish with oil and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the vegan butter, coconut sugar, and cinnamon, and set aside.
- Make the vegan cinnamon rolls: After the dough has doubled, lightly punch down the dough. Lightly flour a clean surface, and place the dough in the middle. Sprinkle a little extra flour on top of the dough and flour the rolling pin. Roll the dough out to be a large rectangle (12 in x 18 in). Lightly spread the dough with vegan butter mixture. Roll into tight rolls and away from you. Slice the roll into 12 even cinnamon rolls. To easily slice, you can use a piece of thin twine or unflavored floss. Place into the oil-greased dish.
- Second proof: Cover again with a clean towel or wrap, and place over or by the oven while the oven preheats to 400F. Let the cinnamon rolls rise for 30 minutes while the oven is preheating.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls: Place the cinnamon rolls into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the icing.
- Make the dairy-free frosting: in a medium bowl or stand mixer, cream the vegan butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and cream again until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Serve and enjoy! Spread the frosting onto the vegan cinnamon rolls and serve warm. If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container and place them in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, simply warm them on a baking sheet with parchment paper at 350F for 5-7 minutes.
If making a day ahead of time, complete Step 7 through the second rise, then cover the cinnamon rolls and place them in the fridge overnight. When ready to bake, allow the rolls to sit in the oven (not started) with the light on for 20-25 minutes. Then, remove the rolls from the oven, and allow the cinnamon rolls to rest over or by the oven as it preheats.
Alternative icing: Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1/2 cup dairy free cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Cream the cream cheese and the powdered sugar together until smooth.
- Spread onto cinnamon rolls and enjoy!
Keywords: vegan cinnamon rolls, healthy cinnamon rolls, easy vegan cinnamon rolls